17th Veteran New York Infantry Regiment's Civil War Historical Sketch

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

On the 3d of June Maj. W. T. C. Grover received authority to reorganize the regiment. Under this authorization a very con¬siderable portion of the members who returned with it re-enlisted for three years. The re-organization was finally effected by the consolidation with it of recruits for the 9th regiment, the 38th regiment N. Y. S. V. and the "Union Sharpshooters." It left the State in October, 1863, officered by. a majority of its old officers and by officers formerly of the Ninth, and composed almost wholly of vete¬rans. It was ordered to the department of the southwest; joined the army under Gen. Sherman, and served under him until it left the field.

The movements of the regiment in the department of the south¬west may be briefly stated. On the 21st of December, 1863, under Gen. A. J. Smith, it made the Tennessee campaign after Forrest, losing, principally by very severe frosts, about 200 men (many losing the use of both hands and feet, while scarcely an officer or man but was more or less frostbitten), and joining Gen. Sherman at Vicksburg, January, 24, 1864. Under that General it made the Mississippi or Meriden campaign, leaving Vicksburg on the 2d of February, and marching over 460 miles. In April it moved to Decatur, Ala., where for thirty-three days it had skirmishes, with the forces under Gen. Roddy, almost as regular as the reveille call ; subsequently attacked Roddy at Pond Spring, Courtland, &c, routed his forces and captured the whole of his camp and garrison, baggage, horses, &c. At Atlanta it was in the trenches. At Jonesboro it charged and fought Clayborne's invincible Texas Rangers, who boasted never to have been defeated, but who were then broken, routed, and had their works taken from them. Here Col. Grover was killed, and one hundred and one of its men left on the field. From Atlanta it participated in the Hood campaign in the rear of the army, and marched over 600 miles. It returned to Atlanta at night, and started the next morning without preparation on Sherman's grand march to the sea. On the march from Savannah to the Carolinas, it engaged the enemy at Averysboro, and had its Lieut.-Colonel commanding, James Lake, wounded and Capt. Wm. G. Barnett killed. Its last engagement was at Bentonville, where it cut its way through the lines of the enemy when surrounded by the falling back of the first division.

After the surrender of Gen. Johnson, the regiment marched to Washington ; took part in the review of Gen. Sherman's army, and was soon after mustered out of service. It reached New York on the 16th of June, 1865, bearing with it testimonials from the officers commanding the 1st brigade, the 2d division, and of the 14th army corps, the first asserting that "In all the essential qualities which distinguish the heroic citizen soldier, the Seventeenth New York has been excelled by none. Representatives as you are of the great city of New York, your association with the men of the northwest, composing the balance of the brigade, has been of the most pleasing and genial kind." The second that" the General will always remember with pride, its gallant bravery in the charge at Jonesboro, and in the battles of Averysboro and Bentonville." And the last, that "its soldierly conduct, attention to duty, and invariably gallant conduct in action, has reflected credit upon itself and the corps."