Lt. Pifer Letter to Governor Curtin, 1862

All of us in the recreated 53rd Pennsylvania, think that there was no finer regiment in the Army of the Potomac, and that its soldiers were the most gallant and hard fighting in the Army. We also might think that everything ran smooth and that there was never any strife within the ranks. The following is a letter written to Governor Curtin in 1862 that might dispell that thinking.

Camp on Bolivar Heights, VA

October 6, 1862

Dear Sir–

Permit one, a friend from Bellefonte to give you some facts as they exist in our regiment, the Fifty-Third.

We have marched and fought as well as any other regiment from Pennsylvania, and you have the satisfaction of knowing that they all did well, yet we have received no evidence at all that the fact was known outside the limits of this camp. This, I firmly believe is the fault of our Col. Brooke, who is so blindly partial to Company “A” that he forgets to make mention of the good deeds of any other company in the reports he sends in both to yourself and our Generals. He, the Colonel, is expecting a commission as Brigadier General, and seems to forget that he has a regiment in his eagerness to make himself sure of the promotion.

In case of Colonel Brooke’s promotion, which is almost reduced to a certainty, he seems to be determined if at all possible to have Capt. S. Octavius Bull of Company “A” promoted in his place, over the head of the brave Lieut. Col. McMichael, and will no doubt send in his name to that effect. The officers of this regiment do not desire such a thing to be permitted to transpire. We wish to have Lieut. Col. McMichael for our Col. in case of Brooke’s promotion. The history of Capt. Bull’s doings in the battle of Fair Oaks is familiar to all.

The few lines I have written, will give you a true idea of the injustice the majority of the officers have been subject to in this regiment. If you could consistently favor me with a promotion, it would be gratefully accepted.

Hoping that I have given no offence, or done any injustice to any one, I remain:

Your Obt. Servant
Geo. W. Pifer
2nd Lt. Co. I, 53rd P.V.

To his Excellency
A. G. Curtin
Gov. of Penna.