Archives > Historical Features > Exhibits > 19th Century

COLLEGE CLASS OF 1865:
University Militia

The University Light Infantry, Penn's militia during the Civil War, was first organized in the spring of 1861 as an infantry company, but the company had no drills or other activities for the next year. It was not until 1862 that the group really began to function. It was enthusiastic, disciplined R. Somers Hayes who gained the permission of the College authorities to reorganize the company as an artillery company during the 1863-1864 academic year.

Portrait photograph of Henry CoppeeEach of the University of Pennsylvania Catalogs for 1862-1863, 1863-1864, and 1864-1865 include this entry for the company:

"The Students of the University (except such as are exempted for special reasons) are organized and uniformed as a Company of Light Infantry, and meet for drill, in the College Yard, or at their Armory (in the Old Academy), Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, at a quarter before 2 o'clock P.M."

Although the Catalogs state that all University students were to participate, there is no evidence that any of the corps members were drawn from the medical or law schools. Instead the company was made up entirely of College students. Much to the dismay of the student officers of the company, even undergraduates found it easy to be permanently excused from drills if they had no interest in military drill.

Professor Henry Coppée was the Commandant of the Corps as well as its Instructor. During the first years of the company's existence, the officers of the University Light Infantry (and then the University Light Artillery) were appointed by the faculty as follows for the academic years from 1862-1863 through 1864-1866:

1862-1863

From the senior class:

  • Captain, Charles P. Perkins
  • First Lieutenant, Alexis I. du Pont
  • Second Lieutenant and Quartermaster, Samuel Young
  • Third Lieutenant, George W. Pauly

From the junior class:

  • First Sargent, R. Somers Hayes
  • Second Sargent, Charles R. Colwell
  • Third Sargent, William P. Coleman
  • Fourth Sargent, James B. Leonard
  • Fifth Sargent, George Oakman

From the sophomore class:

1863-1864

From the senior class:

  • Captain, R. Somers Hayes
  • First Lieutenant, George Oakman
  • Second Lieutenant and Quartermaster, Washington H. Gilpin

From the junior class:

From the sophomore class:

  • First Corporal, Clement C. Dickey
  • Second Corporal, Francis A. Bregy
  • Third Corporal, George T. Graham
  • Fourth Corporal,Wharton Barker

1864-1865

From the senior class:

From the junior class:

  • First Sargent, Clement C. Dickey
  • Second Sargent, George T. Graham
  • Third Sargent, Wharton Barker
  • Fourth Sargent, John W. Hoffman

From the sophomore class:

  • First Corporal, Edward S. Miles
  • Second Corporal, Theodore F. Nevin
  • Third Corporal, Gerald F. Dale
  • Fourth Corporal, George H. Ball

*William Wood Montgomery became Captain after Thomas Mitchell left the College to fight in the Civil War

1865-1866

From the senior class:

  • Captain, Clement C. Dickey
  • First Lieutenant, George T. Graham
  • Second Lieutenant and Quartermaster, Wharton Barker
  • Third Lieutenant, John W. Hoffman

From the junior class:

  • First Sargent, Edward S. Miles
  • Second Sargent, Theodore F. Nevin
  • Third Sargent, Gerald F. Dale
  • Fourth Sargent, George H. Ball

From the sophomore class:

  • First Corporal, George D. McCreary
  • Second Corporal, Charles B. Nancrede
  • Third Corporal, Edward Pepper, Jr.