97th Infantry Regiment

Nickname: Third Oneida; Boonville Regiment; Conkling Rifles

Mustered in: February 18, 1862
Mustered out: July 18, 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. Charles Wheelock, was organized at Boonville, and there mustered in the service of the United States for three years February 18, 1862. In May, 1863, it received by transfer the three years' men of the 26th Infantry; June 7, 1864, the men of the Sad Infantry, not mustered out with their regiment, and August 10, 1864, 103 men of the 94th Infantry. At the expiration of its term of enlistment, the men entitled thereto were discharged, and the regiment retained in service.
The companies were recruited principally: A and C at Boonville; B in Lewis county; D and F at Salisbury; E at Prospect and vicinity; G in Herkimer county; H at Utica and Lowville; I at Little Falls; and K at Rome.
The regiment left the State March 12, 1862; served in General Wadsworth's command, Military District of Washington, from March, 1862; in 2d Brigade, 2d Division, Department of Rappahannock, from May, 1862; in 1st Brigade, 2d Division, 3d Corps, Army of Virginia, from June 26, 1862; in 1st Brigade, 2d Division, 1st Corps, Army of Potomac, from September 12, 1862; in 3d Brigade, 2d Division, 1st Corps, Army of Potomac, from December, 1862; in 2d Brigade, same division and corps, from May, 1863; in same brigade and division, 5th Corps, Army of Potomac, from March, 1864; in 2d Brigade, 3d Division, 5th Corps, from May 9, 1864; in 2d Brigade, 2d Division, 5th Corps, from May 30, 1864; in 2d Brigade, 3d Division, 5th Corps, from June 6, 1864; and it was honorably discharged and mustered out, under Col. John P. Spofford, July 18, 1865, near Washington, D. C.
During its service the regiment lost by death, killed in action, 7 officers, 97 enlisted men; of wounds received in action, 5 officers, 73 enlisted men; of disease and other causes, 1 officer, 156 enlisted men; total, 13 officers, 326 enlisted men; aggregate, 339; of whom 54 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. 

Ninety-seventh Infantry.—Cols., Charles Wheelock, John P. Spofford; Lieut.-Cols., John P. Spofford, Rouse S. Eggleston; Majs., Charles Northrup, Rouse S. Eggleston, Delos E. Hall. The 97th, called the Conkling Rifles, was recruited in Oneida and Herkimer counties and mustered into the U. S. service at Boonville, Feb. 19, 1862, for a three years' term. It left for Washington on March 12; was quartered at Fort Corcoran as part of Gen. Wadsworth's command until May, when it was assigned to the 2nd brigade, 2nd division, Department of the Rappahannock and moved into Virginia, where it occupied various posts in the neighborhood of the Rappahannock river; was engaged at Cedar mountain, and lost 111 in killed, wounded and missing in the Manassas campaign. On Sept. 12, the regiment, which had served with the 3d corps, was assigned to the 1st corps and fought in the 1st brigade, 2nd division at South mountain and Antietam, suffering in the latter battle the most severe loss of any battle of its service—24 killed, 74 wounded and 9 missing. At Fredericksburg the regiment was prominently engaged, but not at Chancellorsville in the following May. It marched with the corps to Gettysburg and distinguished itself by the brilliantly executed capture of the colors of the 20th N. C. and 382 prisoners'. On the southward march it was present at Bristoe Station, and was in the Mine Run movement. While in camp at Brandy station, a sufficient number reenlisted to secure the continuance of the 97th in the field as a veteran regiment. In June, 1864, it was joined by the veterans and recruits of the 83d N. Y. infantry and in August, by the 94th, the 26th N. Y. having already been added to it in May, 1863. During Grant's famous campaign the 97th served in the 3d and 2nd divisions, 5th corps. Its heaviest losses during this campaign and subsequent operations were in the Wilderness, at Spottsylvania and near the Weldon railroad, but it shared in other engagements Of the brigade at the North Anna river, Totopotomy, Cold Harbor, White Oak Swamp, before Petersburg, in the Hicks-ford raid and the Appomattox campaign. It was mustered out near Washington, July 18, 1865, having lost dulring service 182 by death from wounds and 157 by death from accident, imprisonment or dis-ease, of whom 54 died in captivity.


97th Regiment NY Volunteer Infantry | Flank Marker | Civil War

This blue silk flank marker carried by the 97th Regiment NY Volunteer Infantry features 1.5-inch long metallic bullion fringe and the regiment's…

NYSMM Online Resources

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

Muster Roll

Unit Roster

Newspaper Clippings

Monument at Gettysburg

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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.

"97th Volunteer Infantry Regiment Collection." Hamilton College Library. Available online at: https://cwl.dhinitiative.org/islandora/search/97th?type=dismax

Adsit, James. Letters, 1861-1862
19 items.
Letters addressed to his wife, in which he complains of his poor health and afflictions from various diseases while encamped in Virginia. On e of the letters describes his wound received in the battle at Antietam, Maryland. Also included are two letters to his wife informing her of his death.
Located at the New York State Library Manuscripts and Special Collections.

Allen, Hector. Oppenheim in the war of the rebellion Holland Patent, NY: Steffen Publishing Co. LLC, 2004.

Amico, Jason A.; Harmon, Troy. Like leaves in a storm : the sacrifice of Iverson's Brigade at Gettysburg. Lynchburg, VA: Schroeder Publications, 2010.

Backus, Clarence Walworth. "Closing war scenes." Magazine of history XX (1915) 251-9.

Bliss, Jerome. Diary, 1863 - 1865.
Excerpts only. Transcribed and donated by Mr. & Mrs. Robert Youker.
1863 excerpts (June 25 - July 6)
1864 excerpts (April 14 - June 15)
1865 excerpts (January 14 - March 24)
Jerome Bliss Obituary, Friday, July 25, 1913

Brief regimental history (Extracted from 1893 pub, History of Herkimer County)
Located at the Military History Institute in Carlisle, PA.

Cady, Rush P. Letters of Rush P. Cady.
This is a collection of 90 items including letters written either by or to Lieut. Rush P. Cady (1841-1863) during his service with the 97th New York Infantry Regiment.
Available online at: http://elib.hamilton.edu/hc/hc-main.php?id=col_spe-civ-cad&c=civ_cad

Chamberlain, Henry H. B. Henry H. B. Chamberlain papers. 1863-1898
5 cubic ft.
Primarily letters written 1864-1868 by Chamberlain to Mary Jane Field of Bridgeport, Connecticut, whom he married in 1864. Includes detailed letters to her written while he was serving with the New York Volunteers 97th Infantry Division and a diary kept from 1863 to 1864 recording his participation in the battles of Pollocks Mill Creek, Va., Petersburg, Va., and Welden Railroad, Va. Also, letters with detailed descriptions of his capture at Gettysburg, his internment at Libby Prison in Richmond, and his subsequent escape and return to action. Letters from after the war, written while he served with Alexander McDowell Cook and the 26th U.S. Infantry on the Texas frontier, include colorful descriptions of military life along the Texas border. Other letters include one written by Chamberlain to his mother; one by Captain Charles F. Dibble to his niece Mary Field (with a postage stamp); and a few to Chamberlain from friends and relatives. Papers include a marriage certificate, commissions, discharge and pension papers of Anson B. Field (probably Mary's brother), a quit claim deed, and probate documents. 
Located at Cornell University.

Col. Charles Wheelock, Ninety-seventh Regiment N.Y.S.V., or "Conkling Rifles." 1863
Description:    8 pages

Ferguson, John V. "Letters." 
Donated and Transribed by Leith Regan.
NOTE: John V. Fersguson was a Chaplain who was 31 years old when he enlisted at Boonsville, NY on 11/11/1861 at Boonsville, NY. On 3/10/1862 he mustered into Field & Staff NY 97th Infantry and he was mustered out on 11/10/1864.

Fical, George. Civil War Miscellaneous Collection 
(Cpl's letters, Oct 21, 1862-Aug 9, 1865; Pension documents, May 1, 1867-Aug 19, 1884)
Located at the Military History Institute in Carlisle, PA.

Garrett, J. P.  J.P. Garrett letters, 1863-1865.
Description:    9 items
Abstract:    Letters to Mrs. Maryette Wetmore, Madison County, N.Y., from J.P. Garrett, 52-year-old fifer in the band of the 97th N.Y. Volunteers, encamped in northern Virginia and near Washington, D.C. The first two letters were written by Garrett as amanuensis to Oliver Moyes, a relative of Mrs. Wetmore. During the war, Garrett lost track of Moyes but continued independently his letters to Mrs. Wetmore. Garrett's letters describe army life and war news, and discuss Moyes's business and death.
Held in the Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Giles, George. Civil War Miscellaneous Collection
(Enlisted man's letter, Dec 15, 1864)
Located at the Military History Institute in Carlisle, PA.

Grace, Thomas M. "Wreck the Weldon Railroad." America's Civil War. 27 :6 January 2015. 54-59.

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.

Hall, Isaac. History of the Ninety-seventh regiment, New York volunteers, ("Conkling rifles,") in the War for the Union. Utica: L. C. Childs & Son, 1890.

Hayden, Charles H. Letters, 1862 - 1863.
Transcriptions and annotations donated by Al Grenning.

Hayden, Charles H. Diary, 1863-1864.
Digital copy donated by Al Grenning. The original is in a private collection in Boonville, New York.
Diary for December, 1863
Diary for January - March, 1864

Hayden, Charles H. and Al Grenning, (ed.) "The Civil War Letters of Charles Harvey Hayden." : Patriot & Hero, 97th New York Volunteer Infantry." Boonville Herald and Adirondack Tourist. 2005.

Hough, Franklin Benjamin. History of Duryee's brigade, during the campaign in Virginia under Gen. Pope, and in Maryland under Gen. McClellan, and the summer and autumn of 1862. Albany: J. Munsell, 1864.

Hough, Franklin B. "The Battle of Fredericksburg." North & South (May 2004) 50-55.

Krutz, David P. Distant Drums: Herkimer County in the War of the Rebellion, Utica: North Country Books, 1997.
Thank you to Steve Glazer for pointing out this resource.

MacCormick, William M.,  author. and Daniel Patrick Wilson (ed.) My Army life. [Schenectady, New York?] : [Daniel Patrick Wilson],  2017.

McNamara, Owen. "Spofford of the Conkling Rifles : Civil War adventures and sore travails of a Herkimer hero." Legacy. 4 :2 1989? 13-18.

Murray, R.L. New Yorkers in the Civil War. Wolcott, N.Y. Benedum Books, v. 3 c2004.

Norton, John T.  John T. Norton letter. 1863
1 Item.
One Civil War letter written by Union soldier John T. Norton (Lieut., 97th Regiment New York State Volunteers) to his father, Morgan Norton of Norway, NY. The letter is dated May 23rd, 1863. Norton discusses the Battle of Chancellorsville and mentions the death of Stonewall Jackson, referring to him as"the bravest of the brave."
Located at the Virginia Military Institute.

Plass, Lewis E. Diary. 1864
1 item ; 12 cm.
A pocket diary kept by the author while serving in the army during the Civil War. Generally, the daily entries provide a brief summary of his activities and experiences, such as camp life, drill, picket duty, and various campaign and battles, including the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, North Anna River, and Cold Harbor. A tintype photographic portrait of Plass is housed with the diary.
Located at the New York State Library Manuscripts and Special Collections.

Pula, James S. and Cheryl A. Pula. "With courage and honor" : Oneida County's role in the Civil War. Utica, NY : Ethnic Heritage Studies Center, Utica College, 2010.

Roback, Henry. The Veteran Volunteers of Herkimer and Otsego Counties in the War of the Rebellion; Being a History of the 152d N.Y.V. With Scenes, Incidents, Etc., Which Occurred in the Ranks, of the 34th N.Y., 97th N.Y., 121st N.Y., 2d N.Y. Heavy Artillery, and lst and 2d N.Y. Mounted Rifles.... Utica, NY: L.C. Childs, 1888.

Roberts, William Warren. William Warren Roberts Diary.
Digital copy of the diary donated by Priscilla Goss.
Transcribed by Jerrie Hinchman.
Note: The official roster of the 97th does not list any person by the name of William Roberts.
Scan of the original - large file size, 12 MB

Roth, Steven. The Conkling Rifles: Civil War History of the Ninety-Seventh Regiment, New York Volunteers. 1998. 108 pages.
This is substantially based upon excerpts and information contained in History of the Ninety-seventh regiment, New York volunteers : ("Conkling rifles,") in the war for the Union, by Isaac Hall (Press of L.C. Childs & Son, Utica, N.Y., 1890).   

Roth, Steven. Lewis County Marches South : "Although time passes, we are somehow all connected.". Journal and Republican. 1998.

Shaw, Charles C. Where brave men sleep. Croghan, NY: 2001.

Smith, Merritt Hager. Merritt Hager Smith Diary, 1863.
Description:    1 container 0.1 cu. ft.
Abstract:    This collection contains the Civil War diary of Private Merritt Hager Smith of Company G, 97th New York Infantry, a member of the regimental band. The diary entries span the entire year of 1863. The first entry finds Smith receiving orders to proceed to Belle Plain Landing, Virginia to assist Lt. Louis Rowan, the regiment's quartermaster. Smith describes his work, the relative comfort in which he lives, recreation, the weather, homesickness, prayer meetings, sutlers, and makes many references to frequent and excessive drinking by various officers. Smith mentions attending Lincoln's grand review of the 1st Army Corps on April 9. Later that month, the regiment began marching northwestward, frequently changing camp, and Smith writes of the difficulty in marching and the conditions of the various camps. On July 1, the regiment arrived in the Gettysburg, Pennsylvania area. Smith describes the area, provides a brief synopsis of the news he has heard from the battle and mentions speaking with a group of Confederate prisoners. As the army again moves to camps southeastward, Smith notes the many towns and villages through which they pass. He writes of news received via newspaper and word-of-mouth but makes few references to specific battles; nor does he make any significant mention of the regimental band's activities.
Held by Virginia Tech.

Snow, Arch B. A waif of the wilderness : A story of the war. Gouverneur, NY: Grand Army Jour. Presses, 1896.

Snyder, Charles E., et al. Charles Snyder papers, 1857-1866.
Description:    0.5 linear ft
Abstract:    The Charles Snyder papers contain correspondence between Snyder, a soldier in the 50th New York Engineers, his future wife, and other family members, concerning soldiers' duties and attitudes, religious activities, and other topics.
Held by the William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan.

Spofford, J.P. New York (State). Bureau of Military Statistics. "J.P. Spofford, Brockett's Bridge, N.Y., 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. 305.

Spofford, John Pembroke. Letters of John Pembroke Spofford : 97th New York Volunteer Infantry, 1862 - 1864.

Stannard, Dwight W.  Letters,1862 Mar. 9-1864 July 10. 
Contains 30 manuscript letters, some with envelopes, written by Dwight W. Stannard, Corporal in the 97th New York Infantry Regiment, mainly to his wife, Alma C. Stannard of Forestport, N.Y.
Available online at: http://elib.hamilton.edu/hc/hcbrowse.php?id=col_spe-civ

Williams, Richard. Civil War Miscellaneous Collection
(Enlisted man's letter from another man in Co E, Dec 23, 1864; Letters to family, Mar 23, 1862-Apr 24, 1864)
Located at the Military History Institute in Carlisle, PA.

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.

Young, Jacob. WendellLangColl 
(Enlisted man's undated letters, ca 1861-62)
Located at the Military History Institute in Carlisle, PA.


Unit bibliography from the Army Heritage Center

Items in the museum collection are in bold.