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Oliver C. Bosbyshell, U.S.V.
Colonel Oliver C. Bosbyshell, U.S.V.
Colonel Oliver C. Bosbyshell enjoys the honorable distinction of having
been the first Union soldier hurt by the enemy in the war of the
Rebellion. He enlisted in April, 1861, and served his country until
October, 1864. On the 18th day of April, 1861, as a private in the
Washington Artillerists, of Pottsville, Schuylkill County,-the first
command to respond to President Lincoln's call for seventy-five thousand
men,-he was marching with his comrades through Baltimore, en route to
Washington, when the memorable attack was made upon them by Southern
sympathizers. Private Bosbyshell was struck on the head with a brick.
Colonel Bosbyshell was born in Vicksburg, Mississippi, on the 3d of
January, 1839. His father and mother, however, were natives of
Philadelphia. He grew up in Schuylkill County, receiving a fair education
in the public schools. He was a student in the law-office of his uncle, W.
L. Whitney, when the war broke out.
The Washington Artillerists afterwards became Company H, Twenty-fifth
Penna. Vols. They were sent down the Potomac to Fort Washington. Three
months after his enlistment he was offered, and declined, a first
lieutenancy in the regular army. On the 29th of July, 1861, he was
mustered out with his company at Harrisburg. On the 9th of September he
re-enlisted as second lieutenant, Forty-eighth Regiment, Pennsylvania
Infantry. He was mustered in for three years with his company at Camp
Hamilton, near Fortress Monroe. He embarked with his regiment on the 11th
of November, 1861, for Hatteras, North Carolina. When the attack was made
on New Berne, General Burnside detailed six companies of the Forth-eighth
to accompany his forces, in which expedition Bosbyshell served as acting
quartermaster of his regiment. Afterwards he was made acting adjutant of
the Forty-eighth. He was next promoted to the first lieutenancy, and
afterwards to the captaincy, of Company G.
Captain Bosbyshell was engaged at Bull Run, at Chantilly, at South
Mountain, at Antietam, and at Fredericksburg. In the spring of 1863 the
Ninth Corps was ordered West, and Bosbyshell was made provost-marshal at
Lexington, Ky. He took part in all the fights in East Tennessee: was in
the battles of Blue Springs, Campbell's Station, and the siege of
Knoxville. Returning on veteran furlough to Schuylkill County in January,
1864, he helped recruit the ranks of the decimated command.
The Ninth Corps, after re-organization, moved into Virginia byway of
Washington. Bosbyshell was detailed by Colonel Sigfried as acting
assistant adjutant-general First Brigade, Fourth Division, Ninth Army
Corps. In this capacity Colonel Bosbyshell served through Grant's
campaign, beginning at the Wilderness and ending at Petersburg. During his
service he was commissioned major of his regiment, to rank as such from
July 10, 1864, but was not relieved from duty as acting assistant
adjutant-general until after the mine fight of July 30, 1864. His own
regiment dug his mine. Colonel Sigfried and Major Bosbyshell led their
brigade into the fight, and the loss of over four hundred of their men
tells how severely they suffered.
||On the day following this fight
Major Bosbyshell took charge of his regiment again, and commanded it
in the Weldon Railroad fight, and afterwards at Poplar Grove Church.
He was mustered out of service Oct. 1, 1864.
Pottsville, the war being virtually ended, Major Bosbyshell engaged
in business. Always a devoted Republican, he was nominated by his
party in Schuylkill County in 1866 for prothonotary. The county
being Democratic, he was not elected. Yet he received the highest
vote of any Republican candidate of the party that year. In 1867 he
entered the G. A. R. and organized Post 23, of Pottsville. He was
its first commander. Afterwards he became district commander of
Schuylkill County. In 1869 he was elected department commander for
In the same year he was made register of deposits in the United States
Mint in Philadelphia. Soon afterwards he was made assistant coiner. He
removed to Philadelphia, and has lived in that city ever since. In
February, 1885, he was appointed by Colonel Dechert, the city controller,
to the position of chief clerk in the controller's office.
It was a tribute to Major Bosbyshell's worth, that he, a Republican,
should be selected for the next most important position in a Democratic
Colonel Bosbyshell was appointed superintendent of the Mint of the United
States at Philadelphia, by President Harrison, on October 17, 1889, and
entered upon his duties as such November 1 following.
Source: Officers of the Volunteer Army and Navy who
served in the Civil War, published by L.R. Hamersly & Co., 1893, 419
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