86th Infantry Regiment

Nickname: Steuben Rangers

Mustered in: November 20, 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. Benajah P. Bailey, was organized at Elmira November 23, 1861, and there mustered in the service of the United States for three years November 20-23, 1861. June 21, 1864, the men of the 70th Infantry, not mustered out with their regiment, were transferred to this. At the expiration of its service the men entitled thereto were discharged and the regiment retained in service.
The companies were recruited principally: A at Syracuse; B at Addison; C and F at Corning; D at Hornellsville; E at Elmira; G at Canisteo; H' at Troupsburg; I in Steuben county and K at Woodhull.
The regiment left the State November 23, 1861; served in 2d Brigade, Casey's Division, Army of Potomac, from December, 1861; in 3d Brigade, Smith's Division, Army of Potomac, from January 16, 1862; in 2d Brigade, Casey's Division, Army of Potomac, from February, 1862; in General Wadsworth's Military District of Washington, D. C., from March, 1862; in Piatt's Brigade, Reserve Corps, Army of Virginia, from August, 1862; in same brigade, Whipple's Division, 12th Corps, Army of Potomac, from October, 1862; in 1st Brigade, 3d Division, 3d Corps, Army of Potomac, from November, 1862; in 2d Brigade, 1st Division, 3d Corps, Army of Potomac, from June, 1863; in 1st Brigade, 3d Division, 2d Corps, Army of Potomac, from April, 1864; and it was honorably discharged and mustered out, commanded by Col. Nathan H. Vincent, June 27, 1865, near Washington, D. C.
During its service the regiment lost by death, killed in action, 9 officers, 92 enlisted men; of wounds received in action, 5 officers, 67 enlisted men; of disease and other causes, 3 officers, 151 enlisted men; total, 17 officers, 310 enlisted men; aggregate, 327; of whom 17 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-sixth Infantry.—Cols., Benijah P. Bailey, Benjamin L. Higgins, Jacob H. Lansing, Nathan H. Vincent; Lieut.-Cols., Bar-nard J. Chapin, Benjamin L. Higgins, Jacob H. Lansing, Michael B. Stafford, Nathan H. Vincent, Luzern Todd; Majs., Seyman G. Rheinvault, Benjamin L. Higgins, Jacob H. Lansing, Michael B. Stafford, Nathan H. Vincent, Frederick Van Tine, Luzern Todd, Samuel H. Leavitt. The 86th, known as the Steuben Rangers, was recruited in Steuben, Chemung and Onondaga counties, mustered into the U. S. service at Elmira, Nov. 20 to 23, 1861, and left for Washington on Nov. 23. It passed the first winter in the performance of guard duty at or near Washington and was not ordered to the front until Aug., 1862, when it joined the forces under Gen. Pope and lost 118 in, killed, wounded and missing at the second Bull Run. It then moved to Fredericksburg, participated in the battle there with the 1st brigade, 3d division, 3d corps, and then went into winter quarters near Falmouth. It bore a prominent part in the battle of Chancellorsville, was engaged at Brandy Station, and in the thick of the fight at Gettysburg. Moving southward. via Wapping heights, Auburn and Kelly's ford, no further loss was met with Until the Mine Run campaign, when the regiment lost 32 in the action at Locust Grove. At Brandy Station, where the Army of the Potomac made its winter quarters, a large number of the regiment reenlisted and received their veteran furlough in Jan., 1864, and the 86th continued in the field as a veteran regiment. Camp was broken in April for the Wilderness campaign, the regiment being assigned to the 1st brigade, 3d division, 2nd corps, with which it fought through all the battles of that memorable advance toward Richmond, meeting its heaviest loss at the Po river, where 96 were killed, wounded or captured. It accompanied its brigade and division to Petersburg, shared in the first assault, the engagements at the Weldon railroad, Deep Bottom, Strawberry Plains, Poplar Spring Church, the Boydton road, the Hicksford raid, Hatcher's run and in the Appomattox campaign, winning renown as a fighting regiment. It was commonly named "The fighting regiment of the Southern Tier." Out of a total enrollment of 1,318, the regiment lost 98 killed in action, 73 died from wounds, and 153 from other causes during service. The loss in officers was also heavy. Lieut.-Col. Chapin was killed and Maj. Higgins severely wounded at Chancellorsville, and Lieut.-Col. Stafford fell before Petersburg.


86th Regiment NY Volunteer Infantry | National Color | Civil War

The “ladies of Addison” presented this flag to Company B, which was recruited in Addison. After company commander Captain William Angle suffered a…


86th Regiment NY Volunteer Infantry | Guidons | Civil War

The NYS Battle Flag Collection includes two silk swallowtail guidons carried by the 86th Regiment New York Volunteer Infantry. Each guidon conforms to…

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.

Baker, N. S. The Civil War diary of Captain N.S. Baker, Co. G., 86 New York Vols.
Description: [96] leaves ; 28 cm.
Note(s): Typewritten copy of a diary and three letters dated 1862 to 1864./ Material copied by A. Porter S. Sweet, author's grandson.
Located at the Rochester Public Library.

Bennet, James. James Bennet collection, circa 1841-1860s ; circa 1880s, undated.
Description:    2 boxes.
Abstract:    The James Bennet Collection, circa August 1841-1860s, circa 1880s, undated, contains materials documenting the life and military service of James Bennet in the U.S. Army during the Civil War, as well as some family papers. The collection is arranged in seven series: Official correspondence; Personal correspondence; Official papers; Personal papers; Printed materials; Photographs; and Oversize. The Official correspondence series document some of Bennet's duties with the New York militia and his efforts to enlist in Colonel Benajah P. Bailey's regiment. A letter on behalf of the mother of a soldier and notes regarding the hospitalization or arrest of soldiers are also included. The personal correspondence is regarding family matters, visits with friends, business with merchants, and the disposition of Bennet's land in Kansas Territory. The letters from 1861 describe the efforts of Bennet's friends to enlist in New York regiments and the possibility of finding a place for him as well. A letter dated 23 August 1862 from Bennet's brother, Harvey, to their father inquiring about James's health, and a partial letter from an unidentified author to "Sister" are included at the end of the series. The official papers consists of documents from his official duties with the 86th New York Infantry Regiment. These include receipts, copies of general orders, and passes. The personal papers contain materials regarding both Bennet and his family. The family papers include survey descriptions of land in Steuben County, New York, as well as bills for cattle, lumber, and food purchased by the Bennet family. The personal papers also include a final bank statement for an account held by Bennet (issued to his family after his death) and a brief history of the 86th New York Infantry Regiment. The printed materials include a copy of Bennet's obituary. The photographs include portraits of James Bennet from before and during the Civil War, photographs of family members and of family homes. One portrait of an unidentified U.S. soldier in uniform is possibly Harvey Bennet, who served as sergeant of Company G.
Located at the Military History Institute in Carlisle, PA.

Bovee, Daniel B. Civil War Miscellaneous Collection
(Enlisted man's letter, Jun 9, 1864)
Located at the Military History Institute in Carlisle, PA.

Burtch, Donna, and William Burtch. W.G. : the opium-addicted pistol toting preacher who raised the first Federal African American Union troops. Mechanicsburg, PA : Sunbury Press, Inc., 2022.

Chase, Stephen P. and John E. Boller. 'The Straggler' : Civil War adventures of Stephen Paine Chase, Army of the Potomac, Ward's Brigade, 86th Regt. NYS Vols.. 1986.

Chase, Stephen Payne. Stephen P. Chase papers, 1862-1961, undated (bulk 1890-1917).
Description:    8 boxes.
Abstract:    The Stephen P. Chase papers primarily consist of thirty-two diaries written by Chase covering the years 1862-1865, 1875, 1890-1917. An 1862 diary written by Sylvester Hunt who served in Company H, 86th New York Infantry Regiment and an 1891 diary written by Charlie Chase are included in the collection. The papers also include official papers, photocopies of Stephen P. Chase's personnel and pension records, photocopies of news clippings about his memoirs, a history of the 86th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment, three letters, and two copies of "Services" books from 1906.
Located at the Military History Institute in Carlisle, PA.

Holden, Douglas, and Garda Parker. From camp to cannon's mouth : the letters of four union soldiers during the Civil War. Lee's Summit, MO : Delphi Books, 2011.

Houghton, Charles A. HoughtonColl
(Enlisted man, Jeremiah Clark's, letters, Nov 17, 1861- Aug 30, 1964)
Abstract:    Contains the following type of materials: correspondence. Contains information pertaining to the following wars: Civil War -- Eastern theater, -- Atlantic coast, -- Western theater, --Northern interior. Contains information pertaining to the following military units: 141st New York Infantry Regiment; 72nd New York Infantry Regiment; 86th New York Infantry Regiment; 84th New York Infantry Regiment. General description of the collection: The Charles A Houghton papers include soldiers letters, 141st, August 1862-June 1865; campaigns: Suffolk Peninsula, 1863, Gettysburg, Wauhatchie, Chattanooga, Resaca, New Hope Church, Atlanta, march to the sea, Savannah, and Carolinas; served: Laurel, Maryland, Arlington, and White House Virginia; Shell Mound, Tennessee, Nickajack, Georgia, Stanton General Hospital, District of Columbia; cattle herd; longs for home, Lindleytown, NY; letters, 72nd,1863; 86th,1861-1864; and 84th, 1862-1865.
Located at the Military History Institute in Carlisle, PA. 

John B. Walker concerning the death of George M. Rice : with lithograph of Andersonville Prison. 30 August 1865.

"Picket Reports." Neighbor’s Home Mail. 3 :4 54.

Proctor, Robert Huntington, Jr. Grandpa's diary : the story of a Civil War drummer boy, Wilbur Huntington Proctor.
Description:    98 leaves : illustrations, maps, portraits ; 28 cm
Language:    English
Abstract:    Diary documents the activities of Wilbur Huntington Proctor from January 1864 to April 1874, including his military service as a musician in Company G of the 70th New York Infantry Regiment, Company K of the 86th New York Infantry Regiment, and the 14th Infantry Regiment during the U.S. Civil War and later in Idaho territory. Documents his voyage to Panama and north along the West Coast to Fort Boise, Idaho. Following his discharge from military service in 1868, Proctor describes his life in New York City after military service, travels to San Francisco, CA, Nebraska, Michigan, and Ohio; his ownership of a confectionery store; and his work as a streetcar conductor and mail carrier in New York, NY. Entries consist primarily of general descriptions of daily activities and acquaintances. Includes his description of daily life as well as genealogical data for the Proctor.
Held at the Idaho State Archives.

Proctor, Wilbur Huntington, et al. Wilbur Huntington Proctor diary and photographs: ca. 1855-1912, bulk ca. 1855-1874.
Description:    1 v. ([189] p.) ; 19.6 cm. 2 items (2 sheets) 3 photographs : ambrotype, b & w ; 11.7 x 9.3 cm. and smaller. 1 photographs : tintype, b & w ; 9.2 x 8.1 cm. 18 photographic prints : b & w ; 10.2 x 6.2 cm.
Abstract:    Diary documents the activities of Wilbur Huntington Proctor from January 1864 to April 1874, including his military service in the United States Civil War and in the Idaho territory, and his life in New York City after military service. Entries consist primarily of general descriptions of daily activities and acquaintances. The collection includes ambrotype, tintype and carte-de-visite photographs of Proctor and his immediate and extended family, ca. 1855-1869. The collection includes a certification made in 1891 of his first military discharge and a certification made in 1912 for his military pension. The diary entries document the deaths of his brother William Henry Proctor, Jr., in July 1865, and his maternal grandfather Pliny Hickok in March 1874; and the births of his son, Frederick Wilbur Proctor in March 1871, and daughter Florence Adelaide Proctor in July 1873. Several pages in the diary provide brief genealogical data of the Proctor, Hickok, and Langdon families. Pages for the period from February 1869 to February 1870, which includes his marriage to Fanny Jane Algeo in March 1869, are missing. The collection includes photocopies of a transcription of the diary by Proctor's grandson, Robert Huntington Proctor, published in three consecutive issues of Crosstimbers: A Multicultural, Interdisciplinary Journal (Chickasha, Oklahoma), Volume 3-4, Fall 2003-Fall 2004. Ambrotype photographs in a cases, ca. 1855, include a portrait of Proctor with his brother, William Henry Proctor, Jr.; a portrait of Sara Adelaide Hickok Proctor, his mother; and a portrait of Aliza Huntington Proctor, his paternal grandmother. The tintype photograph in a case depicts William Henry Proctor, Jr., in his military uniform, ca. 1864. Cartes de visite photographs of Proctor include several portraits taken in 1865 and 1868, including him in military uniform, civilian clothing, and in theatrical costume portraying the Shakespearean characters of Richard III and Romeo. A cartes de visite photograph taken in 1868 depicts Proctor with his wife Fannie Jane Algeo Proctor. Another 1868 image depicts her alone. Cartes de visite of relatives of Wilbur Huntington Proctor, ca. 1867-1869, include single portraits of his mother; his paternal grandmother; his maternal aunt Lucy Ann Hickok Frost, her husband Cyrus Frost, and their son William Nelson Frost; his maternal aunt Harriet P. Hickok Crawford; his maternal uncle Reverend Henry H. Hickok; his maternal aunt-in-law Angeline Hickok, the wife of George S. Hickok; and Harriet E. Hickok, probably a cousin. Identified photographers represented in the collection include New York City photographers Peter Baab, R. G. Barcalow, Abraham Bogardus, Julius Brill, George T. Lape, Richard A. Lewis, and George Gardner Rockwood, in addition to the firm of Bolles & Frisbee in New London, Connecticut.
Held at Yale University.

Rathbun, Isaac R. "A Civil war diary, the diary of Isaac R. Rathbun, Co. D, 86th N.Y. volunteers, Aug. 23, 1862-Jan. 30, 1863." NYH XXXVI (1955) 336-45.

Raymond, William Gould. Life Sketches and faith work of Elder W. G. Raymond, written by himself. Boston: "Washington Press" George E. Crosby & Co. Printers, 1891.
Only pages 1 - 63 are available.

Rinker, Henry. HCWRTColl 
(Enlisted man's letters, Mar 26-Jun 17, 1865)
Located at the Military History Institute in Carlisle, PA.

Scott, George W. Letters (1862-1863).
Description: 4 items
Abstract: Letters sent to Scott's sister regarding his experiences of military life and the Battle of Chancellorsville.
Located at the New York State Library Manuscripts and Special Collections.

Shover, Charlotte Rosenquist. Augustus Temme in the Civil War : With the 70th and 86th New York Volunteers Infantry. New York State and the Civil War. Rosemount, MN: [the author], printed by InstantPublisher.com, 2011.

Stanton, Amos B. Amos B. Stanton papers, 1843-1930.
Description: .6 cubic ft.
Abstract: Primarily Civil War letters from Stanton to his wife. Also, family letters, certificates, pension files, clippings, publications, and diaries of John Crosby and Amos B. Stanton.
Finding aid: http://rmc.library.cornell.edu/ead/htmldocs/RMM04265.html
Located at the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library.

Towner, Ausburn, 1836-1909. "Military Affairs in the County." Our county and its people : a history of the valley and county of Chemung, from the closing years of the eighteenth century. Syracuse, N.Y. D. Mason & Co. 1892. 199 - 277.

Wiley, James A. HCWRTColl
(Enlisted man's letters, Aug 31, 1861-Sep 5, 1862)
Located at the Military History Institute in Carlisle, PA. 

Worman, Edward (compiler). 86th New York at Cold Harbor Edward A. Worman, 2016.

Worman, Edward (compiler). Jasper, New York enlistees in 86th New York Volunteer Infantry Edward A. Worman, 2016.


Unit bibliography from the Army Heritage Center

Items in the museum collection are in bold.