Unidentified Soldier in Union uniform of the 119th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, wearing the belt buckle of the Philadelphia Reserve Brigade
This regiment was recruited at Philadelphia in Aug., 1862, and ordered to Washington before its ranks were filled. Here an additional company was received and the regiment was mustered into the U. S. service for a three years’ term. In October it joined the Army of the Potomac near Antietam and was assigned to the 1st brigade, 2nd division, 6th corps.
It was first under fire at Fredericksburg and acquitted itself with credit, returning to camp at White Oak Church. With the 3d brigade, 1st division, it joined in the Chancellorsville movement, being engaged at Salem Church, and then returned to occupy the old camp until the Gettysburg campaign. The troops supported the cavalry engaged at Beverly ford and arrived on the field of Gettysburg on the afternoon of July 2.
The 119th was posted on the left of the line and did not become engaged, but immediately took up the pursuit after the battle and went into camp at Warrenton on July 26, where 205 substitutes were received. At Rappahannock Station in November, a gallant assault was made for which the 6th corps received special commendation by Gen. Meade. After participation in the Mine Run expedition, winter quarters were made near Brandy Station, which were occupied until May 4, 1864.
The regiment fought valiantly at the Wilderness and Spottsylvania, and by May 12 had lost half of its effective strength. At Cold Harbor it also sustained heavy loss. From Petersburg, where it moved with the army, the 119th was sent to the defense of Washington, which was threatened by Gen. Early, and took part in the marches and countermarches in the Valley of the Shenandoah and the battle of the Opequan. It was then posted at Winchester to garrison the town and returned to Petersburg early in December. It took part in the Dabney’s mill battle in Feb., 1865, the final assault on April 2, the battle of Sailor’s creek, and was present at Lee’s surrender, after which the regiment moved to Danville, but returned to Washington and Philadelphia where the troops were mustered out on June 19, 1865.
Regimental history taken from “The Union Army” by Federal Publishing Company, 1908 - Volume 1