13th New York Infantry Regiment's Civil War Historical Sketch

From The 3rd Annual Report Of The Bureau Of Military Statistics

THIRTEENTH REGIMENT INFANTRY, N. Y. S. V. The Thirteenth regiment Infantry, N. Y. S. V., or "Rochester regiment," was organized at Rochester in April, 1861, and, with the exception of company B, from Dansville, and company K, from Brockport, was recruited in that city and its vicinity. Companies where and by whom principally, raised.

Company Place Recruited by
A Rochester Captain Robert F. Taylor
B Dansville Captain Carl Stephan
C Rochester Captain Adolph Nolte
D Rochester Captain Lebbeus Brown
E Rochester Captain Francis A. Schoeffel
F Rochester Captain Hiram Smith
G Rochester Captain George W. Lewis
H Rochester Captain Henry B. Williams
I Rochester Captain William F. Tully
K Brockport Captain Horace J. Thomas


The several companies were organized at the following dates, viz: A, April 25th; B, April 27th; C, April 17th; D, April 20th; E, April 22d; F, April 30th; G, April 30th; H, April 18th; I, April 25th; K, April 22d. The companies were accepted by the State Military Board on the 30th of April; oh the 7th of May accepted, organized and numbered the regiment and directed an election for field officers; on the 9th of May confirmed the elec¬tion of Isaac F. Quinby as colonel, Elisha G. Marshall as lieu¬tenant colonel, and Oliver K. Terry as major, and on the 21st of May confirmed the election of Carl Stephan as lieutenant colonel; in the place of Marshall, declined. The companies reported at Elmira on the 3d 4th and 5th of May, and were there mustered into the service of the State for two years, and into the service of the United States (by Capt. W. L. Elliott, May 14th) for three months. Arms, tents, equipage, &c., were issued by the State, and on the 26th (Special Orders 227 the regiment was directed " to proceed at once, by way of Harrisburg, to Washington, and there report to the Secretary of War." The total expenditure by the State on account of the regiment, prior to August 15th, 1861, was $43,132.53.

The regiment left Elmira on the 29th of May, and, with the Twelfth, passed through Baltimore on the 30th, being the first Volunteers that reached that city after the attack on the Massa¬chusetts Sixth. It arrived at Washington at midnight of the 31st, and the following morning encamped on Meridian Hill. On the 3d of June it crossed the Potomac into Virginia and pitched its tents near Fort Corcoran, then in course of construction. Here it performed picket duty and furnished fatigue details in construct¬ing Fort Bennet, until the 16th of July, when it moved, in light marching order, with the Sixty-ninth and Seventy-ninth N. Y. S. M. and Second Wisconsin in the brigade, Col. W. T. Sherman, in the advance on Manassas. On the 18th of July it was present but not engaged in the battle at Blackburn's Ford. On the 21st it crossed the Bull Run creek, about ten A. M., and was engaged with the enemy until five P. M, when it fell back with the whole line to the fortifications near Washington. In this action it sus¬tained a loss of twelve killed, twenty-six wounded, and twenty-seven missing, out of six hundred engaged. (See report of Col. W. T. Sherman, Documents, p. 13, vol. II, Rebellion Record.)

On the 14th of August the time (three months) for which the regiment had been mustered into the service of the United States expired, and the members of the regiment expected at that time to be returned to the State. Col. Quinby was directed, however, by Special Orders 322, August 2d, 1861, "to report with his command to the Adjutant General of the United States army for duty, under the order of the United States Government, for the remainder of the term of enlistment of the regiment into the service of the State of New York." This order was complied with after open mutiny, which involved the sending of some thirty men to the Dry Tortugas, but who were subsequently returned and made excellent soldiers.

Other changes also occurred about this time. Col. Quinby resigned his command, August 4th, and Colonel John Pickeil, of Frostburgh, Md., was appointed in his place; and company G, which had been transferred to the Third New York cavalry, was succeeded by a new company raised by Lieut. Ralph T. Wood at Dansville, N. Y., in September, and mustered in November 1st following.

About the 1st of October the regiment was detailed on special guard duty at the aqueducts and ferries opposite Georgetown. Here it remained until March 10th, when it crossed the Potomac and was assigned to Martingale's brigade, Porter's division, Heintzelman's (Third) corps. It joined in the second advance on Manassas, and reached Fairfax Court House where it remained until the 21st, when it returned and embarked for Fortress Mon¬roe. It arrived on the Peninsula on the 24th of March, near Hampton village, and proceeded from thence to New Market, at which place it was encamped until April 4th, in the mean time furnishing regular picket details.

On the 5th of April the regiment arrived in front of Yorktown and was immediately ordered in the advance, three companies as skirmishers and the remainder in support of batteries; and on the 7th the whole regiment was ordered on picket in a cold and severe storm. During the thirty days of the siege it furnished over twenty details for picket and several for fatigue duty—was frequently engaged in light skirmishes with the enemy and almost constantly under fire, its camp (on the extreme right, near Worm-ley creek) being within easy range of the enemy's guns. All its duties, however, were performed cheerfully, and with intelligence, promptness and courage. In this respect the siege was a most excellent school, and prepared the entire army for the severe trials and the unflinching courage of its subsequent campaigns. The last approach before Yorktown was dug within fifty yards of the enemy's outposts by a detail of two hundred of the men and offi¬cers of this regiment, and one hundred and fifty of its men and officers were on picket the morning of the evacuation, and were among the first to enter the enemy's works.

On the 8th of May the regiment embarked at Yorktown, and on the 9th reached West Point. It then marched to Cumberland, White House, Tunstall's Station, and several miles beyond the latter place, where it was detached (May 22) for special duty at Old Church, on the road to Hanover. Its duty, as explained in Gen. Porter's order, was "to secure the army from attacks, in rear "or flank, by parties of the enemy passing down this branch of the "river, and to patrol the country between the turnpike and river." In the discharge of this duty it moved to Old Church on the 23d, and pushed its reconnoissance to Hanover on the 26th, where it discovered the enemy in heavy force under General Branch. It then returned and destroyed the communications with the country beyond the Chickahominy .On the 27th it moved forward in the advance on Hanover Court House; was assigned to position on the left of Griffin's battery; assisted materially in driving the eaemy from their line, and captured ninety-one prison-ers, eighty-four stand of arms, fifty-five sets of accoutrements, and three chests of medical stores, with a loss of only seven wounded (one mortally).

The regiment returned to Old Church on the 29th, and from thence moved to the army on the 31st where it took up camp near Dr. Gaines' house. Picket and fatigue duty followed until the 26th of June, when the battle of Mechanicsville was fought. In this action it occupied a position on the extreme right. Three of its companies, deployed as skirmishers on the Ashland road tinder Capt. Hyland, were exposed to a severe fire of canister and musketry until withdrawn at midnight, with a loss of two in prison¬ers. The remaining companies were moved from the right to the center, and were for some time under a heavy artillery fire.

On the 27th the battle of Gaines' Mills was fought. In this action the regiment was on the left of the line (the brigade being placed to the right of (Gen. Butterfield's), where it shared in the repeated and desperate assaults of the enemy. It did not fall back, however, until the line on both sides of its position was broken and its ammunition exhausted, and then it carried with it the colors of the seventh Tennessee battalion, which had been captured by the gallantry of Sergt. John Marks. The loss of the regiment was ninety-seven killed, wounded and taken prisoners, out of about four hundred engaged, The regiment now moved with the corps to James river, and arrived at Scotch's Neck on the afternoon of the 30th. It was in the reserve at Turkey Bend and stood to arms all night. On the morning of the 1st of July it fell back and took position on the heights of Malvern Hill in support of the batteries, where it remained for about three hours, and was then moved to the extreme left of the line, and came under a hot musketry fire from the enemy. A few minutes later it was moved to the right and center to sup¬port the batteries against a desperate charge, and throughout the entire engagement was in active duty. On the 2d it reached Har¬rison's Landing and rested with the army in security.

The regiment remained at Harrison's Landing until the 14th of August, when it moved with the corps towards Newport News; embarked at that place and disembarked at Aquia creek; from thence by forced marches to Falmouth, Crittenden's mills and Kelly's ford, at which latter place it picketed on the 26th with a section of artillery and squadron of cavalry; on the 27th burned baggage and moved to Warrenton junction; from thence at 3 A. M. of the 28th to Bristow station; 29th reached Manassas Junction and passed towards Gainesville. Here it deployed and engaged the skirmishers of the enemy until dark, and remained on picket during the night. On the 30th it moved to Bull Run, and, although worn out with fatigue and hunger, engaged the enemy. It was first assigned to positions under a cover of timber, and there with the 18th Massachusetts and 1st Michigan, charged across an open field in the face of a heavy fire of musketry, shell and canister from, three sides, and reached a point within thirty, yards of the enemy. Here it fought desperately. During the day, out of two hundred and forty men it lost three officers and twenty-six privates killed, four officers and seventy-three privates wounded, and ten missing. On the night of the 30th it fell back to Centreville, and from thence (September 2d) to the fortifications near Washington.

On the 12th of September the regiment moved on the Maryland campaign; Crossed the Potomac at Georgetown; marched through Rockville, Frederick, and Keedysville, and joined the main army before Sharpsburg on the 16th. During the battle of Antietam (September 17th) it was in the reserve under Gen. Porter. On the night of the 18th it was deployed as pickets in front of Gen. Burnside's position, opposite the bridge, and the next morning advanced as skirmishers through Sharpsburg and captured some prisoners from the rear guard of the enemy. On the 20th it crossed the Potomac, with the brigade, at Shepardstown; was met by superior force of the enemy and compelled to re-cross the river under a sharp fire from the enemy on the bluffs. Here the regiment lost eighteen in wounded and prisoners.

The regiment remained at Sharpsburg, until the 30th of Octo¬ber, when it crossed the Potomac at Harper's Ferry, and passed successively through Snicker's Gap, Middleburgh, White Plains, New Baltimore, Warrenton, Warrenton Junction, Elktown, and Hartwood, and arrived opposite Fredericksburg on the 19th November. It remained in camp without special duty, except a reconnoissance to Hartwood Church (December 1st), until the 11th December, when it moved on the Fredericksburg campaign. It crossed the river on the 13th, and came immediately under the fire of the enemy ; advanced through the north end of the town across the open ground beyond the railroad, and took position in the extreme front, facing the stone Wall and rifle-pits occupied by the enemy and within close range of their artillery on the immediate heights beyond and to the right and left. In this exposed posi¬tion the men were obliged to fire lying down, taking advantage of a slight rise of ground running parallel with the front of our line. Here it remained, receiving and returning fire until night-fall, and was not relieved until 10 P. M. of the 14th. Its loss in this engagement, out of 298 officers and men, was five killed, sixty-three wounded, and seven prisoners. On being relieved it returned to the streets of the city, and remained until the 15th; then moved to the upper part of the town and supported the pickets' during the evacuation ; at 8 A. M., on the 10th, re-crossed the river, but was immediately ordered back and remained until daylight, acting as rear-guard while the pickets were withdrawn. On the 17th of December the regiment reached its old camp opposite Fredericksburg and remained there until the 30th, when it joined in a reconnoissance; crossed the Rappahannock at Richards' Ford; moved up the river about seven miles; captured a few cavalry pickets; recrossed the river at Ellis', or Barnett's Ford, on the 31st; encamped for the night, and returned to its old quarters on the 1st of January. On the 20th of January it joined in the second advance on Fredericksburg; moved about three miles and encamped; 21st advanced about two miles and there remained mud-bound; built:ordinary road for the artillery, and reached camp, on the return, on the 24th.

The regiment remained opposite Fredericksburg until the 27th of April, when it left camp and stacked its arms at Stone-man's Station. It reached Washington on the 28th; Elmira, May 1st, and Rochester, May 4th. During its term it had 1,300 men on its trolls, including the new company raised for it in the fall of 1861, and two companies recruited in the fall of 1862. It returned with eighty-two of its original members, 130 who had enlisted for its unexpired term, and 126 of its three year's men. The last named were assigned to duty as provost guard; the former were mustered out at Rochester on the 14th of May, and formed the nucleus of a new regiment — the Fourteenth Artillery, N. Y. S. V.