|Unit History Project|
The Communities of New York and the Civil War:
The following is taken from Third Annual Report of the Bureau of Military Statistics of the State of New York, Albany: [The Bureau], (C. Wendell), 1866.
The Twentieth regiment, N. Y. S. M. (for to that honored designation it clung, though ranked as the Eightieth regiment, N. Y. S. V. in the lists) at the outbreak of the rebellion was one of the few well organized and officered regiments in the State It was the fifth from this State stepping forward to the defense of the capital. The regiment bore the synonym of the "Ulster Guard," and represented this county in the early months of the war. A brief reference to its services will mark the part taken by the county.
In April, 1861, the regiment proceeded to Washington with full ranks, led by Colonel George W. Pratts, its commandant for several years. In the three months service, for which it volunteered, the Twentieth did its full duty, being stationed successively at Anabolic and Baltimore, and was honorably recognized as one the most efficient in the service.
The rebellion assuming the form of a persistent struggle, the Twentieth, on its return to Ulster in the summer of 1861, filled its ranks with volunteers for a three years service, and in September returned to the front under Colonel Pratt once more, and took a full share in all the perils and labors of the army of the Potomac, losing an unseal proportion of officers and men in the desperate conflict on the fighting line of the front, its gallant Colonel falling at the encounter of second Bull Run, in General Page's retreat.
The history of the Twentieth would epitomize the war; for it bore its full share of disaster as well as did more than its portion for the triumphs following the retreat of the Rapidan. Colonel Theodore B. Gates succeeded Colonel Pratt, and it was under his command that the Twentieth fought during the three desperate days at Gettysburg, where the Union army achieved its leading triumph, and the prestige of Lee and the rebel cause was broken never to he retrieved. Following the Gettysburg campaign, at the expiration of its three years term, the Twentieth was again enrolled for three years or the war, Colonel Gates resigning, he was succeeded by Lieutenant-Colonel Jacob B. Hardenbergh.
In the subsequent campaigns on the Potomac, under the generalship of Burnside, and his successors, until the triumphant advance to Richmond extinguished the rebellion for all time, the Twentieth was charged mainly with the provost duty of the army, and was always a reliable and hard tasked regiment, though in a sphere of duty not likely to include them in bulletins and dispatches. But when the final advance of Grant was made, the Twentieth once more was in " the fighting line" of the extreme
front and on the fiery edge of battle ; and after the downfall of the Confederacy and the surrender of Lee, this regiment was selected to hold and maintain order in Richmond—its Colonel, Hardenbergh, and Lieutenant-Colonel, John McEntee, with other officers being charged, with responsible duties under Major-General Terry.
Subsequently a portion of it was on duty at Norfolk, and it was not until January, 1866, that the Twentieth regiment, N. Y. S. M., united its scattered companies, and took up the line of march for home—the last regiment of the army of the Potomac to leave that field.
New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs: Military