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Civil War Soldiers - Gregg

Gregg, David McM. - David McMurtrie Gregg, U.S. Army, was born in Huntingdon, Pa., April 10, 1833, the son of Matthew Duncan and Ellen (McMurtrie) Gregg. The Gregg, Potter, McMurtrie and Elliott families, from whom Gen. Gregg is directly descended, all settled in the colony of Pennsylvania at a very early date, and had much to do with the development and improvement of the Keystone State. Gen. Gregg spent his earlier boyhood with his father's family in Bellefonte, Harrisburg and Hollidaysburg. In April, 1845, the family removed to Potomac Furnace, Loudoun county, Va., where the father died in the following July, and the widowed mother with her nine children returned to Hollidaysburg, where her death occurred in Aug., 1847. The future general then became a member of the family of his uncle, David McMurtrie, living in Huntingdon, and for two years attended the school of that excellent teacher, John A. Hall. From that school he went to Milnwood academy, in the lower end of Huntingdon county, and a year later joined his elder brother, Andrew, at the university at Lewisburg. While at the university he received an appointment as cadet at the United States military academy at West Point, which he entered July 1, 1851. He was graduated in June, 1855, standing eighth in a class of thirty- four members. Among his class-mates were Gens. Averell, Webb, Ruggles and Comstock, all prominent officers in the Union army in the Civil war, and Gen. Nichols of the Confederate army. He was promoted in the army to brevet second lieutenant of dragoons, July 1, 1855, and served in garrison at Jefferson barracks, Mo., in 1855-56, being commissioned second lieutenant of first dragoons, Sept. 4, 1855. In 1856 he was assigned to frontier duty in the west and on the Pacific coast, and remained there until the outbreak of the Civil war recalled him to the east. He was stationed at Fort Main, N. M., in 1856; took part in the march to California in the same year; was at Fort Tejon, Cal., in 1856-57 ; Fort Vancouver, Wash., in 1857-58; and at Fort Walla Walla, Wash., in 1858. He took part in the Spokane expedition of 1858, being engaged in a desperate combat with the Indians at To-hots-nimme, Wash., May 17; was present at the combat of Four Lakes, Wash., Sept. 1 ; the combat on Spokane plain Sept. 5, and the skirmish on Spokane river Sept. 8. He was on frontier duty at Fort Walla Walla in 1859; at Fort Dallas, Ore., in 1859-60; was scouting against the Snake Indians in 1860, and was engaged in a skirmish near Hamoy lake, Ore., May 24. The winter of 1860-61 was spent in duty on the Warm Spring reservation. He became first lieutenant of the first dragoons on March 21, 1861, and was made captain in the 6th cavalry on May 14, 1861. During the first months of the war he saw duty in the defenses of Washington, D. C, and throughout the remainder of the war was connected with the Army of the Potomac. From Oct. 12, 1861, to Jan., 1862, he was on sick leave. He became colonel of the 8th Pa. cavalry on Jan. 24, 1862, and took part in the Peninsular campaign of that year. He was engaged in the battles of Seven Pines, or Fair Oaks, New Kent Court House, Savage Station, Bottom's bridge, White Oak swamp, Glendale and Malvern hill, and covered the movement from Harrison's landing to Yorktown in August. He was in the Maryland campaign of the Army of the Potomac, which extended from Sept. to Nov., 1862, being engaged in several skirmishes on the march to Falmouth, Va., in October and November. On Nov. 29, 1862, he was commissioned brigadier-general of volunteers. From Dec. 1862, to June, 1863, Gen. Gregg commanded a division of cavalry, being engaged in the skirmish at Rappahannock bridge and in "Stoneman's Raid" towards Richmond in April and May, 1863. He was in the Pennsylvania campaign of the Army of the Potomac in 1863 as a cavalry commander; was engaged in the combat at Brandy Station; the skirmishes at Aldie, Middleburg and Upperville in June; the battle of Gettysburg, a skirmish at Shepherdstown and the pursuit of the Confederate army to Warrenton, Va., in July; and participated in the actions at Rapidan Station, Beverly ford, Auburn and New Hope Church later in the year. He distinguished himself especially at Gettysburg, where, on the third day of the battle, he repulsed Stuart's cavalry charge. From March 26 to April 6, 1864, Gen. Gregg was in command of the cavalry corps of the Army of the Potomac, and in the Richmond campaign from April 6 to Aug. 1864, was in command of the second cavalry division of the Army of the Potomac. During this time he was engaged in the actions at Todd's tavern, where he was in command, Ground Squirrel Church, Meadow bridge, Haw's shop, Gaines' house, Trevilian Station, Tunstall's station, St. Mary's Church, where he was in command, Warwick swamp, Darby town and Lee's mills. On Aug. 1, 1864, Gen. Gregg came into command of the cavalry of the Army of the Potomac, being brevetted on that date major-general U. S. volunteers "for highly meritorious and distinguished conduct throughout the campaign, particularly in the reconnoissance on the Charles City road." From that time to the close of the war he fought at Deep Bottom, Reams' station, Peebles' farm, Vaughan road, where he was in command, Boydton plank road, destruction of Stony creek Station and Bellefield, the last terminating Gen. Gregg's active work in the army. He resigned from the service Feb. 3, 1865. In Feb., 1874, President Grant appointed Gen. Gregg United States consul at Prague, Bohemia, which position he resigned and returned to Reading, Pa., in the following August, at which place he has since made his home. In 1891 he was nominated by the Republican party as its candidate for auditor-general of Pennsylvania, was elected, and made a splendid record in his three years of service. He was elected commander of the Pennsylvania Commandery, Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States, in 1886, and was continued in office by successive elections every year until 1894, when he resigned to accept the position of national commander, serving in the latter position two years and then declining reelection. He is president of the board of directors of the Charles Evans Cemetery Company of Reading, and is a member of the board of trustees of the state lunatic hospital at Harrisburg. He takes a deep interest in all matters pertaining to the veterans of 1861-65, and as the editor for Pennsylvania has carefully revised the Keystone State's department in this publication. On Oct. 6, 1862, Gen. Gregg married Ellen F. Sheaff of Reading, a great-granddaughter of Frederick A. Muhlenberg, as also of Gov. Joseph Hiester. They have two sons: George Sheaff, David McMurtrie, Jr.

Source: The Union Army: A History of Military Affairs in the Loyal States 1861-1865, Volume 8 Biographical, 1908

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