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Ario Pardee, Jr. (October 28, 1839 – March 16, 1901) was an officer in the Union Army during the American Civil War. He rose to fame during the Battle of Gettysburg, where he led the defense of a portion of Culp's Hill on July 3, 1863. A monument on the Gettysburg Battlefield commemorates the spot as "Pardee Field."

Early life[]

Ario (Ariovistus) Pardee, Jr. was the eldest child of Ariovistus Pardee, a capitalist who founded Hazleton, Pennsylvania,[1] and Elizabeth Jacobs. He was born in Hazleton on October 28, 1839. In 1847, his mother died in childbirth. The following year, his father married Anna Maria Robison, the family's governess. Pardee trained as a civil engineer at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. After graduating in 1858, he became involved in running his father’s anthracite coal mines. By the outbreak of the war, he was married to Mary Allison.

Civil War in the East[]

Pardee joined the 28th Pennsylvania Infantry on June 28, 1861. It was encamped at Camp Coleman in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in July while completing organization.[2] After serving as captain of Company A, organized by his father,[3] he was named major on November 1 of that year. (Col John W. Geary had been made a brigadier general, and Pardee was among those promoted in the follow-up to that promotion.)[4] Pardee served under Geary in the Shenandoah Valley, when MG Nathaniel Banks was bested by Stonewall Jackson. Pardee criticized Geary's actions in that campaign, especially his abandoning Thoroughfare Gap in the face of a Confederate advance.[5] Pardee thought Geary overestimated dangers confronting him.[6] While serving under MG John Pope in Virginia, Pardee missed the Battle of Cedar Mountain; and Banks' command was not engaged at the Second Battle of Bull Run, being detailed to guard the rear of Pope's army. It only did some skirmishing after the battle had ended.[7]

At the rank of major, Pardee led the regiment at the Battle of Antietam on September 17, 1862, serving in the brigade of Lt. Col. Hector Tyndale in Second Division of the XII Corps. Ario escaped uninjured, despite having a horse shot out from under him.[8] BG George S. Greene, the division commander, commended Pardee for his conduct at Antietam.[1] Pardee even took command of the brigade briefly, because Tyndale had been wounded. Shortly thereafter, on October 9 of that year, some companies of the 28th became part of the new 147th Pennsylvania Infantry, together with three newly recruited companies. Pardee was named lieutenant colonel and commander of the regiment.

Pardee next saw combat in the Battle of Chancellorsville, where he led the regiment in the brigade of Col. Charles Candy in the Second Division of BG John White Geary, his former regimental commander. He retained command at the Battle of Gettysburg, during which he was engaged in the fighting on Culp's Hill on July 2, and July 3, 1863. A field on Culp’s Hill has been named for him, as a sign painted on a stone shows.[9] The 147th Pennsylvania faced that field during the fighting on July 3, as XII Corps tried to win back ground lost to the Confederate troops of Lt. Gen. Richard S. Ewell on the day before. (Geary had wandered off with two brigades, instead of going to reinforce the army's endangered left flank.) Their foes resumed the previous day's efforts to carry Culp’s Hill by attacking up hill.[10] Pardee was told to maintain a steady volume of fire on the Confederates. This aided repulse of the last attack of BG George H. Steuart's brigade across the field. The volume of fire, however, was such that ammunition became scarce. By 11:00 AM the Confederate attacks ended. The report of Col Charles Candy that Pardee's regiment advanced to the wall on the opposite side of the contested field is not supported by other accounts.[11]

Civil War in the West[]

Pardee went west with the rest of XII Corps and XI Corps, which had been sent to the relief of the Army of the Cumberland, besieged in Chattanooga, Tennessee by the Confederate Army of Tennessee. The regiment participated in the Battle of Wauhatchie, the Battle of Lookout Mountain and the Battle of Ringgold Gap while under the overall command of Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker. Pardee, ordinarily a critic of Geary, praised his division commander's conduct at Wauhatchie.[12]

Pardee was promoted to the rank of colonel on March 19, 1864.[13] He then led the regiment in Col Candy's brigade in Brig. Gen. John W. Geary’s second division XX Corps in the Army of the Cumberland. This corps had been created out of XI Corps, XII Corps and some garrison troops. Hooker commanded the corps at the beginning of Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman’s Atlanta Campaign. At the Battle of Peachtree Creek, Pardee's regiment held its ground against attacking Confederate forces while the regiments either side of it retreated. The 147th suffered heavy losses, and Pardee complained that his right flank was thrown into disorder by routed troops.[14]

After Colonel Candy was mustered out of the service, Pardee usually led the first brigade of Geary’s Division in the later stages of the Atlanta Campaign, the March to the Sea and the Carolinas Campaign. During that latter campaign, XX Corps became part of Maj. Gen. Henry Warner Slocum’s Army of Georgia. Pardee's last major battle as a brigade commander was the Battle of Bentonville in North Carolina.

Pardee received promotion to the brevet rank of brigadier general on January 12, 1865, for the Battle of Peachtree Creek. He was discharged from the service on June 13 of that year.

Postbellum activities[]

After the Civil War, Pardee returned to Pennsylvania. There he went back into the coal business as a partner with his father and his brother Calvin. Ario Jr. was not heavily involved in the management of these enterprises. That fell to his father and then to brothers Calvin and Frank.[3] Col Pardee's health seems to have been undermined by war service, which would explain his passive role.[15] He also had interests in railroads and belonged to the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States.[2] Mary Pardee predeceased her husband, and he grew testy in old age.[15] Ario Pardee Jr. died at Wyncote, Pennsylvania, on March 16, 1901. He was buried in the churchyard of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania.[16]

See also[]


  • Bates, Samuel P., History of Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-5, 5 vols., Harrisburg, B. Singerly, State Printer, 1869-1871.
  • Blair, William Alan (ed.), A Politician Goes to war: The Civil War Letters of John White Geary, University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1995. ISBN 0-271-01338-9
  • Dyer, Frederick H., Compendium of the War of the Rebellion, 3 vols., New York: Thomas Yoseloff, 1959.
  • Eicher, John H., and Eicher, David J., Civil War High Commands, Stanford University Press, 2001.
  • Gottfried, Bradley M., Brigades of Gettysburg: the Union and Confederate Brigades at the Battle of Gettysburg, Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press, 2002.
  • Johnston, Gertrude K. (ed.), Dear Pa, and So It Goes, Harrisburg, PA: Business Service Co., 1971 [includes letters of Pardee to his father].
  • McDonough, James Lee, and James Pickett Jones, War So Terrible: Sherman and Atlanta, New York: W. W. Norton, 1987. ISBN 0-393-02497-0
  • Pfanz, Harry W., Gettysburg: Culp's Hill and Cemetery Hill, University of North Carolina Press, 1993, ISBN 0-8078-2118-7.1, ISBN 0-8047-3641-3.


  1. "Ario Pardee's Death," New York Times, Mar 28, 1892. p. 1.
  2. Johnston, pp. 146-147.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Obituary Notes," New York Times, Mar 17, 1901. p. 7.
  4. Blair, p. 43 n. 9.
  5. Blair, p. 45.
  6. Blair, p. 53 n. 24; Johnston, p. 192.
  7. Johnston, p. 212.
  8. Johnston, pp. 172, 218.
  9. Photograph of the Pardee memorial
  10. Sears, p. 364.
  11. Gottfried, pp. 381-382; Pfanz, p. 456 n. 36.
  12. Blair, p. 130; Johnston, p. 269.
  13. Johnston, pp. 288-289.
  14. McDonough and Jones, pp. 215-216.
  15. 15.0 15.1 Johnston, p. 328.
  16. Ario Pardee, Jr. at Find a Grave Retrieved on 2008-09-28