Brevet Brig. General Langhorne Wister (USA)

public profile

Is your surname Wister?

Research the Wister family

Brevet Brig. General Langhorne Wister (USA)'s Geni Profile

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!


Langhorne Wister

Birthdate: (56)
Death: March 19, 1891 (56)
Place of Burial: Laurel Hill Cemetery Philadelphia Philadelphia County Pennsylvania
Immediate Family:

Son of William Wister and Sarah Logan Wister
Brother of Sgt. Jones Wister (USA); Col. Francis Wister (USA); Rodman Wister; Elizabeth Harvey Wister; John W Wister and 1 other

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Brevet Brig. General Langhorne Wister (USA)

Civil War Union Brevet Brigadier General. Served in the Civil War first as a Captain in the 13th Pennsylvania Reserves, then as Colonel and commander of the 150th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry. He assumed command of his regiment's brigade on the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg (July 1, 1863), when the fierce fighting around the McPherson House struck down previous commander Col. Edmund Dana. Also fought in the Battles of Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville and the Wilderness. He was brevetted Brigadier General, US Volunteers on March 13, 1865 for "distinguished gallantry at the battle of Gettysburg, Pa.; alos for gallant conduct at the Battles of Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville, Va., and for meritorious services during the war". (bio by: Russ Dodge)


Biography, "The Germantown Independent-Gazette", date unknown.

LANGHORNE WISTER, Colonel of the One Hundred and Fiftieth regiment, and Brevet Brigadier-General of volunteers, was born at Germantown, Philadelphia, on the 20th of September, 1834. He was the son of William and Sarah Logan (Fisher) Wister. His boyhood was spent in the country, where a natural fondness for out-door life had full play. He was educated at the Germantown Academy, which he left at the age of eighteen to engage in business.

He received no military education, but on the 19th of April, scarcely a week from the firing upon Fort Sumter, entered the service. He was successful in recruiting, and when the noted Bucktail regiment was formed he joined it with a company of which he was elected Captain. At Dranesville, where he first met the enemy in close combat, he stood with his company in a position where he was the object of the severest fire experienced by any of the Union troops on that field, and received the warm commendations of the commander of the regiment. His single company had two killed and four wounded. Six companies of the Bucktails, including Captain Wister's, under Major Stone, were sent to join McClellan on the Peninsula, and reached him in time to take the advance in the movement upon Mechanicsville. They were the first to meet the enemy as he came out to offer battle, and with wonderful skill and daring held him in check, skirmishing gallantly until the main line of battle was formed behind Beaver Dam Creek, and rifle pits completed. In the engagement which ensued, and in the subsequent retreat to Gaines' Mill, no troops could have acted with greater steadiness, or have rendered more efficient service. To the Bucktails was given the difficult and dangerous duty of skirmishing with the enemy, on the morning of the 27th, while the main body fell back. In all these manoeuvres and hard fighting Captain Wister was among the most reliable and trusted of a battalion that was a special object of regard throughout the whole army. In the battle of the 27th, he received a severe contusion of the right ankle, but was able to keep the field, and at Charles City Cross Roads, where the Reserve corps for a third time in the Seven Days' fight was put at the forefront, and made to bear the brunt of the battle, sustained his part with the same unflinching valor as on the preceding fields.

Soon after the retirement of McClellan's army from the Peninsula, the formation of a Bucktail Brigade was ordered, and Captain Wister was selected to head one of the regiments - the One Hundred and Fiftieth. The reputation, which he had gained as a leader of one of the old Bucktail companies inspired confidence, and made it from the outset almost the equal of a veteran regiment. He was stationed a while at Washington, whence he was ordered to the Army of the Potomac, then lying about Falmouth.

In the preliminary movements to the battle of Chancellorsville, this brigade performed a leading part, marching to Port Conway, for a feint, afterwards operating with the First corps to which it belonged at the lower crossing before Fredericksburg, and finally joining the main army in the great battle itself, occupying the right of the line, and meeting every advance of the enemy with cool courage. At Gettysburg Colonel Wister led his regiment upon the field at a little before noon of the first day, where the gallant Buford had presented a bold front and had held the enemy in check, covering the town until the infantry should come up. His position was upon a slight ridge, a little in rear of that held by Buford, and in advance of Seminary Ridge. Here, exposed to a fierce artillery fire, and the frequent assaults of the enemy's infantry, he held his men, changing front to meet every advance, until Colonel Stone, who commanded the brigade, was badly wounded and borne from the field, when he assumed control, turning over the regiment to Lieutenant-Colonel Huidekoper. The situation was every moment becoming more and more critical, as the enemy, having already brought up the main body of his forces, began to close in on all sides and to press heavily in front. With remarkable skill Colonel Wister manoeuvred his small body of men to meet the masses brought against him, when he also was wounded, a Minie ball striking him in the face and shattering the jaw. "Colonel Wister," says Colonel Stone, in his official report, "though badly wounded in the mouth, while commanding the brigade, and unable to speak, remained in the front of the battle."

In recognition of his gallantry, General Doubleday made honorable mention of him in his report, and recommended him for promotion to Brevet Brigadier-General, which rank was conferred by the President and confirmed by the Senate. He resigned his commission in February, 1864, and resumed the business which he had left on entering the army - that of manufacturer of iron at Duncannon. A resolute purpose and undaunted heroism characterized him from his first entrance to military life, and the Bucktail corps had no more worthy or valiant representative.

Brevet Brigadier-General Langhorne Winter was born at Belfield, the old homestead of his mother's family, near Germantown. After completing his studies he left his home and went to Duncannon, Perry count}-, where his family were largely interested in the manufacture of iron. Here he patiently and steadfastly applied himself to learning and mastering the details of the business, until finally he assumed its management in connection with his elder brother.

" It was while he was engaged in this business that the attack was made on Fort Sumter in 1861, and almost immediately there- after he personally recruited a company, of which he was commissioned captain, and joined the Bucktail Regiment, commanded by Colonel Charles J. Biddle, destined to become one of the most celebrated on many a hard-fought field.

" The regiment was at once detailed for active service, and was first under fire at Dranesville, where the coolness and bravery of its officers and men in withstanding the severest attack of the engagement won for it the well-deserved encomiums it never forfeited. A part of this regiment, including General (then Captain) Wister's company, was subsequently detached fur service under General McClellan on the Peninsula, and during the campaign participated in the battles of Meehaniesville, Gaines Mill, Charles City Cross-Roads, and other severe engagements and affairs.

" During this series of fierce and terrible battles, in one of which he was wounded, Captain Wister's behavior secured the confidence and admiration of all his commanding officers. Shortly after the close of the Peninsula campaign, he was commissioned colonel of the One Hundred and Fiftieth Regiment of the Buck-tail Brigade, and with his regiment took part in the movements before Chancellorsville. He was also actively engaged in the fierce and memorable struggle at Fredericksburg.

" The regiment afterwards formed part of the right wing of Meade's army at Gettysburg. During the first day's battle, near Seminary Ridge, the brigade commander, Colonel Stone, was borne from the field seriously wounded, and Colonel Wister assumed command of the brigade. While conducting with admirable coolness and foresight the critical maneuvers rendered necessary to hold his position in the face of superior numbers, he in his turn was severely wounded, and more than once, in the desperate struggle for supremacy, found himself within the enemy's lines. Although his wound was serious, he remained on the field until night closed the contest, and what afterwards proved to be the key of the position was won. For his gallantry and ability displayed on the field of Gettysburg, Colonel Wister was brevetted brigadier-general on the personal recommendation of General Doubleday, who succeeded General Reynolds in the command of the First Corps.

" In 1864, General Wister, who had deservedly obtained the esteem and regard of his companions in arms, resigned his com- mission and retired to private life, where, in the quiet pursuit of his former business, his sterling qualities secured him the love and respect of all with whom he came in contact.

" He died in the home where he was born, leaving a record unsullied by a single unworthy act ; and his gentle nature would have asked no fairer tribute to his virtues than the unfeigned sorrow of those who were left to mourn him." — F. W. Source

view all

Brevet Brig. General Langhorne Wister (USA)'s Timeline

September 20, 1834
March 19, 1891
Age 56
Laurel Hill Cemetery Philadelphia Philadelphia County Pennsylvania