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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.

Returning to 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 Pennsylvania.

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 controller's office.

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 pgs.

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