Pennsylvania Bucktail - 1/6th Plate Tintype of seated soldier wearing a nine button frock coat, on his lap is his issue forage cap with a "Bucktail" affixed. Housed in half leatherette case with brass mat. Negative number and photographer initials are etched inside case on along top of brass framing.
Bucktails included the 13th PRVC "also known as the 42nd PA Infantry", the 148th, 149th, and 150th Pennsylvania Infantries.
PENNSYLVANIA BUCKTAILS !
The most famous Bucktail regiment of the war was the original, the 13th PA. Reserves. They were dubbed reserves as the Commonwealth of PA., and not the federal government equipped them. Many of the men were recruited from logging camps and sawmills. Most of these Bucktails had lived in the wildest regions of the state all their lives and were experienced hunters and very proud of their skill with a rifle. Lt. Colonel Kane nicknamed the regiment as the "Pennsylvania Bucktails," and the men all tried to sport a deer tail on their caps. These lumbermen were a loud and boisterous lot, and if they could be kept under control they would become excellent infantry. Using their lumberjack ingenuity, they built rafts to float down the river to Lock Haven , before boarding a train for Camp Curtin in Harrisburg. During their stay at Harrisburg the men earned quite a reputation as brawlers; they seemed to have developed a fondness for assaulting police officers. These men were defiantly some of the roughest soldiers to fight on either side during the war.
The Bucktails would participate in more than 45 engagements during the war.In May, 1862, four companies -- C, G, H, and I were detached from the regiment, under the command of Lt. Col. Thomas L. Kane, and sent to the Shenandoah Valley. At the June 6 1862 Battle of Harrisonburg VA., It was a Bucktail who shot and killed the Confederate cavalry commander, General Ashby. The men were under strict orders not to shoot any officer on horseback, therefore they shot the horse first and as soon as Ashby's feet hit ground, they shot him. Though outnumbered by nearly 5 to 1,and eventually driven back, the Bucktails inflicted terrible casualties on the confederates. Partially armed with the Sharps Breechloader they probably used up ammo at an alarming rate, and this certainly was a major factor in their withdrawal from the field.Confederate General Richard S. Ewell was highly critical of his own men for celebrating such a hollow victory against such a small Union force. Ewell however was impressed with the Bucktails tenacity and eventually allowed the CSA 1st Maryland to place a captured deer tail on their regimental colors as a tribute to the men in blue.
The 13th PA. Reserve gained such a reputation as excellent sharpshooters and skirmishers that Secretary of War Stanton requested an additional brigade of Bucktails be raised in 1862. Twenty companies were raised and formed the 149th and 150th Pennsylvania regiments. During the first days fighting at Gettysburg, these two regiments saw heavy combat around the McPherson farm and earned with blood, the right to call themselves Bucktails.
Inventory Number: HAR 093