CWRT of Montgomery Co.-McClennan


McClennan was born on 24 September 1834 and was a Citizen-Soldier [one who did not graduate from any military school]. Prior to the war he was a printer and when the war broke out in 1861, he was twenty-five and first served under Colonel John F. Hartranft's 4th Pennsylvania where he first saw action at Fairfax Road, near Shuter's Hill in Alexandria, Virginia. Most of the 4th members walked off the field the day before the Battle of Manassas, 21 July 1861, and it can only be assumed that McClennan was part of that group. He soon rejoined U. S. forces and enrolled with the 138th Pennsylvania Volunteers as Captain, and shortly thereafter, Lieutenant Colonel. On 2 May 1863, McClennan was promoted to full Colonel and took command of the 138th regiment. While leading his command during the 1863 Mine Run Campaign, McClennan was seriously wounded on 27th of November and had to be carried from the field. Writing of that fight, McClennan's brigade commander, Colonel J. Warren Keifer stated "…M.R. McClennan, of the One Hundred Thirty Eighth Pennsylvania Infantry distinguished [himself] by [his] superior courage and gallantry." McClennan returned to his command on 13 March 1864 and took part in the horrific Battles of Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor, Monocacy [where he again led a brigade] and Fisher’s Mill. During a rare night offensive around Petersburg, Virginia, McClennan’s intrepid actions would win him another promotion to Brevet Brigadier General that took effect on 2 April 1865. Following the surrender of General’s Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia on 9 April 1865, McClennan led his command to support General William T. Sherman, arriving too late for any combat. He and his regiment were mustered out on 23 June 1865 and when he returned to Norristown became an active partner in a printing business. Between 1869-1870 McClennan served as G. A. R. Commander of Zook Post No. 11, named for General Samuel K. Zook, another area native, who gave his life during the Battle of Gettysburg. On 29 May 1872, Matthew McClennan died at the tender age of 38 leaving behind a wife and two small children. He was buried in Montgomery Cemetery where today, his headstone, while in decent condition, threatens to fall over.
For further information on General McClennan, please see the Official Records Vol. 40, part 1, and the History of Montgomery County Pennsylvania, Edited by Theodore Bean.

Research by Al Gambone

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