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126th Infantry Regiment
Civil War

History

Mustered in: November 23,1861.
Mustered out: June 27, 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 Eliakim Sherrill received authority, July 15, 1862, to raise this regiment in the counties of Ontario, Seneca and Yates; it was organized at Geneva, and there mustered in the service of the United States for three years August 22, 1862. December 25, 1864, it was consolidated into a battalion of five companies, A to E, and June 2, 1865, the men not to be mustered out with the regiment were transferred to the 4th Artillery.
The companies were recruited principally: A and B in Yates county; C and I in Seneca county; D, Hand K in Ontario county; E at Geneva and Rushville; F in the counties of Ontario and Seneca; and G in Ontario, Seneca and Yates counties.
The regiment left the State August 26, 1862; it served in the Middle Department from August, 1862; at Harper's Ferry, W. Va., where it was surrendered, from September, 1862; at Camp Douglas, Chicago, Ill., from September 27, 1862; in the defenses of Washington, in the 1st Brigade, Casey's Division, later 22d Corps, from December, 1862; in the 3d Brigade of the same, from January, 1863; in the 3d Brigade, 3d Division, 2d Corps, from June 25, 1863; in the 3d, for a time in the Consolidated, Brigade, 1st Division, 2d Corps, from March, 1864; and it was honorably discharged and mustered out, under Col. Ira Smith Brown, June 3, 1865, near Alexandria, Va.
During its service the regiment lost by death, killed in action, II officers, 95 enlisted men; of wounds received in action, 5 officers, 43 enlisted men; of disease and other causes, 1 officer, 121 enlisted men; total, 17 officers, 259 enlisted men; aggregate, 276; of whom 30 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 Twenty-Sixth Infantry.—Cols., Eliakim Sher-rill, James M. Bull, William H. Baird, Ira Smith Brown; Lieut-Cols., James M. Bull, William H. Baird, Ira Smith Brown, John B. Geddes; Majs., William H. Baird, Philo D. Phillips, Ira Smith Brown, Charles A. Richardson. This regiment, recruited in the counties of Ontario, Seneca and Yates, was organized at Geneva, and there mustered into the U. S. service for three years, Aug. 22, 1862. At the close of 1864, when it had become much reduced in numbers by reason of its hard service, it was consolidated into a battalion of five companies, A to E. The regiment left the state on Aug. 26, 1862, and took part in its first fighting during the siege of Harper's Ferry, where it received the brunt of the enemy's attack and suffered a large share of the casualties at Maryland and Bolivar heights. It lost 16 killed and 42 wounded during the fighting, and was surrendered with the rest of the garrison on Sept. 15. The men were immediately paroled and spent two months in camp at Chicago, Ill., awaiting notice of its exchange. As soon as notice of its exchange was received in December, it returned to Virginia, encamping during the winter at Union Mills. The following extract is taken from Col. Fox's account of the regiment in his work on Regimental Losses in the Civil War: "In June, 1863, it joined the Army of the Potomac, and was placed in Willard's brigade, Alex. Hays' (3d) division, 2nd corps, with which it marched to Gettysburg, where the regiment won honorable distinction, capturing 5 stands of colors in that battle. Col. Willard, the brigade commander, being killed there, Col. Sherrill succeeded him, only to meet the same fate, while in the regiment the casualties amounted to 40 killed, 181 wounded and 10 missing. At Bristoe Station the regiment won additional honors by its conspicuous gallantry and sustained the heaviest loss in that action; casualties, 6 killed, 33 wounded and 10 missing. The 126th haying been transferred to Barlow's (1st) division, entered the spring campaign of 1864 with less than 300 men, of whom 100 were detailed at headquarters as a provost-guard. Its casualties at the Wilderness were 5 killed, 62 wounded and 9 missing; and at Po river and Spottsylvania, 6 killed, 37 wounded and 7 missing. Col. Baird was killed at Petersburg." The regiment took part in the following important battles: Siege of Harper's Ferry—including Maryland and Bolivar heights; Gettysburg, Auburn ford, Bristoe Station, Morton's ford, Wilderness, Po river, Spottsylvania, North Anna, Toto-potomy, Cold Harbor, Petersburg, Weldon railroad, siege of Petersburg, Deep Bottom, Reams' station, Hatcher's run, and Sutherland Station, and was also present in the Mine Run campaign, at Strawberry Plains, Boydton Road, Farmville and Appomattox. Commanded by Col. Brown, it was mustered out at Washington, D. C, June 3, 1865. The total enrollment of the regiment during service was 1,036, of whom 16 officers and 138 men were killed and mortally wounded, or 14.7 per cent.; 1 officer and 121 men died of disease and other causes; total deaths, 17 officers and 259 men, 30 of whom died in the hands of the enemy. The total of killed and wounded in the regiment amounted to 535. The percentage of killed and mortally wounded at Gettysburg amounted to over 15, and the total casualties to 57.4 per cent.

Battles and Casualties Table from Phisterer

Monument at Gettysburg

Historical Sketch

Civil War Newspaper Clippings
This is also available in PDF format. These are large files; however, they are exact images of the pages.
      Pages 1 - 10
      Pages 11 - 20
      Pages 21 - 30
      Pages 31 - 40
      Pages 41 - 50
      Pages 51 - 60
      Pages 61 - 70
      Pages 71 - 80
      Pages 81 - 90
      Pages 91 - 100
      Pages 101 - 110
      Pages 111 - 114

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.

Baird, William H. William H. Baird papers, 1862-1913, 1862-1864 (bulk).
85 items (ca.)
Letters, orders, accounts, receipts for issues of Major William H. Baird of the 126th New York Volunteers; depositions and other papers concerning his conduct at Harper's Ferry in September, 1862; genealogical data; and a photograph of Baird.
Located at the Geneva Historical Society Museum, 543 South Main Street, Geneva, New York 14456.

Bassett, Erasmus E. Erasmus E. Bassett diary, 1863.
Entries (January-April) are mainly concerned with inspection, drill, dress parade, and other activities at the Union Army camp at Union Mills, Virginia; in May Bassett mentions digging rifle pits, orders having been given to fortify the place well, and refers to the movements of General Hooker's army in the area; in late June the writer's unit began the march to Gettysburg, in which battle he was killed (Entry, July 2nd, completed by his brother, R.A. Bassett, who found the body on the battlefield at midnight. 1 v
Original at Cornell University.

Brown, J. Smith. Individual record of J. Smith Brown, Colonel, 126th New York Volunteers, August 1864.
Handwritten statement by Brown of Yates County, N.Y., giving an autobiographical sketch and detailed narrative of his Civil War service to 1864 as an officer of the 1st U.S. Sharpshooters in Virginia, and a description of the service of his brother, Capt. Morris Brown, Jr. (1842- 1864) in the 126th New York Regiment.
1 item (10 p.).
Located at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Campbell, Eric A. ' "Remember Harper's Ferry!" : The degradation, humiliation, and redemption of Col. George L Willard's Brigade - Part Two.' Gettysburg: Historical Articles of Lasting Interest. Eight (January 1993) 95-110.

Chadwick, John M. Gleanings from a Diary, April 30, 1863 to November 27, 1863 : John M Chadwick, Bandmaster, 126th Regiment of New York State Volunteers. 1863.

Geneva Gazette newspaper clippings : 1861-1865. Geneva, NY: Geneva Gazette.

Graham, Robert H. Yates County's "boys in blue", 1861-1865 : who they were, what they did. Penn Yan, N.Y. s.n, 1926.

Grand Army of the Republic. Grand Army of the Republic records, 1870-1931.
1 cubic ft.
Records of J.B. Sloan Post No.93, G.A.R., Penn Yan including minute book, 1870, with roster of post and notes of veteran burials; minute book, 1908-1930; roll books for 1891-1913; treasurer's accounts for 1902-23; record of deaths; printed programs, 1889-1914; miscellaneous receipts, leaflets and clippings. Other items are record book of reunion of 126th Regiment, New York Volunteers, 1908-31; a few printed items relating to William H. Long Post, No. 486, G.A.R.; and an account book for the county organization of the G.A.R. in Chautauqua County, 1881-1913.
Located at the Yates County Genealogical and Historical Society, 200 Main Street, Penn Yan, New York 14527.

Hoyt, Charles S. A Surgeon's Diary : 1861-1865.
Original located at Cornell University.

Johnson family. The Johnson family papers, 1860-1934.
Description: 1 box.
Abstract: Contains the following type of materials: correspondence. Contains information pertaining to the following war and time period: Civil War -- Eastern Theater; 1865-1897. Contains information pertaining to the following military units: 1st New York Sharpshooter Battalion; 4th, 8th, and 16th New York Heavy Artillery Regiments; 44th, 126th, 140th and 148th New York Infantry Regiments; Dept. of Virginia; Army of the Potomac (either the II or the VI Corps and probably the V Corps). General description of the collection: The Johnson Family papers include enlisted man's letters; letters from camp, Petersburg, Centreville, Suffolk, Norfolk, Yorktown, Warrenton; letters from civilians, during and after the war, around Naples, Ontario County, New York letter about Confederate money. Campaigns: Suffolk, Gettysburg, Wilderness, Spotsylvania, North Anna, Cold Harbor, Petersburg, Appomattox; unknown New York unit (V), 1863 and Corps II, VI, 1865.
Located at the Military History Institute in Carlisle, PA.

Kowalis, Jeffrey J. Died at Gettysburg! : "no prouder epitaph need any man covet" : illustrated biographies of the Union casualties at Gettysburg. Hightstown, NJ: Longstreet House, 1998.

Lee, Henry. Henry Lee Manuscripts.
Abstract: The Henry Lee File contains both letters and diary entries. Letters and diary entries appear to be mixed together at times. Only a transcript is available. Ontario County Historical Society at 55 North Main Street, Canandaigua, New York 14424, might have the original.

Lemunyon, William F. War Record, W. F. Lemunyon : Written July, 1898.

Lightfoote, W. G.  Dedication of the monument to the 126th Regiment N.Y. Infantry on the battlefield of Gettysburg, October 3, 1888. Canandaigua? N.Y. : s.n., 1888. 44 p. ; 20 cm.

Lounsbury, Thomas Raynesford, 1838-1915. "In the defenses of Washington." Yale review II (1913) 385-411.

Mahood, Wayne. Written in blood : a history of the 126th New York Infantry in the Civil War. Hightstown, NJ: Longstreet House, 1997.

Murray, R.L. and David Hickey (ed.). The redemption of the "Harper's Ferry Cowards" : the story of the 111th and 126th New York state volunteer regiments at Gettysburg. 1994.

New York Volunteers, 126th Regiment. New York Volunteers, 126th Regiment papers, 1802-1897, 1862-1897 (bulk).
2.0 cubic ft.
Official papers of the 126th Regiment include correspondence, forms, court martial proceedings, quartermaster and ordnance records, volunteer enlistment papers, discharge papers, and muster rolls for officers and enlisted men. There are also letters of Theodore Hamilton to Lucas Smith. Other materials include the papers of Maj. Charles Richardson of the 125th Regiment; papers and letters about monuments at Gettysburg dedicated to the 125th Regiment and to Col. Eliakim Sherrill; letters of William H. Martin, 11th New York Heavy Artillery; letters of William H. Shelton while in Confederate prisons in South Carolina; copies of letters of Darius C. Sackett; and miscellany on other regiments in which Ontario County men served.
Also in the collection are papers of Job Pearce including receipts; two muster rolls for Capt. Seth Lee's Company, Cavalry, New York Militia, War of 1812; copies of the record book of Capt. Abner Bunnell; and copy of paper relating to the Ontario County militia, 1802.
Located at the Ontario County Historical Society, 55 North Main Street, Canandaigua, New York 14424.

Newspaper clippings Neighbor’s Home Mail.

Newspaper clippings from the Rochester Newspapers.

Papers pertaining to Colonel William H. Baird.

Partridge, Lewis T. Gettysburg : The following history, in verse, of the action of the Third Brigade at Gettysburg, ... [Geneva, N.Y.], 1913.
Broadside ; 16 x 21 cm.
Signed at end: L.T. Partridge. Note at end: This poem was read by Mrs. Franc Fassett Pugsley, of Pittsford, at Geneva, N.Y., at the annual reunion of the 126th Regiment, August 26, 1913./ Printed in 2 columns.
Located at The Huntington Library.

Patterson, Maurice. "Band Played and Fought in Civil War." Ithaca Journal. 29 June 1974.

Pierce, Preston Eugene. The Harper's Ferry cowards : a history of the 126th New York volunteer regiment, 1862-1865. [S.l. : s.n.], 1978.

Proceedings of the re-union of the 126th Regiment, N.Y.V. : held at Seneca Point, Canandaigua Lake, New York, August 22, 1867. Canandaigua, NY: Ontario County Times, 1867.

Proceedings of the reunion of the 126th regiment, N.Y.V., held at Phelps, Ontario county, N.Y., on the 22d day of August, 1868. Canandaigua: Printed at the Ontario County Times . 26 p.
[Could find no record of this in World Cat.]

Proceedings of the reunion of the veterans of the 111th and the 126th reg'ts N.Y. vols., held at Gettysburg, Pa., June 10 and 11, 1886. Canaudaigua, N.Y. : Times book and job printing house, 1886. 38 p.
Located at The Huntington Library.

Residents of the 25th Congressional District, State of New York. Petition of Alfred Chissom to Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton regarding Chissom's desertion, October 12, 1865 1865.

Richardson, Charles A. Capt. Richardson's Letters 1868.

Rose, George I. Diary of George Iriving Rose, August 14, 1862 to September 3, 1863 : 126th New York Volunteer Infantry. 1863.

Ryno, John L. John L. Ryno Civil War diaries : 1862-1864.

Sackett, Darius C. Civil War Letters of Darius C. Sackett of Ontario County, N.Y., Aug. - Nov., 1862 : From the library of Irving W. Coates who probably copied them from the originals in the hands of the Sackett family. 1862.

Scott, Winfield. Pickett's charge as seen from the front line, a paper prepared and read before California commandery of the Military order of the loyal legion of the United States, February 8, 1888, by Chaplain Winfield Scott, late Captain 126th New York. 15 p.

United States. Army. New York Infantry Regiment, 126th (1862-1865). 126th New York Infantry records,1862-1865.
The collection consists mainly of muster rolls, but there also some vouchers and allotment rolls, and some other miscellaneous papers. These include a military pass, but most are receipts and routine correspondence addressed to Levi C. Ball and dealing with soldiers' pay; one letter encloses a duplicate check. A few documents pertain to the 125th New York Regiment.
0.4 linear feet (1 oversize box).
Located at the New York Historical Society, New York, NY.

War Department. Office of the Judge Advocate General. Court Martial of Uriel D. Belles : Lieutenant of the 126th New York Volunteers, August 22, 1863. Elk Run, VA: War Department. Office of the Judge Advocate General, August 23, 1863.

Willson, Arabella M. Disaster, struggle, triumph; adventures of 1000 "boys in Blue," from August, 1862, to June, 1865, by Mrs. Arabella M. Willson. Dedicated to the 126th regiment of New York State volunteers. With an appendix containing a chronological record of the principal events in the history of the Regiment, and the personal history of its officers and enlisted men. Prepared by the Historical committee of the Regiment. Albany, Argus co., printers, 1870. 593 p. maps, plates (illus., maps, ports.). "Biographical sketches," officers, non-commissioned officers and enlisted men by companies, [337]-582.

Wirtz, Edmond. "Past People, Past Places : Colonel Eliakim Sherrill." Geneva Historical Society Newsletter. (JAN 1991).

Wolcott, Walter, 1859. The military history of Yates County, N.Y. : comprising a record of the services rendered by citizens of this county in the army and navy, from the foundation of the government to the present time. Penn Yan, N.Y. Express Book and Job Print. House, 1895.

Yost, George L. Civil War Letters of George L. Yost, 1862 -1863 : 126th New York Volunteer Infantry.

Youngs, Georgs S. Civil War Miscellaneous Collection
(Jul 19, 1862-Dec 31, 1864.
Located at the Military History Institute in Carlisle, PA.

 

New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs: Military History
Last modified: April 5, 2011
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