According to history, in 1861, a soldier by the name of James Landregan with the newly formed 42nd Pennsylvania Volunteers, noticed a deer hide hanging outside a butchers shop. After removing the tail from the hide and placing it on his hat, the men agreed it was a great idea and soon all of the men of the new regiment began to do the same. This was done as a sense of pride and to signify that they were Pennsylvanians, meaning they were experienced woodsmen being good shots and rugged outdoorsmen. During the Peninsula Campaign early in 1862 the 42nd Pa Bucktails proved themselves to be a worthy foe. Confederate forces expressed their dread in fighting the Bucktails because they didn’t run and their fire was accurate. Word of their exploits got back to Pennsylvania Governor Curtain, who decided to form a Brigade of Bucktails. During the summer of 1862 calls for volunteers went out to fill the ranks. Companies C,H,I and K were mustered into service from Crawford county and in the fall and the new recruits shipped out to Camp Curtain for equipment issue and training. Upon completion of training the Brigade was finally formed and their regiment designation was assigned as the 150th Pennsylvania Volunteers. The 149th was also assigned to the Brigade at that time and later in the spring the 143rd of Pennsylvania was assigned as the third regiment to the brigade (it should be noted that the 150th and 149th were the only two regiments of the brigade to wear Bucktails on their hats, but the Brigade was identified as the Bucktail Brigade). Company K of the 150th was assigned to Guard President Lincoln at the Whitehouse and his summer home for the duration of the war. After spending the winter in defense of Washington DC, in early spring the Brigade moved out with the rest of the army for the spring campaign. Untried and tested in battle, the first action the unit was involved in was at the Battle of Chancellorsville. The unit saw some skirmisher duty and captured a few prisoners and had no casualties.
The first true test of the unit came on July 1st, 1863. The unit was assigned to the First Army Corp and were to hold the confederate advance west of the town of Gettysburg as long as possible, until the rest of the union army could secure the high ground south of town. They with the rest of the Corp, held as long as they could against overwhelming numbers (outnumbered 2-1) until lack of ammunition, numerous casualties and with their flanks collapsing around them, were finally forced to retire. Given the Brigade sustained 64% casualties in the 5 hours they held the ground, the fact they held the confederate advance is an impressive feat in itself. Perhaps they fought so stubbornly was because they were on their home soil or maybe they still were looking to earn the right to earn the Bucktail name. It should be noted, the original Bucktails (42nd Pennsylvania) felt that the Governor was not just in creating a Bucktail Brigade for a feat that they earned. They often referred to the new Bucktails as the “Bogus Bucktails”.
As a sidenote, it was early during the fight, the story of an elderly civilian man from town approached Colonel Wister of the 150th Pennsylvania and asked to join the fight. History later identified this man as John Burns, the Constable from town who was later wounded three times. President Lincoln met with him when he came to Gettysburg to give the Gettysburg Address.
The Unit served with distinction for the remainder of the war and fought in numerous battles such as The Wilderness, Cold Harbor, Petersburg, Hatchers Run and Weldon Railroad, just to name a few and towards the end of the war they were assigned to guard prisoners in Elmira NY.
This reenactment unit is dedicated to portraying Companies C and K of the 150th PVI. Our goal is to educate and relive history so it shall not be forgotten. We participate in reenactment events all over the eastern part of the United States which has given many of our members opportunities to be in Movies on both large and small scale productions as well as programs and documentaries for television such as the History Channel, Discovery, National Geographic and others. We strive to ensure that history is passed on by accurately educating the public through various education programs such as living history, community events, parades and educational school talks. Although the unit is established as a Military based unit, our focus is on all aspects of life during the American Civil War both Civilian and Military. We are a family oriented organization that has something for everyone. Some of the other projects that the unit has taken on in the past has been the replacement of Civil War veterans headstones in numerous local cemeteries and the most recent project was the restoration of the Civil war veterans monument in the square in Meadville, Pa.
We owe it to those that came before us to honor their courage and sacrifice to ensure what they did will never be forgotten. We are their voice since they are no longer with us to tell their story.
There is no better way to experience history other than to live it. Come out to an event, see what you think and join us if its for you.
Most Sincerely yours,
Jeffrey White, Captain
Commanding, Company C 150th PVI
They shall not grow old, as we grow old; age will not weary them. But with every morning sunrise, we must always remember them.” I do.
A Message From The Captain