Of New York State Militia Units in 1861


Immediately upon the fall of Sumter, when the Northern mind was aroused to the highest pitch of excitement, and war was plainly inevitable, the protection of the National Capital was the absorbing subject of interest.

The militia regiments of our State at that time did noble service, and such as were sufficiently organized- moved promptly upon the call of the Executive. Between the 19th April and 7th May, this disciplined and equipped force left for Washing-ton. numbering over 8,000 men, composing eleven uniformed regi-ments of militia, and, with the exception of the Seventh, were mustered into the United States service for three-months.

These regiments departed from the State as follows:

No. Commander Date Strength
5th regt. Col. Ch. Schwarzwalder April 29, 1861 600
6th regt. Col. Joseph C. Pinckney April 21, 1861 600
7th regt. Col. Marshall Lefferts April 19, 1861 1,050
8th regt. Col. George Lyons April 23, 1861 950
12th regt. Col. Daniel Butterfield April 21, 1861 950
13th regt. Col. Abel Smith April 23, 1861 480
20th regt. Col. George W. Pratt May 7, 1861 785
25th regt. Col. Michael K. Bryan April 23, 1861 500
28th regt. Col. Michael Bennett April 23, 1861 563
69th regt. Col. Michael Corcoran April 23, 1861 1,050
71st regt. Col. Abram S. Vosburg April 21, 1861 950
TOTAL     8,484

In addition to the New York militia regiments which served for three months, four regiments, the Second, Ninth, fourteenth and Seventy-ninth, organized for three years.

Of the three mouths regiments, the Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Twelfth, Sixty-ninth and Seventy-first were from the city of New York; the Thirteenth and Twenty-eighth from Brooklyn; the Twentieth from the county of Ulster, and the Twenty-fifth from the city of Albany.

Of the three years' regiments, the Second, Ninth and Seventy-ninth were from the city of New York; the Fourteenth from Brooklyn. The popular demonstration which attended the departure of these regiments from our cities and towns were of the most gratifying character; amid the waving of banners, the firing of cannon, and the cheers of their fellow citizens, they left their homes to enter upon a new and untried field of duly, the van¬guard, as it were, of the great army of freemen, who, during the tour years, marched in a continuous column from our State, to the protection of the flag of our country and the national integ¬rity. The first to take the field, the members of many of these organizations remained in the national service, as officers or pri-vates in volunteer regiments, and achieved merited distinction, and there are few battle grounds in Maryland or Virginia, upon which the blood of some of these brave men was not shed.

It must be remembered that those regiments were organized in time of peace, when the militia met with no particular favor or encouragement from the State authorities, and was composed chiefly of young men in professional and mercantile pursuits, and whose military experience had been confined to the com¬pany and regimental drill room and the annual parade. By the promptness with which they first moved, upon the order of the Commander-in-Chief, and the readiness with which they met every similiar call through the war, they gave a character for fidelity and patriotism to our citizen soldiers which has resulted since, under the liberal care of the State in the establishment of a most useful and powerful organization, "The National Guard."


See here for a brief history of the State Militia / National Guard.