New York’s Civil War Sesquicentennial Commemoration

The state of New York furnished almost 449,000 men for the Union Army and Navy in the Civil War, the most of any state. According to Frederick Dyer’s Compendium of the War of the Rebellion, 19,085 of these men were killed or mortally wounded in action, which was also the most of any state. Adding in thousands more who died of disease, as prisoners of war, and all other causes the total number of fatalities was over 46,500.

New York raised approximately 300 regiments of infantry, cavalry, and artillery during the war . Several regiments served in the Nineteenth Corps in the Port Hudson and Red River Campaigns in Louisiana, and several others served the Twentieth Corps and participated in William T. Sherman’s campaigns in Georgia and the Carolinas.

But by far, the majority of New York troops served in the Army of the Potomac.

There were many famous and distinguished New York regiments in the Army of the Potomac.  The 63rd, 69th, and 88th New York Infantry regiments were made up predominantly of Irish immigrants and Irish Americans. These units made up a large part of the Second Corps’ Irish Brigade. All three suffered heavy casualties, particularly at the Battles of Antietam and Fredericksburg in 1862. The Scottish counterpart to the Irish was the 79th New York. Known as the Highlanders, this unit suffered nearly 200 casualties in the war’s first big battle at Bull Run, Virginia. The 140th New York played a significant role at the Battle of Gettysburg in helping to secure Little Round Top and prevent a Confederate breakthrough there. Also at Gettysburg, several New York Second Corps regiments helped repel the July 3rd charge known as Pickett’s  Charge.

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