Civil War Wiki

De Witt Clinton Baxter (1829 - 1881)

Early city directories identify Baxter as an "engraver" (1850-60), "designer" (1861), and "artist" (1862). From 1857 on he lived at 454 North Eighth Street, a substantial townhouse (3 stories, 24-feet wide) near Buttonwood Street, and from 1855 into the War he had an office in Hart's Building at the northeast corner of Sixth and Chestnut.

Publisher of "The Baxter Panoramic Business Directory" (Philadelphia) both before and after the war, he was listed variously as an engraver, designer, and artist.

In April 1861 he was Lieutenant Colonel of the 19th Pennsylvania Volunteer Cavalry, but when that three-month enlistment expired, he organized and led the 72nd Pennsylvania Volunteers, "Baxter's Fire Zouaves." They were drawn from the various fire companies of Philadelphia, and were known for their peculiar uniforms and precise bayonet drills. They "enjoyed a brief period of considerable popularity, so much so, that the citizens of Philadelphia crowded the Academy of Music to witness" their maneuvers on stage." (Banes, p. 11).

Baxter recorded his expertise in such exercises in an illustrated 1861 book, The Volunteer's Manual; containing full instructions for the recruit. . . , which was published by King & Baird, the same firm that published his early panaoramas.


19th Pennsylvania Cavalry Regiment, Lieutenant Colonel April 1861 - July 1861

72nd Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment, Colonel July 1861 - July 1863

He led the regiment in the Peninsula Campaign, Antietam Campaign at the Battle of Fredericksburg, the Battle of Gettysburg and the Battle of Wilderness. He was wounded July 2, 1863 at the Battle of Gettysburg.

Philadelphia Brigade, Colonel July 1863 - December 10, 1863

2nd Division, II Corps, Colonel December 10, 1863 - December 21, 1863

72nd Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment, Colonel December 21, 1863 - May 1864.

"severely wounded at the Wilderness" in May 1864, "shot through the lungs" (Banes, pp. 229, 290).

He was promoted, in March 1865, to Brevet Brigadier General.

After the war, Baxter was occupied variously, as a naval officer at the Custom House (1869) and in the mid-seventies as a principal in the Keystone Portable Forge Company. He may have revived his Panoramic Directory business in the late 1870s.

At the time of his death in May 1881, his obituary reported, Baxter was holding "a position at the Custom house."

He died on 9 May 1881, and his military career was the focus of the front-page obituary that appeared the following day in the Philadelphia Public Ledger.

Originally buried in Monument Cemetery in Philadelphia, he was reinterred in Lawnview in 1956.