149th 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 forty-ninth Volunteers were organized and mustered into the United States service at Syracuse, the 17th and 18th of September, 1862, and departed for the seat of war on the 23d of the same month, passing Elmira, Baltimore, and Washington on its way to join the Army of the Potomac, then located about Harper's Ferry. On the reorganization of the Twelfth Corps, it was assigned to duty in Greene's Third Brigade of Geary's Second Division. When the army left Harper's Ferry in October, 1862, the Twelfth Corps, then commanded by General Slocum, was left behind to guard that place against the approaches of General Jackson, who was then in occupation of the upper end of the Shenandoah Valley; but after Jackson went east the One hundred and forty-ninth, with the Twelfth Corps, joined the main army then lying between Falmouth and Aquia Creek in the middle of the winter, in time to participate in the battle of Chancellorsville, which took place under General Hooker, May 2 and 3, 1863. In this engagement, the Twelfth Corps took an important part, and the One hundred and forty-ninth received its first baptism of blood, which occasioned a loss of killed, wounded and prisoners of about 194. The losses of the regiment at this time included Lieutenants Davis and Breed, who were killed, and Major Cook, then commanding the regiment, who received a very severe wound in the foot, disabling him from further service in the field.

The regiment was next engaged at Gettysburg, where, as a part of Greene's Brigade, it performed the meritorious service of holding Gulp's Hill against the attack of Johnson's Division on the night of the 2d, and, with others, in defending the position on the 3d of July, 1863.

Its losses in this engagement were also very severe. Lieutenant Colonel Randall, commanding the regiment, received a dangerous wound through the shoulder and side. At this place the flag presented to the regiment by the officers of the Onondaga Salt Springs, and now in the Clerk's office of Onondaga County, received over four score of bullets in its silken folds, and its staff, shot in twain, was mended on the battlefield with splints and gun straps by Color Bearer William C. Lilly.

In October, 1863, the Eleventh and Twelfth Corps, under the command of General Hooker, were transferred from the Army of the Potomac to the Army of the Cumberland, and joined the latter command near Chattanooga, Tenn., just in time for the One hundred and forty-ninth to participate in the night battle of Wauhatchie, October 28th, which virtually raised the siege of Chattanooga, and opened the celebrated " Cracker Line," which saved Rosecrans' army from surrendering that valuable position. The casualties in this engagement were not heavy, but among them was that of the color bearer, William C. Lilly, who received a mortal wound, from which he died a few days afterwards.

The regiment afterwards, on the 24th of November, had the proud honor of taking part in the celebrated charge on Lookout Mountain, where it met with a heavy loss, but had the extreme gratification of capturing four flags from the hands of the enemy, besides capturing a number of prisoners, far exceeding in number those then present for duty in the regiment. The next day the One hundred and forty-ninth took part in the charge on Missionary Ridge, which, although not attended with any material loss to it, was a matter of just pride to the regiment.

Two days afterwards, the regiment, as a part of the Third Brigade, participated in the very trying and somewhat sanguinary battle of Ringgold.

In the spring of 1864 the Eleventh and Twelfth Corps were reorganized into what is known as the new Twentieth Corps, and it is the pride of the Twelfth Corps that its badge, a five-pointed star, was adopted as the insignia of the new corps. The white star of the Second Division was worn by the One hundred and forty-ninth during its entire term of service, both in the Twelfth and Twentieth Corps, and is now a cherished memento of the service.

In the celebrated Atlanta campaign, under General Sherman, the One hundred and forty-ninth participated in several engagements, and met with severe losses at Resaca, New Hope Church, Pine Mountain, Lost Mountain, Kenesaw Mountain, and at Peach Tree Creek. For more than three months it was never out of the sound of firearms, and was under fire almost constantly. At the battle of Resaca, it was the proud privilege of the regiment to take a very material part in the capture of the four guns, so often spoken of in connection with that engagement, the men of the regiment for several hours being so close to the pieces as to be able to touch them with their muskets. At New Hope Church the losses were very heavy, but not more so than at Peach Tree Creek, where nearly half of the men present for duty were shot down in their tracks. Among the killed in the latter engagement were Lieut. Col. Chas. B. Randall and Capt. David J. Lindsey.

Soon after the occupancy of Atlanta, Colonel Barnum, commanding the regiment, assumed command of the brigade, and Captain Grumbach, promoted to major, assumed command of the regiment. The One hundred and forty-ninth, as part of the Twentieth Corps, participated in the march from Atlanta to the Sea, and afterwards in the still more wonderful campaign through the Carolinas.

In the Grand Review at Washington at the close of the war, there was no command that received more marked attention than that of General Sherman, and it was the proud feeling of the One hundred and forty-ninth that by its meritorious services it deserved all the attention bestowed upon it.