California and the Civil War
72nd Regiment of Infantry (Baxter's Philadelphia Fire Zouaves), Pennsylvania Volunteers
(3rd California Regiment)
Organized as the 3rd California Regiment at Philadelphia August 10, 1861. Moved to Washington, D.C., August, 1861. At Munson's Hill until September 30. Attached to Baker's Brigade, Stone's (Sedgwick's) Division, Army Potomac, to March, 1862. 2nd Brigade, 2nd Division, 2nd Army Corps, Army Potomac, to June, 1864. 3rd Brigade, 2nd Division, 2nd Army Corps, to August, 1864.

Moved to Poolesville, Md., September 30, 1861, and duty on the Upper Potomac until February, 1862. At Harper's Ferry until March 24. Moved to the Virginia Peninsula March 24-April 1. Siege of Yorktown April 5-May 4. Moved to West Point May 7. At Tyler's Farm until May 31. Battle of Fair Oaks (Seven Pines) May 31-June 1. At Fair Oaks until June 28. Near Fair Oaks June 8. Seven Pines June 15. Fair Oaks June 19. Seven days before Richmond June 25-July 1. Battles of Peach Orchard and Savage Station June 29; Charles City Cross Roads and Glendale June 30; Malvern Hill July 1. At Harrison's Landing until August 16. Movement to Newport News, thence to Alexandria August 16-28, and to Centreville and Chantilly August 28-30. Cover Pope's retreat August 31-September 1. Maryland Campaign September 6-24. Battle of Antietam September 16-17. Moved to Harper's Ferry September 22, and duty there until October 30. Reconnaissance to Charlestown October 16-17. Movement to Falmouth, Va., October 30-November 20. Battle of Fredericksburg December 12-15. Burnside's second Campaign, "Mud March," January 20-24, 1863. At Falmouth until April. Hartwood Church February 25. Chancellorsville Campaign April 27-May 6. Banks Ford May 1 and 4. Gettysburg (Pa.) Campaign June 13-July 24. Battle of Gettysburg July 2-4. Pursuit of Lee July 5-24. At Banks Ford and Culpeper until October. Advance from the Rappahannock to the Rapidan September 13-17. Bristoe Campaign October 9-22. Advance to line of the Rappahannock November 7-8. Mine Run Campaign November 26-December 2. Robertson's Tavern or Locust Grove November 27. Duty on the Rapidan until May, 1864. Demonstration on the Rapidan February 6-7. Rapidan Campaign May 4-June 12. Battles of the Wilderness May 5-7; Laurel Hill May 8; Spottsylvania May 8-12; Po River May 12-21. Assault on the Salient May 12. North Anna River May 23-26. On line of the Pamunkey May 26-28. Totopotomoy May 28-31. Cold Harbor June 1-12. Before Petersburg June 16-18. Siege of Petersburg June 16-August 20. Jerusalem Plank Road June 22-23. Demonstration north of the James at Deep Bottom July 27-29. Deep Bottom July 27-28. Mine Explosion, Petersburg, July 30 (Reserve). Mustered out at Philadelphia August 24, 1864.

Regiment lost during service 11 Officers and 182 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and 2 Officers and 69 Enlisted men by disease. Total 264.

by Gary Lash
Colonel De Witt Clinton Baxter
Total Enrollment: 1,600 Officers and Men
The Volunteer firemen of Philadelphia were patriotic, intelligent and brave, and were prompt in their response to the call of President Lincoln in April, 1861, enlisting in large numbers in the three months' regiments soon afterward in the field. At the end of this term of service they were equally ready to volunteer "for three years or the war." The regiment of Fire Zouaves which Col. De Witt Clinton Baxter formed was composed of this fine, hardy material, nearly every fire company in the city being represented in its ranks. Camp was established at Haddington, near the old Bull's Head tavern. The regiment was mustered in August 10th, 1861, and left for Washington on September 16th. The command was assigned to Baker's Brigade, Sedgwick's Division, Sumner's Corps.
This brigade, having its origin as the "California Brigade" under direct authority of the President, was rated, at that time, as a body of regular troops. It was only after the death of Col. E. D. Baker that the several Philadelphia regiments of which it was composed were claimed by the State of Pennsylvania and given numerical designations accordingly.
While at Camp Observation, Maryland, the Fire Zouaves were increased to fifteen companies, having a muster roll of about 1,600 officers and men. The uniform then worn, of the showy French Zouave pattern, and the picturesque drill of the regiment attracted great popular admiration. The greater part of the regiment eventually discarded this conspicuous uniform in the course of the Peninsular Campaign. At Gettysburg the 72d was garbed in the plain blue uniforms of the regulation pattern, the figure of the Zouave in bronze being but a
type of the regimental synonym.
Col. Baker fell at Ball's Bluff, Va., October 22d, 1861. He was succeeded in command of the brigade by Gen. W. W. Burns. The four regiments were re-christened as the Philadelphia Brigade," and as such became a part, throughout their entire term of service, of the Second Corps.
After six months of comparatively peaceful guard duty and marches along the upper Potomac River and in the Shenandoah Valley the brigade entered upon the Peninsular Campaign, covering the interval from April 4th, when the march began from Fortress Monroe, to the return to that point on August 22d, and including the movements and battles outlined in the experiences of the 69th and 71st Regiments.
The 72d reached Alexandria, Va., on August 28th, hastening thence with the Corps to the support of Pope's force, arriving near Manassas in time to assist in covering his retreat. At Antietam the 72d met with severe and prolonged fighting and heavy loss. The campaign ended with further losses in the occupation of Fredericksburg and operations at Chancellorsville. The regiment was encamped at Falmouth, Va. to the opening of the Gettysburg campaign. The command reached the field on the evening of July 1st and went into position near the center of the battle line, and there, at the "bloody angle," stands today the Zouave, in bronze, typifying, with clubbed musket, the heroic hand-to-hand battle the regiment made on July 3d, 1863. When the advance of the Confederate column across the valley began the 72d was posted in support and to the rear of the batteries upon Hancock's front. As the enemy drove in the brigade pickets from the Emmitsburg road, the regiment was rushed to the front line, striking the assailants at the famous stone wall and the "clump of trees." Upon the morning of that eventful day the Fire Zouaves numbered four hundred and fifty-eight officers and men. After the fury of the conflict was past there were but two hundred and sixty-six of the 72d left for further duty. Soon afterward Col. Baxter succeeded Gen. Webb in command of the brigade. Lieut.-Col. Theodore Hesser now commanded the Fire Zouaves, only to fall a few months later at Mine Run. In the campaign of 1864 the regiment fought in the Wilderness, at Spotsylvania, and again, with heavy loss, at Cold Harbor. At Petersburg the Philadelphia Brigade, all four regiments in line, stormed the Confederate defenses and held them. This was the 72d's last battle. A few days later the survivors were sent home and were mustered out.
Total Losses
Killed or mortally wounded - 12 officers; 198 men
Died from disease or other cause - 1 officer; 119 men
Wounded in action, not mortally - 25 officers; 533 men
Captured or missing - 2 officers; 163 men
Yorktown, Fair Oaks, Peach Orchard, Savage Station, Glendale, Malvern Hill, Chantilly, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Mine Run, Wilderness, Spotsylvania, North Anna, Totopotomoy, Cold Harbor, Petersburg
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Updated 20 June 2017