26th New York Infantry Regiment's Civil War Historical Sketch

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

The Twenty-Sixth regiment infantry N. Y. S. V., or "Second Oneida Regiment was principally raised through the exertions of Colonel William H. Christian, of Utica. It was organized at El¬mira, May 17th, 1861, from companies recruited as follows:

Co. Where recruited By whom recruited Date of 
Organization, 1861
Order No. Date of 
acceptance, 1861
A Utica, Oneida county Capt. M. Casselman May 1 343 May 1
B Utica, Oneida county Capt. Geo. A. Blackwell April 25 342 May 1
C Utica, Oneida county Capt. David Smith, jr April 25 411 May 3
D Hamilton, Madison co Capt. George Arrowsmith April 28 474 May 7
E Utica, Oneida county Capt. Anthony Brendle May 6 475 May 7
F Whitestown, Oneida co Capt. Ezra F. Wetmore April 26 412 May 3
G* Rochester, Monroe co Capt. Gilbert S. Jennings April 24 347 May 2
H* Rochester, Monroe co Capt. Thomas Davis May 2 351 May 2
I Oriskany, Oneida county Capt. John H. Palmer May 10 611 May 13
K Candor, Tioga county Capt. James B. Caryl May 14 627 May 14
* Companies G and H were recruited for the Thirteenth regiment, and transfered to this.

The regiment was accepted and numbered by the State Military Board on the 17th of May, and the election of the following field officers confirmed, viz: Wm. H. Christian, colonel ; Richard H. Richardson, lieutenant-colonel; and Gilbert S. Jennings, major— (Special Orders 198.) The field and staff, and the several compa¬nies composing the regiment, were accepted under the act of April 16th, for two years. They were, however, mustered into the ser¬vice of the United States (May 21st) for only three months.

The regiment was armed with United Slates percussion muskets, model of 1840, and uniformed with regulation uniforms, State pat¬tern. While at Elmira it received from the ladies of Utica, through Judge Smith, an elegant silk banner. Fully armed and equipped it left the State on the 19th of June for Washington, via Harris¬burg and Baltimore. The expenditure by the State, on account of the regiment, up to August 15, 1861, was $43,608.13, exclusive of subsistence and quarters.

The regiment readied Washington on the 20th of June, and went in to camp at Meridian, Hill. About the 1st of July its arms were changed, † († A second change of arms occurred in March, 1861, when the regiment received Austrian rifles. ) and on the 21st it moved into Virginia and marched eleven miles towards Bull Run; met the troops returning from the battle-field, and then the cars which it occupied were backed down to Alexandria. On the 22d it camped on Shuter's Kill, near Alexandria; moved to Federal Hill in August, and named the camp "camp Maxwell;" moved from thence to Hunting creek, and named camp "camp Vernon;" from thence moved to near Fort Lyon, west side camp Mary; in November removed to " camp Franklin," southeast of seminary; December 15th removed to camp on slope east of Fort Lyon, and remained until the spring of 1862.

While in the vicinity of Alexandria it was the first regiment thrown out to an advanced post after the battle of Bull Run, and picketed as far out as Cloud's Mills. It was one of the regiments that commenced the work on Fort Lyon, and cut the timber by moonlight from the ground west of where Fort Ellsworth now stands. It subsequently worked on Forts Blenker, Wadsworth, Ellsworth and Lyon.

The brigade and other assignments of the regiment, were: first to McCunn's brigade; second, to General Heintzleman's brigade; third, to General Slocum's (First) brigade of General Franklin's division, in which it served until November, 1861, and was then detached to Forts Lyon and Ellsworth, in the command of General Wadsworth; fourth, to General Rickett's brigade, General Ord's division, of General McDowell's corps—Second brigade, Second division. First corps. General Tower succeeded General Ricketts, and General Ricketts succeeded General Ord. Colonel Christian was in command of the brigade from August 31st until 3 P. M., Sept. 18th, during the battle of Antietam. General Hooker suc¬ceeded General McDowell after Bull Run, and was in turn suc¬ceeded by General Reynolds. Colonel Lyel succeeded Colonel Christian in command of the brigade, until April 27th, 1863, and was in turn succeeded by General Baxter, who held the command at Chancellorsville.

By the following order the regiment was held in service for the two years for which it was accepted into the State service, viz:
Special Orders No. 325, August 2, 1861.
" His Excellency the President of the United States, desiring 
" the further services of the Twenty-sixth regiment N. Y. S. V., 
" and having made requisition upon the Governor of this State 
" therefor, Colonel Christian is hereby directed, on the expiration 
" of the term for which such regiment was mustered into the serv-
" ice of the United States (August 21, 1861), to report his com-
" mand 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 the enlistment of the regiment into the 
" service of the State of New York."


The regiment remained on duty at Forts Lyon and Ellsworth until May 3d, 1862, when, at the earnest solicitation of Colonel Christian, it was assigned to duty in the field. It then embarked at Alexandria for Aquia creek, arrived there and encamped three miles south. On the 5th it moved two miles further and encamped at Brooks' station, on the Aquia creek and Fredericksburg rail¬road. On the 9th it marched to Fredericksburg, and there formed the first regiment of Rickett's brigade. On the 25th it marched to Aquia creek; 26th, embarked for Alexandria, and the same night took cars and arrived, at 12 o'clock midnight, at Manassas Junction; 28th, marched to Gainesville, passed Hay Market, and on the 29th encamped at Broad Run, beyond Thoroughfare Gap; 30th, marched to Rectortown, thence to Oakhill, and encamped on the farm of Chief Justice Marshall; 31st, encamped at Lindon, on the Manassas Gap railroad; June 1st, entered Front Royal and encamped on the north side of the north branch of the Shenandoah. The bridges over the river were carried away, and the regiment entirely separated from the main force until the 8th. On the 18th it left Front Royal by cars, and arrived at Manassas the same eve¬ning; July. 4th, marched to Gainesville; 5th, to Warrenton; thence to Waterloo, Cedar Mountain, Rappahannock station, Thorough¬fare Gap and Chantilly; from thence into Maryland, to South Mountain and Antietam. On the 29th of October it was at Ber¬lin, on the Potomac; on the 30th crossed into Virginia, and reached the Rappahannock in November; from thence to Fredericksburg, from which it returned to winter quarters at Belle Plain. It moved in the "mud march" of January, and in the Chancellorsville cam¬paign. In May it returned to Washington, and from thence to Elmira.


The regiment participated in the battle of Cedar Mountain (August 9th) on the right of Rickett's division. It was in the four days skirmishing at Rappahannock station, and, as rear-guard on the retreat, burned the bridge and buildings at that place. It covered the rear for several days; reached Thoroughfare Gap and remained in position six hours; fell back, covering the retreat, to Gainesville, and participated in the battle of second Bull Run, where Captains Casselman and G. S. Jennings and Lieut. Leonard were killed, and several members of the regiment were wounded. In this battle it suffered severely, over half of its officers and men being killed, wounded and taken prisoners. It then fell back to Centreville and from thence to Chantilly, where it participated in the action of September 1st—Colonel Christian in command of the brigade.

The regiment reached Hall's Hill on the 2d of September, and remained there until the 6th, when it moved in the Maryland campaign—Colonel Christian continuing in command of the brig¬ade. It reached the Monocacy, two miles from Frederick, on the 12th, and marched from thence to South Mountain and took its place in the battle about dark, when the brigade relieved General Doubleday's, and continued in action thirty or forty minutes. At Antietam it shared in the movements of Hooker's corps, including the action of the 16th and 17th, and was in the thickest of the fight on the enemy's left.

The regiment went into the battle of Fredericksburg with about three hundred officers and men. It became engaged at about 1 P. M. and fought until it expended its ammunition and was re¬lieved. In this battle the regiment was near the right of the left grand division, under command of General Franklin. During the night it was moved to the left to support artillery. In this action Adjutant Wm. K. Bacon was killed, and 12 or 14 officers were wounded. In all, the regiment here lost 30 killed and 120 wounded.

In the action at Chancellorsville the regiment was not particu¬larly engaged. It was in the advanced picket previous to the falling back of our forces, and took a, number of prisoners.


During its term of service the regiment had 365 wounded (some of whom died) and 145 killed and missing. Three hundred and fifty men returned with it May 20, 1863.