Captain Francis M. Hills Enlists.

In June of 1861,

F. M. Hills sent a letter to Governor Andrew Curtin, of Pennsylvania. The purpose was two fold. 1) F. M. wanted to re-enter the military, and 2) he wanted to recruit a company of volunteers. His letter was promtly returned, authorizing him to recruit and also offering him a commission of Captain. With this authority in hand, F. M. Hills began immediately to build "his" company. He spent most all available time during late June, July, August and the first half of September recruitinghis men from the Tioga and Centre Counties area. By early October, F. M. was awaiting orders when the call came for his company to report to Camp Curtin, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. He, and his little band of merry men known as the "Freemont Rangers" boarded trains at Wellsboro and reported at Camp Curtin October 20, 1861. That night, they wouold go to sleep thier first night with the unfamiliar sounds of military surrounding them. Thousands of men and horses with a never ending movment or sound emminating from some unseen area of camp. The Forty-fifth Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry was officially formed with the following Regimental Officers: Thomas Welsh - Colonel - Commanding; James A. Beaver - Lieutenant Colonel; John M. Kilbourne - Major; Theodore Gregg - Adjutant; John Mc Clure - Quartermaster; Dr. George L. Potter - Surgeon; Theodore S. Crist - Assistant Surgeon; and William J. Gibson, D.D. as Chaplain. John I. Curtin, son of the Governor, was commissioned Captain and commander of Company "A"; Austin Curtin, the Governor's nephew, was commissioned Captain and commander of Company "D"; both within the same regiment, the Forty-fifth Pennsylvania Volunteers. Remaining Companies were commanded as follows: Company B, Captain Henry Haines; Company C, Captain William Bigelow; Company E, Captain Henry Stevens; Company F, Captain Charles Parker; Company G, Captain Nelson Whitney; Company H, Captain Edward Schiffelin; Company K, Captain Ezekiel Rambo. The "Fremont Rangers" became Company I, with their recruiter Francis M. Hills as Captain. The following day, the "War Governor" presented them with the State Regimental Colors that Pennsylvanian troops carried throughout the war, the United State Flag, and the Flag of Pennsylvania with the admonishment to "bring it back in honor, or not at all".. The regiment left Harrisburg on October 22, 1861, around noon for Washington D.C., and arrived on the 23rd. There, they were assigned to a group called "Casey's Provisional Division" under the command of Gen. O. O. Howard, at Bladensburg, the location where the battle of 1812 was fought. The first interesting test for the men of the 45th came the following week when they were sent to Prince Frederick County, Maryland, to maintain the peace at the voting booths in that city. The secessionists were determined to prohibit any abolitionist voting. With such "light" duty rumors began to surface that this regiment was not going to see much action because they were "Curtin"s Pets". The Forty-fifth Regiment was a blessed deterrent to those thinking of creating obstacles. Several arrests were made, but no major fighting took place, and the elections were held without difficulty. Following the election, the regiment was ordered back at the campgrounds of Bladensburg by November 11,1861. By the end of November they were on the nove. The regiment was assigned to Sherman's Expeditionary Corps and was sent to help guard the east coast of South Carolina. Duty at teh islands was going to prove to be mixed for the regiment. They were split and scattered all along the little islands with activity all around, but not much of anything too sderious until late spring, 1862. Hilton Head was not the resort it is today, but to the men of the Forty-fifth it might as well have been. The weather was wonderful, the food supply was abundant, the duty, very light. Remember, they were "Curtin's Pets". Then, in July of 1862, President Abraham Lincoln called tem back to Fortress Monroe and Aquia Creek. The IXth Corps was being formed, and the "pets" became part of the First Division. The "Wandering Corps" as the Ninth would be known, was beinging its infamous career., and the Forty-Fifth's days of rest were over.

The Forty-fifth would go on the fight at Sharpsburg, Antietam, Petersburg, the Wilderness, Cold Harbor, Knoxville, Vicksburg, Jackson, and the Crater at Petersburg. Their reputation as "Curtin"s Pets" was short lived as this regiment lsot more men than any other in the Ninth Corps. It is ranked as 18th from the top of Fox's list in the "Fighting 300 Regiments"


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