Westchester County, New York in the Civil War
The following is taken from Third Annual Report of the Bureau of Military Statistics of the State of New York, Albany: [The Bureau], (C. Wendell), 1866.
In the earliest stages of the rebellion Westchester county was represented in the Federal Army by several companies, and a large number of individual enlistments in various regiments of the State. Before the first battle of Bull Run, it had four full companies attached to the Seventeenth Regiment, New York State Volunteers, commanded by Colonel Lansing. They were companies A, B, C and F, of which Charles H. Smith, of Yonkers ; Nelson B. Bartram of Portchester; John W. Lyon, of Morrisania; and Franklin J. Davis, of Sing Sing, were the respective Captains. A considerable number of its citizens enlisted in the remaining companies. The regiment in its organization was known as the " Westchester Chasseurs." Thomas F. Morris, of Yonkers, was its Lieu-tenant-Colonel.
It had also one full company attached to the Twenty-seventh regiment, commanded by Colonel Slocum. This was company A, of which Wm. M. Blakeley, of Verplancks, was Captain. For its organization, much and especial credit is duo to the Captain's father, Wm. Blakeley, Sr., and Jos. J. Chambers, of Sing Sing. Of this regiment, Jos. J. Chambers was Lieutenant-Colonel, and J. P. Jenkins, of White plains, Adjutant.
It had, also, one full company attached to the Thirty-second regiment, commanded by Colonel Matheson. This was company H, of which Wm. Chalmers, of Tarrytown, was Captain.
It had, also, one full company attached to, the Thirty-eighth regiment, commanded by Colonel Ward. This was company E, of which Oliver A. Tilden was Captain, and who was subsequently killed at the battle of Chantilly. He was a gallant officer, and had participated in seven battles in Mexico. Westchester men were found in large numbers in the ranks of companies D, F, and G, of the Thirty-eighth.
Other enlistments from the county were chiefly in the Fifth N. Y. S. V., commanded by Colonel Duryee; Eighth N. Y. S. M.; Ninth N. Y. S. M.; Ninth N. Y. S. V., commanded by Colonel Hawkins; and Eleventh N. Y. S. V., commanded by Colonel Ellsworth.
In the first Bull Run battle, the Eighth militia and the Eleventh, Twenty-seventh and Thirty-eighth volunteers were actively engaged on the field. The Seventeenth then garrisoned Fort Ellsworth, and the Thirty-second was in reserve at Centreville.
As the Twenty-seventh was going into action, the opposing force displayed the old flag. Col. Slocum was distrustful, and directed Adjutant Jenkins to ascertain whether they were friends. With a havelock on the point of his sword as a flag of truce, the Adjutant rode towards the commanding officer to make the necessary inquiry, but before he reached him, the stars and stripes were displaced by the South Carolina banner—line of battle was formed, and fire opened on the Twenty-seventh, which was promptly and vigorously returned. The Adjutant thus unexpectedly placed between two fires had a miraculous escape. This deception so exasperated the regiment, that the men fought like heroes, and utterly routed their professed friends, but tricky foes.
Captain Brittan, of company G, in the Thirty-eighth regiment, having been seriously injured, and Lieutenant Hamblin having been wounded and taken prisoner during the action, the command devolved upon Second Lieutenant Wright Banks, of Mount Pleasant. This officer, during the action, led the company, under a heavy and galling fire of musketry, to the rescue from the enemy of two pieces of artillery, which after an arduous struggle, were successfully carried from the field.