Allison-Antrim Museum

William M. Hollingshead

 

History of the 97th PA Volunteer Infantry

 

 

William M. Hollingshead was born on March 7, 1846, in Bedford County, PA.  He was the son of James Hollingshead Jr., born on October 31,1802, and Mary Mellott.  Mary was the daughter of John Mellott and Elizabeth Sipes; Mary was born on April 24, 1808.  James and Mary married in 1822 and had 13 children: Isaac, Martha, Elizabeth, Sarah, Phychae, Lydia, Richard, Thomas, William, John, Benjamin, Mary, and James.

 

The first U.S. Census record I found with James and Mary is the 1850 census, recorded in Belfast Township, in Fulton County, PA.  James was a farmer and his real estate was valued at $1,500.  On the 1860 Census, the Hollingshead family still lived in Belfast Township; the real estate was valued at $1,350 and James’ personal property was worth $485.  William was 14 years of age.  Within nine months, the Civil War will have begun.  Even in 1863, when the U.S. government required the registration of all eligible men, William would only have been 16 years old.

 

The 97th PA Infantry was organized by Henry B. Guss, West Chester, PA, between August 22 and Oct 28, 1861.  Except for two companies, D and I, the regiment was filled from Chester County.  The U.S. Secretary of War designated the regiment as a three-year regiment.  Its service was actually three years and ten months, during which time, the men served valiantly, in many key battles of the Civil War.

 

William M. Hollingshead, was a substitute from Fulton County, PA, which means he was paid money to be a substitute for another man, who was registered as eligible to serve in the Civil War, and whose name was picked in the draft.  William’s bounty could have been paid by Belfast Township, to help meet its quota of draftees, or he could have been paid directly by a man – a man of means, whose name had been called for the draft.  At the age of 19, Hollingshead was mustered in, as a private, into Co. A of the 97th PA Infantry, in Chambersburg, on March 3, 1865.  What must it have been like for a young man of 19, from rural Pennsylvania, in 1865, to have been “thrown” directly into the history-making events at the end of the Civil War.  Although William wasn’t present at Appomattox, he was in North Carolina’s capital city of Raleigh.  He witnessed the freeing of enslaved people and, could possibly, have helped with getting the Freedmen’s Bureau established.  What grand stories William had to tell his son and grandchildren.

 

The 97th was, at that time, part of General Terry’s Provisional Corps, in the Department of North Carolina.  Between March 15 and 21, Gen. Terry, from Wilmington, NC and Gen. Schofield, from Newbern, NC, each led their troops toward a rendezvous with Gen. William Sherman, in Raleigh, NC, who was coming up from Georgia.  The three armies met on March 22nd.   During this advance, the 97th was detached and provided support to Kilpatrick’s cavalry, until it also arrived at Raleigh.  Sherman entered the capital city of Raleigh, on April 13, 1865.  With the Union Army’s show of force and 13 days of negotiations, Confederate General Johnston finally surrendered his Rebel army, on April 26, 1865, at Durham’s Station.  Sherman, well-known for his harsh destruction, throughout the South, issued Special Field Orders, No. 55, on April 14th.  SFO, No. 55 included the following, “No further destruction of railroads, mills, cotton, and produce, will be made without the specific orders of an army commander, and the inhabitants will be dealt with kindly, looking to an early reconciliation.  The troops will be permitted, however, to gather forage and provisions as heretofore; only more care should be taken not to strip the poorer classes too closely.”

 

For the next two and a half months, the 97th was on duty at Raleigh until July 10.  During this time, the regiment helped with maintaining peace and established the Freedmen’s Bureau in Raleigh.  In the ensuing months, sickness caused the death of several men from the 97th.  On July 11th, the companies of the 97th were split - some marched to Gaston and the remaining companies went to Weldon, NC, until their muster out on August 28, 1865.  Co. A was stationed in Weldon, because William’s place of muster out is listed as Weldon, NC.  The men were transported to Philadelphia, where they were discharged on September 4, 1865.  Hollingshead served six months and one day, from the date of his muster in.  The 97th PA Infantry had served three years and ten months in the Civil War.  There is one other Civil War veteran, buried in Cedar Hill Cemetery who, also, served in the 97th PA Infantry.  His name is John W. Singer; he served in Co. D.

 

William became a member of Mercersburg’s Grand Army of the Republic, Post 497, named after Capt. J. P. McCullough, who served in Pennsylvania’s 126th and 209th Regiments.  McCulllough was killed in action at the Battle of Petersburg, VA, on April 2, 1865.

 

William’s parents continued to live in Belfast Township, Fulton County.  The 1870 U.S. Census records the real estate value as $2,000 and the Hollingshead’s personal property at $900.  Seven of James’ and Mary’s children were living with them in 1870.  Phycha was 30, Richard – 27, Thomas – 26, John – 20, Benjamin – 19, Mary – 17, and James C. was 15.

 

James Sr. died on April 2, 1872, at the age of 69.  James Sr.’s wife Mary, also known as Polly, died July 8, 1890, at the age of 82 years.  They are buried in the Sideling Hill Primitive Baptist Cemetery in Fulton County.

 

According to the August 9, 1870 census, William married Mary E. Poffinberger in March 1870.  The census record states her name as Elizabeth M. but the Hollingshead family Bible calls her Mary E(lizabeth).  She was born December 9, 1841.  They were living in Peters Township, Franklin County.  He, like his father, was a farmer.  His real estate was valued at $1,000 and their personal property was worth $800.

 

The dwelling and family recorded, just prior to William’s, belonged to that of his oldest brother, Isaac, the first-born child of James and Mary Hollingshead.    Isaac and his wife Matilda had two sons, Sylvester (15) and Joseph (11).  Isaac’s real estate was worth $3,000 and his personal property was $800.

 

In 1873,  Mary and William had a daughter Minnie Myrtle, born April 17, 1873.  She died four months later on August 15, 1873.   Their second daughter Elisabeth Evelyn was born February 19, 1875.  Seven days after giving birth, Mary died on February 26, 1875, leaving William with an infant daughter.  The family Bible does not give a reason for the death of Elisabeth, five and a half months later, on August 8, 1875.

 

Information given in the U.S. International Marriage Records confirms that William married Elizabeth Truax on August 10, 1876.  During the 1880 census, they were living in the same dwelling as John and Laura Walker, in Peters Township.  Although John and Laura are listed first in the dwelling, John is recorded as a farm laborer, while William is listed as farmer.  It could be that the census taker did not correctly list the “head of household” within the dwelling.  The Walkers had a son Harvey, 2, and daughter Minnie, one year of age.

 

In the next dwelling lived James and Emma (24) Hafeley, with their son Calvin.  Sarah Truax, 11, was a niece, who also lived in their household.  Emma may have been a sister of Elizabeth.  Next door to the Hafeleys, Susan Truax (18) was a servant for Henry and Esther Ryder family.

 

On the 1890 Special Schedule for Civil War veterans, William lived in Montgomery Township.  The post office was Mercersburg.  In 1890, the eastern border of Montgomery Township was the Conococheague Creek.  This area was eventually annexed to Antrim Township, pushing the eastern border of Montgomery farther west.  Under the notations on the schedule, William suffered from fevers and ague, resulting in lung troubles.

 

William’s place of residence in 1900 was Antrim Township, where he was enumerated on June 1, 1900.  He owned his farm but was still paying off a mortgage.  William and Elizabeth, married for 24 years, had two children but only one survived – Frederick Milroy, 19.  Frederick worked on the farm with his father.  Elizabeth Truax was born on January18, 1846 (170 years ago) and she died of pneumonia on March 2, 1909, at the age of 63 years, one month, and 12 days.

 

In 1900, two dwellings away, lived William’s youngest brother, James C., the “baby” of James and Mary Hollingshead.  He and his wife Sarah had two sons – Frank E. (12) and Ira C. (6).  Frank worked as a laborer on the farm, which his father owned.  James was still paying on the mortgage.

 

On the 1910 U.S. Census, William, a widower, was still living on his farm, which he owned.  His son Fred M. and his wife Nora Edna were living with William. William’s brother, James, was still living down the road, on his own farm.

 

The census in Antrim Township, in 1920, was recorded in January.  Fred was listed as the head of household, but he rented from his father.  He and his wife, using her middle name Edna, had five children:  Fred J(ohn) (11), Lloyd W. (10), Russel C. (7), Howard G. (6), and one daughter Kathryn G(illian) (2 years, 11 months).

 

William M. Hollingshead, Civil War veteran, died on May 31, 1924, at the age of 78 years, two months, 21 days.  William is buried in Section B, Lot 43, alongside his wife Elizabeth, in Cedar Hill Cemetery, Antrim Township, Franklin County, PA.

 

In 1930, Fred M. owned the family farm, which he most likely inherited upon his father’s death.  Since the last U.S. Census, he and Edna had two more children – Quinton (May 3, 1925 – August 12, 1925) and Alice L.  Fred J. was 23, Howard G. – 16, and Kathryn was 13.  Howard, a farm hand, was counted twice, on two different census pages.  The Hollingshead family owned a radio.  Fred and Edna’s son, Lloyd W. (19 and married), was enumerated in 1930 as a hired hand on a farm, on a different census page.

 

Lloyd William, going by William L., and his wife Emma and their daughter Lucille (9) were living in Antrim Township, in 1940.  Lloyd W. “Bill” Hollingshead and his wife Emma, also had a son, who they named Lloyd W. “Bill” Jr.  Bill Hollingshead Jr. and his wife Linda, have a son Justin Hollingshead.  The farm that Civil War veteran William M. Hollingshead owned in Antrim Township, on what is now West Weaver Road, was passed down through four successive generations and is now owned by Dr. Justin C. Hollingshead.  Justin and his wife Felicia built a new home on the family homestead several years ago.  The original farmhouse still stands along Weaver Road.

 

This story of William M. Hollingshead began on January 1 of 2014.  I have a New Year’s Day postcard, from 1914, that’s addressed to Mr. William Hollingshead, Route 4, Greencastle, PA.  It was sent to him from a lady in Hagerstown, with, “Best Wishes for a long & prosperous life & a Happy New Year, from Ida.”  Knowing that postal Route 4 included what is now West Weaver Road, I contacted Felicia Hollingshead to find out if William was related to Justin.  The Soldier’s Story of William M. Hollingshead blossomed from that point forward.

 

In the portrait, William Hollingshead is wearing the kepi of Mercersburg’s Capt. J. P. McCullough, GAR Post #497, of which he was a member.  For more detailed information on the history of the 97th PA Volunteer Infantry, visit www.greencastlemuseum.org, Civil War Letters, Soldiers’ Stories, under Hollingshead.

 

 

THE 97TH PA VOLUNTEER INFANTRY

 

The 97th PA Infantry was organized by Henry B. Guss, West Chester, PA, between August 22 and Oct 28, 1861.  Except for two companies, D and I, the regiment was filled from Chester County.  The U.S. Secretary of War designated the regiment as a three-year regiment.  The men were trained at Camp Wayne, near West Chester.  A month and a half later, the regiment was sent to Washington City, and from there, it proceeded to Fortress Monroe.  By December 11, 1861, the regiment, by way of steamer, arrived in Port Royal, SC.  The 76th PA Regiment preceded the 97th.  From this time forward, both regiments fought side-by-side, until being discharged in August 1865.  On January 1, 1862, the regiments boarded ships, accompanied by gun boats, to Georgia, where Fort Pulaski was captured.  On February 28, the regiments were again transported by boat (26 gunboats and five transports) to Fernandina, FL, where the fleet anchored offshore.  The Confederates abandoned the town and Fort Church, which were then occupied by the 97th PA Infantry on March 5, 1862.  Company A, of which William Hollingshead was a member, was detached on the 9th, along with cavalry, on a scouting mission to Harrison’s Landing.   Finding no Confederates, they returned to camp.  Two weeks later, the regiment marched to Jacksonville, FL, where they helped with fortifications and reinforced the Union troops already stationed there.  By the 10th of June 1861, the regiment was in Secessionville, SC and took part in the battle of Secessionville, with a few fatalities.  In July, the regiment returned to Hilton Head, SC.

 

In 1862, the regiment was detached from the Department of Virginia and attached to the Union’s Department of the South.  During 1862, the camp was plagued with fevers, including Yellow Fever.  Many men died out of the 500 cases of fever, which broke out.  On November 20th, 1862, the men of the 97th, with the exception of Co. C, were moved to St. Helena Island, where the men’s general health improved.

 

In mid-July, 1863, the 97th participated in the assault on Ft. Wagner.  The 54th Massachusetts USCT led the assault, which resulted in a high number of casualties.  Companies A and F of the 97th were sent in as skirmishers to provide cover for the men who were detailed to recover the wounded.  General Stevenson, who commanded the 97th, supervised the operation, and is known to have said, regarding the 54th MA USCT wounded, “You know how much harder they will fare at the hands of the enemy than white men.”  After the recovery of the wounded, the 97th continued to participate in the assault.

 

In October 1863, 215 conscripts were added to the regiment, with mixed results, as far as their worthiness as soldiers.  The regiment was moved to Fernandina, FL where is remained until April 1864.  337 men of the 97th reenlisted on March 16 and were given their first furlough to home, since enlisting in the fall of 1861.  The regiment left Fernandina on April 23, 1864   and was ordered to Hilton Head, where it joined the 10th Corps, as reinforcement of the Army of the James, which was under command of Gen. Benjamin Butler.

 

Butler’s army landed at the Bermuda Hundred on May 9th, 1864.  A Union line of earthworks was built from the James River to the Appomattox River.  The 97th was ordered to destroy the tracks of the Richmond and Petersburg Railroad, as well as cut the telegraph lines.  The regiment saw action at Swift Creek in the afternoon of May 9 and supported the movement on Richmond, the next day.  Nine days later, the 97th was ordered to become engaged in the charge at Drury’s Bluff; the regiment lost 19 killed and 38 wounded men.  The morning of May 10th revealed that the Union was facing the army, a whole division, of Gen. George Pickett.  The men of the 97th were made vulnerable during the Rebel charge, when the Rebel infantry marched toward the right of the Union line, and then suddenly veered the opposite direction, to attack the 9th ME, leaving the 97th open.   The 13th IN attempted to support the 97th, to no avail, having to retreat under fire.  Three officers and 44 men were killed; eight officers and 121 men were wounded; and 12 were taken prisoners.

 

Gen. Grant ordered the 18th Corps and part of the 10th Corps, to which the 97th was attached, to be transported back to Washington City, to guard the President and the capital city.  The men of the 97th were in the front line continuously, from the day they arrived until June 12, 1864, when the regiment rejoined the Army of the James, 2 ½ miles from Petersburg.  During the time on the frontline, the 97th regiment lost one man killed and nine wounded.

 

On June 15th, the Union army lost 400 prisoners and 16 pieces of artillery.  Through the night of the 15th, the men of the 97th worked on entrenching.  On June 23, the 10th Corps was ordered to the front and was located in front of Cemetery Hill.  One hundred men of the 97th and 300 from other regiments, in a decoy charge, advanced on the Rebel works in front of the Cemetery.  The Union took the works, amidst heavy Rebel fire and held its ground until nightfall.  A loss of 150 men out of 400 was suffered because Captain Barton of the 48th NY, who was to have led the main assault, never left his position.  The 97th lost five and 16 were wounded.

 

After the explosion of the mine on July 30 1864, the 97th gallantly participated in the assault of the Rebel works, including a line of rifle pits, and held its position, as long as it could.   Upon retreat, the men returned to their position in front of the Cemetery.  Ten were killed, including Lt. Levi L. Marsh, who later died of his wounds.  Capt. Mendenhall was among the 28 wounded soldiers.

 

The regiment participated in the fighting at Deep Bottom on August 15, 1864 and at Strawberry Plains, the next day.  In two days of battle, the 97th lost 10 more men, 11 were wounded, and 18 were captured.  At the end of August, the regiment returned to the front at Petersburg, the lines of which were spread between the Appomattox River to Cemetery Hill.

 

As part of the 10th Corps, the 97th PAV fought at New Market Heights on September 28th and at Darbytown, at the end of October.   Between the two engagements, the regiment lost two killed, which included Capt. George W. Hawkins, 18 wounded, and three missing.  By the end of October, due to end of terms of service, killed, wounded, and missing, the 97th regiment numbered 150 men, who were under the command of Lt. John Wainwright.  Shortly afterwards the regiment was brought up to strength, with draftees and substitutes.  The Army of the James was reorganized at the beginning of December and the 97th, along with the other white troops in the 10th and 18th Corps became the 24th Corps.  The US Colored Troops within the 10th and 18th Corps became the 25th Corps.

 

The 2nd Division of the 24th Corps, included the 97th Pa Regiment.  The 2nd Division, along with the 1st Division of the 25th Corps, started marching to Fortress Monroe, on December 7, 1864.  On December 13, the detachment of 6,500 men joined the expedition of Generals Butler and Porter, in their assault on Fort Fisher, NC.  Union artillery started bombing Fort Fisher at 12 noon on December 24.  The men of the 97th were among 3,000 troops who landed near Ft. Fisher, but intelligence from a reconnaissance, prompted Butler to withdraw his troops, who re-embarked and returned to their camp on the James River.

 

The second assault on Ft. Fisher began on January 2, 1865.  The troops numbered 1,500.  Sharp shooters, armed with Spencer repeating rifles, were ordered to run toward the fort and dig-in 175 yards from the fort, after which three brigades moved forward to the rear of the sharp shooters.  The troops on land were supported by Navy guns offshore.  From 3:25 pm until 10 pm, the Union troops were engaged in heavy fighting, including hand-to-hand combat, once the fort was occupied.  Lt. Wainwright, who led the men of the 97th, was honored by Gen. Ames.  “A series of traverses,” says Lt. Wainwright, “each a fort itself, were charged and re-charged, and for seven long hours the two armies fought furiously inside the fort, and not until ten o’clock at night were the rebels finally subdued and forced to surrender, which was greeted with deafening cheers by the weary soldiers, and a display of hundreds of rockets by the fleet.”

 

In response, the Rebels retreated to Ft. Anderson, in preparation of defending the last main Rebel port at Wilmington, NC, where there were large stores of ammunition, arms, and cotton.  A large force of Union troops successfully overran the Rebels at Ft. Anderson on February 22, 1864 and Wilmington was occupied by the Union.  In addition to possession of Wilmington, 4,000 Union POWs were freed, which included some men from the 97th PA Infantry.  “The joy of the sick and wounded men, famishing with hunger, knew no bounds.  They danced, sang, and wept;  they hugged their old comrades, and in every way manifested their gratitude at being rescued from inevitable starvation and death.”

 

The 97th PA Infantry was organized by Henry B. Guss, West Chester, PA, between August 22 and Oct 28, 1861.  Except for two companies, D and I, the regiment was filled from Chester County.  The U.S. Secretary of War designated the regiment as a three-year regiment.  Its service was actually three years and ten months, during which time, the men served valiantly, in many key battles of the Civil War.

 

William M. Hollingshead, a substitute from Fulton County, PA was mustered in to Co. A of 97th PA Infantry, in Chambersburg, on March 3, 1865.  The 97th was, at that time, part of General Terry’s Provisional Corps, in the Department of North Carolina.  Between March 15 and 21, Gen. Terry, from Wilmington, NC and Gen. Schofield, from Newbern, NC, each led their troops toward a rendezvous with Gen. William Sherman, in Raleigh, NC, who was coming up from Georgia.  The three armies met on March 22nd.   During this advance, the 97th was detached and provided support to Kilpatrick’s cavalry, until it also arrived at Raleigh.  Sherman entered the capital city of Raleigh, on April 13, 1865.  With the Union Army’s show of force and 13 days of negotiations, Confederate General Johnston finally surrendered his Rebel army, on April 26, 1865, at Durham’s Station.  Sherman, well-known for his harsh destruction, throughout the South, issued Special Field Orders, No. 55, on April 14th.  SFO, No. 55 included the following, “No further destruction of railroads, mills, cotton, and produce, will be made without the specific orders of an army commander, and the inhabitants will be dealt with kindly, looking to an early reconciliation.  The troops will be permitted, however, to gather forage and provisions as heretofore; only more care should be taken not to strip the poorer classes too closely.”

 

For the next two and a half months, the 97th was on duty at Raleigh until July 10.  During this time, the regiment helped with maintaining peace and established the Freedmen’s Bureau in Raleigh.  In the ensuing months, sickness caused the death of several men from the 97th.  On July 11th, the companies of the 97th were split - some marched to Gaston and the remaining companies went to Weldon, NC, until their muster out on August 28, 1865.  Co. A was stationed in Weldon, because William’s place of muster out is listed as Weldon, NC.  The men were transported to Philadelphia, where they were discharged on September 4, 1865.  Hollingshead served six months and one day, from the date of his muster in.  The 97th PA Infantry had served three years and ten months in the Civil War.  There is one other Civil War veteran, buried in Cedar Hill Cemetery who, also, served in the 97th PA Infantry.  His name is John W. Singer; he served in Co. D.

 

William became a member of Mercersburg’s Grand Army of the Republic, Post 497, named after Capt. J. P. McCullough, who served in Pennsylvania’s 126th and 209th Regiments.  McCulllough was killed in action at the Battle of Petersburg, VA, on April 2, 1865.

 

 

 

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