Conrad Smith was my Great Great Grandfather.  I have been interested in him since I was a child because later in life he wrote an autobiography at the request of his daughters Louise and Alice.  It covers his early life and the two and a half years that he was in the 139th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War.  It was a small book and he did not provide a lot of detail.  I always wanted to know more about where he was and what he did.  Then came the internet!  I finally had a convenient way to do research.   I decided that I wanted to write a book on the history of his regiment so I started gathering information.  I have been “writing” this book for about ten years now.  I have almost 2000 pages of notes saved in Microsoft OneNote.  Because I am pretty obsessive about research and making sure I find every possible source there is out there, I figured I would never know when I was done researching so I could start writing.  After following several very good history blogs, I thought “I can do that!”  And this way I can start writing small portions at a time and hopefully get some feedback from others on how I am doing.  I also know there must be other descendants of the 139th who have valuable information about the regiment that I might never find otherwise.    Ultimately I do want to publish an actual book, but for now I am going to continue to research and write a little at time.  Thank you for sharing this adventure with me.


  1. Dianne,
    I received this reference from you last year. How would I obtain a copy of this reference below. We have resumed our work on the history of the 139th PA, about 40% complete at present. Thank you. Arthur B. Fox, Pittsburgh, Pa

    History of the 139th PA Volunteer Infantry
    Sunday, November 24, 2013
    8:22 PM
    Osceola Lewis
    Norriston: Wills, Iredell & Jenkins
    Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1866, by
    Osceola Lewis
    In the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of the United State for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania I downloaded the book from the internet and have printed a hard copy. Making of America books maybe?

    • So far I have come across the names of 28 men in the 139th killed and wounded at Cedar Creek 10/19/1864. The Official Records has the total being 36. My sources have been Bates, and the Philadelphia Telegraph and Pittsburg Commercial Gazette which only have partial listing. The National Archives does not have a casualty list for the 139th for this battle, Any help would be appreciated.

    • Yes, I believe they did. From the Official Records:

      No. 153
      Itinerary of the Second Division, Sixth Army Corps
      From returns for May and June
      S: I Vol: 36 Part: I
      Pg 675

      May 12 – Engaged at the battle of the Angle all day until 2pm of the 13th.


      No. 154
      Report of BG George Getty US Army
      Commanding 2nd Division
      HQ 2nd Div, 6th Corps
      October 13, 1864
      S: I Vol: 36 Part: I, beginning on page 676

      … from May 11…

      … and soon after daylight on the 12th moved to the left to the support of Hancock’s corps (2nd) which, by a magnificent charge at daylight, had carried the enemy’s works, capturing an entire division and many pieces of artillery. The enemy had recovered from their surprise and were making desperate efforst to recover their lost ground, when the division reached the scene of action and was at once put in at the point known as the Angle, near the center of the lines engaged. This appeared the key-point to the position, and for sixteen hours was the object of attack afte attack by the enemy. The division held tenaciously to the works, and …

      … see May 13…

  2. Hi Dianne,

    I just saw your response. I wanted to let you know that the 139th PVI will be holding our annual drill/meeting on Saturday , January 31st. I was wondering if your family may be interested in joining our reenactment unit. Also, would any of the other followers of your blog be interested in joining our unit. It would be great if you could do a presentation regarding your ancestor at one of our future events. Also, would you mind sending the Shreckengost file to me at my above email address? I really would appreciate it. Also, there is a museum in Gettysburg, owned by I believe Ron Palm, that has photographs of the 139th PVI during the Civil War.

    Keep up the great writing!

    Capt. Don Dolbin
    139th PVI

  3. Hi, I am the captain of Co. F, 139th PVI reenactment unit. I have been reenacting over 20 years and have been the captain for the last six years. Additionally, I believe that I am descended from the Shreckengosts that belonged to the 139th. I don’t know much about that side of the family, so it is a challenge. I would like to follow your blog. If you are ever in the Central PA area and would like to come to an event, you are welcome to visit us in camp.


    Don Dolbin
    139th PVI

    • Hi Don! I tried to reply a minute ago and don’t know if it got posted. I am glad to “meet” you. My mom, my son, his girlfriend and myself made a trip to PA and VA last August. Please subscribe if you haven’t already. I know that there is a Shrecingost file on http://www.fold3.com in the widows pension files. If you want to give me your email address I would be happy to send you the scans. I would love any information your members may have about the 139th. I know that there has to more diaries and letters out there in private hands. I have diaries from Hieber, Divvens, Schoyer and Burket and the book about George Belles. I look forward to sharing with you. Thank you. 🙂


    • I just discovered your site and appreciate your efforts to document and preserve the history of the 139th Regiment. My great grandfather was John Peter Jacob Young in Company H, wounded through the throat in the Wilderness. His cousins the Renos were also in the 139th. He left no letters, but I do have some photos from reunions and parades of the veterans if you find that helpful. I have not read Bartlett’s book but will also try to get a copy. Let me know if I can be of help. Gordon Rhea’s book on the Wilderness also has a lot of information on the action in that battle. I have also been to Gettysburg numerous times and can trace the movements of the regiment from their forced march from the Pipe Creek Line to their place on the line at Plum Run. I appreciated the information on the Bull Run burials and the battle of South Mountain I found in Diane’s blog. I am looking forward to any other information you might have. I plan to be in Pittsburgh next summer and will probably swing through Gettysburg on the way back to North Carolina. By the way I also recall a number of schreckengosts who were members of St. Pauls Episcopal Church in Mt Lebanon PA. Not sure if they might be some of your relatives. I would also like your email so that I could correspond with you directly, the one listed on your reenactment site did not accept my email.

      • Hi Robert. My mother’s father’s father (my 2nd great grandfather on my mother’s paternal side) William Crawford Koonce was at the Battle of the Wilderness and he was wounded on the first day of the Battle and was shot by a mini ball (which our family has) through the arm. I know that he continued to serve for at least another year. He was a member of the Pennsylvania 150th and later served as a guard to President Abraham Lincoln from the end of the Civil War until Lincoln’s assassination. He isn’t in the book on the Pennsylvania 150th because his name was accidently listed on the roster as William O. Koonce instead of correctly as William Crawford Koonce. I have notified the author. I do have his pension papers and documentation to prove what I have stated.
        Thank you Lynda Dostal

      • Pension records indicate that John Young, Company H, was discharged in February 1863. This would have been over a year before the Battle of the Wilderness in 1864, and I only see one Reno in Company H. Would appreciate clearing this up for me. Arthur B. Fox,, Pittsburgh, Pa. currently writing the first comprehensive History of the 139th Pennsylvania Infantry.

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