Col. James Glenn

James Glenn (1824-1901)-the son of Walter and Janet Dorrington Glenn-was a military man and a farmer. He served as a Second Lieutenant in the Pennsylvania Blues, an independent Allegheny County Military Company. In this organization he was promoted to First Lieutenant and later Captain.

Glenn worked on his father’s farm near Chartiers Creek until the Civil War broke out. In August 1862, Glenn organized Company D, 149th Pennsylvania Infantry. The company, with Glenn as their captain, was composed of 84 young men-complete with bugler and two musicians-principally from Pittsburgh, Noblestown and surrounding areas. They were mustered in on August 22, 1862, and fought at Chancellorsville, Spotsylvania and The Wilderness.

The company’s colonel, lieutenant colonel and major were disabled by wounds during the first day at Gettysburg (July 1, 1863), and Glenn was placed in command through the second and third days of the battle. He remained in command until July 6, when Major Irvin, who had been wounded in the head, returned. Colonel Edmund Dana later reported that Glenn was “of great service” to him during the three days at Gettysburg. During the battle of Gettysburg, Glenn reported to Abner Doubleday (of baseball renown), the major general of volunteers.

Glenn was promoted to Major on April 22, 1864, and to Lieutenant Colonel on Jan. 8, 1865. By the time of being mustered out, only 36 of the original 84 members were with the regiment-18 had died (12 in prison), one had deserted and the others were discharged due to wounds and sickness. Glenn served his entire term without any loss of time.

After the war, Glenn, a staunch Republican, worked in the feed business until he retired in 1889. Glenn never married and, for the last 12 years of his life, lived with his sister Jane Glenn Robb (wife of Chesterfield).

Glenn’s obituary reports he was in command of Pennsylvania’s 14th Regiment National Guard during the railroad labor riots of 1877. A 2002 City Paper article by Chris Potter says, “On July 19, 1877, when workers prevented (trains) from leaving by accosting engineers who were willing to run them, citizens rushed to support them. They soon took control of all the yard switches, so no trains could leave. The police were overwhelmed, and while the state militia was called out, the first troops to arrive were those who lived in the area. As a Joint Legislative Committee of the state legislature put it in an 1878 report on the riots, `many of (the troops) had friends and relatives in the mob.’ Soon their guns were put aside, `and they were mingled indiscriminately with the crowd, lying about on the ground talking with them.'” When Governor John Hartranft’s armed troops from Philadelphia arrived, they were attacked by the crowds. Soldiers opened fire and at least 10 people were killed. In response, rioters set fire to railroad cars (many filled with coal). In all, almost 1,400 freight cars, 100 locomotives and the Union Depot and Hotel were destroyed by fire. A historic marker at 28th and Liberty in the Strip District marks the spot where the riot occurred.

When Glenn retired from the 14th Regiment, he was succeeded by his cousin, Colonel W.J. Glenn.

On June 14, 1897, Company D, 149th, Pennsylvania Infantry celebrated the 32nd anniversary of being mustered out at Glenn’s home in Glendale (now Carnegie). Twenty-two of the original company members were present. An account of the reunion states: “In the shade of the trees studding the extensive lawn.the survivors met and recalled almost forgotten incidents in the war record of the company, and related stories, some humorous, some stirring and some pathetic.”

A full account of Glenn’s service and movements of his troop during the battle of Gettysburg, can be found in the book “General History of Company D, 149th Pennsylvania Volunteers: and Personal Sketches of the Members,” compiled by John W. Nesbit. You can read it online at: Maps and Historical information about Pittsburgh . The Comany is also profiled in the magazine Gettysburg, Jan. 1, 1993, Issue No. 8

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