85th Infantry Regiment (Veteran)

Mustered in: August to December, 1861
Mustered out: June 27, 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, Col. Uriah L. Davis, was organized at Elmira November 7, 1861, and there mustered in the service of the United States for three years between August and December, 1861. April 20, 1864, the regiment was surrendered at Plymouth, N. C.; about the same time a number of the men of the 16th Cavalry were transferred to the remnant of the regiment, which, at the expiration, of its term, was continued in service.
The companies were recruited principally: A at Olean; B at Canandaigua; C at Friend-ship ; D at Little Genesee; E at Granger; F at Black Creek and Friendship; G at Geneva; H at Wellsville; I at Richburgh, and K at Hinsdale.
The regiment left the State December 3, 1861; served in the 3d Brigade, Casey's Division, Army of Potomac, from December, 1861; in Palmer's, 3d, Brigade, Casey's, 2d, Division, 4th Corps, Army of Potomac, from March 13, 1862; in 2d Brigade, 2d Division, 4th Corps, Army of Potomac, from June, 1862; at Newport News, Va., from August, 1862; in Wessell's Brigade, at Suffolk, Va., from November 1, 1862; in 1st, Hunt's, Brigade, 1st, Wessell's, Division, at New Berne, Department North Carolina, from December, 1862; in 1st Brigade, 4th Division, 18th Corps, from January, 1863; in the Department of the South, from March, 1863; in the District of Albemarle, Department North Carolina, from May, 1863; at Plymouth, N. C., in the 3d Brigade, 1st Division, 18th Corps, from January, 1864; the remainder of regiment at Roanoke Island, District of North Carolina, from April 20, 1864; in Carter's Division, Provisional Corps, from March, 1865; with 23d Corps, from April 2, 1865; and it was honorably discharged and mustered out, commanded by Col. W. W. Clark, June 27, 1865, at New Berne, N. C.
During its service the regiment lost by death, killed in action, 1 officer, 20 enlisted men; of wounds received in action, 15 enlisted men; of disease and other causes, 2 officers, 340 enlisted men; total, 3 officers, 375 enlisted men; aggregate, 378; of whom 245 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-fifth Infantry.—Cols., Uriah L. Davis, Robert B. Van Valkenburgh, Jonathan S. Belknap, Eufice . Fardella, William W. Clark; Lieut.-Cols., Jonathan S. Belknap, Abijah I. Wellman, William W. Clark, Seneca Allen; Majs., Abijah J. Wellman, Reuben V. King, Walter Crandall, Chauncey S. Aldrich. This regiment, re-cruited in the southern part of the state, was mustered into the U. S. service at Elmira, from Aug. to Dec., 1861, for a three years* term, and left for Washington on Dec, 3. It served in the defenses of Washington until the advance of the army to the Peninsula in March, 1862, when it was assigned to the 3d brigade, 2nd division, 4th. corps. It performed trench duty before Yorktpwn and other duties incident to the siege, was active at the battle of Williams-burg and was closely engaged at Fair Oaks, where its total loss was 79 in killed, wounded and missing. Upon the return from the Penin-sula, the regiment was stationed at Newport News and late in the autumn moved to Suffolk, where it was assigned in Dec., 1862, to the 1st brigade, 1st division, Department of North Carolina, and ordered to New Berne. There it took part in the Goldsboro expedition, and in Jan., 1863, became a part of the 1st brigade, 4th division, 18th corps. In the summer of 1863 it was located in the District of Albemarle and undertook various expeditions into the surrounding country, meeting the enemy in several minor encounters. In Jan., 1864, the 85th was assigned to the 3d brigade, 1st division, 18th corps, and ordered to Plymouth, N. C., where in April, it was obliged to surrender to a superior force of the enemy, almost the entire regiment being captured. As a result of this disaster the loss of life in Southern prisons was appalling—222 deaths during imprisonment being reported. The remnant of the regiment received by transfer the members of the 16th N. Y. cavalry and having previously reenlisted, served throughout the war as the 85th regiment. It was posted at Roanoke island and was active in the Carolina campaign in March, 1865, after which it performed garrison duty at New Berne until June 27, 1865, when it was mustered out in that city. During its term of service the command lost 36 members by death from wounds, 103 from accident or disease, and the 222 who died in prison.

NYSMM Online Resources

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

Muster Roll

Unit Roster

Newspaper Clippings

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.

Aldrich, Chauncey S. [Chauncey S. Aldrich collection]. 1862-1865.
Description: 2" Linear.
Abstract: The collection contains retyped personal papers of Captain Chauncey S. Aldrich as well as photographs and an address and newspaper clipping. The bulk of the collection concerns Captain Aldrich's military service for the years 1862-1865. The collection includes Captain Aldrich's diary. In this diary, Captain Aldrich documented his day to day activities, including letters written and received, services attended, drills, and military engagements. Included with the diary is Aldrich's account of his escape from a Confederate prison at the end of 1864. This account includes the names of accomplices they met along the way. The collection also includes the text of an address Aldrich delivered in McDonough, his hometown, in 1863. The address dealt primarily with the duties of the American citizen, especially in a time of war. The remainder of the collection is comprised of a newspaper clipping mentioning Aldrich, a questionnaire Captain Aldrich filled out pertaining to his experience as a prisoner of war, a note from one of Aldrich's descendents, Pat Aldrich, and a scanned image of Captain Aldrich.
Note(s): Bio/History: Chauncey Soper Aldrich was born and raised in McDonough, New York in 1833 . While in his twenties, Aldrich taught at an academy until being admitted to the New York bar. In 1861, at the age of 27, Aldrich joined hundreds of his fellow New Yorkers in volunteering for military services during the Civil War. Together they formed the 85th New York volunteers. Aldrich began his career as a 2nd Lieutenant and rose to the rank of captain within two years. In 1862, Aldrich was stationed on Meridian Hill in Washington D.C. but spent the next three years with the 85th working their way throughout the south. The 85th took part in a number of major battles, including the Siege of Yorktown, the Seven Days Battle, and the Battle of Plymouth in April of 1864. In mid-April 1864, the New York 85th was traveling aboard the Massassoit when they came under attack by Confederate forces. Fighting lasted for days and in the end, the 85th Regiment surrendered to the Confederates at Plymouth. They were taken prisoner on April 20 and were marched south for four days until they were put on a train and moved to various prisoner of war camps throughout the south. They eventually found themselves at the camp in Columbia, South Carolina. Five months passed without any information and on October 11, 1864, Aldrich and four fellow officers from the 85th escaped. It was a full day before the Confederates set the bloodhounds after them, but Aldrich and his officers had too much of a head start. For the next month, the officers made their way north. It was November 18, 1864, Aldrich's birthday, when they arrived safely in Rochester, New York. On December 16, 1864, Aldrich was honorably discharged from the military. He spent the next few years giving speeches in New York and then moved throughout the country, eventually settling in Colorado where he died in 1909.
General Info: Organization: 2 folders in letter sized box;/ Diary, military questionnaire, address, newspaper clipping.
Located at the Pritzker Military Library, Chicago, IL.

Andrews, Stephen Tippet. Letters of Stephen Tippet Andrews of the 85th New York Volunteers, Company F, to Miss Margaret Little, Franklinville, New York, August 28, 1961 [sic] to March 28, 1965 [sic], during the Civil War / edited by Sally Andrews Earnest. Pittsboro, N.C. : Town House Press, c1998.

Andrews, Stephen Tippet. Stephen Tippet Andrews letters, 1861-1865.
Description: About 80 items (0.5 linear feet).
Abstract: The collection contains letters from Stephen Tippet Andrews to Margaret Little (Maggie) written over the course of Tippet's service in the 85th New York Infantry Regiment during the Civil War. Also included is a volume containing transcriptions of the letters and biographical information on Andrews and Little, written by their great-granddaughter Sally Andrews Earnest. Most letters are dated 1862-1863 and roughly half were sent from North Carolina where he was stationed, 1863-1864. There is a gap from 14 April 1864 to 28 March 1865 when Andrews was captured and held prisoner. Letters describe military life and provide news of battles won and lost, including the capture of Fort Donaldson in 1862; a battle on 31 May 1862 near Virginia; a series of encounters at Blackwater River near Suffolk, Va., in November 1862; the battle taking Kinston, N.C., in December 1862; and the Confederate attack on New Bern, N.C., in March 1863. The letters occasionally describe the southern homefront. They also discuss Andrews's feelings for Little and his hopes for their marriage and life together.
Note(s): In the Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (#5324)./ Published as "Letters of Stephen Tippet Andrews of the 85th New York Volunteers, Company F, to Miss Margaret Little, Franklinville, New York, August 28, 1961[sic] to March 28, 1965[sic], during the Civil War" (Pittsboro, N.C.: Town House Press, 1998./ Bio/History: Stephen Tippet Andrews served with the 85th New York Infantry Regiment during the Civil War. He helped organize Company F and was mustered in as first sergeant of the company in the second half of 1861. Andrews was captured with the Plymouth Pilgrims on 20 April 1864 and was held captive at an unknown location for roughly one year. On 8 April 1865, he was honorably discharged. After the Civil War, he married Margaret Little and worked in a general store. He was appointed postmaster by President Benjamin Harrison and served in this capacity until his death on 13 June 1891.
Located in the Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Babcock, Stephen. New York (State). Bureau of Military Statistics. "Stephen Babcock. The New York Institution for the Blind, New York, Nov. 4th, 1867.." Fifth Annual Report of the Bureau of Military Statistics, with Appendices : 5th Annual Report of the Bureau of Military Statistics, with Appendices. Albany, NY: C. Van Benthuysen & Sons' Steam Printing House, 1868. http://dmna.state.ny.us/historic/reghist/civil/annual reports/annual reports index.htm 287.

Ball, John. Escape from Dixie: The Story of LT. John Lafler (85th NY), Civil War POW. Williamsville, NY: Goldstar Enterprises, 1996.

Bancroft, Albert H. "Diary of Corporal of Co. B, Eighty-fifth regiment, N.Y.S.V." In Fifth annual report of the New York state Bureau of military statistics, 1868, p. 575-612.

Brandt, Nat. Mr. Tubbs' Civil War. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 1996.

Chadwick, Ransom A. Ransom Chadwick's Andersonville Prison diary, 1864-1915 (bulk 1864).
Description:    2 volumes and 6 items in a folder
Abstract:    Chadwick's 2-volume diary written mostly while in Andersonville Prison, Georgia, as a member of the Eighty-fifth New York Infantry; a typed transcription of the diary's narrative portion; and ephemera.
Held at the Minnesota Historical Society

Chapin, Nelson - CWTIColl 
(Capt's correspondence, Oct 14, 1861-Mar 6, 1864; Enlisted man's [W.G. Briggs] correspondence, Aug 24 & Sep 2, 1862)
Located at the Military History Institute in Carlisle, PA.

Collins, Talbert (William). Letters. (Included in a pension application filed on his behalf)
Available at www.Fold3.com (path: Civil War » Civil War "Widows' Pensions" » New York » Infantry » Regiment 85 » Company H » Collins, William T (WC77320))
Thank you to Ed Worman for pointing this out this resource.

Cool, Alice and Cyrus Newton. Cyrus W. Newton letters, 1862-1864.
Description:    12 items.
Abstract:    This collection is made up of 12 letters that Cyrus W. Newton wrote to his sister, Alice Cool, while serving in the 85th New York Infantry Regiment, Company K, during the Civil War. Some of Newton's letters contain messages for his mother and his brother John.
Access:    http://quod.lib.umich.edu.dbgateway.nysed.gov/c/clementsead/umich-wcl-M-4996new?view=text

Denin, Kate, Harriet Beecher Stowe, et al. Theatre Concert Hall! Kate Denin, Lessee ... : Third week of the Denin Troupe : The great hit! : A perfect ovation! was accorded to the first representation of the great moral drama of Uncle Tom's Cabin ... : Monday evening, Nov. 11th, will be presented the celebrated drama of Uncle Tom's Cabin or Life in the South! ... [Elmira, N.Y.] : [Kate Denin], Advertiser Steam Power Press Print)
Description:    1 sheet ([1] pages) ; 62 x 18 cm
Held at the University of Virginia

Dunkelman, Mark. "The Shippy Brothers." : A New York Family at War." Military Images. 12 :2 September-October 1990. 24-27.

Dunn, William E. CWTIColl 
(Enlisted man's biog; his correspondence, Aug 12, 1861- Jan 21, 1864)
Located at the Military History Institute in Carlisle, PA.

Graham, Robert H., b. 1865. Yates County's "boys in blue", 1861-1865 : who they were, what they did. Penn Yan, N.Y. s.n, 1926.

Gooding, Zephaniah W. Correspondence, 1833-1872.
Description: 113 items.
Abstract: Chiefly personal letters (1861-1864) discussing life in the 85th New York Infantry Regiment, the teaching profession, and the westward movement. Wartime correspondence contains references to Civil War battles, including a description of the battlefield after the Battle of Williamsburg, 1862, and actions in North Carolina, 1862-1864, at Kinston, Whitehall, Goldsboro, and Roanoke Island; and also references to President Lincoln. Letters, 1871-1872, concern the movement of the Gooding family to the western United States and include comments on economic conditions, land prices, pioneer life, the teaching profession, and the presidential election of 1872.
Located at Duke University.

Issard, William. Civil War Miscellaneous Collection 
(Enlisted man's poem "The Campaign with McClellan, 1861")
Located at the Military History Institute in Carlisle, PA.

Jones, Miles T. Civil War Miscellaneous Collection
(Lt's letters, Nov 14, 1861-Nov 14, 1863)
Located at the Military History Institute in Carlisle, PA.

Jordan, Weymouth T., Jr.; Thomas, Gerald W. "Massacre at Plymouth." : April 20, 1864." The North Carolina Historical Review. 72 :5 April 1995. 125-197.

LaForge, Abiel T. LaForgeColl
(Capt's letters, May 29, 1859-Jul 12, 1865; Diary entries, Jan 1, 1864-Jul 15, 1865; Newspaper articles)
Located at the Military History Institute in Carlisle, PA.

La Forge, Abiel T. Abiel LaForge Letters and Diaries.
Abiel T. LaForge -- Residence was not listed; 19 years old. Enlisted on 10/1/1861 at Belmont, NY as a Private. On 10/7/1861 he mustered into "C" Co. NY 85th Infantry. He was discharged on 6/8/1864. Residence was not listed; 23 years old. Enlisted on 6/9/1864 at Cold Harbor, VA as a 1st Lieutenant.On 6/9/1864 he was commissioned into "F" Co. NY 106th Infantry. He was Mustered Out on 6/22/1865 at Washington, DC. Promotions: * Capt 2/4/1865 (As of Co. I). Intra Regimental Company Transfers: * 2/4/1865 from company F to company I 
Available online at the Allegany Historical Society.
Thank you to Ed Worman for pointing out this reference.

Lamphear, Nathan. Letters (1861-1865). 
Description: 11 Items
Abstract: Group of letters sent to Lamphear's siblings from Elmira, New York, and various army camps in Virginia and North Carolina. He wrote about the troops being mustered into service at Elmira, battlefield action, and experiences of being taken prisoner.
Located at the New York State Library Manuscripts and Special Collections.

Lamphear, Nathan. New York (State). Bureau of Military Statistics. "Nathan Lanphear." Fifth Annual Report of the Bureau of Military Statistics, with Appendices : 5th Annual Report of the Bureau of Military Statistics, with Appendices. Albany, NY: C. Van Benthuysen & Sons' Steam Printing House, 1868. http://dmna.state.ny.us/historic/reghist/civil/annual reports/annual reports index.htm 289 - 291.

Langworthy, Daniel Avery. Reminiscences of a prisoner of war and his escape, by Daniel Avery Langworthy, late Captain 85th N.Y. Minneapolis, Minn.: Byron print, co., 1915.

Levy, George (Historian) His terrible swift sword : Elmira, New York in the Civil War. Springfield, Illinois: White Oak Press, Inc, 2012.

Link, Martin. Memoirs, 1870.
Description: diary 1 v. (126 p.)
Abstract: Memoir is written in the form of a diary from diary notes made during the Civil War between March 1862 and 1865. Includes information about battles at Fair Oaks, Yorktown, and Williamsburg in Virginia and Kingston and Goldsboro, North Carolina.
Access: Note: To Finding Aid http://www.lib.auburn.edu/archive/find-aid/398.htm
Note(s): Forms record group 398./ Bio/History: Martin Link enlisted in Olean, New York with the 85th New York Volunteer Infantry on August 12, 1861 as First Sergeant of Company A. He was promoted to Second Lieutenant on December 19, 1864 and First Leiutenant on February 18, 1865. On March 1, 1865, Link was transferred to Company C where he remained until the regiment was discharged following the Civil War's conclusion. 
General Info: Organization: Diary;/ Arranged by author.
Located at Auburn University.

Litzinger, Boyd, and Echert, Edward K., eds. "On the Peninsular Campaign." [Letters of Cpl William E. Dunn]. Civil War Times Illustrated (Jul 1975): pp. 14-19.

Lowry, Thomas P., M.D, editor, Swamp Doctor, The Diary of a Union Surgeon in the Virginia & North Carolina Marshes. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 2001.
William Mervale Smith kept a diary of his service with the 85th NY Volunteer Infantry Regiment from June 13, 1862 to May 27, 1863 [ actually his second diary---the first was lost at the battle of Fair Oaks on May 31-June 1, 1862]. Smith had raised Company E in September 1861. There are also references to the 92nd, 96th, and 130th NY regiments among others. Dr. Smith resigned due to illness but went on to a full life and became the Surgeon General of NYS in 1872 and Health Officer of the Port of New York until 1892. He died on December 31, 1922 at San Bernardino, CA.
Thank you to Ed Worman for pointing out this resource and writing the annotation.

Mahood, Wayne. The Plymouth pilgrims : a history of the Eighty-Fifth New York Infantry in the Civil War. Hightstown, NJ: Longstreet House, 1989.

Mosher, Charles C. Charlie Mosher's Civil War: From Fair Oaks to Andersonville with the Plymouth Pilgrims (85th N.Y. Infantry). [Ed. by Wayne Mahood]. Hightstown, NJ: Longstreet House, 1994.

Murphy, Horton M. HCWRTColl 
(Enlisted man's letter, Jan 3, 1865)
Located at the Military History Institute in Carlisle, PA.

Murphy, Horton S. LeighColl Bk 5: 46 
(Enlisted man's letter, May 12, 1862)
Located at the Military History Institute in Carlisle, PA.

"A private shake, across the bloody chasm." Neighbor’s Home Mail. 1875.

"The Roanoke Robbers." Neighbor’s Home Mail. 1875.

Peirson, Edwin C. Edwin C. Peirson papers, 1851-1906 (bulk 1861-1865).
Description: 1 microfilm reel.
Abstract: The collection consists of a microfilm copy of the papers Edwin C. Peirson from 1851 to 1906. The collection includes 22 letters by Peirson to his parents; 1 letter by Samuel B. Adams Capt. 85th New York Infantry Regiment, December 9, 1864; 2 discharges; a letter to Major Adrian Terry, 10th Army Corps asking for an opportunity to "muster" his commission as Lieutenant, dated April 30, 1865; a note of recommendation from New York State Senator John Raines, January 3, 1906; a membership certificate in the National Association Union Ex-Prisoners of War, and a manuscript document reconveying a lot, dated February 6, 1851, by Thomas Carter to Garret Conyes [having no apparent connection with the collection.]
Note(s): Reported in NUCMC MS651860 as part of collective entry "Union Collection, 1860-1911" with twenty-three other manuscript collections./ Reproduction: Available only on microfilm./ Bio/History: Edwin C. Peirson was born in Waterloo, New York, and lived there as a farmer. He enlisted in Company G, 85th New York Infantry Regiment on October 29, 1861 and reenlisted in December 1863 at Plymouth, North Carolina as a "Veteran Volunteer." Most of his service was in the vicinity of Fort Monroe, Virginia, and Plymouth, North Carolina. His duty consisted largely of garrison duty, scouting and skirmishing, with relatively little combat and no participation in major battles. He became orderly sergeant of Company G, 85th New York Infantry Regiment, and in September 1863 received a commission as lieutenant. But, before he could be mustered as lieutenant, he was captured at Plymouth, North Carolina, April 20, 1864 and held prisoner until March 7, 1865 when he escaped from prison at Charleston, South Carolina. Peirson had a brother, Albert, who was wounded while serving in another regiment. 
General Info: Unrestricted access./ Organization: Correspondence arranged in chronological order./ Original or duplicate materials: Originals in possession of donor./ Finding aid available in repository./ Occupation: Soldier.
Located at Emory University.

Smith, William M. "The siege and capture of Plymouth, an address by Surgeon William M. Smith." MOLLUS-NY I 322-43.

Smith, William Mervale, and Thomas P. Lowry. Swamp doctor : the diary of a Union surgeon in the Virginia and North Carolina marshes. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 2001.

Stebbins, Chancey A. Civil War Miscellaneous Collection
(Enlisted man's letter, May 12, 1862)
Located at the Military History Institute in Carlisle, PA.

Stillman, Ellicott Rogers. Letters 1861-1865.
Description: 1 reel of microfilm (35mm)
Abstract: Civil War letters of E. R. Stillman of the 85th New York Volunteer Infantry, describing his service in the Peninsular campaign, battles, troopp movements, and army life in Virginia and North Carolina.
Note(s): available only on microfilm.
General Info: Loaned for microfilming by Mr. amd Mrs. R. Hartman, Plainfield, Wis., 1966.
Located at the Wisconsin Historical Society Archives.

Welch, John C. [In Confederate prisons and escapes therefrom. Paper delivered ... at Friendship, N.Y., Sept. 4, 1907, before the survivors of the 85th Regiment, New York Volunteers.
Description: 32 f. fol.
Note(s): Typewritten copy./ Reproduction: Microfilm./ New York, N.Y.:/ New York Public Library,/ 19--
Located at the New York Public Library, Research Library.

Wolcott, Walter, 1859. The military history of Yates County, N.Y. : comprising a record of the services rendered by citizens of this county in the army and navy, from the foundation of the government to the present time. Penn Yan, N.Y. Express Book and Job Print. House, 1895.

Worman, Edward (compiler). 85th NY Men who were enlisted at Sharon Township, Pennsylvania.

Worman, Edward (compiler of casualty list) Alviah J. Jordan's Civil War Story and Richburg, New York's 85th Regiment men Edward A. Worman, 2018.

Worman, Edward (compiler). "85th NY - Co. D & others found in the 1860 U.S. Census - Sharon Twp., PA." : And other locations in Potter County, captured at Plymouth, NC, on April 20, 1864. And the Captain of Ghosts.." Potter County Historical Society Quarterly Bulletin 193 July 2014.


Unit bibliography from the Army Heritage Center

Items in the museum collection are in bold.