6th Infantry Regiment

Nickname: Billy Wilson's Zouaves; Union Battalion Zouaves; Union Volunteers

Mustered in: May 25, 1861
Mustered out: June 25, 1863

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 was recruited in New York city, organized under Col. William Wilson on Staten Island, and accepted by the State May 22, 1861. It was mustered in the service of the United States for two years, Companies A, B, C, D and E April 30, and F, G, H, I and K May 25, 1861. A number of the members of Company B, Empire City Guard, an incomplete organization, joined Company D of this regiment.
The regiment left the State June 15, 1861; served at Santa Rosa Island, Fla., Department of Florida, from June 23, 1861; three companies at Fort Jefferson, Fla., from January, 1862; in Department of the South, from March, 1862; in the West District of the Department of the South, from April, 1862; at Pensacola, Fla., from May 9, 1862; in the Department of the Gulf, from November, 1862; in the First Brigade (Dwight's), Grover's Division, Department of the Gulf, from December 30, 1862; in the 1st Brigade, 4th Division, 19th Corps, from March, 1863; on the expiration of its term of service it was returned to New York city, and there, under Colonel Wilson, honorably discharged and mustered out June 25, 1863.
During its service the regiment lost by death, killed in action, 12 enlisted men; of wounds received in action, 3 enlisted men; of disease and other causes, 34 enlisted men; total, 49.

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.
Sixth Infantry.—Col., William Wilson; Lieut.-Cols., John Creighton, Michael Cassidy; Majs., William Newby, James W. Burgess. The 6th, recruited in New York city and known as Wilson's Zouaves, was mustered into the U. S. service at Tompkinsville, April 30 and May 25, 1861, for two years. It left New York city on June 15 on the steamer Vanderbilt for Santa Rosa island, Fla., where it encamped near Fort Pickens. Cos. A, B and C were stationed at Key West and Tortugas, and Cos. G and I at batteries Lincoln and Cameron. The companies remaining at the original camp were attacked in October and fell back to battery Totten. In Nov., 1861, and Jan., 1862, the fortifications of Pensacola were bombarded, the regiment taking part in the attack, and upon the evacuation of the city in May the 6th was quartered in the town, Cos. G and I being stationed at Fort Barrancas. It was ordered to New Orleans in Nov., 1862, where it was attached to Sherman's division and later to Grover's division, with which it moved to Baton Rouge. In March, 1863, the 4th division (Grover's), of the 19th corps was ordered to Brashear City and took part in an expedition to Irish bend, where an engagement ensued in which the 6th was active, as also at Vermillion bayou. Upon returning it was ordered to Alexandria and there embarked for New York city, where it was mustered out on June 25, 1863. The original members numbered 770, of whom 14 were killed or died of wounds, and 32 died from other causes.


6th Regiment NY Volunteer Infantry | General Guide Flag | Civil War

Presented to the 6th Regiment NY Volunteer Infantry by Thomas C. Burns on behalf of the citizens of Staten Island, New York, this white silk guideā€¦

NYSMM Online Resources


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

Muster Roll

Unit Roster


Newspaper Clippings

Historical Sketch

Search the Museum catalog for this unit

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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.

6th Regiment New York Volunteer Infantry ("Wilson's Zouaves") 1861-1863." Military Collector and Historian.

Allgower, Charles F., Headquarters of Colonel William Wilson, Commanding 1st Brigade Grovers, Mss. 4832, Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections, LSU Libraries, Baton Rouge, La.
Pencil drawing on paper depicting the occupation of Baton Rouge and showing Wilson's federal encampment in Baton Rouge, with the State Capitol and the Louisiana Deaf and Dumb Asylum in the background.
LSU Libraries, Baton Rouge, LA

The battle eve : dedicated to Edward Havey, Wilson's Zouave.: N[ew]. Y[ork]. : H. De Marsan, 1865.
Note(s): A Civil War song (without the music); text within illustrative border./ First line of text: To-morrow, comrade, we...
Located at the New York Historical Society and Amherst College.

Bechler, Valentin. "A German Immigrant in the Union Army." : Selected Letters of Valentin Bechler." Journal of American Studies. 4 February 1971. 146-162.

Brown, Harvey. Attack on Santa Rosa Island: October 9, 1861: Colonel Brown's Report. S.l.: Rebellion record, 1862. Consists of reports and accounts regarding the Oct. 9., 1861 Confederate attack on Union positions (and Wilson's Zouaves New York regiment) on Santa Rosa Island, Florida. The federal reports are written by Col. Harvey Brown and Col. William Wilson of the Union Army. Accounts are also included from the Augusta Constitutionalist, the Atlanta Intelligencer, and the Mobile Advertiser, along with statements from soldiers and observers from both sides.

Kilmer, G. L. "Billy Wilson's Men. Story of a New York zouave regiment of 1861. A glance at the personnel of the noted Sixth New York." In War Department Library Pamphlet v. 270.

Million, M. J. Billy Wilson's Zouaves. Air: The plains of Mexico. [New York: H. De Marsan,1860-1869?].
Description: 1 sheet ([1] p.) ; 15 x 9 cm.
Note(s): First line: Dash on, dash on, my gallant Zouaves./ Other editions attribute the verses to M. J. Million./ Text within illustrated border./ N-YHS copy mounted, with other ballads, on a sheet from the William P. Wright scrapbooks./ N-YHS copy imperfect: closely trimmed to 15 x 9 cm., with loss of border and imprint.
Located at the New York Historical Society.

Lowry, Thomas P. "A wild night at the old Spanish Fort: Lt. Col. John Creighton." Curmudgeons, drunkards, and outright fools : courts-martial of Civil War Union colonels. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2003, 1997.

Morris, Gouverneur. The history of a volunteer regiment, being a succinct account of the organization, services and adventures of the Sixth regiment, New York volunteers, infantry, known as Wilson zouaves. Where they went, what they did, and what they saw in the War of the rebellion, 1861 to 1865. Prepared from official data by Gouverneur Morris. Illustrated by James E. Taylor. New York, Veteran Volunteer pub. co., 1891. 160 p. illus., 2 maps, ports.

Recollections of a checkered life, by a Good Templar. Napanee, Ontario, S. T. Hammond [Toronto, Printed by Robertson & Cook, 1868] 116 p.

Shanahan, M. Letter, Oct. 13, 1861.
Abstract: Letter to James Hamm mailed from Camp Esau, Pensacola, Florida giving an exultant account of the raid at Santa Rosa and on "the camp of Billy Wilsons famous Zouaves."
Note(s): Bio/History: Soldier in the 9th Mississippi Infantry Regiment, who was at the battle of Santa Rosa when Confederate troops under command of General Richard Anderson made a surprise attack on the Union forces there, specifically routing Wilson's Zouaves.
Located at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library.


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