24th New York Infantry Regiment's Civil War Historical Sketch

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

Taken from New York (State). Bureau of Military Statistics. 3rd Annual Report of the Bureau of Military Statistics. Albany: The Bureau, 1866, 184-188.

The Twentyfourth regiment infantry N. Y. S. V., or " Oswego County Regiment," was organized at Elmira, from companies recruited in the counties of Oswego and Jefferson, as follows:

Co. Where recruited By whom recruited Order No. Date of acceptance
A Owego, Oswego Co Capt. John D. O'Brien 175 April 24, 1861
B Oswego, Oswego Co Capt. Edward M. Paine 223 May 1, 1861
C Oswego, Oswego Co Capt. Francis C. Miller 222 May 1, 1861
D Parish, Oswego Co Capt. Melzar Richards 441 May 4, 1861
E Fulton, Oswego Co Capt. Orville J. Jennings 442 May 4, 1861
F Oswego, Oswego Co Capt. Archibald H. Preston 526 May 7, 1861
G Sandy Creek, Oswego Co Capt. Wm. D. Ferguson 527 May 7, 1861
H Fulton, Oswego Co Capt. Albert Taylor 588 May 9, 1861
I Oswego, Oswego Co Capt. Levi Beardsley 594 May 10, 1861
K Ellisburgh, Jefferson Co Capt. Andrew J. Barney 517 May 7, 1861


The regiment was organized and numbered by the State Military Board, May 16th, 1861, and an election of field officers ordered. Special orders 194 (May 17th), confirmed the election of Timothy Sullivan as colonel; Samuel E. Beardsley, as lieutenant colonel ; and Jonathan Tarbell, as major. Special orders 197 (May 17th), directed the regiment to be mustered into this service of the United States, and it was so mustered on the 2d of July, with date of service from May 17th. It left Elmira on the day of muster (July 3d), armed and equipped in the manner of other regiments, at an expense to the State of $43,919.36, exclusive of subsistence and quarters.

The regiment arrived in Washington, via Harrisburg and Baltimore, on the 3d of July. It camped on Meridian Hill till July 21st, and received there, on the 21st, long Enfield rifled muskets inexchange for the percussion muskets with which it had left the State. It moved to Arlington Mills on the 22d of July, threw up breastworks and remained until the 28th of September, when it united with the advance to Upton's Hill, and there capped durinf the winter of 1861 and 1862.

The assignments of the regiment were as follows: August 4th, 1861, to Keyes' brigade, which was composed of the Twentysecond, Twentyfourth, Thirtieth and Eightyfourth (Fourteenth militia) New York regiments. This association of regiments was not changed, but subsequently brigaded as follows: October lst, 1861, First brigade (Gen. Keyes), First division (Gen. McDowell;) March 13th, 1862, First brigade (Gen. Augur), First division (Gen. King), First corps (Gen. McDowell;) September, 1862, the brigade—then known as the " Iron Brigade "—was commanded by Gen. Hatch and Colonel Sullivan; (Col. Sullivan, of this regiment, was in command of the brigade from November 20th to December 16th, 1861; from July 7th to August 4th, 1862; and from August 29th to September 12th, 1862. ) the division by Gen. John B. Hatch, and the corps by Gen. Hooker. Col. Phelps (Col. Phelps, of the Twentysecond regiment, was in command of the brigade from September 12th, 1862, to May, 1863.) took command of the brigade September 14th, Gen. Doubleday of the division, and Gen. Hooker remained in command of the corps. In November, Gen. Wadsworth took the command of the division and Gen. Reynolds of the corps—Col. Phelps remaining in command of the brigade—and this arrangement continued until the dissolution of the brigade by the expiration of the terms of service of the Twentysecond, Twentyfourth and Thirtieth regiments.

From Meridian Hill the regiment marched on the 22d July to Bailey's crossroads, in Virginia, about eight miles from Washington; it lay there one week. From thence it fell back to Arlington Mills, here it was relieved by the Twentyfifth New York, and went into camp about two miles in the rear of Arlington Mills, at a place called Camp Sullivan. It remained here two or three weeks. Thence it went to Arlington House on the banks of the Potomac and encamped; and about 28th September started for Upton's Hill, Va., where it remained through the winter.

In March, 1862, they were ordered to join the grand army, and went into Centerville from whence the rebels had retreated; laid in camp there a week, and were ordered back to Alexandria where they encamped. They laid there until the fore part of April, when they went to Bristow Station with the First army corps, where they remained five or six days. They moved from there to Catlett's Station, where they remained four days; thence they, advanced on Fredericksburg in May, 1862. A lively skirmish ensued, in which the brigade was engaged, called the battle of Falmouth. They remained encamped at Falmouth until June or July, when Stonewall Jackson made a raid down the Shenandoah valley, when they were ordered up the valley and went as far as Front Royal. They then fell back from Front Royal to New Market, and remained two or three days; and moved from New Market to Warrenton, where it remained three or four days; moved from Warrenton to Falmouth, and remained Until the first of August; thence they made a reconnoissance to Spotsylvania Court House, while the cavalry destroyed the Virginia Central Railroad at Fredericks Hall Station. The regiment then returned to Falmouth two days afterward. On the 10th of August, 1862, they left for Cedar mountain, or us it is sometimes called Slaughter mountain, remained in camp there two days ; thence fell back to Rappahannock Station or bridge. They staid there four days under artillery fire, and lost only one man killed in company D. From thence they were ordered back to Warrenton in pursuit of Stewart, remaining three days; moved thence to Warrenton Spring Ford, remaining fortyeight hours, and fell back through Warrenton to Groveton, where they went into action on the 28th of August. They were under fire here but were not engaged. They fell back that night to Manassas, were ordered to the front again by way of Cubrun ; went into the fight at five o'clock on the 29th of August, after dark they fell back to their position and lay on their arms all night, and the, next day, about a quarterpast three o'clock of the afternoon of Saturday, they went into the fight again and were in about one hour and twenty minutes. They lost in this engagement — men. The whole regiment were engaged in this fight. They then fell back from Bull Run to Centreville, remained at Centreville two days; fell back from Centreville to Chantilly, where Generals Kearney and Stevens were killed. This was about the 2d of September, they remained here 24 hours; from Chantilly they fell back to their old quarters at Upton's Hill, where they encamped for five or six days; from thence they moved into Maryland through Washington, via Rockville, New Market and Frederick City to South Mountain, where they arrived and went into the fight between four and five o'clock on Sunday evening, 14th of September, and it was eight o'clock when they got down the mountain to where they left their knapsacks. On the 15th they moved via Boonton to Antietam, arrived there in the afternoon; skirmishing was brisk that day; the regiment remained encamped along the Sharpsburg pike. On the morning of the 16th they remained in the same place until noon, when they forded Antietam stream and moved to the right, abreast of the celebrated cornfield. They camped there till daylight the next morning (17th), and went into the fight about eight o'clock. They had been changing positions and skirmishing until that time. Captain John D. O'Brien, who had command of the regiment, was hit about halfpast nine o'clock. The only officers engaged were Captain J. D. O'Brien, of Co. A; Lieut. Ratigan, of Co. C; and Ensign John S. McNair. Captain O'Brien lost his leg here, and Lieut. McNair was wounded by a shell which passed close to and burst just beyond him. His stomach, bowels and thighs were turned black by extravasated blood, and he rendered perfectly helpless. The regiment was driven out of the field, carrying off Capt. O'Brien and Lieut. McNair. This cornfield was fought over five different times, and our forces finally held it. The regiment was in command of Capt. O'Brien at both the battles of South Mountain and Antietam.

They remained there until Gen. Burnside attacked Fredericksburg, when the regiment crossed over and participated in that battle (December). Our army defeated in this battle, was driven back, when the regiment, went to Belle Plain and occupied its old quarters. The next movement was towards the Potomac. With the army, the regiment started to cross the Rappahannock at and above Fredericksburg, and at the United States ford, to attack Lee, who lay on the other side. Owing to the inclemency of the weather and the state of the soil, the whole army became stuck in the mud and could not proceed, and finally were ordered back to their camp again. From here the regiment was ordered across the Rappahannock, below Fredericksburg, with the First corps, to make a demonstration on Lee's right. In the meantime Gen. Hooker with the balance of the army, crossed the Rappahannock at Fredericksburg, and above, and attacked Lee at Chancellorsville. After the battle had commenced the First corps were withdrawn across the river, marched up to the United States ford and reinforced the army. The next day we were driven back across the river, and the Twentyfourth came back to the ground formerly occupied, between Fredericksburg and Aquia creek, and remained there until the middle of May, when they were ordered home, and were mustered out at Oswego.

The following is the official statement of the strength and losses of the Twentyfourth in the battles named:

Date Place Strength Killed Wounded Missing
Sept. 14 South Mountain





Sept. 17 Fredericksburg





Dec. 13 Antietam






Total staff (14) and line officers (49)


Of whom resigned


Resigned for promotion in other regiments


Resigned for disability


Were discharged for wounds


Were discharged for other causes


Were killed in battle


Died of wounds


Were transferred


Were mustered out, May 29, 1863




Total roll of noncommissioned officers and privates


Of whom—discharged


Of whom—transferred


Of whom—deserted


Of whom—died of disease


Of whom—died of wounds


Of whom—killed in battle


Of whom—missing—supposed killed


Of whom—mustered out