5th New York Infantry Regiment's Civil War Historical Sketch

From The 3rd Annual Report Of The Bureau Of Military Statistics

The Fifth Regiment, Infantry, N. Y. S. V. or "Duryee's Zouaves," was recruited in the city of New York, in the spring of 1861, under authority issued to Col. Abram Duryee. On the 23d of April its several companies were mustered into service of the State ; on the 25th the State Board confirmed the election of its field officers, viz; Abram Duryee, Colonel, Gouveneur K. Warren, Lieut. Colonel, and J. Mansfield Davies, Major; on the 9th of May it was mustered into the service of the United States at Fort Schuyler, by Capt. T. Seymour, U. S. A., and on the 10th it was formally accepted by the State Military Board. On the 16th of May it was ordered to report to Gen. Dix for duty, and, under the orders of that officer, left the State on the 23d ; arrived at Fortress Monroe on the 25th, and encamped near the Hampton bridge in company with the 2d New York Vols. Prior to leaving the State it was furnished, April 29th, with 800 United States percussion muskets, pattern of 1842, calibre 69; and May 1st with fifty Sibley tents, and May 18th with eighty-three common tents. At Fortress Monroe, companies E and K exchanged, with the Commissary General, their muskets for Sharp's rifles. To assist in the organization of the Regiment, the Union Defense Committee, of New York city, paid $19,063.41, and up to the 15th of August, 1861, the expenditure by the State, for the same purpose was $44,731.40 exclusive of subsistence and quarters.

The regiment, soon after its arrival, was moved to "Camp Butler," Newport News, where it was recognized as the "advanced guard," not only in, name but in position. Here it saw three months varied service, took part in several important reconnoissances, including the occupation of the Rev. Dr. Raymond's "Chesapeake Seminary," and the affair at Big Bethel. In the latter engagement the fifth led the advance, supported by the 3d New York. The causes which led to the failure of the attempt to dislodge the enemy are generally understood. No censure, however, ever rested upon the Fifth. The service expected of it was gallantly performed. It destroyed the enemy's camp at Little Bethel, and retired on command from Big Bethel with a loss of five killed, sixteen wounded and two missing.

About the 1st of September the Regiment was ordered to Baltimore as a part of the garrison of that city. While there it constructed one of the most formidable of the defensive works of the city, and won the respect of the inhabitants. At the opening of the campaign of 1862, it was assigned to the 3d brigade, 3d division, 5th (Porter's) corps. From that time the history of the most brilliant-operations on the Peninsula is but the record of the Fifth's achievements. It returned from the Peninsula with the army, and was heavily engaged in the battle of second Bull Run. There, less than 500 strong, it lost in killed and wounded over 350. The remnant of the regiment was at South Mountain, Antietam, Fredericksburgh and Chancellorsville. It returned to New York on the 8th of May, 1863, and was mustered out on the 9th of that month, its three years' men having been transferred to the 146th regiment. On the 25th of May, 1863, Col. Cleveland Winslow, who returned in command, was authorized to reorganize the regiment for three year's service. Under this authorization, and by the consolidation with it of the 31st and [?] which were reorganizing for three years, a battalion was organized and took the field in the fall. By subsequent consolidations, including that of the 12th regiment, a regimental command was organized and remained in the field until the close of the war.


During its term of service the Regiment had 2,164 men on its rolls, viz : two years' men, of original organization, 1,026, of whom 260 were with the regiment after the battle at Chancellorsville; recruits and volunteers on reorganization, 1,138, of whom 730 returned, including only about 100 of the original members of 1861. It had six Colonels, viz : Abram Duryee, Hiram Duryea, Governeur K. Warren, Cleveland Winslow, Frederick Winthrop, and William F. Drum, three of whom were promoted to higher rank and it is stated that no other New York regiment gave so many officers to other commands.

Taken from New York (State). Bureau of Military Statistics. 3rd Annual Report of the Bureau of Military Statistics. Albany: The Bureau, 1866, 77-79.