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Colonel John Koltes 73rd Pennsylvania Infantry

KIA Second Battle of Bull Run

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Item No. CV59590 Category


Rare carte view of Colonel John Koltes of the 73rd Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry “Pennsylvania Legion”. The former US Marine and Mexican-American War veteran would help raise the 73rd Pennsylvania in September, 1861 serving as the colonel for the newly raised regiment. That same month the regiment would leave for Washington where they would spend 1861 serving in the defense of the city. Attached to the 2nd Brigade, Blenker’s Division, 2nd Army Corps, Army of the Potomac in March, 1862, the regiment would move into the Shenandoah Valley to carry out operation in the vicinity. In June the regiment would see it’s first fight at Cross Keys. Held in reserve at Cedar Mountain, they would take part in Pope’s Campaign into Northern Virginia which began in mid August, 1862. The Second Battle of Bull Run would be the first fight of the campaign. Koltes would be ordered to take command of the 41st New York Infantry as well as the 73rd Pennsylvania during the battle. Running into Nathan Evan’s South Carolina brigade, the 11th Mississippi Infantry and some of James Kemper’s men, Koltes would order the 41st New York and 73rd Pennsylvania to pull back. As Confederate artillery began showering his men with projectiles, Kotles dashed out, “waving his sword high in the air” and ordered a charge on the Confederate artillery. Koltes being exposed, a Confederate cannon launched a shell striking a number of men along with Koltes himself, mortally wounding him before the charge could gain any momentum. Friends who had secured his promotion to Colonel managed to carry his body away from the field. Koltes was posthumously praised by Carl Schurz and Franz Sigel for his service during the battle. The colonel can be seen here striking this very confident pose. An old pencil inscription on the reverse of the card reads “Given April 22, 1861 Col. John A. Koltes 73rd Penn Vols. Killed in the second battle of Bull Run”. No back mark on this one but an exceptional carte view.


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