10th New York Infantry Regiment's Civil War Historical Sketch

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

Taken from New York (State). Bureau of Military Statistics. 3rd Annual Report of the Bureau of Military Statistics. Albany: The Bureau, 1866, 101-105.

TENTH REGIMENT INFANTRY, N. Y. S. V. The Tenth regiment infantry, N. Y. S. V, or " National Zou¬aves," was organized in the city of New York by Col. Walter V. McChesney, at that time in command of a company organized on the plan of the " Chicago Zouaves," which had been introduced to public favor by E. Elmer Ellsworth in the summer of 1860. Col. McChesney received authorization to raise a regiment, April 16th, 1861, and immediately opened headquarters at the Mercer House.

Companies where and by whom principally raised

Co. A New York city Capt. Frank J. White
Co. B New York city Capt. James Fairman
Co. C New York city Maj. Alex. B. Elder
Co. D New York city Capt. Thomas Cloudsley
Co. E New York city Capt. John Missing
Co. F Brooklyn Capt. Salmon Winchester
Co. G New York city Capt. Joseph Newburgh
Co. H New York city Capt. George F. Hopper
Co. I Brooklyn Capt. James Henry Briggs
Co. K New York city Capt. Geo. Granville Richardson


ON the 26th of April, the State Board numbered and accepted the regiment into the State service and confirmed the election of the following field officers, viz: Walter W. McChesney, colonel, Alex B. Elder, lieutenant colonel, and John W. Marshall, major. The several companies were mustered into the service of the United States on the following dates, viz: A and B, April 27th; C, D, E, F, G and H, April 30th; I, May 2d, and K, May 7th; and the field and staff May 2d, by Capt. M. Cogswell,Eigth U. S. infantry. The regiment was armed, May 29th, with U. S. percussion muskets, model of 1842, a caliber 69; which were subquently exchanged for Remington rifles with angular bayonets. The State Board, May 29th, ordered the sum of $5,920 to be applied to defray the expense of procuring Zouave uniforms; and on the 4th of June, one hundred common and eighteen wall tents were issued to the regiment by the State. To assist in the organ¬ization of the regiment the Union Defense Committee, of New York expended the sum of $11,623.04. The expenditure by the State, on account of the regiment, exclusive of subsistence and quarters, up to the 15th August, 1861, was $39,847.73.

The regiment left its camp at Sandy. Hook, where it had been under instruction for about four weeks, on the 5th of June, 1861, and embarked on the steamer "Florida" for Fortress Monroe, where it arrived on the 7th of June, and took camp at Camp Hamilton. It had scarcely landed on the beach at Hampton Roads before the "long roll" announced the presence of the enemy. Having no orders to move, the men, in their impatience, stacked arms and rushed for a hand-to-hand conflict, as they sup-posed, but, fortunately for themselves, did not reach their foes. Its first field service was on the Big Bethel expedition in the reserve, and from which it returned without especial responsi¬bility. Soon after this affair, Colonel MeChesney obtained leave of absence, and did not return to the command. Its camp and guard duties in the vicinity of and in Fortress Monroe were heavy, and during the eleven months that it remained there it enjoyed the confidence of the officers commanding the department. On the 2d of September, Colonel John E. Bendix was put in command of the regiment by Governor Morgan, and Lieut. Col. Elder was ordered to New York on recruiting service, where he soon after died of fever. Major Marshall was then appointed Lieut. Col., and Captain Missing was appointed Major, and held their places until the regiment was mustered out.

Soon after the Peninsula campaign commenced, Major General Wool, then in command at Fortress Monroe, moved to the occu¬pation of Norfolk. The Tenth was among the troops selected for this expedition. The Twentieth New York took the advance as skirmishers, up to the bridge, where they were driven back, when the Tenth was ordered by the General to take the advance up to the fortifications of the enemy,, and was then relieved by the Twentieth New York. The enemy having evacuated, we took possession of the fortifications, and four companies of the Tenth were sent into Norfolk that night (May 10th.) On May 11th the regiment marched into Norfolk and occupied all the fortifications in the harbor. On May 20th it was relieved by detachments from the Ninety-ninth N. Y., marched, over to Portsmouth and went into camp. On the 2d of June the regiment received orders to join the army of the Potomac, and on the 5th embarked on the steamer "Empire City" for Yorktown, where it was transferred to the steamer "Arrowsmith," and sailed for the White House on the Pamunkey river. On the 7th it marched from White House to Bottom's Bridge, on the Chickahominy, and reported to Gen. McClellan, and was by him directed to report to Gen. Porter, by whose order it was attached to the fourth brigade (Col. Warren), third division (Gen. Sykes), fifth army corps (Gen. Porter.) About this time Stuart and Fitz Hugh Lee commenced their famous raid; and, June 13th, the regiment, with other troops, was ordered in pursuit. It marched 56 miles in 36 hours, but failed to overtake the enemy and returned to camp. Oil the 26th, McCall's division was attacked and forced to retreat. The Tenth lay in line of battle during the night, and on the morning of the 27th moved to a prominent position on Gaines' Farm, and at noon was hotly engaged with the enemy. Here commenced the SEVEN DAYS marching and fighting of the memorable victorious retreat to the James, and in it the intrepidity and bravery of the regiment was conspicuous. Five different positions were taken in which; the enemy was successfully held in cheek, and on the 28th the regi-ment and corps halted beyond the banks of the Chickahominy, on the grounds of the headquarters of the commanding General. Here it lay in line of battle until night, when the command was ordered back to Savage's Station, from which point it moved to White Oak Swamp, where it held its position until morning, and then fell back to Malvern Hill and formed in line of battle. About 5 P.M., June 30, the enemy approached and were pressed back. Early the next morning they renewed the attack in repeated and determined charges along the whole line, but were repulsed with great slaughter. The night was spent in laying on their arms, and the next morning the Fourth brigade, under Gen. Sikes, acted as rear guard until all the troops had left the hill. The Tenth was the last infantry regiment to leave Malvern Hill. It marched all day in a drenching rain to the main army then concentrated and in secure position at Harrison's Landing. During this short cam¬paign the regiment lost nine killed, forty-four wounded, and fifty missing.

The regiment lay at Harrison's Landing until the 20th of August, when it moved in the evacuation of the Peninsula; marched all night and at 1 P. M. of the next day crossed the Chickahominy ; on the 22d arrived at Williamsburgh and encamped on the old battle field ; passed Yorktown on the 23d, and on the 24th readied New¬port News, where it, remained in camp two days; then embarked on the steamer " Cahawba;" arrived at Acquia creek on the 26th, and went by railroad to Falmouth station ; marched to Kelly's ford on the 27th ; to Bealton on the 28th ; to Manassas Junction on the 29th; and, after an hour's rest; ordered to return and take the Thoroughfare Gap road and assist Gen. Sigel ; formed line of battle but was not engaged; took up march for Centreville at 1 o'clock A. M., but from the darkness of the night was obliged to lay in the road until daylight ; then took the Centreville road to Bull Run; arrived on the field and ordered to the front. In this battle the regiment acquitted itself nobly, and lost one hundred and sixty killed, wounded and missing. After the battle the regiment lurched to Centreville, where it remained in intrench-ments until the 1st of September, when it, took up march for:Fair¬fax Court House, and arrived at Hall's Hill (Arlington Height's); at 2 A. M., September 2d. The regiment remained at Hall's Hill until the 8th, when it marched for Antietam; crossed the stone bridge at Georgetown September 9th, and marched to South Mountain, in which engagement, as well as that of Antietam, it was with the reserve. Two days after the battle at Antietam the regiment crossed the Potomac at Shepardstown Ford, and became so. hotly engaged with a superior force of the enemy that it was forced to retire.

On the 24th of September the regiment was transferred to the third brigade, third division, second army corps, which it joined at Harper's Ferry, and in which it remained until the expiration of its term of service. It moved from Shepardstown Ford to Harper's Ferry, and remained there for about one month, when it moved to Falmouth. On the 13th of December the battle of Fredericksburg commenced. In this battle only 12 officers and 200 men of the regiment were engaged (the remainder acting as pro¬vost guard in the city), and out of this number of men eighty-six were returned among the killed, wounded and missing. Col. Bendix was the first person wounded. Captain Winchester then took the command and was soon after killed. Lieut Yardley was also killed. Six other officers were wounded, of whom one, Lieu-tenant Morrell, died shortly after in Washington. The regiment recrossed the Rappahannock on the 16th and returned to camp. On the 27th it was ordered to act as special guard at Gen. Sum¬ner's headquarters and remained there until the grand divisions were broken up. It was then ordered to support a battery in front of Fredericksburg, and in this position remained until the 25th of April; when it was ordered home to be mustered out; It left the field April 27th, arrived in New York on the 30th, and was mustered out on the 7th of May.

The regiment received, during their first two years' service, about 1,300 men, and brought home about 300 of the original number, and left in the field a battalion of four companies, under command of Major George F. Hopper, embracing a force of about two hundred men. From the date of organization (April 26th) it received four hundred and eighteen recruits and one hun¬dred and ninety-six substitutes, and the command was increased to six companies. It was first ordered to duty as provost guard of third division, second army corps, and acted in this capacity until January 20th, 1865, when it was returned to the second brigade third division, second army corps, in which it served until mustered out in June following.