Dedicated to 1st Sgt. George Leidy Hess

Company C, 72nd Pennsylvania

Killed in Action - July 3, 1863 - Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

 

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        Commanding Officers - 72nd Pennsylvania:  Col. DeWitt Clinton Baxter, Lieut.-Cols., Theodore Hesser, Henry A. Cook; Majs., J. Madison DeWitt, Samuel Roberts, A. C. Supplee and  John Lockhart. The 72nd, known as the Fire Zouave Regiment, was raised in the city of Philadelphia during the week, Aug. 3 to 10, 1861, and was mustered into the U. S. service for three years on the 1Oth. Col. Baxter had been second in command of the 19th regiment, and many of the members of the 72nd had served with him. On reaching Washington it was ordered across the river to the Virginia shore and on Sept. 18, was assigned to the Philadelphia Brigade under Col E. D. Baker. The regiment was at this time made up of fifteen companies and numbered 1,487 men. On Sept. 30, it recrossed the river, moved to Poolesville, Md., and engaged in guard duty as a part of Gen. Stone's division.

        The following spring it shared in the Peninsular campaign, the Philadelphia brigade now commanded by Gen. Burns, forming a part of Sedgwick's division, Sumner's corps. It suffered much from sickness at the siege of Yorktown, as its camp was in an unhealthful location and the constant rains and exposure in the trenches bore heavily on the command. It suffered some loss in the battle of Fair Oaks, and with Sumner's corps was the last to withdraw from the trenches on the Chickahominy at the beginning of the Seven Days' battles. It was heavily engaged at Savage Station, where it lost 15 killed, and was under fire but not active at Charles City cross-roads and Malvern hill. Leaving the Peninsula, it moved with Sumner to the support of Gen. Pope, and then after a few days, rest entered on the Maryland campaign, Gen. Howard now commanding the brigade. It lost 31 killed on the bloody field of Antietam, and at Fredericksburg, where the brigade was under Gen. Owen, the 72nd again suffered considerable loss.

        In the Chancellorsville campaign it was sent with a detachment of engineers to build and hold bridges at Banks' ford, and was not present at the battle. It then remained in camp at Falmouth until the middle of June, engaged in guard and picket duty. While here it was visited by Gov. Curtin who presented the regiments of the brigade with stands of colors.

        While moving on the Gettysburg campaign the 72nd was engaged at Thoroughfare gap and Haymarket. At Gettysburg, where it arrived on the evening of the first day Gen. Hancock commanded the corps, Gibbon the division, and Webb the brigade. It went into position on the left center, immediately behind the 69th and 71st Pennsylvania just below the crest of the hill. It was not heavily engaged the second day, but suffered grievously on the third, both during the great artillery duel, and in Pickett's historic charge. It lost 46 killed and a proportionate number in wounded.

        It was frequently engaged during the ensuing fall campaigns in Virginia, it suffered some loss at Bristoe Station, and also at Robertson's Tavern. The Philadelphia Brigade was to have headed the storming part at Mine Run, but the order to attack was countermanded and the army retired behind the Rappahannock. It went into winter quarters near Stoneboro and performed guard duty along the line of the Orange & Alexandria railroad. On the opening of the spring campaign of 1864 it was active at the Wilderness and Po River; shared in the charge upon the enemy's works at Spottsylvania; was heavily engaged at Cold Harbor; crossed the James river on June 15 at Wilcox landing; shared in the first assaults on the works of Petersburg, and then moved with the corps in the advance on the Weldon Railroad.

        In August it was withdrawn from the trenches in front of Petersburg, as the term of service of the original members had expired, the veterans and recruits having been transferred to the 183rd Pennsylvania on July 19, and the rest of the regiment was mustered out at Philadelphia, August 24, 1864.

 

1st Sgt. George Leidy Hess

 

 

George Leidy Hess (son of Peter and Maria Leidy Hess) was born on January 29, 1829 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and enlisted into the Union Army on August 10, 1861.  While serving with the 72nd Pennsylvania at the Battle of Gettysburg .. Sgt. Hess was shot through the forehead and died on July 3, 1863 at the age of 34.   His funeral was from the residence of his parents (520 North 5th Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) at 1 PM on July 15, 1863.

George was the brother of Pvt. Robert Hancock Hess (Company H, 90th Pennsylvania). Robert survived the war and died at the age of 36 on September 14, 1871.   Both of our Hess Lads are buried in the Susquehana Section of the Lawnview Cemetery in Rockledge (Philadelphia), Pennsylvania .. with their names engraved and shared on a single Civil War grave marker.

 

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"Today marks the 154th year since the final day of the battle at Gettysburg on July 3, 1863 .. and the death of our cousin Sgt. George Leidy Hess.    I felt it most befitting to pay tribute to Sgt. Hess, the 72nd Pennsylvania .. and the thousands upon thousands of other fine Lads who made the supreme sacrifice .. during those first 3 horrendous days in July 1863."

 

Helen Marie Melly More

Marlborough, Massachusetts

July 3, 2017

 

Background Music: "Gettysburg"

                                                                               

Please select any portion of the following  underlined   Chapters:

 

Civil War  - Pennsylvania Regiments

The Blue Uniform         My Family  ..   A Call to Arms          "Dear Mother" ...  1862 Letter             A Proper Burial

Roll of Honor ... Our Fallen Lads            The Drummer Boy           Medal of Honor - Sgt. Pursell  

104th PA Regiment        Battle of Fair Oaks         69th PA - Irish Brigade of Philadelphia

72nd PA - Sgt. George Leidy Hess

"The Gettysburg Address"

"Dear Mrs. Bixby" ... 1864 Letter - President Lincoln

From the Halls of Montezuma - U.S. Marine Corps

"Pledge of Allegiance"

My name is ... "Old Glory"

September 11, 2001  .. "Let's roll"

 

 

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