Collection Title: Galusha A. Pennypacker Papers

Collection Number: Ms. Coll. 175

Dates of Collection: 1860-1914

Box Numbers: 1 box, 29 folders, .5 linear feet.

RepositoryChester County Historical Society, West Chester, PA 19380

Language: English

Project Archivist: Margaret Miles Baillie


Galusha A. Pennypacker (June 1, 1842[1] – October 1, 1916) was the only child born to Joseph J. and Tamson Amelia Workizer Pennypacker. Married on May 7, 1839, his parents resided in Schuylkill Township where Joseph ran the Valley Forge Temperance House from 1843 to 1844 before moving to Philadelphia. While living there, Tamson died of a severe case of smallpox in January 1846 at the age of twenty-two.  After transferring property back to his father-in-law to cover his debts, Joseph left young Galusha under the care of the Pennypacker family and went to join the Mexican War as a volunteer aid-de-camp and wagon-master.  Following the war, he was a wagon-master for two years with John Audubon’s expeditions through Mexico and California and stayed in California for the remainder of his life, never returning to Pennsylvania.  He became a printer, establishing the Petulma Argus[2], and was married to Mary Coley, his third wife, in 1857.  They had one daughter that lived to adulthood, Lizzie; Galusha’s half-sister.

            Galusha, who volunteered with the Fame Fire Company, had been employed with the Chester County Times for little more than a year when war broke out between the States in 1861.  He initially served for three months as a Quartermaster Sergeant with the 9th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry and then was mustered in for a three year enlistment on August 22, 1861, as Captain of Co. A., 97th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry.  On October 7, 1861, he was promoted to Major.  His regiment became part of the 10th Corps in the Department of the South and they saw action on the coasts of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. He also participated in court martial proceedings and trained officers at the school of instruction at Fernandina, FL.

            On April 3, 1864, he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel.  He saw action at Swift Creek on May 9; Drewry’s Bluff, May 16; Chester’s Station, May 18; and at Green Plains, Bermuda Hundred, Virginia, were he was wounded three times in the right arm.[3]  In June 1864, he was promoted to Colonel and returned to duty assuming command of the regiment upon the resignation of Col. H.R. Guss in August of 1864.  He was immediately immersed back into battle at Deep Bottom, Weirbottom Church, and Petersburg.  On the 29th of September he was wounded in the right ankle by a shell fragment and had his horse shot out from under him as he led an assault on FortGilmer.

            After engagements at Chaffins Farm and Darbytown Road, (October 7th and 29th, respectively), Galusha received his most severe wounds at Fort Fisher, North Carolina, on January 15, 1865.  There, as he placed the regimental flag of the 97th PA Volunteers on the third traverse of the fortifications, he was shot in the right side and hip. The minie ball fractured the upper portion of the pelvic bone.[4]  Sergeant Jeptha Clark, of the 124th Regiment, tended Galusha on the beach at Fort Fisher and remained with him on shipboard until they reached Chesapeake Hospital.[5]  Galusha was promptly promoted to Brevet Brigadier-General.  By March 1867 six additional brevets earned him the title of Brevet Major-General of the US Army.  He was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor on August 17, 1891, for his actions and injuries at Fort Fisher. His appointment to Brigadier-General was made on April 23, 1904.[6]

            After the war, he practiced law in West Chester before assuming the role of Colonelcy for the State of Pennsylvania in the 34th Infantry US Army in 1867.  He was stationed in Mississippi until the dissolution of the 34th Infantry.  In March 1869 he was assigned to the 16th Infantry as part of the Department of Louisiana. During this time he wrote to Mr. Townsend and informed him of having survived a Mississippi Central Railroad train wreck which had gone off a trestle.  He mentioned that he “was bruised all over, and had my wounded shoulder almost dislocated.  I have suffered miserably, since.  ‘My time’ hadn’t come yet!  I wonder when it will?”[7]

            Galusha served until the end of 1871 when he was granted a leave of absence for a year.  He visited Europe and participated in ceremonies given by the American Minister in Berlin at a meeting of the Emperors of Russia, Austria and Germany.  Local papers reported on the events of his visit. It was said that he met Kaiser Wilhelm who greeted Galusha “to the youngest general from the oldest.”  Galusha brought paintings back with him, but these were lost in a fire in February 1900.[8]

            Upon his return to the US, he visited Canada and then assumed command of troops stationed at Nashville.  In 1876 he was given command of the Military Department of the South and was posted at Ft. Riley, Kansas and Forts Davis, McKavett and Concho in Texas.  He retired from the Army in 1883 “on account of wounds received in battle”[9] and resided at 300 South 10th Street, in Philadelphia for the remainder of his life.

            He returned to West Chester in 1887 for the unveiling of the 97th Regiment monument and visited with veterans and friends throughout his retirement.  Therapy treatments for the ongoing pain from his injuries were taken at Hot Springs, Arkansas.

            Galusha died October 1, 1916, at his home and was interred in the NationalCemetery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  A National Guard camp was named after him in 1909 and a memorial statue, designed by Charles Grafly and sculpted by Albert Laessle, was unveiled at 18th and Vine Streets, Philadelphia, on May 13, 1934.

            In conclusion, Isaiah Price records Galusha not only as the youngest general, but as “the first officer mustered in and the last of the original officers to leave the service” during the Civil War.  He served continuously over five years.[10]

[1] There are discrepancies about Galusha’s birth year.  Some put it at 1844.  However, there is a letter in this collection (see Folder #5) in which he discusses his vote in the 1863 election.  Since the second amendment of the Constitution stated that a man had to be 21 when he voted, that would place the birth year as 1842.  Also, Galusha states in a document housed at the Chester County Archives that he was between four and five at the time of his mother’s death.

[2] Munro-Fraser, J. P. History of  Sonoma County. San Francisco. 1880. p. 341.

[3] Price, Isaiah. History of the 97th Regiment, PA Vol. Infantry. Phila. 1875. p.415.

[4] Ibid. p.425.

[5] CCHS Newspaper Clippings. October 22, 1908.

[6] Ibid. November 11, 1907.

[7] Letter. February 7, 1870. Ms. Coll. 175, Box 1, Folder 10.

[8] CCHS Newspaper Clippings. February 8, 1900.

[9] Thomson, W. W. Chester County and Its People.Chicago, 1898. p. 324.

[10] Price. p. 429.


The collection spans the years 1860 to1914 and contains Galusha Pennypacker’s personal correspondence.

Collections Scope:

The collection spans the years from 1860 to1914.  It consists of personal correspondence, invitations and photographs.  

Information For Researchers:

  • Access:
    Collection is open for research
  • Publication Rights:
    For permissions to reproduce or to publish, please contact the Librarian of the CCHS library.
  • Preferred Citation:
    Galusha A. Pennypacker papers. Ms. Coll. 175. Chester County Historical Society Library, West Chester, Pennsylvania.
  • Acquisition Information:
    Various donors. Includes: Mr. and Mrs. Walter C. England, William C. Baldwin, Mrs. Florence M. March, Mrs. Gertrude Cleaver Bomberger, and Mrs. Naomi Dobson.
  • Processing History:
    Processing and finding aid prepared using DACS by Margaret Miles Baillie, 2009.

Collection Arrangement:

The primary arrangement of the manuscripts is chronological and they are housed in acid-free folders and an acid-free box. The secondary arrangement is by author.

The documents were transferred from the general manuscript and letter collections at CCHS which used an alpha-numeric cataloging system and are still marked accordingly. This allows for in-house cross-referencing between the two systems.

Related Material:

–          Guide to Civil War manuscripts at CCHC.

–          CCHC clippings files.

–          CCHC Photo Collection.

–          CCHC Museum Collection for military swords, clothing and accoutrements.

Collections Contents:

Box 1 – Correspondence 1860-1905.

Folder 1 – Letter to Dr. Isaac I. Hayes.  March 20, 1860. 1 item. In regards to an arctic expedition.

Folder 2 – Letters to Uriah V. Pennypacker. September 1862 – October 1864. 11 items. From South Carolina and Virginia.

Folder 3 – Letters from U. V. Pennypacker to U. H. Painter. February 18, 1863. 1 item. In regards to appointment to Captain in regular army. Photocopy. Original is in the CCHS manuscript collection.

Folder 4 – Correspondence to Norris T. Smith. October 6, 1862; November 15, 1863. 2 items. From South Carolina and Florida.

Folder 5 – Correspondence to and from Isaiah Price. October 13, 1863; January 7, 1867; October 29, 1873(?). 3 items.

Folder 6 – Correspondence to Gov. Curtin of the PA 97th Vols. in regards to Col. G. Pennypacker’s appointment in the Pennsylvania State Guard. 1864. 1 item. Consists of 12 letters. Photocopy of document.

Folder 7 – Correspondence to Gov. Curtin of the PA 97th Vols. in regards to Col. G. Pennypacker’s appointment in the Pennsylvania State Guard. 1864. 1 item. Consists of 12 letters. Original document – fragile.

Folder 8 – Correspondence to First Sergeant Able Griffith. September 14, 1864. 1 item. In regards to his absence from duty.  Photocopy. Original in the CCHS manuscript collection.

Folder 9 – Correspondence to Eugene Snyder. January 1, 1866.  1 item. In regards to back pay. Fragile.

Folder 10 – Correspondence to W. Townsend. December 25, 1866; October 28, 1869. 2 items. In regards to Army Board examination, Mr. Hoy, interview with Gen. Sherman, and U. Painter.

Folder 11 – Correspondence to W. Townsend. 1870. 6 items. In regards to request to Gen. Sherman regarding the dissolution of the 4th Military District, reorganization of the War Department and G. Pennypacker’s attachment to the Department of Louisiana; testimony of J.J. Pennypacker, crash of the Mississippi Central R.R.

Folder 12 – Correspondence to W. Townsend. September 1874; December 8, 77. 2 items. In regards to W. Townsend’s nomination; John Hoy,

Folder 13 – Correspondence to W. Townsend. April and August 1890. 3 items. In regards to W. Townsend’s health and the death of his wife.

Folder 14 – Correspondence to N. Pennypacker. January 1867, December 1876, July 1877, April 1878, June 1878, February 1884 with envelope. 8 items.

Folder 15 – Correspondence to Charles Pennypacker. April 11, 1870.  1 item.  In regards to the reasons Galusha filed the suit Hoy vs. Pennypacker.

Folder 16 – Correspondence to and from Charles Pennypacker. March and April 1900. 3 items. In regards to Galusha’s father, Joseph J. Pennypacker.

Folder 17 – Correspondence from Lizzie Pennypacker Smith to Charles Pennypacker. January, February and April 1900. 3 items. In regards to genealogy and Joseph J. Pennypacker.

Folder 18 – Correspondence to William Darlington. May 29, 1871. 1 item. In regards to Hoy vs. Pennypacker.

Folder 19 – Correspondence to Mattie A. England. February 17, 1881. 1 item.

Folder 20 – Correspondence to William Brinton with envelope. October 26, 1881. 2 items. In regards to the death of Wm. Brinton’s father.

Folder 21 – Correspondence to the Jeffersonian. January 14, 1882. 1 item.

Folder 22 – Correspondence to W. W. Thomson. July 11, 1890. 1 item.

Folder 23 – Correspondence to W. Underwood. February 3, 1892. 1 item.

Folder 24 – Correspondence to Samuel March. August 28, 1895. 1 item.

Folder 25 – Correspondence to W. Heed. October 3, 1895. 1 item.

Folder 26 – Correspondence to Isaac A. Cleaver. March 10, 1905, May 4, 1905. 4 items.

Folder 27 – Correspondence to P. Dillon. November 18, 1911, November 29, 1911, December 15, 1911, January 16, 1912, November 23, 1914. NY Times Newspaper clipping dated November 20, 1914. 7 items.

Folder 28 – Miscellaneous. 2 items. Invitation to the opening ceremonies of the World’s Industrial & Cotton Centennial Exposition, New Orleans, December 16, 1884;   Invitation to reception for officers of Army and Navy by the citizens of New Orleans, May 24, 1877.

Folder 29 – Portraits, autographed. 3 items.  Photocopies of three autographed photographs of Galusha A. Pennypacker in uniform.  Originals in CCHS photo archives.