Research On An Old Photo
(L-R) Captain Andrew J. Greenfield, , Co. B (Washington Cavalry)22nd Pennsylvania Cavalry, Captain John W. Hibler, Co. F, 54th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, and Captain John P. Suter, Co. A, 54th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry.
While doing research for the exhibition I will be guest-curating, I came across an old photo of 3 Civil War officers with the only information on the photo "Daddy's father- Capt. Suter - Civil War," with an arrow pointing at the gentleman seated on the right.
54th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry
Recruited in Cambria, Somerset, Dauphin, Northampton, and Lehigh counties in Pennsylvania, the 54th PVI consolidated at Camp Curtin in Harrisburg during August and September of 1861. Col. Jacob M. Campbell was commissioned to lead the regiment and Lt. Col. Barnabas M'Dermitt was chosen as the second in command.
The regiment was assigned to guard a portion of the B&O Railroad between Martinsburg, VA and Cumberland, MD. The regiment maintained its assignment until January of 1863 when it was assigned to the 8th Corps, Dept of Western Virginia, with Col. Campbell commanding the Brigade. The regiment saw limited action in 1863 before Gen. Franz Sigel took command of the Department and went on the offensive in the Shenendoah valley. By the end of the war Col. Campbell was Breveted to the rank of Brigadier General. The Regiment was mustered out of service on July 15, 1865 in Harrisburg.
Company A was recruited out of Indiana and Cambria Counties in August 1861. The Company was under the command of Captain John Suter. During the railroad duty the company was stationed on the South Branch Bridge. The company was involved in skirmishes with General John Imboden. The company served with distinction throughout the war.
Captain John P. Suter, Co. A, 54th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry
John Peter Suter was born February 25, 1837, in Hagerstown, Maryland, and died in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, on Sunday, April 10, 1887.His grandfather Peter Suter, was a native of Germany; married Catherine Irwin, and came to America about the time of the Revolutionary war and enlisted in the Continental army. Their son, Peter Suter, father of Captain Suter, was born in Hagerstown, July 17, 1806, and died in Cumberland, Maryland, June 8, 1897. He was a tailor by trade, and a member of the German Lutheran church. On May 9, 1833, he married Amelia Renner, a daughter of Jacob and Mary (Creager) Renner, who died in Cumberland, November 7, 1895. Mary Creager Renner's grandfather was also a soldier in the Continental army, belonging to a German regiment. Siblings of John Peter Suter are: Amelia, born March 4, 1834; Mary Anne, born September 3, 1835; Caroline, born September 29, 1838; Maria, born January 5, 1840; Emma, born July 24, 1841, died October 15, 1842; Jacob A., born April 9, 1843; Adeline, born October 10, 1844; Sarah, born April 13, 1846; Emma, born July 17, 1848.
Captain John P. Suter and Emma Augusta Vickroy were married August 30, 1864, at Ferndale near Johnstown, Pennsylvania, by the Rev. B. L. Agnew, while on a few days leave of absence from the Army of the Shenandoah, under Major General P. H. Sheridan. Mrs. Suter was the seventh daughter of Edwin Augustus Vickroy and Cornelia (Harlan) Vickroy, and granddaughter of Thomas Vickroy, who served as an officer under General George Clark in Kentucky and the west during the Revolutionary war. Both were by occupation land surveyors. The Suters had 8 children: Philip, born August 27, 1865, Eugene, died in infancy, 1868, Cornelia Vickroy, born February 11, 1870, Frederic John, November 19, 1871, Rufus Orlando, born January 25, 1875, Francis Leon, born January 9, 1877, Herman Alexander, November 25, 1880, and Jean Augusta, April 7, 1884.
Captain Suter was employed prior to the Civil War as a telegraph operator. He was 1st lieutenant in Captain John M. Power's company, known as the Johnstown Zouaves, when the war began. His company was offered to and accepted by Governor Andrew. G. Curtin, and left Johnstown for Harrisburg April 17, 1861, within forty-eight hours after President Lincoln's call for volunteers was made known. His company and that of Captain Lapsley were the first to enter Camp Curtin. April 20, 1861 it was mustered in as Company K, Third Regiment of the Pennsylvania Volunteers, under the command of Colonel Francis P. Minier, for three months' service. At that time Captain Power was elected Lieutenant Colonel, and Lieutenant Suter was made Captain. His company served in Maryland, Virginia, and on the border of Pennsylvnaia for the term, and was mustered out July 30, 1861. He immediately raised another company in Johnstown, which became Company A, Fifty-fourth Regiment, Pennsylvania Infantry, under the command of Colonel J. M. Campbell, and was mustered in at Harrisburg, August 6, 1861. His regiment was taken to Washington D.C. for the defense of the capitol, February 27, 1862, and entered camp near Bladensburg. On March 29 it was ordered to Harper's Ferry, Virginia, and was located at the South Branch bridge on the Baltimore & Ohio railroad. it continued along this line until January 5, 1864, when it was taken to the defense of Cumberland, Maryland, and remained there and in that vicinity until May 2, 1864. Captain Suter participated in all the engagements of his company and regiment while in the service as follows: Back Creek, Virginia, September 11, 1862; North Mountain, Virginia, September 12, 1862; Back Creek Bridge, September 21, 1862; Purgitsville Virginia, April 4, 1863; New Market, Virginia, May 15, 1864; New Market, Virginia, May 26, 1864; Piedmont, Virginia, June 5, 1864; Lexington, Virginia, June 11, 1864; Lynchburg, Virginia, June 17 and 18, 1864, and the retreat across the mountains to Camp Piatt; Snicker's Gap, Virginia, July 18, 1864; near Winchester, Virginia, July 19, 1864; Kernstown, or Island Ford, Virginia, July 23, 1864; Winchester, Virginia, July 24, 1864; Martinsburg, Virginia, July 25, 1864; Berryville, Virginia, September 3, 1864; Opequon Creek, Virginia, September 19, 1864; Cedar Creek, or Winchester, Virginia, October 19, 1864; and Fisher's Hill, Virginia, October 19, 1864. Due to the casualties at and in the vicinity of Winchester, July 23-25, 1864, he was the senior officer and commanded the Third Brigade, Third Division. He also commanded the Fifty-fourth Regiment at the battles of Cedar Creek and Fisher's Hill, under Major General Sheridan. Captain Suter was a brave officer and a military tactician, and for that Major General George Crook, under whom he served, gave him this document:
Headquarters Department West Virginia,
Cumberland, Md., Feb. 3, 1865.
His Excellency A. G. Curtin,
Governor of Penna.
Governor: I take pleasure in recommending to your consideration John Suter, late Captain Co. A. 54th Penna. Vol., who served under my command through the entire campaign in the Shenandoah--commanding his regiment at the battles of Opequon, Fisher's Hill and Cedar Creek.
He is worthy and a gallant officer. I commend him to your Excellency. Any position you may see fit to give will be worthily bestowed.
I am, governor, very respectfully,
Your obedient servant,
Captain Suter was honorably discharged on the expiration of his enlistment, December 15, 1864, and at the request of Andrew Carnegie, who was Superintendent of the Pittsburgh Division of the Pennsylvania Railroad, he went to work in the trainmaster's office in February, 1865, and in October of that year was appointed chief operator of the telegraph department of that division, where he served until his death.
Captain John W. Hibler, Company F. 54th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry
John W. Hibler, Captain. Company F, 54th Regiment. Recruited at Harrisburg.Mustered into service 20 December 1861, three year term. Received a field promotion to 1st Lt. 11 July 1863. Captured February 2, 1864 Patterson’s Creek, West Virginia while guarding a Baltimore and Ohio Railroad bridge crossing Patterson’s Creek.. He died at Andersonville, GA August 14, 1864 (although date of death is listed as August 31, 1864 in Official army register of the volunteer force of the United States army for the years 1861, '62, '63, '64, '65)and was interred in Grave #1298 on the prison compound.
Captain Andrew J. Greenfield, Company B (Washington Cavalry) 22nd PA Cavalry
Andrew J. Greenfield, Beallsville, PA; Mustered in Company B (Washington Cavalry) 22nd Pennsylvania Cavalry August 19, 1861; promoted from Captain, Co. B, to Lieutenant Colonel February 25, 1864; Promoted to Colonel March 13, 1865; Mustered out with 3rd Regiment Provisional Cavalry, October 31, 1865.