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  • Writer's pictureBeth Stenstrom

Pvt Lewis W Homes

Great Great Grand Uncle of Stanley Albert Cooper


Lewis W Holmes was born in November 1841 in Allegheny City, Allegheny County, PA, to Norval and Margaret R Bell Holmes, as 1 of 7 children.  By the time he was 18, he was working as a painter. 


On August 16, 1861, Lewis enlisted in Company I of the 102nd PA Volunteers Regiment in Pittsburgh, PA for 3 years.   The unit soon became part of Col Patterson’s Regiment, BG Wheaton’s 1st Brigade, BG Getty’s 2nd Division, and MG Sedgwick’s 6th Corps, USA.  When he enlisted, he was described as 5’4”, 115 pounds, with dark hair, gray eyes, and dark complexion. 


By April, 1863, the war was in full swing.  27 April 1863 found the unit on the way to Chancellorsville, VA, just west of Fredericksburg, where they crossed the Rappahannock.  Hooker was crossing the Rapidan, west of Chancellorsville.  On 1 May, Lee attacked Hooker, with less men, but he did lose Gen Jackson in the process.  Meanwhile, Sedgwick’s group met Gen Early at Marye’s Heights.   Sedgwick’s then moved his army west to Chancellorsville.  They met the Confederates at Salem Church on 4 May 1863 where they were soon surrounded, and Col Patterson was captured, but later exchanged or released. 


The 102nd stayed in the area until 5 June 1863, when the received orders to cross the Rappahannock and eventually reach Gettysburg by 1 May.   After the battle, they chased Lee and his army all the way back across the Potomac, arriving in Virginia on 19 July.  Lewis’ name is on the largest monument, the Pennsylvania Monument, on the Gettysburg Battlefield.  The rest of 1863, they stayed in the Culpeper/Warrenton area and participated in the Battle of Mine Run on 27 November.  On New Year’s Day, 1864, about 60 of the regiment visited President Lincoln.  They returned to Virginia and wintered at Halltown. 


At this time, the original enlistments were over, and most of them, including Lewis, re-enlisted.  The reward for this was 30 days leave, and they spent April in Pittsburgh.  1 May 1864 arrived, and all soldiers were to report for duty.  The soldiers were losing their enthusiasm, and were ready to get the war over with.  The Overland Campaign began.  Grant’s Army came from Culpeper to cross the Rapidan and attack Lee’s Army, which had wintered in Orange, VA.  Lewis’ unit marched 14 miles on 4 May, and were excited to tell others about their 30 days in Pittsburgh.  Things turned to eeriness when they remembered the year before, seeing bodies and bones, and learning that Jackson’s arm was buried nearby.  Most of 4 May was spent in the vicinity of Saunders Field.  By 5 May, the fighting had moved to the intersection of Brock Road and Orange Plank Road.  Col Patterson was killed early in the morning.  Fighting was intense, and by 6 P.M., the ammunition was almost exhausted.  It is believed that Lewis lost his life between 4 and 5 P.M. on 5 May.  According to U.S. Army Inventory Form, “all personal effects are in the hands of the enemy at Wilderness”.  


Lewis’ body was left on the battlefield, but later was moved to an unmarked grave at the National Cemetery, Marye’s Heights, Fredericksburg, VA on what is now NPS property.


Pvt Lewis W Homes
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