61st Infantry Regiment

Nickname: Clinton Guards; Astor Regiment Or Rifles

Mustered in: September to October 1861
Mustered out: July 14, 1865

The following is taken from New York in the War of the Rebellion, 3rd ed. Frederick Phisterer. Albany: J. B. Lyon Company, 1912.

July 26, 1861, Col. Spencer W. Cone received authority from the War Department to recruit a regiment of infantry. This regiment received its numerical designation and was organized by the State authorities October 25, 1861, at New York city, by the consolidation of the Astor Regiment or Rifles, Col. Charles Rosefield, with the Clinton Guards, Colonel Cone; Companies C, D, E, F, G, H, I, K and Captain Deming's Company of the Clinton Guards formed Companies A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H and I of the 61st Regiment; Company F of the Astor Regiment formed Company K, and Company C of the Astor Regiment was disbanded. The regiment was mustered in the service of the United States for three years in September, October and November, 1861, and Spencer W. Cone appointed its Colonel. In September, 1862, a new company joined, taking the place of Company I, consolidated with K, in July, 1862. At the expiration of its term of service the men entitled thereto were discharged and the regiment retained in service. December 4, 1864, Companies G and K were consolidated with the other companies, and December 20, 1864, the enlisted men of the 57th Infantry, not mustered out with their regiment, were transferred to this, forming new Companies G and K.
Company C was almost entirely composed of students from Madison University, Hamilton, the other companies were recruited principally in New York City; the second Company I was recruited at Albany and vicinity.
The regiment left the State November 9, 1861; served at Washington, D. C., from November 10, 1861; in Howard's Brigade, Sumner's Division, Army of the Potomac, from November 27 1861; in Howard's, 1st, Brigade, Richardson's, 1st, Division, 2d Corps, Army of the Potomac, from March 13, 1862-; in 3d Brigade, 1st Division, 2d Corps, from July, 1862- in 1st Brigade 1st Division, 2d Corps, from September, 1862; in 2d Brigade, 1st Division 2d Corps, from October, 1862; in 1st Brigade, 1st Division, 2d Corps, from November, 1862; and, commanded by Col. Geo. W. Scott, it was mustered out and honorably discharged July 14, 1865, at Alexandria, Va.
During its service the regiment lost by death, killed in action, 11 officers, 113 enlisted men of wounds received in action, 5 officers, 67 enlisted men; of disease and other causes, 2 officers 134 enlisted men; total, 18 officers, 314 enlisted men; aggregate, 332; of whom 46 enlisted men died in the hands of the enemy.

The following is taken from The Union army: a history of military affairs in the loyal states, 1861-65 -- records of the regiments in the Union army -- cyclopedia of battles -- memoirs of commanders and soldiers. Madison, WI: Federal Pub. Co., 1908. volume II. 

Sixty-first Infantry.—Cols., Spencer W. Cone, Francis C. Barlow, Nelson A. Miles, K. Oscar Broady, George W. Scott; Lieut.-Cols., Francis C. Barlow, William C. Massett, Nelson A. Miles, K-Oscar Broady, George W. Scott, Richard A. Brown; Majs., William C. Massett, Arthur. L. Brooks, Edward Z. Lawrence, William H. Spencer, George W. Scott, Henry B. Todd, Willard Keech, Richard A. Brown, George W. Schaffer. This regiment, known as the Clinton Guards, contained one company from Madison university, Ham-ilton, one company from the vicinity of Albany, and the remainder from New York city. It was mustered into the U. S. service at New York city during Sept., Oct. and Nov., 1861, for three years, and left for Washington on Nov. 9. It was stationed for a short time at Washington, but moved on Nov. 28, with Howard's brigade, Sumner's division, to Manassas and with the same brigade became a part of the 1st division, 2nd corps, Army of the Potomac, in March, 1862. It moved to the Peninsula early in the spring, took part in the operations of the siege of Yorktown and was first closely engaged in the battle of Fair Oaks, in which 106 were killed or wounded and 4 reported missing, out of 432 who went into action. There Lieut.-Col. Massett and many other gallant men lost their lives. The loss in the Seven Days' battles was still greater, and the ranks that gathered at Harrison's landing after the battle of Malvern hill were sadly depleted. In July, the regiment was assigned to the 3d brigade of its old division, in September to the 1st brigade of the same division, in October to the 2nd brigade, and in November again to the 1st brigade. In Sept., 1862, Co. I from Albany joined the regiment and took the place of a company con-solidated with the others. At Antietam the regiment was in the thick of the fight, and at Fredericksburg it served in Han-cock's division in the charge on Marye's heights and lost 36 in killed, wounded and missing. At Chancellorsville in May, 1863,. the troops under Col. Miles made a gallant defense which won them high praise, and at Gettysburg the loss was once more severe. There was little rest for the worn regiment during the autumn. At Auburn, Bristoe Station, Rappahannock Station and in the Mine Run campaign, it was active, and it was mid-winter when it finally established permanent quarters near Brandy Station. In December and January a large number of men reenlisted and received veteran furlough. The regiment was reunited in the spring of 1864 and served with honor through the severe fighting which led up to Cold Harbor and Petersburg, suffering most severely in the bloody angle at Spottsylvania. It joined in the first assault on Petersburg, June 15; was engaged at Deep Bottom, Strawberry Plains, Reams' station and Hatcher's run, and on Dec. 20, received the veterans and recruits of the 57th N. Y. infantry. It was present at the fall of Petersburg, joined in the pursuit to Appomattox, and was engaged at Sailor's creek and Farmville. On July 14, 1865,. the 61st was mustered out at Alexandria, having lost 193 by death from wounds and 123 from other causes, of whom 46 died in prison. The total enrollment of the command was 1,526 members. Its record is a long and glorious one and it bravely earned its right to rank among the most gallant organizations of the Union army.


61st Regiment NY Volunteer Infantry | National Color | Civil War

This wool national color carried by the 61st Regiment features 34 reverse-applique stars in six horizontal rows (6-5-6-6-5-6). Reportedly, Colonel…


61st Regiment NY Volunteer Infantry | National Color | Civil War

Reportedly first unfurled in October 1864 at Fort McGilvery near Petersburg, Virginia, this national color accompanied the 61st Regiment New York…


61st Regiment NY Volunteer Infantry | National Color | Civil War

This national color, pieced together in red, white, and blue silk with 1/8-inch flat-felled seams and two rows of machine stitching, features 35…


61st Regiment NY Volunteer Infantry | Regimental Color | Civil War

This blue silk Regimental Color carried by the 61st Regiment features the Arms of the United States painted to the center complete with 34…


61st Regiment NY Volunteer Infantry | Regimental Color | Civil War

This blue silk Regimental Color carried by the 61st Regiment features the Arms of the United States painted to the center complete with 34…


61st Regiment NY Volunteer Infantry | Regimental Color | Civil War

This blue silk Regimental Color carried by the 61st Regiment New York Volunteer Infantry features the Arms of the City of New York painted to the…


61st Regiment NY Volunteer Infantry | Regimental Color | Civil War

The 61st New York Volunteers mustered into service September-October 1861 for three years. When their three year term expired, those entitled were…

NYSMM Online Resources

Battles and Casualties from Phisterer (pdf)
Battles and Casualties from Phisterer (spreadsheet)

Muster Roll

Unit Roster

Newspaper Clippings

Monument at Gettysburg

Search the Museum catalog for this unit

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Other Resources

This is meant to be a comprehensive list. If, however, you know of a resource that is not listed below, please send an email to ng.ny.nyarng.list.historians@army.mil with the name of the resource and where it is located. This can include photographs, letters, articles and other non-book materials. Also, if you have any materials in your possession that you would like to donate, the museum is always looking for items specific to New York's military heritage. Thank you.

61st New York Infantry records, 1861-1864.
Description: 0.4 linear feet (1 box)
Abstract: Records, 1861-1864. They consist mainly of muster rolls, but include a few other miscellaneous papers: vouchers, certificates, receipts, a note of clothing issued to a patient in Chester U.S. Army General Hospital, and some correspondence, including one letter about a prisoner of war's pay.
Notes: Bio/History: New York Civil War regiment, also known as "Clinton Guard"; active mainly in Virginia, they also fought at Gettysburg.
General Info: Access: open to qualified researchers at the New-York Historical Society./ This collection is owned by the New-York Historical Society.

Balcom, Ebenezer H. Letters, 1851-1875.
Description: ca. 70 items.
Abstract: Letters from Balcom, serving with the 61st Regiment, New York Volunteers, to his wife Rachel of Masonville, Delaware County, including several dated at U.S. Army General Hospital, Chester, Pennsylvania; a wedding certificate; and widow's pension forms.
Notes: Bio/History: Soldier
Located at the Fenton Historical Society, 67 Washington Street, Jamestown, New York 14701.

Barlow, Francis C. Francis C. Barlow letters, 1861-1865.
Description: 1 box.
Abstract: Letters sent by Francis C. Barlow to his mother Almira in Brookline, Mass. and brothers, 1861-64, while serving with the 12th New York State Militia and the 61st New York Volunteer Infantry. Barlow describes various campaigns including Antietam, Maryland, where he received a groin wound; Chancellorsville, Virginia; Gettysburg, Pennsylvania where he was left for dead on the battlefield; the siege of Petersburg, Virginia, and other campaigns; and warns his mother not to believe rumors of his death. Also includes letters received by Barlow from other army personnel regarding promotions and commands, 1865; and typewritten transcriptions of the letters.
Located at the Massachusetts Historical Society.

Barlow, Francis C. (Francis Channing), 1834-1896. Fear was not in him : the Civil War letters of Major General Francis C. Barlow, U.S.A. New York: Fordham University Press, 2004.

Berry, Charles. Letter, 1864 Sept 13.
Description: 1 item (2 p.)
Abstract: Copy of a letter written while encamped near Petersburgh describing hardships of a soldier's life and picket duty.
Notes: Photocopy.
Located the Clarke Historical Library Civil War collection of personal papers. (Central Michigan University)

Brown, Mary. Papers, 1862-1865.
Description: 16 items.
Abstract: Letters of William Henry Brown, a Union soldier with the Army of the Potomac, describing life at the Odd Fellows Hall Hospital, Washington, D.C.; temperance meetings there; the U.S. Army General Hospital in Baltimore; service on the U.S.S. Union at Key West, Fla.; and a storm experienced by the U.S.S. Memphis. Other subjects mentioned include the 61st regiment New York Volunteers, camp life, casualties, and Confederate prisoners.
Notes: Resident of Hamilton (Madison County), N.Y.
Located at the Duke University Library.

Bullock, Miles Wayne. Family papers, 1799,1911.
Description: .5 cubic ft. (in 1 box)
Abstract: Family papers, 1799-1911 and undated, include family correspondence relating to family and life in Sherburne (N.Y.) and Marion (Mich.). The Civil War correspondence of Bullock and his comrades of the New York Infantry 61st Regiment Company G note the feelings of soldiers and civilians about the war, superior officers, the armistice, and describe Fredericksburg (Va.), Gettysburg (Pa.), Harpers Ferry (W. Va.), and Sharpsburg (Md.). Also included are family obituaries, photographs, an autobiographical sketch of Bullock, and an account book, 1813-1820, of a carding mill, possibly owned by S. Bullock of New Hartford (Ct.).
Notes: Bio/History: Bullock was a Civil War veteran and resident of Sherburne (N.Y.). He married Cordelia Sexton in 1866 and moved to Marion (Mich.). They had two children. He died of typhoid in Sherburne on Sept. 12, 1914.
Located the Clarke Historical Library Civil War collection of personal papers. (Central Michigan University)

Cole, Jacob Henry. Under five commanders : or, A boy's experience with the Army of the Potomac. Paterson, N.J. News Print. Co. 1906.

Cone, Spencer Wallace. Spencer Wallace Cone papers, [ca. 1810-1865].
Description: 4 boxes
Abstract: The collection consists of papers of Spencer Wallace Cone from ca. 1810-1865. The papers include correspondence (1810-1813) from Spencer Houghton Cone in Baltimore (Md.) to Sally Morrell; letters between Houghton and Spencer Wallace Cone in the 1840's; and letters from Spencer Wallace Cone while serving in the 61st New York Infantry Regiment during the Civil War to his wife Josie and daughter Maggie. Cone wrote letters mostly from Pennsylvania and Virginia in which he describes the battle of Fair Oaks, the Seven Days' battle, the Peninsular campaign, Gettysburg, Spotsylvania Court House, and the Appomattox campaign. The collection also includes sermons by Spencer Houghton Cone and published and unpublished manuscripts by Spencer Wallace Cone.
Notes: Cataloged as part of the Georgia Archives and Manuscripts Automated Access Project: A Special Collections Gateway Program of the University Center in Georgia./ Bio/History: Spencer Wallace Cone (1819-1888), colonel in the 61st New York Infantry Regiment and author, son of Rev. Spencer Houghton and Sally (Morrell) Cone.
Preferred citation: Spencer Wallace Cone papers.
Located in the Special Collections, Zach S. Henderson Library, Georgia Southern University.

Dennett, William S. et al. Civil War letters to William S. Dennett, 1861-1865.
Description: 41 items
Abstract: Correspondents discuss camp life; winter quarters; marches; deserters with forged papers and the shooting of deserters; illnesses and deaths in battles;, prisoners of war, particularly the care and transportation of wounded and ill Confederates; picket duty and friendly exchanges across the lines; hostile behavior against African American troops; England's attitude; a comparison of McClellan vs Hooker; and opinion of Halleck. Engagements mentioned include Harper's Ferry, Antietam, Fredericksburg and Union attempts to bridge the Rappahannock, Chancellorsville and retreat, destruction of Yorktown, and events in Grant's march around Richmond. Correspondents include Union soldiers George B. Elmore, 61st Regiment New York [Engineers?]; Joel W. Gaylord; A.H. Mayo, engineer; Thaddeus [K.?] Pendleton, Engineers Headquarters, Falmouth; Samuel W. Richards, Sanitary Commission.
Preferred citation: Civil War Letters to William S. Dennett, 1861-1865, Accession #1255
Located at the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Va.

Drum Corps of 61st New York Infantry, Falmouth, Va., March, 1863
Description: 1 photographic print
Abstract: Group portrait of 14 boys posed with drums.
At Library of Congress

Fetzer, Dale, Jr. "Best Looking Camp in the Army." Military Images Magazine (Mar/Apr 1991): pp. 23-27.

Fuller, Charles Augustus. Personal recollections of the war of 1861, as Private, Sergeant and Lieutenant in the Sixty-first regiment, New York volunteer infantry, by Charles A. Fuller. Prepared from data found in letters, written at the time from the field to the people at home. Sherburne: News print, house, 1906.

Jones, Walter Franklin. Walter Franklin Jones papers, ca. 1860-1862.
Abstract:    Jones served with the 61st New York Infantry Regiment until his discharge on April 29th, 1862, and later saw service as a Lieutenant in Co. A of the 14th New York Cavalry, remaining with that unit until it was consolidated near the end of the Civil War. Six of Jones' letters were written home from Camp California, near Faifax Court House, Va., in the first months of 1862, when the 61st Regiment was attached to the slow moving Army of the Potomac.
Located at the Manuscripts Division, William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan.

Kilmer, George L. Hero with a big H. General Francis C. Barlow a leader of America’s Old Guard. Sturgis, Mich., Feb.-Mar.?

Miles, Nelson Appleton. The Nelson A. Miles papers, ca 1865-1917.
Description: 10 boxes.
Abstract: Contains the following types of materials: letters, reports, maps, diaries, articles, clippings. Contains information pertaining to the following wars and time periods: Civil War -- Eastern Theater; Reconstruction; Indian Wars, 1865-1891; Spanish-American War; Philippine Insurrection; 1899-1917. Contains information pertaining to the following military units and organizations: 22nd Massachusetts and 61st New York Infantry Regiments; 1st Brigade, 1st Division, II corps, Army of the Potomac; 40th and 5th Infantry Regiments; District of Fort Monroe; Departments of the Columbia, the Missouri, Arizona, Division of the Pacific and department of California; Division of the Missouri; Departments of the Missouri, the East; Commanding General. General description of the collection: The Nelson A. Miles papers include letters to family, Civil War; official letters, reports: Civil War, 1865-1897; Jefferson Davis, prisoner; Freedmen's Bureau; winter campaigns; Kiowa-Comanche, 1874-1875, Sioux, 1876, Nez Perce Chief Joseph, 1877; Apache (Gernonimo), 1886; Wounded Knee; Indian policy, captives; Cuba; Puerto Rico; Army organization, training; Sherman Miles; Marian Maus; Samuel Reber.
Located at the Military History Institute in Carlisle, PA.

Officers of 61st New York Infantry, Falmouth, Va.
Description: 1 photoprint
Abstract: All posed standing
Located at the Library of Congress

Lossing, Benson John, 1813-1891. A history of the civil war, 1861-65: and the causes that led up to the great conflict . New York: War Memorial Association, 1912. [Photograph of the officers of the 61st in section 3, page 79.]

Our Camp Journal [Newspaper of the 2nd Corps]. April, 1864.

Plumb, Isaac. Civil War Miscellaneous Collection
(Capt's biog compiled from letters, 1842-64)
Located at the Military History Institute in Carlisle, PA.

Robertson, Robert Stoddart. From the Wilderness to Spottsylvania, a paper read before the Ohio commandery of the Military order of the loyal legion of the United States, by Robert Stoddart Robertson, late 1st Lieut. 93rd New York. Cincinnati: Henry C. Sherick, 1884.

Spencer, William H. "How I felt in battle and in prison, by Major William H. Spencer." MOLLUS-Me II 122-49.

Stahl, Joseph. "Two Identification Discs from the 61st New York State Volunteers." Military Collector and Historian 57.3 (Fall 2005) 148-9.

Stewart, James A. Frederick C. Wiswell: Company G 61st New York Volunteer Infantry, April 1, 1843 - March 2, 1908.
Donated by James A. Stewart

Waud, Alfred R. and Homer Winslow. Our army before Yorktown, Virginia,  [New York] : [Harper's Magazine Co.],  1862.
Description:    1 picture : black and white ; 35 x 53, on sheet 41 x 56 cm.
Title from caption below image./ A magazine illustration consisting of seven titled vignettes; removed from Harper's weekly, May 3, 1862; p. 280-281.

Zellow, Frederick. Papers (1879-1880)
Collection call Number 13453
Abstract: A collection of materials related to Zellow’s application for a military pension and other veterans’ benefits, which includes his enrollment and discharge certificates.
Located at the New York State Library Manuscripts and Special Collections. 


Unit bibliograhy from the Army Heritage Center

Items in the museum collection are in bold.