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117th Infantry Regiment
Civil War
Fourth Oneida Regiment

History

Mustered in: August 8, 1862
Mustered out: June 8, 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 W. R. Pease received authority, July 19, 1862, to recruit this regiment in Oneida county; it was organized at Rome, and there mustered in the service of the United States for three years August 8 to 16, 1862. The men not to be mustered out with the regiment were transferred, June 8, 1865, to the 48th Infantry.
The companies were recruited principally: A at Rome, Utica and Vernon; B at Utica, Camden, Verona and Vienna; C at Utica, Westmoreland, Rome and Bridgewater; D at Whitestown, Sangerfield, Utica, Vienna and New Hartford; E at Rome; F at Oriskany, Trenton, Utica, Floyd, Rome, Steuben and Deerfield; G at Rome, Clayville, Paris and Utica; H at Utica, Vienna, Rome and Camden; I at Rome, Boonville, Ava, Utica, Western and Clayville; and K at Clinton, Remsen, Augusta, Boonville, Deansville, Marshall and Vernon.
The regiment left the State August 22, 1862; served in 2d and 3d Brigades, a battalion in each, defenses of Washington, D. C., north of Potomac, from August 25, 1862; in the defenses of Washington, 3d Brigade, Haskins' Division, 22d Corps, from January, 1863; in the 1st Brigade, 3d Division, 9th Corps, from February, 1863; in the 1st Brigade, Getty's Division, 7th Corps, Department of Virginia, from April, 1863; in Alford's Brigade, l8th Corps, Department of the South, from July, 1863; in Vogdes' Division, 10th Corps, at Folly Island and Little Folly Island, S. C., from October, 1863; in 1st Brigade, 2d Division, 10th Corps, Army of the James, from April, 1864; in 3d Brigade, 3d Division-, 18th Corps, from May 30, 1864; in 1st Brigade, 2d Division, 10th Corps, from June 15, 1864; in same brigade and division of the 24th Corps, from December, 1864; in the same of the Provisional Corps, from March, 1865; and of the 10th Corps, from April 2, 1865; and it was honorably discharged and mustered out, under Col. Rufus Daggett, June 8, 1865, at Raleigh, N. C.
During its service the regiment lost by death, killed in action, 5 officers, 75 enlisted men; of wounds received in action, 3 officers, 54 enlisted men; of disease and other causes, 1 officer, 136 enlisted men; total, 9 officers, 265 enlisted men; aggregate, 274; of whom 21 enlisted men 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.
One Hundred and Seventeenth Infantry.—Cols., William R. Pease, Alvin White, Rufus Daggett; Lieut-Cols., Alvin White, Rufus Daggett, Francis X. Meyer; Majs., Rufus Daggett, Francis X. Meyer, Egbert Bagg. This regiment, recruited in Oneida county in the summer of 1862, rendezvoused at Rome, where it was mustered into the U. S. service from Aug. 8 to 16, for three years, and left the state on Aug. 22. It was stationed at Tenallytown, Md., until April, 1863, when it was ordered to Suffolk, Va., in the 1st brigade, Getty's division, 7th corps, and subsequently participated in the Peninsular campaign of 1863. It was then ordered to join the 18th corps (the 7th corps having been discontinued), Department of the South; later joined Vogdes' division, loth corps, on Folly island, S. C.; and took part in the siege of Fort Wagner and the operations about Charleston harbor. In April, 1864, the regiment was ordered to Virginia, where it joined Gen. Butler's Army of the James, being assigned to 1st brigade, 2nd division, 10th corps. Sailing up the James river, it disembarked at Bermuda Hundred and was engaged at Swift creek, Drewry's bluff and Bermuda Hundred, losing 20 killed, 62 wounded, and 7 missing at Drewry's bluff. Col. White being among the wounded. While at Cold Harbor it was temporarily attached to the 18th corps, but on its return to the James rejoined the 10th corps, and soon after took part in the initial assault on the works of Petersburg, losing 54 in killed, wounded and missing. It was present at the mine ex- plosion, and then recrossing the James fought gallantly at the battle of Fort Harrison, losing 15 killed, 76 wounded and 33 missing. [n the 1st (Curtis') brigade, 2nd (Foster's) division, it was heavily engaged on the Darbytown road, in October, losing 6 killed, 42 wounded, and 4 missing. When the l0th corps was discontinued in Dec., 1864, Curtis' brigade was placed in Ames' (2nd) division, 24th corps, with which the regiment sailed in Butler's expedition o Fort Fisher, N. C., where Cos. B and H captured 230 men of the 10th N. C. reserves during a reconnoissance. Reembarking, the troops returned to Virginia, but were at once ordered back to Fort Fisher, the second expedition being commanded by Gen. Terry. The 117th took a conspicuous and highly honorable part in the final assault on Fort Fisher, sustaining a loss of 92 in killed and wounded. During February it was in the actions at Cape Fear river, Fort Anderson and Wilmington, and in March and April, as part of the provisional corps, it engaged in Gen. Terry's Carolina campaign, which closed at the Bennett house on April 26. The regiment remained on duty at Raleigh, N. C., until June 8, 1865, when it was mustered out under command of Col. Daggett. About 250 recruits and reenlisted men were transferred to the 48th N. Y. During its term of service the regiment lost by death 9 officers and 129 enlisted men killed and mortally wounded; I officer and 136 enlisted men by disease and other causes, a total of 274, of whom 21 died in the hands of the enemy.

Battles and Casualties Table from Phisterer

Civil War Newspaper Clippings

117th Infantry Guidon 117th Infantry Guidons

Unit Roster

Further Reading
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@mail.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.

"117th Volunteer Infantry Regiment Collection." Hamilton College Library. Available online at: http://elib.hamilton.edu/hc/hc-main.php?id=col_spe-civ&c=civ_abt (Link opens new window)

Complete roster of the 117th N.Y. volunteers (Fourth Oneida county regiment), revised April 1, 1914, with a brief historical sketch, giving the name of every one enlisting in the Regiment, the address of survivors, and the date of death of all deceased members so far as can be ascertained. Compiled and published by James J. Guernsey of "E" company. Rome: [1914].

Culver, Milton H. Echoes of sparks from the camp fire of the 117th N.Y. volunteers, from 1862 to 1865, relating a few historical, truthful, thrilling and mirthful incidents as gleaned from the diary of Sergeant M. H. Culver, of E Co. Rome: Guernsey, printer [1917].
Located at the New York Historical Society, New York, NY.

Erwin, Augustus M. Address. Speech made at the National Encampments of the Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.) at their twenty-first meeting on September 11, 1888.
Some of his recollections of the Civil War are noted in his hand-written draft.
Online access at: sunsite.utk.edu/civil-war/Erwin_Speech.html [link opens new window]

Fairhead, George B. George B. Fairhead. Diaries,1864-1865.
Civil War diaries of George B. Fairhead of New York Mills, who served with the 117th Infantry, New York Volunteers, (4th Oneida). 2 v.
Located at the Oneida Historical Society, 318 Genesee Street, Utica, New York 13502.

Fairhead, George B. Photograph of Civil War veteran George B. Fairhead. 1915.
Photograph of George B. Fairhead, who served with Company D, 117th New York Infantry Regiment during the Civil War and was active in the Grand Army of the Republic as a veteran. Fairhead, born in England, came to New York in 1840 and remained a resident of that state the rest of his life. He worked as a minister in the northern part of the state following the war and served as chaplain for the G.A.R. Department of New York. He spent the final years of his life at the Utica City Home for Aged Men and Couples, part of Faxton Hospital. The photograph shows a bust view of an aged and bearded Fairhead in civilian suit. He signed his name and dated the bottom of the photograph on the front. On the back, he wrote a short paragraph praising Faxton Hospital and criticizing the lack of a "Soldier Home" in Oneida County, New York. 0.1 linear ft. (1 folder).
Located at the Wisconsin Veterans Museum Research Center Page.

Foote, John B. Correspondence,1862-1865.
New York: Oneida County; Utica. Letters to family members dating from Foote's entry into the army until his discharge. Topics including training around Washington, D.C., service at Suffolk, Petersburg, and Richmond, Va., and Folly and Charleston, S.C.; the capture of Fort Fisher; convalescence in military hospitals near Wilmington and New Bern, N.C.; camp life; confiscation of southern property; conscription of blacks; desertion; disease; health conditions; furloughs; morale; morals; prisoners; and transportation. There are a few letters from a cousin, Daniel P. Sanford, also a Union soldier, while camped at New Bern and Carolina City, N.C., relating to camp life and low pay. 86 items.
Located at Duke University.

Grosjean, Dewitt. Letters.
Transcribed and donated by Brian Grosjean.

Guernsey, James J.,ed. Complete roster of the 117th N.Y. volunteers. (Fourth Oneida county regiment) With a brief historical sketch. Rome, N.Y.: J.J. Guernsey, 1914. 56 p. 17 cm.
Located at the New York Public Library, New York, NY.

Herner, Charles E. (aka Hevener) Charles E. Herner (aka Hevener) Letters, 1864 : 117th New York Volunteer Infantry.
Obtained from http://www.soldierstudies.org/

Hubbard, George A.  George A. Hubbard papers, 1862-1865.
The collection consists of letters, diaries, notes and carte-de-visite photographs, mainly recording George A. Hubbard's Civil War service in the 117th New York Infantry from 1862-1865. Hubbard's diary for 1861 describes his daily life in Sauquoit (Oneida County), New York. His letters, all addressed to his parents, and his remaining diaries, provide detailed description of his daily activities in military service, from camp life to battles. Also present are Hubbard's notes and those of later researchers, and five carte-de-visite photographs of men in military uniform, all identified, three of whom served in the 117th Infantry. 8 linear foot (2 boxes).
Located at the New York Public Library, New York, NY.

Humphrey, John. Journal of John Humphrey, April 1863 - January 15, 1865, New York Infantry.
Available online at: http://elib.hamilton.edu/hc/hc-main.php?id=col_spe-civ-for&c=civ_for (Link opens new window)

Jackson, Harry F. and Thomas F. O'Donnell. Back Home in Onieda: Hermon Clarke and His Letters. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1965.

Kennedy, Eric. "Glory." The Waterville Times. September 29, 2010.

Knox, Charles Eugene. Sketch of the life of Captain John J. Knox Williams, oldest grandson of John J. and Sarah A. Knox, who fell in defence of his country at the battle of Chapin's farm, September 29-30, 1864. Prepared by the Rev. Charles E. Knox, and read at the diamond wedding.

Lobdill, John. John Lobdill Letter, 1864 : 117th New York Volunteer Infantry.
Obtained from http://www.soldierstudies.org/

McElwain, Edward.  Discharge from the United States Army, 1865.
Printed and handwritten discharge from the United States Army. The discharge verifies McElwain's service in the army and states that he was honorably discharged. The discharge was used to collect a military bounty of $100 in 1867. 1 item (1 page).
Located at Brigham Young University.

Miller Family.  Papers, 1860-1890.
This series is comprised almost entirely of correspondence that would be useful for research on the social life and customs of small towns and rural areas of New York State during the Civil War and subsequent reconstruction period. In particular, the letters addressed to Perry Miller from his siblings while serving in the Union Army, contain not only discussions of their own everyday activities and experiences, but also a considerable amount of news about people and events in the community. Also included is some interesting commentary on the imposition of conscription and reactions to news about various battles. After the war, the letters concern less serious matters, with the bulk of them being love letters written by Perry Miller to his future wife, Phoebe Jaesbury of Catskill, New York. 2 boxes (.75 cu. ft.)
Located at the New York State Library Manuscripts and Special Collections. .

Mowris, James A. A history of the One hundred and seventeenth regiment N.Y. volunteers (Fourth Oneida), from the date of its organization, August, 1862, till that of its muster out, June, 1865, by J. A. Mowris, Regimental Surgeon. Hartford: Case, Lockwood and co., printers, 1866.

Pearl, George W. Letters of George W. Pearl.
Available online at: http://elib.hamilton.edu/hc/hcbrowse.php?id=col_spe-civ (Link opens new window)

Sexton Family. Civil War Miscellaneous Collection
(Enlisted man's letters, Nov 1862-Apr 1865)
Located at the Military History Institute in Carlisle, PA.

Smith, Oakley H. HCWRTColl
(Cpl's letters, Aug-Dec 1862; Pension claim papers &
muster rolls, 1862-1915)
Located at the Military History Institute in Carlisle, PA.

United States. Army. New York Infantry Regiment, 117th (1862-1865). Civil War enlistment papers :117th NY Volunteer Infantry, 1862.
Contains mainly original printed volunteer enlistment forms, completed by hand. Forms for Company G are photocopies. Each form includes enlistee's name, place of birth, age, occupation, height, color of eyes and hair, date and place of enlistment, and signatures of the enlistee, adjutant, examining surgeon and recruiting officer. 10 v. (ca. 950 items) ; 30 cm.
Available online at: http://elib.hamilton.edu/hc/hcbrowse.php?id=col_spe-civ (Link opens new window)

United States. Army. New York Infantry Regiment, 117th (1862-1865) Administrative documents of the 117th New York Infantry Regiment,1862-1864.
Collection includes such items as special orders, equipment requests, expense reports, transportation reports, prisoner lists, guard duty schedules, a letter of resignation, and returns of clothing and weapons. 53 items ; 28 cm. or smaller.
Available online at: http://elib.hamilton.edu/hc/hcbrowse.php?id=col_spe-civ (Link opens new window)

Wisnoski, Donald M. The opportunity is at hand : Oneida County, New York colored soldiers in the Civil War. Lynchburg, VA: Schroeder Publications, c2003.

 

New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs: Military History
Last modified: August 1, 2012
URL: http://www.dmna.state.ny.us/historic/reghist/civil/infantry/117thInf/117thInfMain.htm

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