148th Pa. Infantry, led by future Penn State president, fought at Gettysburg

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — More than 700 men from Centre County joined Union forces after President Abraham Lincoln called for more able-bodied men to fight the rebellion from the South. These men formed the nucleus of the 148th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, which also became known as the Centre County regiment.

They were led by Col. James A. Beaver, who would later become the 20th governor of Pennsylvania and serve as acting president of Penn State after the death of George Atherton. Wounded during the Battle of Chancellorsville, Beaver was not able to take command of his regiment just before the Battle of Gettysburg, but was allowed to join them.

On July 2, 1863, the 148th Infantry was located in what was simply labeled as the "Wheatfield." There they would see some of the heaviest action in all of the battle at Gettysburg. Carol Reardon, George Winfree professor of American history, recounts some of the events that took place on that day and how Centre County residents took up arms to help defend the Commonwealth.

Centre County regiment makes a stand during the Battle of Gettysburg

More than 700 new recruits responded. When President Lincoln called for 300,000 more troops to quell the rebels from the South, Centre County produced 700 able-bodied men who would largely fill the roster of the 148th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry regiment. Later tagged the Centre County regiment, it was led by Col. James Beaver, who would go on to become the 20th governor of Pennsylvania as well as acting president of Penn State after the death of George Atherton. Wounded in a previous battle, Beaver would not lead his troops through one of the most legendary battlefields of the Civil War -- Gettysburg. Carol Reardon, George Winfree Professor of American History at Penn State, recounts that July 2 day during the 1863 campaign where the 148th, along with countless others, fought to hold together the Union.

Additional video installments with Penn State faculty and Civil War experts William Blair and Carol Reardon will be shared weekly leading up to the battle's sesquicentennial, July 1-3, 2013, and will be archived at http://news.psu.edu/tag/Gettysburg-anniversary/.

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Last Updated August 20, 2013