93rd New York Infantry Regiment's Civil War Historical Sketch

By Lieutenant David H. King

Taken from Final Report on the Battlefield of Gettysburg (New York at Gettysburg) by the New York Monuments Commission for the Battlefields of Gettysburg and Chattanooga. Albany, NY: J.B. Lyon Company, 1902.

The Ninety-third New York Volunteer Infantry was recruited and organized in the latter part of 1861, and mustered into the United States service early in 1862. The regiment was kept on duty at the barracks in Albany, N. Y., until February 14, 1862, when it was sent to Riker's Island, New York Harbor, where it was supplied with arms and camp equipage. On March 7th, it proceeded to Washington, D. C. It reported to General McClellan, and was assigned to Palmer's Brigade, Casey's Division, Fourth Corps, and became a portion of the Army of the Potomac.

On March 28th, it marched to Alexandria, Va.; 30th, embarked on steamers for Fortress Monroe, Va.; April 18th, at Lee's Mills, formed first actual line of battle; May 1st, first reconnaissance in force; May 5th, our first taste of actual war; May 19th, the regiment was detached from the brigade and sent to White House Landing for provost and guard duty, four companies with headquarters and six with General Ingalls; June 28th, White House Landing was evacuated, and at 3 p. m., a signal gun was fired upon which the torch was applied by Company B, and the great military depot, together with the White House went up in smoke; July 5th, the regiment was on duty at Harrison's Landing, Va., where we remained until August 16th, when the Landing was evacuated and we moved headquarters to Hampton, Va., where we remained until September 2d. We then embarked on steamer for Washington, D. C, and participated in the Maryland campaign.

After Antietam, besides the regular duty as headquarter guard, details were made almost daily to escort prisoners of war to the provost and to Washington. On November 19th, we arrived at Falmouth, Va., and pitched headquarter tents. After the battle of Fredericksburg, Va., December 13th, we settled down for the winter, doing routine duty until the battle of Chancellorsville. May 5, 1863, returned to camp where we remained until June 15th, when we started for Gettysburg, Pa.

During. the battle of Gettysburg the regiment guarded the immense amount of property, consisting of ammunition, quartermaster and commissary supplies, besides sending details as follows: One with General Meade and staff on battlefield; one to do provost duty, picking up prisoners on the field; one guard to the medical purveyor of the army; and one at general headquarters. On July 3d, all that could be spared after reducing the guards to the minimum number were ordered to the field to take part in the battle, but were not put into action. On July 8th, we commenced our march back to Brandy Station, Va., where we arrived on the 9th of November after a series of marches, maneuvers, and campaigns, and went into winter quarters. Here the men re-en1isted as veterans, the Ninety-third being the first regiment in the Army of the Potomac to complete its veteran organization. January 1, 1864, the regiment arrived in Albany on return furlough, and after thirty days returned to the front recruited in health and numbers. April 20th, by order of General Meade, the regiment reported to Gen. D. B. Birney and was assigned to the Second Brigade, Third Division, Second Army Corps. The regiment had served as general headquarter guard, Army of the Potomac, for twenty-three months, faithfully performing all the duties required of it, during which time Generals McClellan, Burnside, Hooker and Meade respectively commanded the army.

On May 3d, we broke camp and marched, and at daylight halted to rest and cook coffee on the Chancellorsville battlefield. May 5th, the regiment received its baptism of blood. General Hancock personally ordered Colonel Crocker to form his regiment immediately, and move out at once as rapidly as possible until he met the enemy, engage him, and hold his position at all hazards, promising to send support at once.

In five minutes we were hotly engaged and were the first regiment belonging to the Second Corps to become engaged that day. We stubbornly held our position for about an hour during which time we lost one-half our number in killed and wounded. Brave men fell on either hand, but not a foot of ground was yielded, and not a man left the ranks except the wounded. We fought against fearful odds, anxiously waiting for the promised aid. At last we saw a line of blue advancing. They wore upon their caps the talismanic emblem of the" Red Diamond." Support had been delayed in consequence of the death of General Hays, our brigade commander, who was killed while forming the line to come to our support.

We lost in killed and wounded more than 50 percent. of our men, and it is a wonder that the regiment was not annihilated. Night came. The remnant of the regiment was relieved and fell back to the second line, when we ate our scanty meal and then tenderly and with bleeding hearts we buried our dead comrades. We brought the wounded from the field and started thence for the rear; and then took our places in the line until morning, when we were to witness another day of carnage. Our losses during the two days were 4 commissioned officers killed and 13 wounded; 49 enlisted men killed and 196 wounded; total, 262.

May 7th, the regiment sustained a loss of 4 men killed, and 7 wounded; and from the 8th to the 10th, we lost 3 men killed and 6 wounded. May 12th. at Spotsylvania, we lost 2 commissioned officers wounded, 8 men killed, and 18 wounded. It was during this fight that an oak tree, twenty-two inches in diameter, was cut down by minie balls, and in falling it killed several members of a South Carolina regiment. May 23d, at the battle of North Anna River, our loss was 1 commissioned officer wounded; 8 enlisted killed, and 18 wounded. May 24th to June 2d, we were marching, skirmishing, or building works, and our loss was 1 officer wounded and 4 enlisted men killed. June 3d to 9th, we were on the reserve, on picket, or building rifle pits continually. Our loss was 2 men killed and 1 wounded. The 9th of June was the thirty-sixth day of the campaign, and we were still in the woods.

June 15th, we crossed the James River, and on the 16th we took part in the assault on the works in front of Petersburg, where our loss was 7 men killed and 2 wounded. June 17th, we advanced our line with 1 man killed and 4 wounded. . On the 18th, at noon, we made an assault and were repulsed. Brig. Gen. Pierce was wounded. Our loss was 1 officer wounded, 2 men killed, and 2 wounded. June 19th, at night, the regiment advanced to straighten the line, losing 2 commissioned officers wounded, 1 man killed, 4 wounded, and 12 missing. July 28th we occupied the trenches in front of the Ninth Corps, and soon after daylight on the 30th, the mine under the Rebel woods in our front was sprung. Oh! Oh! Oh! such a sight, may it never be our lot again to see.

July 31st, we returned to our old camp, where we remained, every day sending out details on picket and fatigue duty until August 13th, when we embarked for Deep Bottom and reported to the commander of the Tenth Corps. On the 15th and 16th we were engaged with the enemy, losing during the two days' skirmish and fight 19 men killed or mortally wounded, 18 wounded and sent to the hospital, and 28 captured by the enemy, many of whom died in Rebel prisons.

September 10th, we advanced our picket line, and lost 2 men killed, and 3 wounded. October 2d, made reconnaissance and lost 1 officer wounded, 1 man killed, and 6 wounded.

October 27th, we were engaged in the battle of Boydton Road, Va., and lost 18 enlisted men killed or mortally wounded, 24 wounded, and 30 missing.

This place was by many of the boys called the" Bull Pen," from the fact that we were completely surrounded. We returned to our old camp on the 31st, when quite a number were mustered out on account of expiration of term of service. December 7th to 13th, we went on the Weldon Raid, and assisted in destroying the Weldon Railroad. We returned to camp and remained there until February 5, 1865; but from that date to the surrender of Lee we did not get much rest. On April 6th, we were engaged with the enemy in a running fight and lost 1 commissioned officer killed, 5 enlisted men killed, and 12 wounded. We pressed forward, and on the 9th participated in the great joy over the surrender of Appomattox.

After a few days' rest we marched back towards Washington, and on May 23d took part in the Grand Review of the Army of the Potomac. We returned to our camp at night, and on June 29, 1865, we were mustered out of the United States service and sent to Albany for final discharge, which was given on July 14th, just three years and five months from the time the regiment left Albany for the seat of war. During its service the regiment participated in 28 battles; but I give the names of only those in which men were killed or wounded, to-wit:

Wilderness, Po River, NY River, Spotsylvania, Fredericksburg, North Anna, Totopotomoy, Cold Harbor, Deep Bottom (July), Siege of Petersburg, Deep Bottom (August), Boydton Road, Hatcher's Run, Sailor's Creek (Appomattox). The loss of the regiment during its term of service in the foregoing battles was as follows:

Killed in action: 167 
Died in Rebel prisons: 18 
Died of disease: 115 
Wounded and sent to hospital: 688
Total: 988

The actual strength of the regiment from muster-in to muster-out was 1,864, officers and men; but 2 officers and 85 men, only, of the original number were mustered out with the regiment at Albany, July 14, 1865. Total number mustered out was 580, including veterans and recruits.