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Brief History
The Old Bucktails

 

Lt. Colonel Thomas Leiper Kane


Responding to President Lincoln's call for volunteer troops to rise to the defense of the Union, following the confederate bombing of Fort Sumpter, in April, 1861, Thomas Leiper Kane began recruiting young men from the northern tier counties of Pennsylvania. Mr. Kane, an influential businessman in McKean County, and his lieutenants, were successful in recruiting enough young men to fill 7 companies (approximately 700 men). Many of these men were lumberjacks, raftsmen, and farmers accustomed to living in the rugged mountainous areas of the "Wildcat" district (Elk, McKean, Tioga, and Cameron counties). Prior to leaving for Harrisburg, the men adopted the tail of a buck as their "regimental badge of honor". The deer tails were placed on each recruits cap and they became known as the Bucktails.  En route to camp curtin a bucktail also adorned the top of the mast on one of the rafts the men built to travel to Lock Haven where they could pick up the railroad.  Once at Camp Curtin, another company from Northern Pennsylvania, a company from Chester County and a company from Perry County joined Kane's group to complete the required 10 company regiment, and became the 13th regiment--the Rifle (sharpshooter) regiment--of the newly fromed Pennsylvania Reserve Corps. As part of the federal army, they became the 42nd Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Regiment, also known as the Bucktail Regiment.

The regiment trained at Camp Curtin in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania until June 1861, when it was detached, along with the 5th regiment, to the assistance of General Lew Wallace in the Cumberland, Maryland area. Upon their return from Maryland, they joined the balance of the Pennsylvania Reserve Corps which had been mustered into service by the federal government and was now attached to the Army of the Potomac in and near Washington D.C..

Colonel Hugh McNeil

The Bucktails served with distinction in most of the major engagements of the Army of the Potomac until May 1864, when those who did not reenlist in the 190th Pennsylvania, were mustered out of service. The Bucktails were engaged at Dranesville; the Seven Days Battles of Mechanicsville, Gaines Mill, New Market Crossroads and Malvern Hill; Second Bull Run, South Mountain, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, the Wilderness and Spottsylvania (1864) and finally, Bethesda Church. The unit completed its service on May 31, 1864. 

Colonel Charles Taylor

In May, 1862, four companies of Bucktails--companies C, G, H, and I were detached from the regiment, under the command of Lt. Col. Thomas L. Kane, and sent to participate in the Valley Campaign against the renowned Stonewall Jackson. This detachment was engaged in the battles of Harrisonburg, Cross Keys, Catlett's Station, 2nd Bull Run, and Chantilly. At Harrisonburg, the Buctails were credited with killing confederate general Turner Ashby. The detached companies joined the regiment after the Battle of 2nd Bull Run.


Companies of the 1st PA Rifles Regiment

Company A The Anderson Guards Tioga County Captain Phillip Holland
CaptainJohn G. Harrower
Company B The Morgan Rifles Perry County Captain Langhorne Wister
Captain Thomas B. Lewis
Company C The Cameron Rifles Cameron County Captain John A. Eldred
CaptainLeander W. Gifford
CaptainNeri B. Kinsey
Company D The Raftsman's Guards Warren County Captain Roy Stone
Captain Hugh McNeil
Captain John T.A. Jewett
Captain David G. McNaughton
Company E The Tioga Rifles Tioga County Captain Alanson E.Niles
Captain Samuel A. Mack
Company F The Irish Infantry Carbon County Captain Dennis McGee
Captain John A. Wolfe
Company G The Elk Rifles Elk County Captain Hugh McDonald
Company H Wayne Independent Rifles Chester County Captain Charles Taylor
Captain John D. Yerkes
Company I The McKean Rifles McKean County Captain William Blanchard
Captain Frank J. Bell
CompanyK The Raftsman's Rangers Clearfield County Captain Edward A. Irvin
Captain James M Welch

For additional information on the "Old Bucktails" I suggest you follow the link below. Hopefully, your trip through these pages will provide the most extensive information on the 1st PA Rifles that you will find anywhere in the world.  

Additional Information