PA Wild Cats

Pennsylvanian Wild Cats at Gettysburg

During the Civil War, many different brigades and regiments had unique names. Some of the more famous ones we often hear about in association with Gettysburg are The Iron Brigade and the Louisiana Tigers. But one particular regiment that fought at Gettysburg was given a nickname that not only sounds cool but which also has an interesting origin behind it.

PA Wild Cats - monument That regiment was the 105th PA Infantry Regiment, also known as the Wild Cat Regiment. The regiment fought here at Gettysburg with the Army of the Potamic 3rd Corps, and they were a part of the section of the infamous fishhook line that Union Major General Dan Sickles moved forward on July 2nd, 1863. How did the 105th PA come to be known as the Wild Cat Regiment? The origin of that name can be traced directly back to their namesake… the wild cats that roamed PA in large numbers in the 19th century,  and a Pennsylvania representative named Hiram Payne of McKean County.

When the Civil War began and the men of Northwestern PA enlisted for service, many of those men hailed from Jefferson, Clarion, and Clearfield Counties. At a state convention, Representative Payne once famously said, “I represent more territory, more bears, more wolves, more porcupines, and more wild cats than any five members of this convention.”  From then on, Payne’s constituency in the northwest portion of the state became informally known as “the Wild Cat District.”

When the 105th PA was formed from recruits from that area,  it was appropriately given the “Wild Cat” nickname, a name it would carry to distinction throughout the war.

PA Wild Cats Monument - Full
Monument to the 105th Pennsylvania Infantry “Wild Cat” Regiment at Gettysburg Battlefield

— Blog By Jordan Kroeze


Works Cited:

Addressing Gettysburg | 105th PA “Wildcats” at Gettysburg on July 2, 1863. (n.d.).