81st Infantry Regiment

Nickname: Second Oswego Regiment; Mohawk Rangers

Mustered in: December 20, 1861 to February 20, 1862
Mustered Out: August 31, 1865

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 organized at Albany February 18, 1862, by the consolidation of the Mohawk Rangers, or Guards of Liberty and Union, Col. O. B. Pierce, of which the Remington Guards formed part, with the Oswego Regiment, Col. Edwin Rose. August 25, 1861, authority was granted for the organization of the Oswego Regiment; October 11, 1861, it consisted of ten companies of minimum strength; in December Company I was consolidated with the other companies, and, a number of men discharged for various reasons; in January, 1862, it was ordered to Albany, and February 6th, the men of Company C were transferred to Companies D, G and K, and those of Company E to Companies A, F and H, leaving but seven companies. The Mohawk Rangers were organized at Rome; ordered to Albany in February, 1862, and on the 17th, consolidated with the Oswego Regiment, forming its three vacant companies, C, E and I. The new organization received the numerical designation given to the Oswego Regiment December 10, 1861, and Edwin Rose was appointed its Colonel. At the expiration of its term of service, the men entitled thereto were discharged, and the regiment continued in service.
The men were recruited principally in the counties of Oswego and Oneida, and mustered in the service of the United States for three years, between December 20, 1861, and February 20, 1862.
The regiment left the State March 5, 1862; served at Kalorama Heights, D. C., from March 7, 1862; in Palmer's, 3d, Brigade, Casey's, 1st, Division, 4th Corps, Army of Potomac, from March 13, 1862; in 1st Brigade, 2d Division, same corps, from June, 1862; at Yorktown, Va., from August, 1862; in 1st, Naglee's, Brigade, Peck's Division, 4th Corps, in North Carolina, from December, 1862; in 1st, Heckman's, Brigade, 2d, Naglee's, Division, 18th Corps, in South Carolina, from January 11, 1863; in the District of Beaufort, N. C., 18th Corps, from May, 1863; at Newport News, Va., from October, 1863; at Portsmouth, Va., from December, 1863; in the District of Currituck, Va., from February, 1864; in the 1st Brigade, 1st Division, 18th Corps, Army of the James, from April 18, 1864; in New York harbor in November, 1864; in the 1st Brigade, 3d Division, 24th Corps, from December, 1864; and it was honorably discharged and mustered out, under Lieut-Col. Lucius V. S. Mattison, August 31, 1865, at Fort Monroe, Va.
During its, service the regiment lost by death, killed in action, 8 officers, 88 enlisted men; of wounds received in action, 4 officers, 44 enlisted men; of disease and other causes, 2 officers, 97 enlisted men; total, 14 officers, 229 enlisted men; aggregate, 243; of whom 3 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. 

Eighty-first Infantry.—Cols., Edwin Rose, Jacob J. DeForest, John B. Raulston, David B. White; Lieut.-Cols., Jacob J. DeForest, William C. Raulston, John B. Raulston, David B. White, Lucius V. S. Mattison; Majs., Byron B. Morris, John McAmbly, William C. Raulston, David B. White, Edward A. Stimson, Lucius V. S. Mattison. The 81st, the 2nd Oswego regiment, was raised mainly in Oneida and Oswego counties and was mustered into the U. S. service at Oswego and Albany from Dec., 1861, to Feb. 20, 1862,. for three years. It left the state for Washington on March 5, 1862, was quartered for a short time at Kalorama heights and assigned to Palmer's brigade, Casey's division, 4th corps, with which it embarked for the Peninsula with the general advance of McClellan's army. It was present during the siege of Yorktown; in the battles of Williamsburg and Savage Station; was closely engaged at Fair Oaks, with the loss of 137 killed, wounded and missing, among whom Maj. McAmbly was killed and Lieut.-Col. DeForest wounded. During the Seven Days' battles the regiment was employed in guard-ing trains, and after the evacuation of the Peninsula was stationed at Yorktown until December, from which point it undertook a number of expeditions into the surrounding country. Assigned to the 1st brigade, Peck's division, 4th corps, the 81st embarked for North Carolina in Dec., 1862, and was stationed at Beaufort, and More-head, N. C., in the 1st brigade, 2nd division, 18th corps. In Oct., 1863, the regiment returned to Newport News and performed outpost duty along the Dismal Swamp canal. In December a sufficient number reenlisted to secure the continuance of the 81st as a veteran regiment, and upon their return from veteran furlough the regiment was assigned to the 1st brigade, 1st division, 18th corps, with which it fought at Swift creek, Drewry's bluff and Cold Harbor. In the two assaults on Cold Harbor the regiment took a prominent part and suffered the heaviest loss in its history, 212 killed or wounded and 3 missing, half of the number engaged. It continued in service before Petersburg; was sent to New York harbor in November; was attached to the 24th corps in December; was active in the assault on Fort Harrison, and was mustered out of the service at Fortress Monroe Aug. 31, 1865. It earned a well-deserved reputation for gallantry and courage for which it paid the penalty of loss during service of 107 by death from wounds and 99 from other causes.


81st Regiment NY Volunteer Infantry | Camp Colors | Civil War

Printed wool camp colors in the US national pattern as prescribed in General Order No. 4, Headquarters of the U.S. Army, dated 18 January 1862. Theseā€¦

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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.

Archambault, Alan, Anthony Gero and Roger Sturcke. "81stNew York Volunteer Infantry Regiment (2d Owsego Regiment), 1861-1865." Military Collector & Historian 50:4 (Winter 1998) pp. 184-185.

Austin, John N. Letter (September 14, 1863).
Description: 1 Item.
Abstract: This letter describes skirmishes between Union and Confederate troops in the vicinity of Yorktown, Virginia.
Located at the New York State Library Manuscripts and Special Collections.

Bunn, Isaac. Letters (1861-1864).
Description: 12 items.
Abstract: Letters sent to Bunn's sister regarding the landing of troops at the Battle of Bermuda Hundred and other action he had witnessed in skirmishes near Yorktown and Petersburg, Virginia.
Located at the New York State Library Manuscripts and Special Collections.

Burke, John W. John W. Burke memoir, 1861-1862.1861-1862
Description:    84 pages
Abstract:    This memoir, tentatively attributed to John W. Burke, documents one man's Civil War service. The writing style vividly conveys the emotions of the battlefield, the sights and smells of death, and the trivia of daily life in camp.
Held by the University of Michigan

Burnside, William J. Letter, 24 November 1864.
4 pages.
Letter, 24 November 1864, from William J. Burnside, sergeant in Company E and F of the New York 81st Infantry, near Fort Burnham, Virginia, to his friends in New York (State) concerning his military duties over the past month, the weather, and camp housing and rations.
Accession 38568. Located at the Library of Virginia in Richmond, Virginia.
Thank you to Ed Worman for pointing out this resource.

Clark Family, (Julius Clark). Papers (1862-1923).
Description: 2 boxes (.50 cu. ft.).
Abstract: This group includes the papers of Julius Clark, who served in the 81st New York Infantry as a first lieutenant. They consist of military orders, supply requisitions, monthly returns of clothing and equipment, and other documents created by the 81st regiment quartermaster store.
Located at the New York State Library Manuscripts and Special Collections

Churchill, John Charles, 1821-1905. Landmarks of Oswego county, New York: Oswego County in the War of the Rebellion. Salem, MA: Higginson Book Co. 1994, 1895.

Coe, Jerome H. Reminiscences of life in the army in 1861-2 and 1864-5 : by Jerome H. Coe, late private Co. D. 81st N.Y. Vol's ; late 1st Lieut. Co. K. 184th N.Y.V. [Place of publication not identified] : [publisher not identified], 1909.

Conklin, Henry. Through "poverty's vale," a hardscrabble boyhood in upstate New York, 1832 - 1862 [by] Henry Conklin. Syracuse University press, 1974.

Cummings, John R. CWTIColl 
(Enlisted man's biog & discharge; his letters, May 11, 1864- Apr 11, 1865)
Located at the Military History Institute in Carlisle, PA.

De Forest, Bartholomew S. Random sketches and wandering thoughts; or, what I saw in camp, on the march, the bivouac, the battle field and hospital, while with the army in Virginia, North and South Carolina, during the late rebellion. With a historical sketch of the Second Oswego regiment. Eighty-first New York state v.i., a record of all its officers and roster of its enlisted men, also, an appendix, by B. S. De Forest, late First Lieutenant and R.Q.M.Albany: Avery Herrick, 1866. 324 p.

Dewine, Joseph C. "Eighty-First Regiment, New York Volunteers." Twenty Fourth Publication of the Oswego County Historical Society, 1961 77-84.

Fay, David H. Pocket diary of David Henry Fay, 1862 Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 1862.
Description:    1 volume 12 cm
Abstract:    Pocket diary for the year 1862 kept by David Henry Fay. Includes daily entries and sections for memoranda, cash accounts, and bills payable and receivable.
Held by the The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens.

Fusco, Nancy Phelps. The people of the town of Vienna : their history.Salmon Country Printing.

Johnson, Crisfield. ... History of Oswego County, New York.: With illustrations and biographical sketches of some of its prominent men and pioneers. Philadelphia: L.H. Everts & co, 1877, 1991.

Harter, Theodore. Theodore Harter papers, 1862-1921.
Description: 18 items.
Abstract: Harter's Civil War diaries (2 volumes, 1863, 1865) depicting life in military camps and containing a description of the vistorious march of the Union Army into Richmond (1865) as well as accounts and lists of mail and clothing sent or received; muster roll of Company I, 81st New York Volunteers and other items pertaining to First Lieutenant Harter's service with that group; Grand Army of the Republic printed items; and a notebook listing soldiers of various American wars buried in Mohawk, Ilion, and other Herkimer County cemeteries.
Located in the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library.

McFarlane [McFarland/MacFarland?], C. Reminiscences of an army surgeon. Oswego: Lake City print shop, 1912. 82 p.

McFarlane [McFarland/MacFarland?], Carrington. MacFarland Family genealogy, 1775-1905.
Description:    1 box ; 40 x 27 x 7 cm.
Abstract:    The collection contains a brief history and genealogy of the Carrington family from 1775 to 1905. It includes transcribed copies of family biographies, genealogical information and the obituary of Dr. Carrington MacFarland.
Held by SUNY Oswego.

Morgan, John Hunt.    The Squire & Chester Tuttle papers, 1861-1864
Contains the following types of materials: correspondence, diary, casualty list, research papers. Contains information pertaining to the following war and time period: Civil War -- Eastern Theater, -- Gulf. Contains information pertaining to the following military units and organizations: 81st New York Infantry Regiment, Chicago Mercantile Battery, Illinois Light Artillery, 110th New York Infantry Regiment, 189th New York Infantry Regiment, 146th New York Infantry Regiment, 15th New York Engineer Regiment, 14th U.S. Veteran Reserve Regiment. General description of the collection: The Squire and Chester Tuttle papers include 1864 diary and letters of Squire N. Tuttle, 81st New York Infantry; letters of Chester Tuttle, 81st New York Infantry; Phineas H. Castle and Seymour Smith, both 189th New York Infantry; George Perry, Chicago Mercantile Battery; Makendree E. Rowley, 110th New York Infantry; William P. Faulkner, 146th New York Infantry; college research papers on John Hunt Morgan and Battle of Gettysburg.
Located at the Military History Institute in Carlisle, PA.

Parsons, David K. Bugles echo across the valley: Oswego County, N.Y. and the Civil War. Sandy Creek, N.Y. Write to Print, c1994.

Regimental Papers. Civil War Miscellaneous Collection
(Letters of unidentified enlisted men, Nov 3, 1862 & May 31, 1864)
Located at the Military History Institute in Carlisle, PA.

Rose, Edwin. Papers, 1830-1862.
Description: 4 items
Abstract: Photograph of Colonel Edwin Rose; appointment as Second Lieutenant in the Regular Artillery, signed by Andrew Jackson, 1830; appointment as Colonel of the 16th Regiment, 6th Brigade, 2nd Division of the New York State Volunteers, 1861; and appointment as Colonel of the 81st Regiment, New York State Volunteers.
Located at the Bridge Hampton Historical Society. Library, Bridgehampton, NY.

Slosek, Anthony M. Oswego County, New York, in the Civil War. Oswego, NY: Oswego County Civil War Centennial Committee, 1964.

Snyder, Charles M. "Oswego County's Response to the Civil War." New York History. 42 (January 1961) 71-92.

Snyder, Charles McCool. Oswego County, New York, in the Civil War. Oswego, NY: Oswego County Historical Society, 1962.

Tuttle, Squire. Tuttle Collection
(Enlisted man's letters, Jun 15, 1861-Sep 10, 1864)
Located at the Military History Institute in Carlisle, PA.

West, Isaac E.  Civil War diary of Isaac E. West : January 1864 - September 1865.
Held by the Allen County (Indiana) Public Library.

White family, et al. Letters, 1854, 1862.
Description:    2 items
Abstract:    Two letters dated July 21, 1854, and ca. Feb. 16, 1862. The 1854 letter was written by Secretary of War Jefferson Davis to Samuel White in Rushford, N.Y. concerning two Revolutionary War pension claims. The 1862 letter was written by Nat Jewell, a Union soldier stationed at Camp California (Alexandria, Va.) to Mrs. Sam White, a friend from Rushford, N.Y. He discusses a celebration in camp at hearing the news about the fall of Fort Donelson, and mentions the following regiments: the New Hampshire 8th and the New York 27th, 61st, and 81st. In addition he notes a visit to Fairfax Seminary, which was being used as a Union hospital; rebel spies; illness; and mutual acquaintances stationed nearby.
Held by Duke University.

Wilcox, James N. LeighColl Bk 46: 136 
(Enlisted man's letter, Dec 5, 1862)
Located at the Military History Institute in Carlisle, PA.

Woodall, Natalie J. "Edward Austin Cooke." : ‘tireless’ soldier served Port City until his last day." The Palladium-Times. 4 September 2021. A1, A7.


Unit bibliograhy from the Army Heritage Center

Items in the museum collection are in bold.