About The 104th
It all started when…
August 1861, Governor Curtin authorized the raising of a regiment to serve three years in the war. The 104th, all of whose members came from Bucks county except one company, was organized at Doylestown in Sept. and Oct., 1861, and mustered into the U. S. service for a three years' term.
The loyal ladies of Doylestown presented the regiment with a beautiful stand of colors, and many comforts were furnished the soldiers by the inhabitants of the city. It proceeded to Washington on November 7th and was quartered during the winter at Georgetown. As part the 1st brigade, 3rd division, and 4th corps. of Casey’s Division, the 104th took part in the siege of Yorktown early in 1862, and the actions at Savage Station and Fair Oaks. In the latter engagement the conduct of the regiment was most gallant, but it paid the penalty of the loss of many brave men. The regiment was in reserve during the Seven Days' battles and arrived at Harrison's landing on July 3.
It was next stationed at Gloucester point through the autumn and there winter quarters were established, but on December 28th, the 104th was ordered to Beaufort, N. C. Soon afterward it proceeded to Hilton Head to join in the operations against Charleston. Camp was occupied on St. Helena island until April, 1863, when an unsuccessful movement against Charleston was made. The regiment then went into camp at Beaufort where it remained until July 6th, Companies C and H having been in the meantime transferred to Battery Taylor and Company B to Battery Brayton. Leaving Beaufort, the 104th moved to Folly Island and thence to James Island to threaten Charleston by way of Secessionville. James Island was held against the attack of the Confederates on July 16, but the troops were withdrawn to Folly Island the next day.
In the siege of Fort Wagner which followed, much arduous duty was the portion of the troops and on August 29th, the brigade was ordered to Morris Island. The island had been evacuated by the Confederates early in September, and the 104th was stationed there during the winter of 1863-64. In December, 1863, a large number of the regiment reenlisted. On April 26, 1864, Col. Davis was placed in command of the district between St. Helena Sound and the mouth of the Savannah river, and various details occupied the regiment during the early summer. In June, the troops concentrated for an attack upon Charleston, but encountered Confederate soldiers upon John's Island, which they were obliged to evacuate, and the expedition proved fruitless.
The 104th then returned to Hilton Head, where it remained until the end of July, when it was ordered to Florida and guarded the railroad between Jacksonville and Baldwin for a month. On September 1st it returned to Alexandria, and the original members not reenlisted were mustered out at Philadelphia on Sept. 30, 1864. The veterans and recruits were consolidated into a battalion of five companies, which was ordered to Harper's Ferry and formed part of Heine's Brigade.
In November, the regiment was ordered to Philadelphia to preserve order at the presidential election, but soon after returned to Harper's Ferry. On November 22, it joined the Army of the Potomac at Petersburg and remained there during the winter of 1864-65. In April, 1865, five new companies were received and the organization of the regiment was once more complete.
The 104th joined in the final assault on Petersburg and followed the retreating force as far as Chesterfield Station, when it returned to Petersburg and remained there until ordered to Fortress Monroe on April 20th. The men were posted at Norfolk and Portsmouth until mustered out of the service at the latter place on Aug. 25, 1865.
Colonels: William W. H. Davis, Theophilus Kephart
Lieutenant-Colonels: John W. Neilds, Thompson D. Hart, Theophilus Kephart, J. McD. Laughlin, T B. Scarborough
Majors: John M. Gries, Edward L. Rogers, Theophilus Kephart, J. McD. Laughlin
For a full list of soldiers in the 104th, check out the National Parks Service’s Civil War Soldiers and Sailors database here. Further information on the 104th’s battle unit details can be found here.