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Pennypacker, Galusha

Pennypacker, Galusha (1844–1916), youngest general in the Union army.Born near Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, Pennypacker grew up in the house that George Washington had used as his headquarters. When the Civil War broke out, the sixteen‐year‐old youth gave up reading law and joined a Chester County militia company as a private. The 97th Pennsylvania Volunteer Regiment was organized in August 1861; Pennypacker joined and was elected a captain.

Pennypacker and the unit participated in the Siege of Fort Wagner at Charleston, and subsequently in actions at Swift Creek, Drewry's Bluff, Chester Station, and Green Plains, where Pennypacker, appointed a lieutenant colonel in April 1864 at age nineteen, was wounded three times. In August 1864, he was appointed colonel in command of the regiment, and the following month was given a brigade, which he led in operations around Petersburg and Richmond. He was wounded again in an assault on Fort Gilmer.

On 15 January 1865, in the Union attack on Fort Fisher near Wilmington, North Carolina, Pennypacker led the first troops in a charge over the parapet and personally planted the flag of the 97th Pennsylvania Volunteers on the wall. At that moment, he was hit in the side by a bullet and severely wounded. The colonel was caught by Sgt. Jeptha Clark (great‐great‐grandfather of editor in chief John W. Chambers). Hospitalized for ten months, Pennypacker was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for bravery in capturing the fort. In June 1865, the twenty‐year‐old colonel was promoted to brigadier general, becoming the youngest general in the Union army. After the war, Pennypacker served in the South and then the West as a colonel of infantry in the U.S. Army until his retirement in 1883 at thirty‐nine.
[See also Civil War: Military and Diplomatic Course.]

Bibliography

Isaiah Price , History of the Ninety‐seventh Pennsylvania Volunteer Regiment, 1875.
Patricia L. Faust, ed., Historical Times Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Civil War, 1986.
Rod Gragg , Confederate Goliath: The Battle of Fort Fisher, 1991.

John Whiteclay Chambers II

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