119th Regiment, NY Volunteer Infantry
Civil War Newspaper Clippings
PROMOTED.—SAMUEL L. WARD, JR., a private in Company K, One-hundred-and-nineteenth
Regiment, has been promoted to the post of Second
Lieutenant of that Company.
COL. PEISSNER, of the 119th New York-a gentleman having many friends in Troy,
is reported mortally wounded. He was a Professor in Union College, when he
took the field.
DEPARTURE OF NEW-YORK REGIMENTS.
Of New-York regiments under marching orders, there will probably get off next
week: The One Hundred and Nineteenth, (Col. ELIAS PEISSNER;) part of the
Empire Brigade, one of the Metropolitan Guard Regiments, the Stanton Legion,
and Col. GURNEY'S National Guard. All of these regiments are nearly full.
SWORD PRESENTATION—The Rev. Elisee Charlier, a naturalized French citizen,
has been for the past year laboring as a teacher and missionary among the Waldenses,
in Italy. Upon hearing of the battles before Richmond, however, he determined
to return to the land of his adoption and tender his services in her defense.
He was last week commissioned as Chaplain of the 119th Regiment N. Y. V., Col.
Peissner. At the residence of his brother, No. 50 East 24th street, he was
by him, on Tuesday night, presented with a beautiful sword, sash, and belt,
a select circle of friends being in attendance. In making the presentation
Mr. Elie Charlier said:
MY BROTHER: You go to-morrow to peril your life in the prosecution of the war
for the Union of your adopted country. You go nominally as a chaplain; but
I trust your love of liberty and your three years' service in the French army
will have taught you how to use this token of my affection. I hope and believe
you may be found in the front rank, when the din of battle rages around you.
Accept this sword as a parting memento, and use it for constitutional liberty.
In reply, the recipient said he did not merit this highly-prized present. He
intended to do his duty and hoped he might be truly a fighting chaplain.
Col. E. Peissner, of the 119th New York, is reported mortally wounded. He
was a Professor in Union College when he took the field.
AT A MEETING of the Faculty of Union College, held May 16, 1863, on information
of the death, upon the battle field, of Elias Peissure, Professor of the German
Language and Literature, and Lecturer on Political Economy in this Institution,
and Colonel of the 119th Regiment of N. Y. S. V., the following expression
of their sentiments was unanimously adopted and placed upon the records:
Professor Peissner, a member of the Faculty of this College, and a Colonel
in the army of the Union, having been removed from us by the hand of death,
we, his fellow members in the Faculty, convened in view of this sad event,
would formally express, and would inscribe upon the records of this Institution
our respect for his ability and earnestness in his department, both as an Author
and an Educator, our regard for his virtues as a man and a friend, our admiration
of his heroism in the cause of human liberty and his adopted land.
We would also express our deep regret at the loss which his death inflicts
upon ourselves personally, upon the many members of this Institution, and upon
our country at this moment of its need; and we would tender our heartfelt condolence
to the family of the departed, and to his relatives residing among us and in
the land of his birth.
We instruct the Secretary to convey this expression of our sentiments to the
immediate family of the deceased, to his venerable mother and to his
father-in-law, Professor Tayler Lewis, L. L. D., and family.
Secretary of the Faculty.
Col. Elias Peissner, of the 119th New York, was wounded at Chancellorsville,
and taken prisoner. His son, Lieut. Peissner, was also wounded. Col. Peissner
was a Professor in Union College when he organized his regiment.
New-York State Volunteer Promotions.
119th Regiment, (Troy) Lieutenant Col. Alonzo Alden, to be Colonel; Vice J.
McConih.. killed in action.
Major James A. Colvin, to be Lieutenant Col.; Vice Alden promoted.
Captain Joseph H. Allen, to be Major; Vic... Colvin promoted.
Lieutenant Col. Colvin is a son of the Hon. J. Colvin, of this city.
The Faculty of Union College have passed a series of resolutions deploring
the death of Col. Elias Peissner of the 119th N. Y. Volunteers, who was killed
while encouraging his men during one of the recent battles near Fredericksburg.
Col. Peissner resigned the Professorship of German Language and Literature
in Union College in order to take the field. He married a daughter of Prof.
Taylor Lewis. Col. Peissner.--We regret to notice the death of the above officer,
which was occasioned by wounds received in battle, at Chancellorsville. The
lamented Colonel left in command of the 119th New York regiment from our city.
It will be recalled that his headquarters were at Bellevue Garden during last
summer. He took with him to the field a good command, and led them bravely
through all the engagements. His gallantry and bravery are virtues worthy of
DEATH OF CAPTAIN SCHWERIN OF SCHENECTADY
N. Y.—At a special meeting of the members of the Senior Class of Union
College, on May 19th 1863, the following preamble and resolutions were unanimously
Whereas, It has pleased Almighty God in his all wise, but inscrutable Providence
to remove by the hand of death, our friend and class-mate, Henry R. Schwerin,
Capt. in the 119th Regiment, N. Y. S. V. therefore,
Resolved, That we deeply mourn the loss of one, who by his faithful and energetic
endeavors, for the prosperity and advancement of class interests, by his greatness
of heart and purity of life, and by the noble, patriotic and christian-like
motives, which prompted him to enter the service of his country, to aid in
the suppression of this unholy rebellion, has forever endeared himself to each
and every member of the class of 1863.
Resolved, That we extend to the afflicted family, and bereaved friends of the
deceased, our sincere and tender sympathy, and desires for them in the bitterness
of this great grief, the consolation which a chastening, but loving Father
can alone impart.
Resolved, That as a public taken of our respect and sorrow, we wear the usual
badge of mourning for fifteen days.
Resolved, That a copy of these resolutions be transmitted to the family of
the deceased, and that they be published in the Schenectady and Albany papers.
Signed AMASA J. PARKER, Jr.,
CHARLES G. CLARK,
Committee on Resolutions.
...G, MAY 23, 1863.
American and Gazette.
The Battle of Salem Church.
Correspondence of North American and U. S. Gazette.
CAMP NEAR WHITE OAK CHURCH,
Stafford county, Va., Monday, May 18, 1863. I am now compelled to send you
the comfirmation of the disagreeable intelligence you have already received
through a hundred channels, to the effect that General Hooker has failed, as
completely as did Burnside, in driving the rebel forces from their position
on the south side of the Rappahannock. In the newspapers which I have seen
many incorrect statements are made, and not one appears to understand the real
position of affairs. It is possible, therefore, that I may give you some little
information on a subject that I know you are deeply interested in. In doing
so I shall endeavor to discriminate between facts and unsupported rumors, many
of which are afloat. On Tuesday, April 23, the different divisions of the First
(Reynolds') and Sixth (Sedgwick's) Corps left their camps with eight days'
rations, and massed along the river front, just behind the range of hills surmounted
by our artillery, and commanding all the plateau on the south side. The right
of this portion of the army was about one mile below the town, and the left,
I suppose, about three miles. At the same point where the pontoons were laid
for the left wing, in December last, it was intended to effect a sudden crossing
in the boats. This was successfully done, at the first glimmer of daybreak;
on the 29th—the 119th and 95th Pennsylvania taking the lead. The enemy
were thoroughly surprised, as there was only a small picket reserve of three
or four hundred men within reach, who fired a volley from the rifle pits, and
then ran away. The morning being very foggy, they could not tell where to shoot,
and we only lost one man killed and one slightly wounded. In a very short time
our whole brigade had crossed, and it was light enough to see what we were
about; so Gen. Russell (our brigadier) advanced the skirmish line, and by sunrise
we lay in line of battle about a quarter of a mile from the river. In a few
hours the pontoons were laid and the balance of the division (Brooks') came
over, including battery D 2d U. S. artillery—an excellent battery of
six 12-pound brass pieces. Things now remained quiet for the day and night,
and in the evening our brigade was relieved by the first Jersey brigade, when
we fell back to the river bank Large details were made from all our companies
to handle shovels, and in a few hours of darkness they turned the long line
of rifle pits against the enemy, by simply transferring the earth bank from
one side to the other. The First Division (Wadsworth's) of First Corps had
also effected a crossing on the morning of the 29th a mile or so below us,
and we continued to hear reports of what they were doing; but as far as I know
they did nothing but hold their ground until Saturday morning, May 2, when
they marched up to our pontoons and returned to the north bank of the river.
The reason for this was obvious. They could accomplish nothing where they had
been—their services were wanted elsewhere; a rebel battery had splendid
range of their pontoon and of a wide field beyond, which they would be compelled
to cross; and as there a flat on the margin of the river, concealed from the
rebels by a high bluff, they could move up in perfect safety, leaving the enemy
under the impression that they still held their position The lower pontoons
were soon after removed and taken to Banks' Ford, some four miles above the
town. The First Corps then proceeded to join the main army, and arrived in
time to assist in stopping skedaddle of that portion 11th corps is made to
shoulder all the responsibility of failure. With regard to the crossing on
the right, at United States Ford and Kelly's Ford, I only know what has been
published; and I shall confine my account the sixth, and make it as short as
Nothing important occurred up to Saturday evening, except occasional firing
by the skirmishers or pickets, in which several men were wounded, in different
regiments. The enemy took occasion to send in a few shells at different times,
but I know of no damage being done by them.
On Saturday evening about sunset, it became apparent that something was to
be done, the 2d (Howes) and 3d (Newton's) divisions came rapidly across the
pontoons and moved up to front. I omitted mention that the light division,
of five regiments, commanded by Col. Burnham, of the 6th Maine, had crossed
on Friday evening. As soon as everything was over, the pontoons were taken
up and relaid at front of Fredericksburg, which had been abandoned by the enemy,
who retired to heights in the rear. I presume this was done partly because
they were in very small force, and to prevent destruction of the houses, 1st
Connecticut battery, of eight 32s, can burn or batter them down at short notice.
The laying of bridges at this point was partly accomplished by a detachment
the 2d Corps, the old Philadelphia brigade, containing Baxter's, Morehead's
Owens', &c. On Sunday morning, May 3d, the fight commenced. It was our
good luck at this time to support battery in which position we were shelled
most severely but as we were under tolerably good cover, only two or three
men of the 119th were hurt; our hoar had not yet come. Towards noon Gen. Russell
sent us, with the 95th, (both regiments under command of Col. Town, as senior
Colonel) three or four hundred yards to right, to a deep ravine. At one point,
as we filed to our left to enter this ravine, a rebel battery our left front
espied us, and in an instant shells bursting all around us. It was only for
a minute, and we gained ravine safety, one man in Company F receiving a slight
wound in the hand. Our hour had not yet come. In about an hour, some of the
officers climbed up the banks of the ravine, and soon returned with the news
that the long-coveted heights were carried, the batteries were silenced, and
the stars and stripes were floating over the deserted fortifications. Then
came shouts of victory, cheers for the old flag; then hearts that had been
depressed for almost a week troubled with doubts of the possibility of carrying
that position by any means, swelled almost to bursting with the fulness of
joy. Congratulations were freely exchanged, and speculations as to what was
to be done next were liberally indulged in. But there was little time for talk;
in a few minutes we were ordered to mount the steep bank, at the top of which
we found level fields, and a good road, running parallel with the river, and
leading into the town.
Along this road General Brooks was now passing, with the First and Second brigades,
and we fell in the rear, still commanded by Colonel Town—General Russel
remaining behind, for some purpose, with the 49th Pennsylvania, and 18th and
32d New York. Up the road, into the town, and then turning at a right angle
to the left, up and over the captured heights, on the plankroad toward Chancellorsville.
Here we met the victorious regiments, returning for their knapsacks, which
they left off before commencing the attack. On we went, and I had almost begun
to fancy what the steeples of Richmond would look like—for up to this
time we had been grossly deceived with regard to the operations of the army
on the right: having been told every day that Hooker was driving the enemy,
and it only remained to capture their trains—when suddenly we were brought
to a halt, and soon discovered that a rebel battery was planted at a point
commanding the road for along distance—and so favorable was its position
that our artillery could not be brought to bear upon it except with great danger.
The infantry, it was ascertained, were in the thick woods, which were now to
be seen in front, and on all sides. Soon we moved on, and formed in line of
battle to the right of the road. Here we were obliged to take a little more
shelling, and then Colonel Town ordered us to advance into the woods, two or
three hundred yards ahead, where the Jersey brigade was already engaged. Off
we started, at double quick, over a ploughed field, encountering two or three
brush fences, then a wide swamp, and so up to the edge of the woods; halting
here a moment, to unsling knapsacks, then "Forward," and our hour
had come! It is enough to say that we were received with terrific volleys from
an unseen foe; that we could not tell where to shoot; that one moment we were
ordered out, as it was said we were firing on the Jerseymen; that the next
moment we were ordered in again; that in about five minutes the destruction
was so great, the confusion so general, and the bad management so palpable,
that both regiments broke and ran, in the utmost disorder, to the rear, leaving
nearly or quite one-third of their members behind, killed, wounded, missing.
How I escaped I do not know, for bullets fairly rained around, and men fell
before, behind, and on both sides of me. I rallied, as did some others of our
company, with the 189th Pennsylvania, supposing it to be our own, and then
had the satisfaction of popping two or three times at their dirty red flag;
for they came out, and formed in line of battle. Another brigade just then
appeared, a little to the left of us, opening a destructive cross fire upon
them, which drove them back, and they retired into the woods again.
The fight being now over for the evening, looked out for the 119th, and soon
discovered the colors, with the Colonel, and about 100 men, the remainder being
scattered all over the country. They came in during the night in squads, and
by sunrise on the 4th, some 300 had gathered round the colors. We were then
sent to the front, on picket, where we remained all day; and we soon found
out, from unmistakable signs, and from information derived from prisoners who
came voluntarily into our lines, that Hooker had been worsted on the right,
that the Eleventh Corps had certainly broken and ran away; that a large force
had then been hurried over to meet and surround the devoted Sixth; and that
we only waited for evening to make a hurried escape from destruction or capture.
And so it turned out. Soon after sunset our batteries poured a destructive
fire into the woods, and into the rebel lines that were advancing on our left
flank; burned powder to make a smoke, then suddenly limbered up, and struck
a bee line for Banks' Ford, the infantry following, and the pickets running
in as fast as they could. When we reached the ford, three lines of battle were
formed to hold the enemy in check until the artillery could cross. About ten
o'clock the front or skirmish line was attacked desperately, in front and on
both flanks, and several companies of the Light division were captured. Finally,
the remains of the Sixth Corps reached the safe side of the river about daybreak
on the 5th. Its loss—in killed, wounded and prisoners—will reach
fully five thousand, or more than one-fourth of the number who left camp to
participate in this "battle of the war." The 119th lost about 140,
Company F.'s share being 22, eight or nine of whom are believed to be dead.
The printers lose 6; Joe Moreau, killed; McCloy, badly wounded; Keyser, in
arm; Weller, Rickards, Getz, missing—most likely killed or badly wounded.
The fight in which we suffered is known as the battle of Salem Church. When
General Russell came up with the rest of the brigade he was very angry; and
when Colonel Ellmaker informed him that he feared we had lost our good name,
he replied that it was not so—that no regiment could have stood firm
under the circumstances, and that we had no business to go there, or even to
leave the ravine, until he came up. But as Colonel Town was killed, with his
Lieut. Colonel and Adjutant, there no one to blame, and we had to gulp down
the disaster and make the best of it. On the 6th other corps on the right recrossed
the stream, took up the pontoons, in due time found their way back their old
camps. All newspaper statements to the contrary are false. I. A. K.
New-York Daily Tribune.
SATU2DAY, SEPTEMBER 6, 1862.
The Militia Called Out to Guard a Volunteer Regiment.
After the 119th Regiment had received their colors, in front of Dr. Brueninghausen's
residence, in Second avenue, yesterday, they marched to their quarters at Turtle
Bay, between Forty-fourth and Forty-fifth streets, and proceeded to entertain
themselves as some soldiers do upon the eve of leaving for the seat of war.
Col. Peissner and his officers became apprehensive that a general clearing
out might take place during the evening, and apprised Adjutant-General Hillhouse
of their suspicion. The Adjutant-General, with a view to making sure work of
the matter, ordered Major-Gen. Sanford to call out a sufficient force of militia
to preserve order, and to guard the quarters. Major-Gen. Sanford, accordingly,
called upon Col. Barger of the 5th Regiment State Militia to report himself
with a full company of his regiment at Turtle Bay.
The order was given at 5 o'clock, p. m., and at 7 o'clock about 150 members
of the 5th Regiment under the command of Captain Bruer, were on the ground.
The men composing the 119th Regiment were given to understand that the militia
had been called out merely to relieve them of guard duty until they left the
The militia company was drawn up in line and ordered to load their muskets
with ball, voice order was executed in presence of Col. Peissner's men. The
militia soldiers then mounted guard for the night. They were stationed along
First and Second Avenues, Forty-third, Forty-fourth and Forty-fifth streets.
The 119th Regiment will not move before Tuesday, although its members were
under the impression that they were to leave for the seat of War to-day.
RETURN OF THE ONE HUNDRED AND NINETEENTH REGIMENT.
The One Hundred and Nineteenth New-York Volunteer Regiment, of Gen. GEARY'S
division (white star,) Twentieth Corps, army of Georgia, arrived here yesterday.
It is understood that this is the only city regiment that has participated
in the late campaigns of Gen. SHERMAN'S army. The One Hundred and Nineteenth
was organized in the Fifth Senatorial District, City of New-York, and mustered
into service Sept. 6, 1862. Its first commander,
Col. E. PEISSNER, fell at Chancellorsville. Col. PEISSNER, previous to entering
the army, was Professor of Modern Languages at Union College, New-York. He
was succeeded by Col. LOCKMAN, at present commanding, who, previous to entering
the service, was a student at law in the office of C. J. & E. DEWITT, of
this city. Col. LOCKMAN entered the service in April 1861, and passed through
the several grades of Lieutenant, Captain and Lieutenant-Colonel, before he
reached the command.
The regiment, while attached to the Army of the Potomac, was engaged in the
battles of Chancellorsville and Gettysburgh. In September, 1863, it was
transferred to the Army of the Cumberland, Twentieth Corps, and participated
in the actions of Wauhatchie, Missionary Ridge and the relief of Knoxvilie,
Tenn., Rockyfaced Ridge, Resaea, Dallas, Pine Hill, Kolb's Farm, Kenesaw Mountain,
Peach-tree Creek and Atlanta, Georgia, the Savannah campaign and the campaign
of the Carolinas.
The aggregate number of officers who have served with the regiment is sixty-nine,
and privates nine hundred and forty-one. The regiment now numbers three hundred
and six officers and men, and has received only eight recruits.
The principal officers of the regiment are as follows, viz.:
JOHN T. LOCKMAN, Colonel; Isaac P. Lockman, Lieutenant-Colonel; L. W. Kennedy,
Surgeon; Fred. Cowdry, Adjutant; Robert Messenger, Quartermaster; Ezra Sprague,
Chaplain; Captains, L. H. Orleman,
Frederick Kolomb, C. H. Southworth, Hugo Von Deprezin, Peter D. Carter, Robert
Moore, Aug. Von Cloedt.
(N. Y. Times Saturday, June 10, 1865.)
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Regiment During the Civil War
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