74th Infantry Regiment

Nickname: Fifth Excelsior Regiment; Fifth Regiment, Sickles' Brigade

Mustered in: June 30 to October 6,1861.
Mustered out by companies: June 19 to August 3, 1864.

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

This regiment was recruited under the special authority of the War Department, issued to Gen. D. E. Sickles; organized under Col. Charles K. Graham at Camp Scott, L. I., and mustered in the service of the United States for three years between June 30 and October 6, 1861. Pursuant to the orders of the Secretary of War of December 5, 1861, it received its State numerical designation December 11, 1861. August 3, 1864, the remaining men, not entitled to be discharged with their respective companies, were assigned to the 40th N. Y. Volunteers, forming new Companies G and H of the latter.
The companies were recruited principally: A, and B — U. S. Zouave Cadets — in part, at Pittsburgh, Pa.; B, in part, at New York City; C on Long Island; D at Cambridgeport, Mass.; E, G, H, I and K at New York City; and F at Tidioute, Pa.; a number of the men had been members of the 15th Militia.
The regiment left the State August 20, 1861; served in Sickles' Brigade, Hooker's Division, Army of the Potomac, from September, 1861; in same, 2d, Brigade, 2d Division, 3d Corps, Army of the Potomac, from March, 1862; in 2d Brigade, 4th Division, 2d Corps, Army of the Potomac, from April, 1864; in 4th Brigade, 3d Division, 2d Corps, Army of the Potomac, from May 13, 1864; in 1st Brigade, 3d Division, 2d Corps, Army of the Potomac, from July, 1864; and it was honorably discharged and mustered out, under Lieut. Col. Wm. H. Lounsberry, by companies, before Petersburg, Va.; Company D, June 19, 1864; A, June 21; B, June 26; G, June 28; C, July 6; and E, F, H, I and K, August 3, 1864. During its service the regiment lost by death, killed in action, 6 officers, 82 enlisted men; of wounds received in action, 3 officers, 33 enlisted men; of disease and other causes, 2 officers, 68 enlisted men; total, 11 officers, 183 enlisted men; aggregate, 194; of whom 10 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. 

Seventy-fourth Infantry.—Cols., Charles K. Graham, Charles H. Burtis, Thomas Holt, William H. Lounsberry; Lieut.-Cols., Charles H. Burtis, John P. Glass, William H. Lounsberry; Majs., William B. Olmsted, Edward L. Price, George H. Quaterman, Henry M. Allis, Lovell Purdy, Jr. The 74th, the 5th regiment of the Excelsior brigade, which contained many members of the l5th militia, was recruited at Pittsburg, New York city, Cambridgeport, Mass., Tidioute, Pa., and Long island and mustered into the U. S. service at Camp Scott, L. I., June 30 to Oct. 6, 1861, for a three years' term. It left New York Aug. 20, for Washington; was attached to Sickles' Excelsior brigade and stationed along the Lower Potomac in Maryland during the first winter; embarked in April, 1862, for the Peninsula with the brigade, as part of the 2nd division, 3d corps; shared in the siege operations before Yorktown; took a prominent part in the battle of Williamsburg, for which the brigade won the highest praises, the loss of the regiment in this bat-tle being 143 killed, wounded or missing, and in the ensuing engagements of Fair Oaks and the Seven Days' battles it was constantly in action. Upon its withdrawal from the Peninsula in August, the regiment was sent to the support of Gen. Pope at Manas-sas, after which it retired to the defenses of Washington. In November it marched to Falmouth; participated in the battle of Fredericksburg; returned to its camp at Falmouth for the winter; was engaged at Chancellorsville in May, 1863; returned again to camp at Falmouth; marched in June to Gettysburg and there experienced the hard fighting of the second day on the Emmitsburg road, with a loss of 89 killed, wounded and missing. On the southward march it encountered the enemy at Wapping heights and Kelly's Ford; fought at Locust Grove during the Mine Run campaign, and went into winter quarters with the brigade. In April, 1864, the Excelsior brigade became the 2nd brigade, 4th division, 2nd corps and in May the 4th brigade, 3d division, 2nd corps. With it the 74th fought through the Wilderness campaign and was mustered out before Petersburg, from June 19 to Aug. 3, 1864. . The reenlisted men and recruits were transferred to the 40th N. Y. infantry. The regiment lost during its term of service 124 by death from wounds and 70 from other causes. It was noted for its courage and steadiness and is numbered among the "three hundred fighting regiments."


74th Regiment NY Volunteer Infantry | Flank Marker | Civil War

This blue silk presentation flank marker includes gold-colored painted inscriptions, shadowed in red, along the top and bottom and a red painted oval…

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.

Barram, Rick. "Too Good to be True." America's Civil War. 31 :1 March 2018. 42 - 51.

Barram, Rick. "Scoundrel." America's Civil War. 31 :6 January 2019. 38-45.

Brannigan, Felix. Felix Brannigan papers, 1861-1864.
Description:    30 items.
Abstract:    Chiefly letters from Brannigan during his service in the 74th New York Infantry Regiment, U.S. Army, addressed to his sister. Subjects include the Peninsular Campaign, 1862; the siege of Yorktown, Va., 1862; Battle of Williamsburg, Va., 1862; Gettysburg Campaign, 1863; and the Battle of Gettysburg, Pa., 1863. Includes information on recruitment, training, camp life, and troop movements.
Held by the Library of Congress

Burgess, John T. Civil War papers of Capt. John T. Burgess, 1860-1914 (bulk: 1860-1863).
Description:    89 items
Abstract:    This collection contains documents related to Captain John T. Burgess, a Union officer serving with the 74th New York Infantry Regiment (5th Excelsior), and the formation and his command of Company D from May 1861 until May 1862. The collection contains company muster rolls, circular on framing of [criminal] charges against military personnel, correspondence, instructions on countersign signals, general orders (number 1, 4, & 12), leave passes, meeting minutes with officer election results, company pledge lists, receipts, special orders (number 54), telegraphs, newspaper clippings from the Boston Saturday Evening Gazette listing the roster of Massachusetts volunteers for the war, and various newspaper clippings about the company's movements, battles, and soldiers. Topics include the formation and mustering of the company (recruited primarily from Cambridge, Mass.), company movements, and company provisions and uniforms. Correspondents include Horace A Bliss (Office of the Superintendent of the Metropolitan Police, New York); Lt Col Albert G Browne Jr (Military Secretary to Governor John A Andrew); Nelson Cross; Levi S Cushing Jr.; Surgeon-General William J Dale; Eliphalet Davis; Colonel Charles K. Graham; J A Holmes (clerk First Baptist Church of Cambridge); Division Inspector Daniel Perkins; Adjutant Alfred Post; and Brigadier General Daniel E. Sickles. The collection includes two letters sent between John E. Burgess and the State of New York Adjutant-General's Office in the Bureau of Records of the War of the Rebellion concerning Captain Burgess's service records in 1913. There is also one letter from Edward Bouvé, Compiler of War Records for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to John E. Burgess confirming receipt of the service roll of Company D by the State.
Held by the New England Historic Genealogical Society

Burns, James R. Battle of Williamsburgh, with reminiscences of the campaign, hospital experiences, debates, etc. New York: 1865.

Butler, Francis. To bleed for a higher cause : The Excelsior Brigade and the Civil War. 2012. 

Cutler, Elbridge Jefferson. "The Volunteer". Yale Book of American Verse. New Haven, Yale University Press, 1912. (poem written for 74th?)

Dennis, William. 
Description: 1 box (.25 cu. ft.).
Abstract: Group of letters sent to Dennis's brother regarding the Peninsular Campaign and the Seven Days Battle. These letters also offer an interesting perspective on the attitudes and morale of Irish-American soldiers.
Located at the New York State Library Manuscripts and Special Collections.

Ford, David. "Daniel Edgar Sickles." On Point: The Journal of Army History. 13 :1 Summer 2007. 21-22.

Hazeltine, Herbert W.? "Two Letters from the Third Regiment." : Headquarters, 3d. Regt., Excelsior Brigade. Camp near Mattawoman Creek.." 23 October 1861.

Heslin, James J. "From the Wilderness to Petersburg, the diary of Surgeon Frank Ridgeway." New York historical society quarterly XLV (1961) 113-40.

Moshier, James. "Affinity for Controversy." : Wherever Dan Sickles went, controversy soon flared, even at Gettysburg." Military History. JUN 1990. 58 ff..

Oates, Christopher Ryan. Fighting for home : the story of Alfred K. Oates and the Fifth Regiment, Excelsior Brigade. Charlotte, N.C. : Warren Publishing,2006.

Ridgway, Frank. Frank Ridgway papers, 1861-1897 (bulk 1863-1864).
Description:    6 items
Abstract:    Frank Ridgway papers, 1861-1897, consist of his commission in the 73rd New York volunteers, letters to his uncle, Charles W. Adams, a diary covering Jan. 1 to July 31, 1864, and a letter to Ridgway from John N. Coyne about his war service. Accompanied by a typed transcript of the diary by his daughter, Mary Racey Ridgway, and papers relating to her attempts to publish the diary. Ridgway's letters and diary describe campaigning in Virginia; the diary includes material on treating the wounded from the battles of the Wilderness and Cold Harbor, and the attack on Petersburg.
Held by the New-York Historical Society 

Ridgeway, Frank; Helsin, James J. (ed.) "From the Wilderness to Petersburg, the diary of Surgeon Frank Ridgeway." New York Historical Society Quarterly. 45 1961. 113-140.

Ross, Bryan (compiler) Captain Edward Livingston Price

Seaman, Edward J. Civil War Miscellaneous Collection
(Enlisted man's letter to cousin in another, unnamed regiment, Oct 17, 1862)
Located at the Military History Institute in Carlisle, PA.

Stahl, Joseph. "Civil War I.D. Tag" The Skirmish Line (The magazine of the North-South Skirmish Association) XLVI:3 (July-August-September, 2004) 63-64.

Swanberg, W. A. 1907-1992.  (William Andrew), Sickles the incredible New York: Scribner, 1956.

Terry, Ira E. Civil War Miscellaneous Collection
(Lt's administrative papers, Mar 9, 1863-Oct 17, 1864)
Located at the Military History Institute in Carlisle, PA.


Unit bibliograhy from the Army Heritage Center

Items in the museum collection are in bold.