102nd New York Infantry Regiment's Civil War Historical Sketch

Taken from Final Report on the Battlefield of Gettysburg (New York at Gettysburg) by the New York Monuments Commission for the Battlefields of Gettysburg and Chattanooga. Albany, NY: J.B. Lyon Company, 1902.


The One hundred and second New York Regiment was recruited in various parts of the State, although most of the men were enlisted in New York and Brooklyn. Two companies came from Rondout, and one from Sharon Springs; while squads of recruits were raised in Ogdensburg, Lima and Avoca.

A partial organization was effected January 27, 1862, by consolidating two embryo regiments — the Von Beck Rifles and McClellan Infantry — with the Van Buren Light Infantry. There were added, subsequently, two companies which were raised for the Seventy-eighth New York (Cameron Highlanders), and a company of the Twelfth Militia.

These high-sounding synonyms were self-adopted designations, which were seldom heard aside from the printed placards of the recruiting office; and after the One hundred and second went to the front it was known only by its numerical title, a number which became linked with a most honorable record.

The organization was perfected in March, 1862, although the men had been mustered in at various times during the five preceding months. While organizing, the men were encamped at New Lots, Kings County. The field officers first commissioned were: Thomas B. Van Buren, colonel; William B. Hay-ward, lieutenant colonel; and James C. Lane, major.

Eight companies left Brooklyn, March 10, 1862, and proceeded to Washington, the two remaining companies, I and K, following on April 7th. The eight companies, on March 15th, crossed the Potomac and marched to Langley, Va., where they were stationed on the outposts for ten days, after which they returned to Washington. Here they formed a part of Wadsworth's Division. In May the regiment was assigned to Doubleday's Brigade, of King's Division, McDowell's Corps, and was stationed at Aquia Creek.

On May 25th the One hundred and second was suddenly ordered to Harper's Ferry with other troops, on account of the threatened advance of Stonewall Jackson down the Shenandoah Valley. On arriving there the regiment reported to Gen. Rufus Saxton, under whose command it served at Harper's Ferry until June 1st, when it was placed in Cooper's Brigade, of Sigel's Division. With this command it served in the Shenandoah Valley during the ensuing campaign. This brigade was composed of the Third Maryland, One hundred and second New York, One hundred and ninth and One hundred and eleventh Pennsylvania, and the Eighth and Twelfth United States Infantry.

On June 26, 1862, the Army of Virginia, under command of Gen. John Pope, was organized, upon which the brigade became the Second Brigade, Gen. Henry E. Prince, of Augur's (Second) Division, Banks's Corps.

Under command of Major Lane the regiment participated in the battle of Cedar Mountain, August 9, 1862, where it lost 115 in killed and wounded, or over 50 percent, of the number taken in action. Capt. Julius Spring was killed, and Capt. Arthur Cavanaugh mortally wounded in this battle. After taking part in the subsequent movement of Pope's retreat, including the battle of Second Bull Run, the regiment, in company with its corps, started on the Antietam campaign in Maryland. On September 12th, Banks's Corps was designated as the Twelfth Corps, Army of the Potomac, and General Mansfield was assigned to its command.

At the battle of South Mountain the corps was held in reserve, and was not under fire. Three days later it was actively engaged in the battle of Antietam. The One hundred and second New York was commanded in this action by Lieut. Col. James C. Lane, who had been promoted from major. The regiment entered the fight at 6:30 a. m. with the division, and was not relieved until 1130 p. m. The division drove the enemy from the East Woods, and, crossing the Sharpsburg Pike, entered the West Woods around the Dunker Church, holding this advanced position several hours. Captain Cornell fell early in the action, being killed by a sharpshooter while the regiment was deploying from close column by division into line of battle.

After this battle, on October 27, 1862, some changes were made in the Second Division, and, as a result, the regiment was placed in the Third Brigade, commanded by Gen. George S. Greene. The brigade, as newly organized, contained the following commands:

60th New York, Col. Abel Godard,
78th New York, Maj. Henry R. Stagg,
102d New York, Col. James C. Lane,
137th New York, Col. David Ireland,
149th New York, Col. Henry A. Barnum.

These regiments served together in the Third Brigade until the close of the war. Gen. John W. Geary was placed in command of the division, a position which he retained without change until the corps was disbanded in 1865. The division was encamped on Loudoun Heights, and, subsequently, on Bolivar Heights, near Harper's Ferry, for three months or more after the battle of Antietam. On November 9th General Geary, with his command, made a reconnaissance up the Shenandoah Valley as far as Rippon, near Berryville.