50th Engineer Regiment
Nickname: Stuart's Engineers; Independent Engineers; Sappers, Miners And Pontoniers
Mustered in by companies as the 50th Regiment of Infantry: August 26 to September 20, 1861
Designated 50th Regiment of Engineers: October 22, 1861.
Mustered out by companies: June 13 - 14, 1865.
The following is taken from New York in the War of the Rebellion, 3rd ed. Frederick Phisterer. Albany: J. B. Lyon Company, 1912.
Colonel C. B. Stuart received, July 26, 1861, authority to recruit a regiment of infantry, which he organized at Elmira, and which was- designated September 20, 1861, the 50th Regiment of Infantry. The companies were mustered in the service of the United States for three years at Elmira, A and D September 18; B August 16, C and F September 17; E August 29; G and H September 16; I August 26, and K September 30, 1861. October 22, 1861, the regiment was converted into and designated the Fiftieth, Regiment of Engineers. Two new companies, L and M, mustered in the United States service for three years in December, 1863, and January and February, 1864, joined the regiment in December, 1863, and February, 1864, respectively. Quite a number of men enlisted for this regiment in 1864 were assigned to the 15th N. Y. Volunteer Engineers. At the expiration of its term of service the men entitled thereto were discharged and the regiment continued in service.
The companies were recruited principally: A at Addison, Bath, Lodi, Painted Post and Savona; B at Auburn, Elmira, Geneva, Syracuse, Waterloo, and Honesdale, Fa.; C at Chemung, Elmira, Rome and Union; D at Elmira, Fulton, Geneva, Ogdensburgh, Oswego, Syracuse and Watkins; E at Buffalo, Elmira, Maine, Niagara Falls, North Hector, Penn Yan and Rome; F at Geneva, Elmira, Oswego, Potsdam and Union, and at Scranton, Honesdale, Mt. Pleasant and Moscow, Pa.; G at Caroline, Elmira, Greece, Hornellsville, Maine and Millport; H at Elmira, Maine, Malone, Ogdensburgh, Potsdam, Watkins, and at Williamsport, Pa.; I at Elmira, Geneva, Owego and Union, and at Hancock and Scran-ton, Pa.; K at Elmira, Ovid, Savona, Seneca Falls and Union; L at Rochester, Buffalo, Canandaigua, Elmira and Phelps; and M at Albany, Buffalo, Canandaigua, Elmira and Owego.
The regiment left the State September 20, 1861, and served as infantry at Washington, D. C., from September 22, 1861; in the 3d Brigade, Fitz-John Porter's Division, from September 30, 1861; as engineers at Alexandria, Va., receiving instructions in engineering duties, from October 22, 1861; in the Volunteer Brigade of Engineers, Army of the Potomac, from March, 1862. A detachment also served for a time in 1863, in the 8th Corps, Middle Department, and Company I, with General Sheridan from February, 1865, to Appo-mattox Court House, Va. Commanded by Col. William H. Pettes, the regiment was honorably discharged and mustered out at Fort Berry, Va., June 13 and 14, 1865.
During its service the regiment lost by death, killed in action, 1 officer, 9 enlisted men; of wounds received in action, 7 enlisted men; of disease and other causes, 1 officer, 213 enlisted men; total, 2 officers, 229 enlisted men; aggregate, 231; of whom I enlisted man 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.
Fiftieth Infantry.—Cols., Charles B. Stuart, William H. Pettesj Lieut-Cols., William H. Pettes, Ira Spaulding; Majs., Frederick E. Embrick, Ira Spaulding. George W. Ford, Orrin E. Hine. Wesley Brainard, William W. Folwell, Edmund O. Beers, James H. McDonald. The 50th, known as Stuart's regiment, and later as the 50th engineers, was organized at Elmira, of companies from the middle and western parts of the state, which were mustered into the U. S. service Sept. 18, 1861, for a three years' term. It left the state 850 strong, Sept. 21, for Washington; was ordered to Hall's
New York Regiments 87
hill, Va., and assigned to the 3d brigade of Gen. Porter's division. On Oct. 22, the regiment was converted by special orders from the war department into a regiment of engineers and ordered to Washington, where instruction was received by the men in their new duties. In March, 1862, with the volunteer engineers' brigade, Army of the Potomac, the 50th moved to Yorktown and worked faithfully in digging trenches, constructing bridges and earthworks, etc., until the evacuation of that city. At White House the command was divided into several detachments, which were engaged in escort duty and bridge building until reunited at Dispatch Station on June 1, when the regiment was employed in providing for the passage of the troops over the Chickahominy. It accompanied the army through the Seven Days' battles to Harrison's landing, where it was again separated, one detachment being sent to Hampton, Va. When the regimental headquarters was transferred to Hampton in August, a detachment was left behind at Harrison's landing, but on Sept. 3 the regiment was reunited at Washington. Four companies were detached on Sept 12 and ordered to Harper's Ferry, where they were engaged in constructing pontoons and later returned in charge of two of the pontoons to Washington, leaving a part of the detachment behind. Another detachment was sent to the vicinity of Fredericksburg with these boats, and the headquarters of the regiment were transferred to Acquia creek, leaving one company at Washington. Great assistance was rendered by the 50th in laying the bridges before the battle of Fredericksburg, when they were under continuous fire from the enemy's sharpshooters. Until July 17, 1862, the 50th was enrolled on the state records as an infantry regiment, but an act of Congress of that date accepted it as a regiment of the volunteer engineer corps, of the same rank as the regular army engineer corps. After passing the winter in the neighborhood of Fredericksburg, the regiment joined in the Chancellorsville campaign, where it aided effectively in conveying the army across the river and was highly praised by Gen. Benham. At Deep run in June the 50th suffered the loss of 11 in killed, wounded and missing, while engaged in laying a bridge. Cos. A, C, F, G, H and K remained in the field during the summer of 1863 and the others were stationed in Washington. In Dec., 1863, about three fourths of the regiment reenlisted and received their veteran furlough. At the opening of the Wilderness campaign in May, 1864, the 50th was again divided, one detachment assigned to the 2nd, one to the 6th, and one to the 5th corps, one company remaining in Washington. In the winter of 1863-64 two new companies were added to the regiment and the ranks filled with new recruits. During the operations of the Army of the Potomac in May and June, 1864, the main work of the regiment was that of laying bridges at various points, notably one 2,010 feet long, across the James. At Petersburg the regiment was in demand at all points for work of construction and repair on the fortifications, and it also assisted in destroying railroads. During its long service the men became very proficient in engineering and through its steadiness under fire is said to have lost during the last year of its service no bridge material of any kind. The original members not reenlisted were mustered out at New York in Sept., 1864, and after participation in the grand review at Washington, the veteran organization was there mustered out on June 13-14, 1865. The loss of the regiment by death from wounds was 17 and by death from disease and other causes 214.