My great-great grandfather George Washington Mohney served in the
Pennsylvania 67th Regiment in the civil war. With the help of Dave
Wilson, I put together the following information on the activities of
the 67th, together with some links to other information on the net.
(Once you know where the regiment fought, there's lots of additional
information out there.)
We are lucky to have a fairly detailed picture of George Mohney's
life through his Civil War pension files. He enlisted as a corporal in
Company F, 67th Regiment of the Regular Pennsylvania Volunteers on
December 12, 1861, served as a sergeant under Captain Flocks from
December 31, 1863 on, and was discharged on July 14, 1865 at Halls
Hill, Virginia. Since then his occupation was farmer.
The Regiment's history, kindly passed on to me by Dave Wilson,
outlines the engagements of the 67th Regiment. A brief chronology
follows. See the end of the page for links to maps at other sites
showing battlefields of Virginia for 1862 to 1864. I found them
extremely helpful, since I'm not so familiar with Virginia. To place
the engagements of the 67th into a bigger context, I consulted my
trusty Bruce Catton, American Heritage Picture History of the
Civil War (an updated edition is available from Amazon.com).
I cite Catton throughout in italics to distinguish his commentary from
that of the History. Hopefully my attempts to summarize the course of
the war in a few sentences aren't too inaccurate. A few comments
relating to George Mohney's service are enclosed in braces. Otherwise
the source is the Regimental History.
- December 20, 1860: South Carolina secedes from the United
States, followed by 6 other states in the next 6 weeks. On February 8,
delegates of the rebel states approve the consitution of the new
Confederate States of America, and a day later elect Jeffeson Davis as
- March 4, 1861: In his inauguration speech, Abraham Lincoln
says, ``In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow-countrymen, and
not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war.'' Neither
side is convinced that the other is willing to fight a war.
- April 14, 1861: Southern forces bombard and caputure Fort
Sumter. Lincoln reacts by calling on the states to raise a militia of
75,000 men. 3 days later, Virginia, which had been sitting on the
fence, secedes. North and South each believe they can win a war in a
matter of months. The North, with a population of 18 million, would
seem to be a lopsided favorite, compared with the 6 million free men of
the South (and their 3 million slaves). The North had an overwhelming
advantage in its wealth and industrial base. Still, Catton says, the
North could only win the war by invading the South, which had the
emotional advantage of defending their homes, while the Northerners
were fighting for an abstraction, the Union. The South would win if the
North lost its desire to fight, the North only if the South lost its
ability to fight.
- Both sides have their hands full to train and arm their
forces. After a minor victory in West Virginia, Union forces are
ordered to attack the Confederate army in Virginia, leading to the
first major battle at Manassas Junction by the river Bull Run on July
21, where hundreds of Washingtonians had turned out for the spectacle.
Catton calls it ``the momentous fight of the amateurs, the battle where
everything went wrong, the great day of awakening for the whole nation,
North and South together. ... It...ended the rosy time in which men
could dream that the war would be short, glorious, and bloodless.'' The
South wins a battle in which the official casualties are 2,896 Union
soldiers and 1,982 Confederates dead, wounded, or missing.
- July 24, 1861: John F. Staunton of Philadelphia receives
authority to recruit a regiment. Camp established at Camac's woods near
the city. The first battles were fought with militia sworn in for
90 days. With this term expiring, the states raise new volunteer troops
with a term of 3 years service.
- August 28, 1861: first company mustered into service [George W.
Mohney enlisted in December, 1861.]
- 1862: Cautious Goerge McClellan is now in charge of the entire
- Spring 1862: all companies in camp. Recruited in Monroe, Carbon,
Wayne, Jefferson, Schuylkill, Indiana, Westmoreland, Luzerene,
Northampton, and Philadelphia counties. Colonel Staunton in command.
- April 3, 1862: regiment moves by rail to Baltimore ,
and by water to Annapolis , relieving the
Eleventh Pennsylvania in guarding the city and railroad.
- 1862 in short: After Johnston is wounded at Fair Oaks in May,
Lee assumes command of the Confederate forces. McClellan undertakes the
`Peninsular Campaign' to attack Richmond. Mechanicsville (June 26).
Second Bull Run (August 30). Lees invades northern territory for the
first time. Sharpsburg/Antietem (September 17). Fredericksburg
(December 13). By November, Lincoln has removed McClellan from command.
- February 1863: Moved by rail to Harper's Ferry, performing
garrison and guard duty.
- A few weeks later: transferred to Berryville (ten miles from
Winchester and four from Snicker's Ferry), joining the Third Brigade
under General Milroy. McClellan undertakes the `Peninsular Campaign' to
attack Richmond. The Third is charged with holding the Confederates in
the valley in check, and with protecting the eastern portion of the
Baltimore and Ohio railroad.
Catton notes that the rich farms and the strategic
importance of the Shenandoah Valley made it important for the North to
control. Confederate forces, particulary those under Colonel John S.
Mosby in the 43rd Virginia Cavalary, waged an
effective guerilla war there that forced the Union to tie up subsantial
numbers of troops to defend its supply lines. Much of Virginia was
known as ``Mosby's Confederacy''.
- A suggestion of General Milroy's is approved, and the combined
forces scout for enemy troops as far as Millwood. Little action until:
- June 12, 1863, Friday evening: Colonel Staunton receives
intelligence that a large enemy force is moving down the valley towards
Winchester. General Milroy orders that the troops prepare to reinforce
him at Winchester at the signal of four cannon shots. Cavalry patrols
report a large Confederate force advancing, just before 8:00 on the
morning of Saturday the 13th, and the signal is given. However, the
enemy is too close, within striking distance of Berryville and
Winchester Pike, and the Union troops detour via Summit Point and
Bunker Hill to avoid leaving themselves exposed to a flank attack.
General Jenkins' cavalry attacked the rear of the Union column, but was
repulsed and took considerable losses. The Union troops reach
Winchester in the pouring rain at 10:00 p.m., after a 30 mile march.
The troops scarcely have time to rest, but are regrouped. At daylight
on Sunday the 67th is orderd into the rifle pits surrounding the Star
Fort at Winchester. The Star Fort was the central of three forts
guarding Winchester. ... The Sixty-Seventh was surrounded by the enemy
and surrendered on June 15th.
Catton summarizes: ``Jackson...whipped Fremont...at Cross
Keys.'' Some individuals escaped through the woods and found their
way back to Union lines. The rest were sent to Libby Prison in
Richmond, and soon transferred to Belle Isle, in the James River. After
2 months, they were paroled, and released to return to Annapolis.
- Those of the 67th who evaded capture were attached to General
Milroy's troops, eventually to the Third Division of the Third Corps.
They fortified Maryland Heights, and defended it until June 30. After
dismantling the works there, they were sent via Washington to join the
Army of the Potomac at Frederick.
- Fall and winter 1863: remained attach to the Third Corps.
- October 11, 1863: the paroled troops rejoin the others in the
- [Not mentioned in the book, but noted by other sources is the
Mine Run Campaign, November 26-December 2, 1863, which is mentioned in
G.W. Mohney's pension application. A report on the American Civil War
site, (at http://www.americancivilwar.com/statepic/va/va044.html
) says, ``Payne's Farm and New Hope Church were the first and heaviest
clashes of the Mine Run Campaign. In late November 1863, Meade
attempted to steal a march through the Wilderness and strike the right
flank of the Confederate army south of the Rapidan River. Maj. Gen.
Jubal A. Early in command of Ewell's Corps marched east on the Orange
Turnpike to meet the advance of William French's III Corps near Payne's
Farm. Carr's division (US) attacked twice. Johnson's division (CS)
counterattacked but was scattered by heavy fire and broken terrain.
After dark, Lee withdrew to prepared field fortifications along Mine
Run. The next day the Union army closed on the Confederate position.
Skirmishing was heavy, but a major attack did not materialize. Meade
concluded that the Confederate line was too strong to attack and
retired during the night of December 1-2, ending the winter
- Winter 1863: wintered at Brandy Station, Va. [This is where
George Washington Mohney suffered the frostbite which caused him to
apply for a veteran's pension decades later.] Some troops furloughed
for 30 days, others attached to the 135th Pennsylvania.
- March 1864: Grant assumes command of the Army of the Potomac.
- Spring 1864: various movements, ending at Port Royal, and finally
at White House (not the White House), where the wagon train
of General Sheridan-but not yet his army-was stationed. Colonel
Staunton was in command again, under General Abercrombie.
- June 13, 1864: the picks at White House, including the 67th, were
pushed back by rebel forces. Initially, the Confederate force was
thought to be a small raiding party, but it turned out to be sizeable,
and soon the 67th was under artillery fire. The next day General
Sheridan arrived with his main force, and repelled the Confederates.
- June 15, 1864: the wagon train went into motion, with the 67th as
escort. There was a skirmish with Confederate cavalry near Charles City
courthouse. Stop by Petersburg, where the last furloughed troops that
had been with the 135th rejoin the 67th.
- June 23, 1864: the Sixth Corps attacks the rebel line of supply
at Ream's Station on the Weldon Railroad, destroying buildings and
tearing up tracks. The Confederates quickly counter and drive the Union
- July 6, 1864: troops moved via Baltimore to Frederick to counter
a Confederate movement. The 67th is held up by the slow boats it
travels on. The 67th marches to New Market, Maryland, arriving July 9.
The 67th covers the retreating column of General Rickett's forces,
which had just been beaten back at Monocacy, and joins the rear of the
column. Early moves on Washington, and Rickett marches back to
Baltimore. Captain Samuel Barry of Company D is now in charge of the
As usual, Catton puts this into context. Grant had been
pushing towards Richmond, and had lost 60,000 troops so far this
summer. Without a major victory, his real achievement had been that he
had taken the initiative, and had pushed on after losses instead of
retreating or hesitating. ``[The Army of the Potomac] had forced Lee to
fight continuously on the defensive, giving him no chance for one of
those dazzling strokes by which he had disrupted every previous Federal
offensive.'' His one attempt was in sending Early and 14,000 men
through the Shenandoah Valley into Maryland, ``brush[ing] aside a small
Federal force that tried to stop him on the Monocacy River, and got
clear to the Washington suburb of Silver Spring,'' before Grant sent
additional troops and Early pulled back to Virginia.
Under General Wright, troops move almost constantly through
Maryland and northern Virginia all summer, but to little effect.
- [Early had levied tribute on Hagerstown and Frederick. The latter
paid $200,000 to be spared. His Brigadier General John McCausland (see http://www.civilwarhome.com/McCauslandbio.htm
) on June 30 paid a call on Chambersburg, Pa., demanding $100,000 in
gold or $500,000 in notes, justified as retaliation for damages done by
Union forces in Virginia. The citizens delayed, perhaps in the
knowledge that Union forces under General William W. Averell were
underway. McCausland torched the town, causing $1,000,000 in damages,
and withdrew. In the North, the burning of Chambersburg was seen as an
atrocity, in the South as justified revenge for other atrocities, a
good example of how everyone sees himself in the right in wartime. All
of this has nothing to do with the 67th, but since Chambersburg is my
home town, Early was peripherally involved, and it is an example of the
level on which the war was being fought, it's an interesting aside.
Chambersburg's only other role in the war was as a stopping place for
Lee's army before it moved on to Gettysburg in July 1863.]
- Catton: Grant determined on total war. The Shenandoah Valley
was key for the Union: when the Confederates travelled up the valley to
attack the North, they arrived in the heart of Maryland and could
easily threaten Washington or Pennsylvania. But if the Union travelled
down the valley, they reached nowhere very important. The valley was
rich farm country, and kept the Confederates in good supply. Grant
determined that Sheridan should control the valley and destroy the
barns and harvest to starve the rebel army. ``At first Grant's plans
were frustrated by the inept Union generals ... carrying on in the
tradition of bungling set in the past by Patterson, Fremont, Banks, and
Milroy'' - the men who led the 67th into disaster in 1863. On August 7,
Sheridan took over what was now called the Army of the Shenandoah. Now
the Union finally had an effective general, eager to press an attack
and an inspiration to his men through his own courage and spirit.
- September 1864: Both Staunton and Captain Barry having completed
their service, the ranking officer is now Adjustant John F. Young.
At this point, the northern Army of the Shenandoah under
Sheridan was lying at Clifton, three miles from Berryville, and the
southern forces of General Early were posted on the Opequan, four miles
north-east of Winchester. Sheridan was anxious to attack, and on
learning that one of Early's divisions had been sent to attack
Martinsburg, launched an offensive on September 19. The 67th comes
close to disaster, but is reinforced, and the Union takes back
Winchester. Sheridan sees that his rear is covered by Averell and
decides to press the attack on Early.
Sheridan advances down the valley, but the Confederate forces
have already withdrawn into the Luray Valley. Sheridan's troops take up
positions on Cedar Creek and the Shenandoah.
Catton: ``Early tried to make a stand at Fisher's Hill three
days later, but was decisively routed.'' Further info online at http://americancivilwar.com/statepic/va/va120.html
and http://www.apcws.com/fisher's%20hill.htm the
latter with a very nice map of the battle. Fisher's Hill is south of
- October 19, 1864: A rebel attack drives the Union forces from
their fortifications, but the absent Sheridan rallies his forces on his
return and regains the original position. The 67th lost 48 dead and
wounded, and now numbered 275.
Catton: Having pursued Early to the southern end of the
valley, Sheridan leaves his army at Cedar Creek, south of Winchester,
Va. and attends a strategy conference in Washington.
``The Federal left flank at Cedar Creek was protected by a
river gorge thought to be impassable. The indomitable Early [already
facing two to one odds], however, sent three divisions on a single-file
night march through it. At dawn on October 19, the Confederates
demolished the Union left, and with it an entire army corps. By
afternoon the Yankees had been shoved back four miles.
Phil Sheridan was on his leisurely way back to Cedar Creek
when the news reached him. He spurred through the backlash of defeat, a
dramatic figure shouting at stragglers to `Turn back! Turn back! Face
the other way!' Soon he had his men back in line and formed a
counterattack, swearing to give Early `the worst licking he ever had!'
A blue tide of Yankees simply overwhelmed Early, with cavalry playing
havoc among the retreating Rebels. The Confederacy's hold on the
Shenandoah Valley was broken for good.
Online info at http://www.americancivilwar.com/statepic/va/va122.html
with a picture of a reenactment of the 142nd Pennsylvania Volunteer
Infantry, Company G, by Ronald Myzie at http://pirate.shu.edu/ myzieron/civilpics/cedrcrk4.jpg
and by Dale Clarke at http://delta1.net/CZclarke/photos/cw/Cc1994.htm.
Sheridan's horse Winchester was stuffed after its death in 1878 and is
on display in the Hall of Armed Forces History, National Museum of
American History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. - see http://www.si.edu/resource/faq/nmah/horse.htm
- Fall to winter 1864: the regiment remains in the Shenandoah
Valley until late in the year when it is ordered to rejoin the main
army at Petersburg.
- Winter to spring 1865: the 67th participates in the final
campaign, right up to the surrender at Appomatox Courthouse. (Major
Young resigns March 12, 1865, and the regiment is in charge of Captain
John C. Carpenter of Company E at the end.)
- The Regimental History has little to say about 1865. Catton
places the Union forces in a semicircle 40 miles long from Richmond in
the north to Petersburg in the south. With Sherman moving north through
North Carolina, Lee sees a last chance to take the offensive by
attacking the Federal center. General Gordon makes a valiant attack
Fort Stedman on March 25, which fails, dooming Lee to a defensive war.
Sheridan, having subdued the Shenandoah Valley, attacks a critical road
junction at Five Forks on April 1, cutting off southern rail access to
Petersburg and Richmond. Lee is forced to abandon the two cities.
Hopelessly surrounded, he signs the surrender at Appomatox Courthouse
on April 9.
- After Appomatox, the regiment marches on Danville, where Johnston
still had Confederate troops in the field. Johnston capitulates.
- July 14, 1865: the regiment is mustered out of service. [George
W. Mohney served to the end.]
George Washington Mohney's Pension Application
George Washington Mohney applied for a pension in 1890, when he was 50
years of age, saying that frostbite of the foot prevented him from
earning a proper living. He received the frostbite around December 20,
1863 or 1863 near Brandy Station, Va. In his own affadavit, he writes:
you call for the affadavit of my family doctor on[?]
medical treatment since the war My family doctor is Dead Somethng over
two years he had treated me for Itching Piles frost bite and general
disability but my main Cure was Salve purchased at drugstores or patent
Medecine and work away able or not able hardly to Work to support my
family Now I cant work what Will I do If I had applied Several years
ago for apension them I could have things strait now when I need it But
I Still through that I would wait till the government give me apension
with its own accord with out application knowing in my own Judgement
that the goverment owed it to me My family doctors name was Wm B Gipson
Reynoldsville Jefferson Co Pa
A further affadavit from G.W. Johnston backs him up:
I have been acquainted with Geo W Mohney for twenty years
seeing him several times every year And worked on the same jobs in the
lumber woods With him he always when speaking about army life Claimed
hardship and claimed disability causing him Not able to do Labour part
of his time for the last twelve years I can say that I saw him onced
amonth and for the last nine years I have seen G W Mohney onced or more
every week he always claimed disability caused from been in the army
and not being fit to Work part of his time and since the 29 day of July
1890 he has been sick not able to do any Labour at all and his doctors
say that they dont think that he ever will get well There is nothing
brought on from intemperate habits caused by exposure or drinking or
any neglect on his part
Asaph M. Clarke, or Southern Pines, Moore County, North Carolina,
also gave an affadavit, saying:
I know he failed terribly during the last year of the war.
...the toe freezing was last days of November or 1st days of December
1863 during the Mine Run campaign or fight. This I do know positively,
there was never a better or more faithful soldier than the claimant,
always at his port and done his duty without a murmer he was faithful
and honest. I would beleive his statement under all circumstances. I
understand he is now totally disabled. The Govt cannot do too much for
a soldier like Geo W. Mohney.
The pension file lists George's birth as February 22, 1840 in
Rimersburg, Clarion County, Pennsylvania.
At various times in his life, George also lived in Clearfield,
Armstrong, Cambria, and Jefferson counties, as well as at Alpena,
Michigan. (Clarence Shirey's family tree shows an Adam G. Mohney, b.
1814 in Armstrong Co and died 1896 in Marcellus, Michigan. This lead
may well turn up something interesting.)
George's pensions records do not include the names of his parents,
but his death certificate from 1919 lists his father as Adam Mohney
born in Pennsylvania, but contains no information on his mother. He is
recorded as a widower.
The following map is a link to http://www.americancivilwar.com/statepic/va1862.gif
from the excellent American
Civil War site's pages on Virginia battlefields: http://www.americancivilwar.com/statepic/va62.html:
Likewise, this map is a link to http://www.americancivilwar.com/statepic/va1863.gif
Likewise, this map is a link to http://www.americancivilwar.com/statepic/va1864.gif
Finally, this map is a link to http://www.americancivilwar.com/statepic/va1865.gif
Sun Oct 24 17:49:38 MEST 1999