of the 125th
Taken from Final Report on
the Battlefield of Gettysburg (New York at Gettysburg) by the New York
Monuments Commission for the Battlefields of Gettysburg and Chattanooga. Albany,
NY: J.B. Lyon Company, 1902.
The One hundred and twenty-fifth New York Volunteers was
recruited in Rensselaer County and organized at Troy, N. Y., where it was mustered
into the United States service for three years on August 27, 1862. Maj. George
L. Willard, of the Eighth U. S. Infantry, was appointed colonel. He had seen
previous service in the War of the Rebellion and in the Mexican War as well.
Levin Crandell was commissioned lieutenant colonel, and James C. Bush major.
The regiment left Troy, August 30, 1862, and proceeded by
rail to Martinsburg, Va., whence a few days later it marched to Harper's Ferry.
After participating in the defence of that point in which a few of its number
were killed and wounded, the regiment together with the rest of the garrison,
over 11,500 in all, was surrendered to the Confederates on September 15, 1862.
With the other captured troops, the men were sent under parole to Camp Douglas,
Chicago, to remain there while awaiting exchange, which was effected November
22. The regiment was then ordered back to Virginia, where it was attached to
Casey's Division, in the defences of Washington, and encamped at Centreville
until June 24, 1863, when it joined the Second Corps, Army of the Potomac, and
marched away to Gettysburg. Gen. Alex. Hays who commanded the brigade while
at Centreville was placed in command of the division, and Colonel Willard succeeded
to the command of the brigade, which was composed of four New York regiments — the Thirty-ninth, One hundred and eleventh, One hundred and twenty-fifth,
and One hundred and twenty-sixth.
Under command of Colonel Crandell the One hundred and twenty-fifth
fought at Gettysburg where it lost 139 in killed and wounded. Colonel Willard
was killed while in command of the brigade, and Crandell was promoted colonel.
Maj. A. B. Myer was made lieutenant colonel, and Capt. S. C. Armstrong, major.
The regiment was actively engaged at Auburn and Bristoe Station,
in October, losing 36 men in those affairs. Capt. William H. Plumb was mortally
wounded at Bristoe Station.
Colonel Crandell being absent on recruiting service, Lieut. Col. Aaron B.
Myer was in command at the battle of the Wilderness. He was mortally wounded
in this engagement, and the command devolved on Capt. George E. Lemon. Color
Sergt. Harrison Clark carried his flag within ten feet of the enemy's line,
where he fell with his leg shattered by a rifle ball. Colonel Myer, who at that
time had not yet fallen, assisted in binding Clark's wound and promoted him
to a lieutenancy on the field. As Clark fell the flag was seized by Philip Brady,
of Company I, but he was soon killed while waving the colors in advance of the
A few days later, at Spotsylvania, the gallant old regiment
was again in the thickest of the fight, forming part of the storming column
that moved against the enemy's works at daybreak on the 12th of May, 1864. Capt.
E. P. Jones, commanding the regiment, was killed in this assault, and Lieutenants
Clapp and Cleminshaw were mortally wounded. Michael Burke, of Company D, captured
a battle flag, but was shot down in the act, falling with a bullet through his
breast. In the two battles of the Wilderness and Spotsylvania the One hundred
and twenty-fifth lost 118 in killed and wounded.
On May 26th, Colonel Crandell returned from recruiting service
and resumed command. The regiment was engaged at the North Anna, Totopotomoy
Creek, and Cold Harbor, with further losses in officers and men. Lieutenant
Green was mortally wounded in the fight of May 30th at Totopotomoy.
In the assault on Petersburg, June 16th, the decimated ranks
were thinned again. Forty-four good men went down, one-third of whom were killed.
Another color sergeant, A. B. Green, was killed in this affair. Colonel Crandell
was wounded by a piece of shell that struck him in the face. Lieutenants Bryan
and Coleman were fatally wounded.
In the affair at the Weldon Railroad, June 22d, the regiment lost several men
who were captured by the enemy, while three more officers,— Adjutant Miller,
and Lieutenants Hull and Barnes,— received their death blow on that disastrous,
In addition to the minor battles of Reams' Station, Deep Bottom, Strawberry
Plains, and Hatcher's Run, the regiment was daily engaged during the siege of
Petersburg — from July 16, 1864, to April 1, 1865—on the picket
line and in the trenches with frequent and continuous losses of men from wounds
or by sickness caused by constant exposure. After the affair at Reams' Station,
Capt. Nelson Penfield was in command, the colonel having been placed previously
in charge of the brigade.
Colonel Crandell resigned December 14, 1864, after a distinguished and honorable
term of service. He was succeeded by Lieut. Col. Joseph Hyde, who had entered
the regiment originally as a lieutenant in Company H.
On March 29, 1865, the men broke camp and, crossing Hatcher's Run, entered
on their last campaign. The regiment was still in the Third Brigade (Madill's),
First Division (Miles's), Second Corps (Humphreys'). On April 2d, the regiment
took part in the charge of Miles's Division on the Confederate works at Sutherland's
Station, a bloody affair in which Capt. John Quay was killed. The brigade suffered
severely in this attack, Colonel Madill being badly wounded. In the subsequent
battles of the Second Corps prior to Lee's surrender at Appomattox, the regiment
was present but suffered only a slight loss.
After marching in the Grand Review at Washington it proceeded to Troy, N.
Y., where the men received their final payment and muster-out on June 15, 1865.
During its various campaigns and battles the One hundred and twenty-fifth
New York sustained a loss of 15 officers and 112 enlisted men, killed or mortally
wounded; 1 officer and 112 enlisted men who died of disease, accidents, or in
Confederate prisons; total deaths, 240, out of a total enrollment of 1,248.
Of the 113 who died of disease, 58 died in the hands of the enemy. The total
of killed and wounded in all its battles amounted to 464.
The regiment was engaged or present at Harper's Ferry, Gettysburg, Bristoe
Station, Auburn, Mine Run, Morton's Ford, Wilderness, Po River, Spotsylvania,
North Anna, Totopotomoy, Cold Harbor, Jerusalem Road, Petersburg Assault, Deep
Bottom, Reams' Station, Strawberry Plains, Hatcher's Run, Siege of Petersburg,
White Oak Road, Sutherland's Station, Fall of Petersburg, Sailor's Creek, Farmville,
Back to 125th
Regiment During the Civil War
New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs: Military History
March 19, 2006