122nd 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 twenty-second New York Volunteers was recruited in the county of Onondaga in July and August, 1862, under the call of President Lincoln for 300,000 volunteers, and was mustered into service at Syracuse, N. Y., August 28, 1862.
The regiment left Syracuse August 31, 1862, and proceeded immediately to Washington. After two days rest it was ordered to join the Army of the Potomac, and was assigned to Cochrane's Brigadeafterwards commanded by General Shaler,- Couch's Division, Sixth Army Corps, in which it served continuously until the close of the war.
The regiment joined the corps just before the battle of Antietam, and though not actually engaged was in reserve in that battle.
The regiment participated in the following battles, viz.: First Fredericksburg, Marye's Heights, Salem Church, Gettysburg, Rappahannock Station, Mine Run, Wilderness, Spotsylvania, North Anna, Cold Harbor, Weldon Railroad, Fort Stevens, in fortifications of Washington, Winchester, Fisher's Hill, Cedar Creek, Assault on Petersburg, Sailor's Creek, and was present at the surrender of Lee.
The regiment was commanded by Colonel Titus until after the battle of Gettysburg, when the command devolved upon Lieut. Col. A. W. Dwight, who was promoted to colonel February 28, 1865, and who was killed in action March 25, 1865, in the advance of the Sixth Corps picket line in front of the works at Petersburg, a few days previous to the final assault upon the works.
At the battle of Cedar Creek, October 19, 1864, Colonel Dwight having been wounded and Maj. J. M. Brower having been killed, Capt. A. H. Clapp ably commanded the regiment throughout the remainder of the battle.
Capt. J. M. Gere was promoted to lieutenant colonel, and Capt. H. H. Walpole to colonel just before the close of the war. . The regiment during its term of service lost the following officers killed in action, viz.:
Lieut. Col. A. W. Dwight, at Petersburg, Va., March 25, 1865.
Maj. J. M. Brower, at Cedar Creek, Va., October 19, 1864.
Lieut. W. H. Hoyt, at Petersburg, Va., June 21, 1864.
Lieut. Frank M. Wooster, at Cold Harbor, Va., June I, 1864.
Lieut. John V. Sims, at Winchester, Va., September 19, 1864.
Lieut. Martin L. Wilson, died June 19, 1864, of wound received at the Wilderness, Va., May 6, 1864.
The regiment was mustered out of service at Syracuse, N. Y., June 23, 1865.
Halting only for the occasional five minutes rest, and twice to make coffee, we struggled on through that hot July day, nerved to renewed efforts as the sound of the battle grew louder and louder, reaching the banks of Rock Creek in the middle of the afternoon, and redeeming the promise our noble Sedgwick had made when he received his orders the night before: "Tell General Meade," he said to the staff officer who brought the order, "tell General Meade, I will be at Gettysburg with my corps at 2 o'clock to-morrow afternoon."
Part of our corps were engaged that night; dashing on to the field at a double-quick, after their long march, they assisted in relieving the Third Corps.
Our brigade went into bivouac in rear of Little Round Top, sleeping on our arms. We were aroused again before daylight and moved to Culp's Hill, reporting to General Geary, commanding the Twelfth Corps.
On that pleasant July morning, twenty-five years ago, these peaceful woods were filled with the angry sounds of war. Here might have been heard the whistle of the minie bullet or the shriek of the vindictive shell, as Lee made his last desperate attempt to turn the right of our army.
In yonder ravine lay Shaler's Brigade. When in the midst of the strife a regiment of the Twelfth Corps was compelled to fall back from these breastworks, their ammunition exhausted, under orders from General Shaler the One hundred and twenty-second sprang forward with a cheer to take their place. Charging across yon knoll we reoccupied these breastworks, and assisted by other regiments notably the One hundred and forty-ninth New York, who were on our immediate left, a regiment from our own county of Onondaga, friends and neighbors fighting side by side, we held this portion of the line against the repeated charges of the enemy until they abandoned their attack in despair.
In the gallant charge across yon knoll and in the subsequent defense of these breastworks, we lost 10 of our comrades killed or mortally wounded, and. 34 more or less severely wounded, a very large proportion of the number actually engaged and one-third in number of killed, and one-sixth in wounded of the loss that day sustained by our corps.
Through the liberality of the Empire State we to-day dedicate this monument, surmounted by the cross we fought under, to the memory of our comrades who here gave their lives freely in the service of their country, and whose graves in yonder beautiful cemetery bear mute witness for them; to the memory, also, of those other comrades, some of whom have died, and others that live and still suffer from wounds received that day; and still further in commemoration of the gallant services of our regiment in the Sixth Army Corps, a tribute to those that are gone, as well as to the survivors who, as good citizens, maintain the reputation they won on the field.
As we gather year by year at our annual reunions, we find our fraternal bonds strengthened as our ranks decrease, and when we shall all have been mustered into that Grand Army above, may we find that the services we have rendered our country in her hour of need, on this and other memorable fields, will not be found to have been in vain.