New York in the Civil War

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New York in the American Civil War

New York and the Civil War (1861-1865)

New York (1861-1865), part 2

The first important draft of the war took place during July
and Aug., 1863, when the state was virtually stripped of its
militia, and proved to be one of the most exciting questions
which the new administration of Gov. Seymour was called upon
to meet. Under the act of Congress, approved March 3, 1863,
prescribing a method of drafting men for the military service,
whenever needed, all enlistments under the draft and also for
volunteers after May 1, were placed in the hands of a provost-
marshal-general, assisted by an acting assistant provost-marshal-
general, in each of the three districts, northern, southern, and
western, into which the state was divided. The draft was com-
menced in New York city on July 11, and was accompanied by
a riot of very serious proportions on the 13th. To quell the riot,
in which all the rowdy, turbulent elements of the city took part,
all the available state troops were ordered to New York city.
These, assisted by all the troops in the city and harbor and a few
outside organizations, together with the city police force, suc-
ceeded in dispersing the angry mobs and quiet was finally re-
stored on the 17th. No serious disturbances occurred elsewhere,
though violence was only prevented in one or two places by the
presence of troops. In New York and Brooklyn the draft was
suspended and finally took place in August without any further
trouble, though in the meantime it went forward in other parts
of the state. Among the specific objections to the application
of the draft in New York city and Brooklyn, urged by Gov. Sey-
mour in his correspondence with President Lincoln on the sub-
ject, he contended that these two large cities did not get due
credit for past enlistments and that the enrollments were exces-
sive as compared with other parts of the state; that the draft, as
proposed, would throw upon the eastern part of the state, com-
prising less than one-third of the Congressional districts, more
than one-half the burdens of the conscription and presented fig-
ures to sustain these objections. The result of the draft in the
state was as follows: number of conscripts examined, 79,975;
exempted for physical disability and other causes, 54,765; paid
commutation, 15,912; procured substitutes, 6,998; conscripts held
to service, 2,300.
During the spring and early summer of 1863, the two years'
regiments returned to the state and were mustered out. They
had seen much hard service and of the 30,000 men who had left
the state, less than half that number returned, over 4,000 officers
and men having died in service. During the emergency created
by Lee's invasion of Maryland and Pennsylvania in June, a large
proportion of the National Guard of the state was again hurriedly
summoned into the field and were mustered into the U. S. serv-
ice for 30 days, twenty-six regiments responding to the call.
Numerous detachments of volunteers in various parts of the state
were also organized, equipped and moved to Harrisburg, Pa. The
National Guard was warmly thanked by the president and war
department for its prompt response during the crisis. In No-
vember, the 74th regiment of the National Guard, from Buffalo,
was mustered into the U. S. service for 30 days and placed under
the orders of Gen. Dix, commanding the Department of the East,
to protect the northern frontier of the state from a threatened
invasion by a traitorous force from Canada.
Oct. 17, 1863, the president called for 300,000 more volunteers
for three years, the quota assigned to New York being 81,993
men. All recruiting work for the organizations in the field was
in the hands of the general government, acting through the pro-
vost-marshals; the state could only recruit for new organizations
which were sanctioned by the war department, but it received
authority to reorganize the two years' regiments on their return,
or to enlist the men in new organizations. A very large propor-
tion of the two years' men reentered the service and their patri-
otic action served to stimulate other enlistments. To further
encourage enlistments the state bounty provided by the legisla-
ture in the spring was paid to all who enlisted for three years
and were credited to the state. From Jan. 1, 1863, to Jan. 5,
1864, the following volunteers were furnished by the state : vol-
unteers raised by state authorities, 25,324; recruits sent to regi-
ments in the field, 1,653; enlisted by provost-marshals, 11,060;
reenlistments in the field (estimated), 10,000; substitutes, 6,619;
enlisted by provost-marshals since Dec. 21, 1863, 1,500 — total,
56,156. The organizations formed by the state authorities and
turned over to the United States were as follows: cavalry — the
12th, 14th, 16th, 20th, 1st and 2nd veteran regiments of nine
companies each, the 13th and 15th, ten companies each; 18th and
21st, six companies of the 24th, two companies of the 23d, and
three companies of the 2nd mounted rifles; artillery — four bat-
teries of the nth regiment; five batteries each of the 13th and
16th; ten batteries of the 14th; eleven batteries of the 15th; one
battery of the 3d, and the 33d independent battery; sharpshoot-
ers — the 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th companies; engineers — one com-
pany of the 15th regiment; infantry — the 17th veteran, the168th
and 178th regiments; four companies of the 5th veteran; three
companies of the 63d regiment, and two companies of the inde-
pendent battalion. The following nine months' organizations
were mustered out during the year: The 168th on Oct. 31; the
177th on Sept. 10; and the 9th company of sharpshooters on
Aug. 5.
At the annual elections held in Nov., 1863, for the choice of
a secretary of state, comptroller, treasurer, attorney-general,
state engineer, surveyor, judge of the court of appeals, and a
legislature, the Union, or administration party was successful,
and the 87th legislature then chosen contained an administration
majority of 46 on joint ballot. During the year the arrest of
Clement L. Vallindigham of Ohio had raised a storm of dis-
approval. Responding to an invitation to attend a public meet-
ing in Albany to consider this matter. Gov. Seymour said in part:
"It is an act which has brought dishonor upon our country; it
is full of danger to our persons and to our homes; it bears upon
its front a conscious violation of law and justice. Acting upon
the evidence of detailed informers, shrinking from the light of
day in the darkness of night, armed men violated the home of an
American citizen and furtively bore him away to a military trial,
conducted without those safeguards known to the proceedings
of our military tribunals. * * * The action of the adminis-
tration will determine in the minds of more than one-half of the
people of the loyal states, whether this war is waged to put down
rebellion at the South, or to destroy free institutions at the North.
We look for its decision with the most solemn solicitude."
Among the acts passed by the legislature when it assembled in
1864 were bills to promote reenlistments and to encourage re-
cruiting for organizations in the field; further authorizing coun-
ties and municipalities to levy taxes for certain purposes such
as the payment of bounties, expenses incurred in securing en-
listments, and in aid of the families of volunteers; appropriating
money to provide suitable burial and monuments for those who
fell on the bloody fields of Antietam and Gettysburg; concurring
in the amendment to the state constitution passed by the legis-
lature of 1863, which permitted electors absent from the state
in the service of the United States to vote. This amendment was
submitted to the people of the state and adopted at a special
election in March, 1864. A law was thereupon drafted in con-
formity to the constitutional provision, which enabled "the qual-
ified electors of the state, absent therefrom in the military serv-
ice of the United States, in the army or navy thereof, to vote."
It was passed by the legislature and approved by Gov. Seymour
on April 21.
Portions of the National Guard were called out on several
occasions during 1864 at the request of the war department. In
April one or two regiments were asked for to guard deserters
and stragglers being forwarded to the front; also one or two regi-
ments to serve in the defenses of New York harbor, to take the
place of troops urgently needed at the front. In July, when the
enemy invaded Maryland and threatened the capital. New York
was asked for 12,000 men to serve for not less than 100 days.
Under these special calls, the state furnished from the National
Guard a total of 5,640 men for three months and 100 days, and
791 men for 30 days. The following organizations were mus-
tered into the U. S. service: for 100 days — the 28th, 54th, 56th,
58th, 69th, 77th, 84th, 93d, 98th, 99th and 102nd regiments of
infantry, the 1st battalion of artillery, and Cos. A and B of the
50th regiment; for 30 days — the 37th and 15th regiments of in-
fantry. Under the threat of possible trouble along the northern
frontier of the state in the fall, the National Guard was held in
readiness for instant service and the 65th and 74th were placed
on active duty for a few weeks, the general government then as-
suming charge. The people of the state were given the oppor-
tunity to greet many of their soldiers during the year, the terms
of service of numerous volunteer organizations having expired
and thousands of veterans returning to the state on veteran fur-
lough. The veteran organizations invariably returned to active
service with augmented ranks. Everywhere the home-coming
soldiers were accorded enthusiastic receptions by an appreciative
and grateful people.
In preparation for the presidential election to be held in No-
vember, extraordinary precautions were taken by the Federal
military authorities to prevent disorders and the colonization of
voters. Maj.-Gen. Dix, commanding the Department of the East,
issued special instructions to the provost-marshals and their
deputies in his department, to detect persons who had been in the
service of the authorities of the insurgent states, who had de-
serted from the service of the United States, or who had fled to
escape the draft, and who might come into the state for the pur-
pose of voting. In general orders, No. 80, issued Oct. 28, Gen.
Dix strongly intimated that after voting there would be an or-
ganized effort on the part of the enemies of the government to
commit outrages against the lives and property of private citi-
zens. The above order, by way of precaution, directed that "all
persons from the insurgent states now within the department, or
who may come within it on or before the 3d of November prox-
imo, are hereby required to report themselves for registry on or
before that day; and all such persons coming within the depart-
ment after that day will report immediately on their arrival.
Those who fail to comply with this requirement will be regarded
as spies or emissaries of the insurgent authorities at Richmond
and will be treated accordingly." The place of registry for such
persons was fixed at the headquarters of Maj.-Gen. John J. Peck,
No. 37 Bleeker St., New York city, and several hundred persons
from the Southern States appeared there and were registered.
On the other hand. Gov. Seymour, in a proclamation issued Nov.
2, declared "there are no well-grounded fears that the rights of
the citizens of New York will be trampled on at the polls. The
power of the state is ample to protect all classes in the free exer-
cise of their political duties. There is no reason to doubt that
the coming election will be conducted with the usual quiet and
order." He directed that county sheriffs and all other peace of-
ficers take every precaution to secure a free ballot to every voter,
and prevent any intimidation by the military forces, or by other
organizations. On the same day Mr. Seward, secretary of state
at Washington, wired the mayors of New York, Albany, and
other cities: "This department has received information from
the British provinces, to the effect that there is a conspiracy on
foot to set fire to the principal cities in the Northern States on
the day of the presidential election. It is my duty to communi-
cate this information to you." Mr. Gunther, the mayor of New
York, replied: "I have no fears of such threats being carried out,
or even attempted. However, I shall take all precautionary meas-
ures, and am amply prepared. Should any Federal assistance be
necessary, I shall invoke the same without delay." On Nov. 4,
Maj.-Gen. Butler arrived at New York city, under orders of the
president and by assignment of Maj.-Gen. Dix, and took com-
mand in the city. On the day before the election about 7,000 Fed-
eral troops arrived in New York bay as a precautionary measure
to assist in preserving order, and on Nov. 8, the day of the elec-
tion, were placed on board of steamers, which were stationed at
various points opposite the Battery and in the North and East
rivers. The troops were held within call until Thursday night,
where they could have been marched to any part of the city with-
in half an hour, but were not landed. Ample precautionary meas-
ures were also taken by Gen. Peck on the northern frontier of the
state, to prevent a threatened invasion from Canada or any in- 
terference with the elections, and the election took place without
any unusual disturbance. On Nov. 15 Gen, Butler issued an or-
der taking leave of his command in New York, tendering his
thanks to Brig.-Gen. Hawley, in command of the provisional
Connecticut brigade from the Army of the James and the troops
from the Army of the Potomac, who had been detailed for spe-
cial duty at the time of the election. The result of the election
gave Lincoln a majority of 6,749 over Gen. McClellan out of a
total vote of 730,821. The state election resulted in the choice
of Reuben E. Fenton as governor, by a majority of 8,293, over
Gov. Seymour, his Democratic opponent. The legislature cho-
sen at the same time had a Republican majority of 34 on joint
During the year 1864, a voluminous correspondence took place
between Gov. Seymour and the war department relative to the
proper credits to be allowed the state under the calls of this year.
The state and Federal accounts as to the number of men fur-
nished by the state since the beginning of the war were har-
monized after July, 1864, when the state was finally allowed
credit, especially for the many thousands of patriotic men enlisted
in the regular army and in the U. S. navy and marine service.
During the year New York furnished a total of 162,867 men,
divided as follows: militia for 100 days' service, 5,640; for 30
days' service, 791; volunteers enlisted by the state authorities,
17,261; reenlisted in the field, 10,518; drafted men, substitutes,
enlistments and credits by provost-marshals, 128,657. During
the two years of Gov. Seymour's administration, the Empire
State furnished the government a total of 214.075 men. Included
in the above number are three regiments of U. S. colored troops,
designated the 20th, 26th and 31st regiments of infantry. All
three regiments were organized in 1864 for three years' service
under the auspices of the Union League club, the members con-
tributing $18,000 for the purpose. The following organizations
were formed in 1864 and turned over to the United States by the
state authorities: cavalry — six companies for the 2nd; three com-
panies each for the 13th and 15th; two companies each for the
18th and 21st; nine companies for the 2nd mounted rifles; six
companies for the 24th; the 22nd and 25th regiments, complete ;
artillery — one company each for the 3d and 6th; seven compa-
nies each for the 13th and 16th; and two companies for the 14th
regiments; engineers — one company for the 15th, and two com-
panies for the 50th regiments; infantry — one company each for
the 57th, 63d 80th, 124th, 137th, 142nd and 159th; three com-
panies each for the 69th and 90th; six companies for the 187th;
nine companies for the 188th, and the 7th veteran; and the
179th, 184th, 185th, 186th, and 189th regiments, entirely new
The enormous wealth and resources of the Empire State were
strikingly shown as the war progressed; the prosperity of the
state was uninterrupted, despite the enormous drain upon its re-
sources in men, money and material. The soldiers furnished to
the general government by New York alone would have been
sufficient to conduct military operations on a large scale. Gov.
Fenton was duly inaugurated Jan. 1, 1865, and the 88th session
of the legislature convened on the 3d. In his message the gov-
ernor said that the general government had credited the state
with a surplus of 5,301 men under all calls prior to Dec. 1, 1864.
He suggested that the legislature fix a maximum bounty to be
paid by each locality, and empower localities to raise and pay
these bounties in advance of any future calls, so that men would
be ready to meet all requirements. He closed his message with
the following patriotic words: "The constitution of the Union
makes it the duty of the national government to maintain for the
people of all the states republican governments. It is no less the
duty of each state to throw its whole weight and influence firmly
on the side of this great fundamental requirement. This gov-
ernment our fathers intended to establish and transmit as a leg-
acy to posterity. Irrespective of the divisions into states, we are
called upon to maintain and perpetuate the trust. Eighty years
of enterprise, prosperity and progress have not lessened our ob-
ligations, nor checked our devotion to the great cause of civil
liberty. It is not a mistake to assume that, whatever exigency
may follow, whether domestic or foreign, the great body of the
people will go forward to meet and overcome it with the same
firm and irresistible energy which characterized our ancestors,
and has marked the subsequent course of our civilization. In
this patriotic determination of the people for unity, liberty and
the constitution, I shall, at all times, earnestly join." The legis-
lature passed a number of important measures relating to the
war. It provided for a uniform system of bounties throughout
the state and ultimately took steps to reimburse the localities for
all bounties paid. It thanked by concurrent resolution the vol-
unteers of the state for their services in defense of the Union and
the flag; and by resolutions passed on March 25, in behalf of the
people of the state, it gave thanks to the New York officers and
men for their gallant achievements at Fort Fisher, N. C. The
national banking system had been created by Congress on Feb.
25, 1863, and thoroughly revised by act of June 4, 1864. It was
the Federal intent that the state banks should take advantage of
these acts to obtain national issues of currency, which they did
in large numbers after the act of March 3, 1865, which placed a
tax of ten per cent, on state bank circulation. The legislature
of New York passed an "enabling act," March 9, 1865, which
permitted the state banks to come in under the national system
without the long process of a formal dissolution. The result
was that 173 state banks were converted into national banks by
the end of the fiscal year. Twenty banks had previously taken
advantage of the national banking law, so that 183 state banks
were transferred with all their wealth and influence to the na-
tional guardianship during the fiscal year.
Under the last call for troops, Dec. 19, 1864, the president
asked for 300,000 men to serve for three years and the quota
assigned to New York was 61,076. The long war was now draw-
ing to a close and all recruiting and drafting ceased April 14,
1865. In order to fill its quota without resort to the draft, the
state received authority from the war department to organize
new regiments and independent companies. It supplied under
this last call 9,150 men for one year's service; 1,645 men for two
years' service; 23,321 men for three years' service; 67 men for
four years' service, and 13 men paid commutation — total 34,196.
The following new organizations were completed and turned over
to the general government: cavalry — five companies for the 26th
regiment; infantry — one company each for the 75th, and 190th;
two companies for the 191st; the 192nd, 193d, 194th regiments,
complete; also the 35th regiment and a number of independent
companies of infantry incomplete.

On April 3 word was received in New York announcing the
evacuation of Petersburg and the fall of Richmond. Universal
excitement and rejoicing prevailed from this time forward until
the final surrender of Lee on the 9th, which practically terminated
the war. On the 26th occurred Johnston's surrender and soon
after the remaining forces of the Confederates laid down their
arms. The work of disbanding the Union armies was then taken
up and by the close of the summer nearly all the survivors of
the New York troops came home, only a few regiments remaining
in the service on special duty until the following year. The war-
worn veterans were received on their return with every honor
that a grateful people could bestow for their heroic services. On
June 7 Gov. Fenton congratulated the soldiers of the state in an
eloquent address which touched the hearts of all, saying: "Sol-
diers of New York: Your constancy, your patriotism, your faith-
ful services and your valor have culminated in the maintenance
of the government, the vindication of the constitution and the
laws and the perpetuity of the Union. You have elevated the
dignity, brightened the renown, and enriched the history of your
state. You have furnished to the world a grand illustration of
our American manhood, of our devotion to liberty, and of the
permanence and nobility of our institutions. Soldiers: your
state thanks you and gives you the pledge of her lasting grati-
tude. She looks with pride upon your glorious achievements and
consecrates to all time your unfaltering heroism. To you New-
York willingly intrusted her honor, her fair name and her great
destinies; you have proved worthy of the confidence imposed in
you and have returned these trusts with added luster and in-
creased value. The coming home of all our organizations, it is
hoped, is not far distant. We welcome you and rejoice with you
upon the peace your valor has achieved. Your honorable scars
we regard as the truest badges of your bravery and the highest
evidences of the pride and patriotism which animated you. Sadly
and yet proudly we receive as the emblems of heroic endurances
your tattered and worn ensigns, and fondly deposit these relics
of glory, with all their cherished memories and endearing asso-
ciations, in our appointed repositories. With swelling hearts
we bade Godspeed to the departing recruit; with glowing pride
and deepened fervor we say welcome to the returning veteran.
We watched you all through the perilous period of your absence,
rejoicing in your victories and mourning in your defeats. We
will treasure your legends, your brave exploits, and the glorified
memory of your dead comrades, in records more impressive than
the monuments of the past and enduring as the liberties you have
secured. The people will regard with jealous pride your welfare
and honor, not forgetting the widow, the fatherless, and those
who were dependent upon the fallen hero. The fame and glory
you have won for the state and nation, shall be transmitted to
our children as a most precious legacy, lovingly to be cherished
and reverently to be preserved."
The efforts put forth by the great State of New York through-
out the war were in every way worthy of her commanding posi-
tion among the states of the Union, where she easily ranked first
in population and material resources. New York furnished the
most men and sustained the heaviest loss of any state in the war.
The final report of the adjutant-general at Washington for the
year 1885 credits New York with 467,047 troops, including 6,089
men in the regular army, 42,155 sailors and marines; and 18,197
who paid commutation. As the above report of the adjutant-
general of the U. S. army shows that there were 2,865,028 men
furnished during the war, under all calls, the enlistments credited
to New York represent over 16 per cent, of the total. In an able
analysis of the above, the statistician Phisterer brings out the
facts that the state is justly entitled to an additional credit of
15,266 enlistments for 30 days' men, omitted in the adjutant-
general's report; of 11,671 more men enlisted in the regular
army, and 8,781 more men enlisted in the navy and marine. In
arriving at the number of men from New York serving in the
regular army, and in the navy and marine corps, he says: "The
statement of the adjutant-general of the United States army,
dated July 15, 1885, estimates the number of men in the regular
army during the war at 67,000. As far as can be determined
from the reports of the assistant provost-marshals-general of this
state, as published in the reports of the adjutant-general of New
York for the years 1863 to 1865, the number of men credited to
this state, enlisting or reenlisting in the regular army, is 6,089,
and covers only the period of the war from Dec, 1863, to April,
1865, and no men were credited for such enlistments prior to
Dec, 1863. There were in the regular army July 1, 1861, as of-
ficially reported, 16,422 officers and enlisted men; up to this time
the large cities of this state were the principal recruiting fields
of that army, and taking therefore from this number but one-fifth
(by no means an overestimate), as having been enlisted in this
state, would entitle New York to a credit of 3,284. As already
stated from Dec, 1863, to April, 1865 — seventeen months — there
were credited to the state for enlistment in the regular army
6,089 men; and it is but fair to suppose that the state furnished
from July 1, 1861, to Nov., 1863 — twenty-nine months — a propor-
tionate number and an additional credit is therefore claimed of
10,387; total additional claim for credit for service in the reg-
ular army, 13,671. Add to this additional credit the number of
men found to have been credited, 6,089, and the total of 19,760
will give the number of men. who it is claimed, served in the reg-
ular army of the United States, and were enlisted in, or credited
to. New York. Under orders of the war department the enlist-
ment or transfer of volunteers into the regular army was per-
mitted in 1862 and part of 1863, and it is estimated that proba-
bly 2,000 volunteers of this state, a liberal estimate, were thus
transferred; to avoid all appearance of making excessive claims
these two thousand men are deducted, and on the part of the state
claim is made for additional credit, for service in the regular
army, for 11,671 men only.
"No men were credited to New York for service in the navy
and marine until Feb., 1864, and then credit was received for
28,427, as having been enlisted in the state since April 15, 1861.
The adjutant-general of the United States army, under date of
July 15, 1885, credits New York with 35,144 enlistments in the
navy, which includes no doubt those enlisted in the marine corps,
a few hundred only. From the statements of the assistant pro-
vost-marshals-general it appears, however, that they credited the
state with 41,380 such enlistments. The secretary of the navy,
under date of April 10, 1884, in a communication to the United
States senate, reported the number enlisted in the navy between
April 15, 1861, and Feb. 24. 1864, to have been 67,200, of whom
there were credited to this state 28,427 men; that the number en-
listed between Feb. 24, 1864, and June 30, 1865, was 37,577, of 
whom were credited to this state, 13,728; that the number en-
listed during the war, but not credited to any state was 20,177,
of whom were enlisted in this state, 6,817, making the total num-
ber of men, who served in the navy, not including those in serv-
ice April 15, 1861, 124,954, of whom 39.192 per cent., or 48,972
are due to New York. This report of the secretary of the navy,
although it places the number credited to this state at a higher fig-
ure than even the records of the assistant provost-marshals-gen-
eral, is here accepted as the correct statement. But to it must be
added the number of men in service April 1, 1861, which an an-
nual report of the navy places at 7,600 men; and of this number
there is claimed as due to this state the same percentage as has
been found of those enlisted between April 15, 1861, and June
30, 1865, namely 39.192 per cent., or 2,964. This would make
the total number who served in the navy during the war, 132,554,
of whom there came from this state, 51,936. As with the reg-
ular army, so were for a time volunteers permitted to enlist in,
or to be transferred to the navy, and it is estimated that at the
most 1,000 men were thus transferred, and these require to be
deducted from the claims made here for additional credit. It is
accepted as a fact that 42,155 men were duly credited to New
York, and the remainder, deducting those transferred from the
volunteers, of 8,781 men is fairly due the state."
Of the 502,765 men furnished by the state, 17,760 served in
the regular army, and 50,936 in the United States navy and ma-
rine corps, as above shown; the remainder were distributed as
follows: In the United States volunteers, 1,375 of whom 800 are
estimated to have been transferred from the volunteers as gen-
eral and staff officers, giving this branch of the service only 575;
in the United States veteran volunteers, 1,770; in the veteran
reserve corps, 9,862, but as most of these men are properly cred-
ited to the volunteers, where they originally enlisted, the state
only received credit for reenlistments in this branch of the serv-
ice to the number of 222; in the United States colored troops,
4,125; in the volunteers of other states (estimated), 500; in the
militia and National Guard, 38,028; men who paid commuta-
tion, for which the state was officially credited, 18,197; in the
general volunteer service, 370,652.
The enlisted men were divided according to their terms of
service as follows: For 30 days, 15,266; for three months,
17,743; for 100 days, 5,019; for nine months, 1,781; for one year,
62,500; for two years, 34,723; for three years, 347,395; for four
years, 141; paid commutation, 18,197 — total, 502,765. As a large
number of men enlisted in the service more than once, the actual
number of individuals from New York who served during the
war has been estimated in round numbers at 400,000. The pop-
ulation of the state in 1860 was 3,880,735, of whom 1,933,532
were males. The percentage of individuals in service to total
population is therefore 10.30; of individuals to total male pop-
ulation, 20.68. It has been found impossible to arrive at very
accurate figures as to the nativity of the individual soldiers from
the state, but Phisterer has arrived at the conclusion that of the
400,000 individuals, 279,040 were natives of the United States,
and 120,960 or 30.24 per cent, of foreign birth. The latter were
divided according to nationality as follows: 42,095 Irish, 41,179
German, 12,756 English, 11,525 British-American, 3,693 French,
3,333 Scotch, 2,014 Welsh, 2,015 Swiss, and 2,350 of all other
The state furnished the following organizations during the
war: Cavalry, 27 regiments, 10 companies; artillery, 15 regi-
ments, 37 companies; engineers, 3 regiments; sharpshooters, 8
companies; infantry, 248 regiments, 10 companies. New York
furnished the army with 20 major-generals, only 2 of whom —
John A. Dix and Edwin D. Morgan — were appointed from civil
life. It furnished 98 officers of the rank of brigadier-general,
of whom 12 were appointed from civil life. Included in this long
list of higher officers are the names of many who gained renown
as among the most efficient commanders produced by the war.
The enormous expenditures of the state, both in lives and
money, has been frequently alluded to. It is estimated that the
various counties, cities and towns of the state expended for every
purpose connected with the war the sum of $114,404,055.35. The
state expended the sum of $38,044,576.82, making a grand total
of $152,448,632.17. In arriving at the total of state expenditures,
the following items are included: In organizing, subsisting, equip-
ping, uniforming and transporting volunteers, $5,101,873.79, less
the amount reimbursed the state by the general government would
leave in round numbers $900,000; amount of the direct tax al-
lotted to New York, $2,213,332.86; expended by the state for
bounties, $34,931,243.96.
Of the total number of individuals from New York who served
in the army and navy of the United States during the war, the
state claims a loss by death while in service of 52,993. Of this
number, there were killed in action, 866 officers, 13,344 enlisted
men, aggregate 14,210; died of wounds received in action, 414 of-
ficers, 7,143 enlisted men, aggregate 7,557; died of disease and
other causes, 506 officers, 30,720 enlisted men, aggregate 31,226;
total, 1,786 officers, 51,207 enlisted men. The adjutant-general
of the United States in his report of 1885 only credits the state
with the following loss: killed in action, 772 officers, 11,329 en-
listed men, aggregate 12,101; died of wounds received in action,
371 officers, 6,613 enlisted men, aggregate 6,984; died of disease
and other causes, 387 officers, 27,062 enlisted men, aggregate
27,449; total, 1,530 officers, 45,004 enlisted men, aggregate
46,534. Of these 5,546 officers and men died as prisoners. The
above report, however, only includes losses in the militia, Na-
tional Guard and volunteers of the state, and fails to include the
losses in other branches of the service, including those who served
in the navy and marine corps, and in the colored troops. Of the
51,936 men furnished by the state to the navy, 706 were killed
in battle, 997 died of disease, 36 died as prisoners, and 141 from
all other causes — total, 1,880.
Space forbids more than a brief reference to some of the more
famous fighting organizations contributed by the State of New
York. Perhaps the best known brigade organization in the
service was the Irish Brigade, officially designated as the 2nd
brigade, 1st division, 2nd corps. It was in Hancock's old di-
vision, and was successively commanded by Gen. Thomas Fran-
cis Meagher, Col. Patrick Kelly (killed), Gen. Thomas A. Smyth
(killed). Col. Richard Byrnes (killed), and Gen. Robert Nugent.
It was organized in 1861, and originally consisted of the 63d,
69th and 88th N. Y. infantry regiments, to which were added
in the fall of 1862 the 28th Mass. and the 116th Pa. Its loss in
killed and died of wounds was 961, and a total of 4,000 men
were killed and wounded. Col. Fox in his "Regimental Losses
in the Civil War," says of this brigade: "The remarkable pre-
cision of its evolutions under fire, its desperate attack on the im-
pregnable wall at Marye's heights; its never failing promptness on
every field ; and its long continuous service, made for it a name
inseparable from the history of the war." Another famous bri-
gade was the Excelsior Brigade (Sickles'), belonging to Hook-
er's (2nd) division, 3d corps, and composed of the 70th, 71st,
72nd, 73d, 74th and 120th N. Y. infantry. Its losses in killed
and died of wounds were 876. In Harrow's (1st) brigade, Gib-
bon's (2nd) division, 2nd corps, was the 82nd N. Y. regiment of
infantry. This brigade suffered the greatest percentage of loss
in any one action during the war, at Gettysburg, where its loss
was 763 killed, wounded and missing out of a total of 1,246 in
action, or 61 per cent. The loss of the 82nd was 45 killed, 132
wounded, 15 missing — total, 192. There were forty-five infan-
try regiments which lost over 200 men each, killed or mortally
wounded in action during the war, and six of these were New-
York regiments. At the head of the New York regiments, and
standing sixth in the total list, is the 69th N. Y., which lost the
most men in action, killed and wounded, of any infantry regi-
ment in the state, to-wit: 13 officers and 246 enlisted men — total,
259. Coming next in the order named are the 40th, 48th, 121st,
111th and 51st regiments. Of the three hundred fighting regi-
ments enumerated by Col. Fox, fifty-nine are from New York.
It has been shown that of the 132,554 men who served in the
navy of the United States during the war, 51,936 or considerably-
more than one-third, came from New York. The maritime
importance, of course, of a state like New York, accounts for its
important contribution to this branch of the service. The sons
of the Empire State were to be found in every important naval
engagement throughout the war. That they paid the debt of
patriotism and valor is attested by the fact that 1,880 perished
in battle, from disease and from other causes incident to the
service. When the government was in pressing need of more
vessels, a son of New York, Commodore Vanderbilt, presented
it with his magnificent ship, the Vanderbilt, costing $800,000.
The names of John Ericsson, John A. Griswold and John F. Win-
slow, all of New York, are inseparably linked with the most im-
portant contribution to the navy during the war — the building of
the Monitor — which worked a revolution in naval warfare. Capt.
Mahan, in his "Navy in the Civil War," thus recounts the brav-
ery of one of the famous commanders furnished by New York:
"As the Tecumseh, T. A. Craven, commander, went into action
at Mobile Bay, it struck a torpedo and sank instantly. The ves-
sel went down head foremost, her screw plainly visible in the air
for a moment to the enemy, that waited for her, not 200 yards
off, on the other side of the fatal line. It was then that Craven
did one of those deeds that should be always linked with
the doer's name, as Sidney's is with the cup of cold water. The
pilot and he instinctively made for the narrow opening leading to
the turret below. Craven drew back; 'After you, pilot,' he said.
There was no afterward for him; the pilot was saved, but he went
down with his ship." Other sons of New York, whose names
adorn the records of the American navy are Capt. John L. Wor-
den, who commanded the Monitor in her historic engagement
with the Merrimac; Lieut. -Com. William B. Cushing, a man of
extraordinary bravery and the hero of the Albemarle fight; Capt.
A, T. Mahan. who served as a lieutenant during the war, and
ranks to-day as the greatest living authority on naval matters;
Lieut.-Com. Pierre Gouraud, "the marksman of the Montauk;"
Capt. Melancthon Smith, the hero of the attack on Port Hudson;
Commander David Constable, whose steamer led the attacking"
forces in the ascent of the James and the bombardment of Fort
Darling, and who was the recipient of warm praise from Presi-
dent Lincoln; Commander William E. Le Roy, who distinguished
himself at Mobile Bay; Commanders Henry W. Morris, Homer
C. Blake, Jonathan M. Wainwright — who lost his life in the de-
fense of his vessel, the Harriet Lane, at Galveston — William B.
Renshaw, another of the heroes of Galveston, who laid down his
life and sank his vessel, Jan. 1, 1863. to prevent the capture of
the same by the enemy; Commodore Theodorus Bailey, second in
command during the assaults on Forts Jackson and St. Philip,
and a long list of other brilliant names.
Instances of conspicuous gallantry on the part of New York
organizations and soldiers might be multiplied almost indefinitely.
More than a hint has already been given in the preceding pages
of many of the more important services to which the state can
lay especial claim. Suffice it to say in addition that upwards of
15,000 names of those who received favorable mention in battle
reports, and the names of 132 volunteers who received medals
of honor from the United States for conspicuous bravery, should
be added to the long Roll of Honor of the state. Some idea of
the important part played by the soldiers of the Empire State
in every important engagement of the war may be gained from
the statement that, at Gettysburg, the decisive battle of the great
struggle. New York contributed eighty-seven regiments and bat-
teries of the two hundred and sixty engaged on the Union side.
Of the nineteen infantry divisions six were led by New York
officers, while of the seventy brigade organizations, twenty-one
were commanded by New York officers; of the total Union losses,
23,049, New York contributed one-third, or 6,784; of the 246
officers killed, New York claims 76, and 294 of the 1,145 officers
wounded. New York organizations were prominent in every
campaign, and with scarcely an exception reflected honor on
their state.
The excellent sanitary condition of most of the New York regi-
ments in the field evoked many favorable comments. During
the earlier period of the war, especially, the surgical staff with
the volunteers was of the highest character and standing and
medical men of the highest reputation offered their services freely.
Said Dr. John Swinburne, of Albany, medical superintendent
for the state troops in an official report for 1863, "New York has
made the best selection of surgeons for her regiments of any
state in the Union. For this judicious and extraordinary selec-
tion, we are indebted to Surgeon-General Vanderpoel, of v/hom
the medical profession of the state may well be proud." It is
doubtless true that some of the "contract surgeons" during the
latter period of the war suffered somewhat by comparison with
their predecessors, but on the whole New York troops were given
efficient medical supervision. A point to be remembered in an-
alyzing the statistics of deaths from disease among the volun-
teers from all the states is, that during the first months of the
war many recruits were allowed to enter the service without a
proper inspection as to their physical condition; and during the
last months of the war when the demand for troops at the front
was so continuous and pressing, the same condition of affairs
prevailed to a certain extent.
To the loyal and patriotic women of the state is largely due
the final successful outcome of the war, and from the very be-
ginning the mothers, wives, sisters and sweethearts of those who
enlisted, exerted themselves in every way to alleviate the suffer-
ings and hardships of the soldiers. Every city, town and vil-
lage had its relief association, which labored unceasingly in
making and forwarding comforts to the soldiers in the field, and
in providing hospital supplies for the sick and wounded. At the
very beginning of the struggle a society was organized in New
York city to furnish hospital supplies and other needed comforts
for the soldiers in field and hospital. The first meeting was held
in the church of the Puritans, which later culminated in a great
assemblage of 3,000 ladies in the Cooper Institute to adopt a
plan of concerted action for bringing relief to suffering soldiers,
and to their bereaved relatives and friends. This great Cooper
Union meeting resulted in the formation of a Woman's central
relief association, which then took charge of most of the active
relief work. The headquarters of the association were in New
York, and on its board of managers were the following well
known women: Mesdames Hamilton Fish, Cyrus W. Field,
Charles P. Kirkland, Bayard, Charles Abernethy, H. Bayles, N.
D. Sewell, G. L. Schuyler, C. Griffin, Laura Doremieux, and V.
Botta. It formed an efficient auxiliary to the general hospital
service of the army, and it is no exaggeration to say that many
thousands of sick and wounded soldiers owe their lives to the
efforts of this splendid relief association. At a later date, when
the great relief associations known as the United States sanitary
and Christian commissions became perfected, the women of the
state continued to act as active and efficient aids in the prosecu-
tion of their great work, and these associations owe their very
origin in a large measure to the philanthropic impulses of the
women of New York. Another efficient agency in promoting
the successful conduct of the war was the famous Union League
Club of New York city, whose influence was manifested in many
ways, such as raising and equipping regiments, aiding the gen-
eral government in the floating of bond issues, and supporting the
work of the Sanitary commission. Said the Rev. Henry Bellows,
president of the Sanitary commission, in his history of the club:
"It is the child of the Sanitary commission. Prof. Walcott Gibbs
was the first to suggest that the idea on which the Sanitary com-
mission was founded needed to take on the form of a club, which
should be devoted to the social organization of the sentiment of
'unconditional loyalty' to the Union, and he chose Mr. Frederick
Law Olmsted as the first person to be consulted and advised
with, and the latter at length became the corner-stone of the
Union League Club." The great Metropolitan fair, which raised
over $1,000,000 for the treasury of the Sanitary commission,
was another of the important labors of the club.
Still another efficient adjunct in the work of the Sanitary com-
mission was the "Allotment commission," the commissioners be-
ing Theodore Roosevelt, William E. Dodge, Jr., and Theodore
B. Bronson. It was the especial duty of this highly useful or-
ganization to arrange the means whereby the soldiers in the field
could safely and expeditiously transmit their pay to the women
and children, and other dependents at home. It performed its
work without compensation, and was the means whereby vast
sums of money were forwarded to the families of soldiers. Its
first annual report showed that it collected and paid over to the
families and friends of soldiers more than $5,000,000 in a single
year. Cooperating with this commission in all its extraordinary
exertions, were the efficient paymaster-generals of the state. Col.
George Bliss, Jr., John D. Van Buren, and Selden E. Marvin,
and their assistants. It has been estimated that the efforts put
forth by the Sanitary, Christian and Allotment commissions
fully doubled the efficiency of the Union Army. It is believed
enough facts have been set forth in the foregoing brief history
of New York in the War of the Rebellion to substantiate the
statement made earlier in this history, that the Empire State per-
formed her full duty in the work of suppressing the greatest re-
bellion in the history of mankind.

See also
Source: The Union Army, vol. 2


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