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156th Infantry Regiment
Civil War
Mountain Legion

History

Mustered in: November 17, 1862
Mustered out: October 23, 1863

The following is taken from New York in the War of the Rebellion, 3rd ed. Frederick Phisterer. Albany: J. B. Lyon Company, 1912.
Colonel Erastus Cooke received authority, August 23, 1862, to recruit this regiment in the then 10th Senatorial District of the State; it was organized at Kingston, where It was mustered in the service of the United States for three years, November 17, 1862. The New Palts Volunteers formed part of the regiment, and three companies of the men recruited by Col. Minthorn Tompkins for his regiment were, to complete its organization, attached to it as Companies H, I and K.
The companies were recruited principally: A at Plattekill, New Paltz, Gardiner and Shawangunk; B at Kingston, Woodstock, Lloyd, Olive and Marbletown; C at Durham, Kingston, Wawarsing, Esopus, Hurley, Saugerties, Cairo and Rosendale; D at Wawar-sing, Marbletown, Kingston and Shawangunk; E at Plattekill, Rosendale, Shawangunk, Gardiner and New Paltz; F at Kingston, Saugerties, Hurley, Rochester, Marbletown and Olive; G at Esopus, Marlborough and Kingston; H at Rochester, Southfields, Middle-town, Newtown, Greenville, Castleton, New York city, Westfield, Northfield, Hillsdale and Baltimore; I at Castleton, Northfield, Westfield, Hillsdale, Southfields and Greenville; and K at Castleton, Middletown, Newtown, Northfiel'd and Hillsdale.
The regiment left the State December 4, 1862; it served in Sherman's Division, Department of the Gulf, from December 25, 1862; in the 3d Brigade, 3d Division, Department of the Gulf, from January, 1863; in the same, 19th Corps, from February, 1863; in the 2d Brigade, 1st Division, 19th Corps, from July, 1863; in the 3d Brigade, 2d Division, 19th Corps, from February, 1864; in the Provisional Corps in North Carolina, from March, 1865; in the 3d Brigade, 1st Division, 10th Corps, from April 2, 1865; in the Department of Georgia, from June, 1865; and, commanded by Col. Jacob Sharpe, it was honorably discharged and mustered out October 23, 1865, at Augusta, Ga.
During its service the regiment lost by death, killed in action, 2 officers, 40 enlisted men; of wounds received in action, 2 officers, 20 enlisted men; of disease and other causes, 4 officers, 163 enlisted men; total, 8 officers, 223 enlisted men; aggregate, 231; of whom 17 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 Fifty-sixth Infantry.—Cols., Erastus Cooke, Jacob Sharpe; Lieut.-Cols., Jacob Sharpe, Thomas Fowler, Alfred Neafie; Majs., Louis Schaffner, Thomas Fowler, William Van Wa-genen, Matthias S. Ewan. This regiment, known as the "Mountain Legion," was recruited in the counties of Ulster, Greene and Richmond and was organized at Kingston, where it was mustered into the U. S. service for three years on Nov. 17, 1862. The New Paltz volunteers formed part of the regiment, as did three companies recruited by Col. Minthorn Thompson. It left the state on Dec. 4, 1862, and sailed for New Orleans, where it was assigned to the 3d brigade, 3d (Emory's) division, 19th corps, with which it participated in its first battle at Fort Bisland, losing 22 killed and wounded. It took an active part in the long siege of Port Hudson, including the assault of June 14, when Lieut.-Col. Fowler was mortally wounded while leading the regiment in a charge. The total loss of the regiment during the siege was 30 killed and wounded. After the fall of Port Hudson it spent the ensuing 9 months in post and garrison duties, with occasional reconnoissances into the enemy's country. On March 15, 1864, in Grover's (2nd) division, it moved on Banks' Red River expedition and was engaged at Pleasant Hill, Alexandria and Mansura, but sustained slight loss. In July, 1864, when the first two divisions of the corps were ordered to Virginia, the 156th embarked for Washington and after marching through Maryland engaged in Sheridan's famous Shenandoah campaign against Early. At the battle of the Opequan the regiment lost 20 killed and 91 wounded, a total of 111. Col. Sharpe had been promoted to brevet brigadier-general for gallantry and was in command of the brigade at Winchester, while Lieut-Col. Neafie gallantly commanded the regiment. The 156th was also in the fights at Fisher's hill, and Cedar creek, losing in the latter action 92 killed, wounded and missing. In this fight, when several of the color-guard had fallen, the regimental colors were narrowly saved from capture by the bravery of Capt. Alfred Cooley, who stripped the colors from the staff and brought them safely off the field. The fighting in the valley had now ended and in Jan., 1865, the regiment proceeded with Grover's division to Savannah, Ga. Gen. H. W. Birge was now given command of the division, which joined in the final campaign in the Carolinas, temporarily attached to the 10th corps as the 1st division. In 'May it returned to Savannah, and the regiment continued to serve in that vicinity until finally mustered out under Col. Sharpe, at Augusta, Ga., Oct. 23, 1865. It lost during its term of service 4 officers and 60 men killed in action and mortally wounded; 4 officers and 163 men died of disease and other causes; total deaths, 231.

Battles and Casualties Table from Phisterer

Civil War Newspaper Clippings

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.

Archambault, Alan H. "156th New York Volunteer Infantry (The Mountain Legion), 1862-1865." Military Collector & Historian. 37 (Spring 1985). 42.

Eltinge, Peter and Lord, George.  Papers,1856-1871.
Correspondence of Peter Eltinge, an officer in the 156th New York Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War, relating to his service in the Dept. of the Gulf (1863-1864), Maryland and Virginia (1864), and Georgia and the Carolinas (1865), participation in the occupation of Georgia; and operation of a grocery store in Memphis, Tenn., and speculation in cotton after the war. Topics include politics, temperance, economic conditions, blacks in the Union Army, and black agricultural labor during Reconstruction. Also, naval records and other papers of George P. Lord of Camden, Del., brother-in-law of Peter Eltinge, chiefly relating to his duty as a navel officer on ironclads of the Mississippi Squadron (1861-1865), including the U.S.S. Chillicothe, U.S.S. Ozark, and U.S.S. Osage. Topics include the Red River Expedition of 1864 and the regulation of commerce on the Mississippi River.
245 items.
Located at Duke University.

Everts, Louis H. Grand Army of the Republic. Department of New York. Personal War Sketches of the Members of Ward Post No. 191. Ellenville. Philadelphia, 1890.
Available online at: http://www.hrvh.org/u?/eplm,573

"History of State Flag, 156th N. Y. Infantry, and some side history."
1 newspaper clipping.

Kennedy, Charles W. "The Civil war letters of Capt. Charles W. Kennedy." Edited by T. Livingstone and James C. Kennedy. Staten Island historian V (1942) 4, and continued in successive issues to DC.

Kennedy, Charles Washington. "The Red River Campaign Letters of Lt. Charles Washington Kennedy, 156th New York Volunteer Infantry." Civil War Regiments. 4 :2 (1995) 104-117.

Miller family. Miller family papers, ca. 1854-1931.
Diary, correspondence, deeds, photographs, autograph album, printed material, memoribilia, paper currency, army vouchers, accounts, and related papers, 1854-1931, of members of the Miller family of Ulster and Sullivan Counties in New York, especially William T. Miller of Denning, New York, and Harvey W. Miller of Liberty, New York. Included is a diary on loose sheets, 1862 Aug. 30-1864 Jun. 5, entitled "A Short Sketch of Life of Nelson T. Miller," addressed to his wife Cynthia and kept by Miller while serving in the 156th New York Infantry during the Civil War. Entries are written from University Hospital in New Orleans, where Miller was a staff member, and the nearby Union Army garrison. Miller writes of his daily routine in the hospital and in the barracks, living conditions, troop movements, fellow soldiers, patients, expenses, his health, etc. Also included are three letters, 1863 and 1865, written to his wife from New Orleans and Georgia. Documents related to Nelson T. Miller's military service include his discharge paper, army vouchers, and pension certificates. Papers pertaining to Harvey W. Miller include an autograph album containing signatures and inscriptions of friends and family members, and bills and receipts for the purchase of cemetery plot for Harvey W. Miller and his wife Margaret Doris Miller in St. Peter's Cememtary in Liberty, New York; as well as a 1931 bill for Mr. Millers funeral expenses. Additional materials include deeds and mortgages for property purchased by Nelson T. Miller and located in Denning, New York; a few items of family correspondence; two pieces of Confederate currency; and an account book kept by Nelson T. Miller, 1864-1917, containing personal accounts and daily expenses with a few later entries by entered by Harvey W. Miller as administrator of Nelson T. Miller's estate. Miller family photographs and memoribilia include four unidentified portraits, two ambrotypes and two daguerreotypes, of a three men and young women of the Miller family; three empty leather wallets; and pair of nineteenth century eyeglasses.
1 box (ca. 60 items).
Located at the New York Historical Society, New York, NY.

Neafie, Alfred. Papers, 1852-1947.
The papers of Alfred Neafie consist chiefly of materials related to his military service during the Civil War and his post-war endeavors to chronicle the history of the 156th New York Infantry Regiment. Included are many letters addressed his wife, Anne Preston Neafie, that provide details of his activities and experiences in the war. Of particular interest are letters and related documents concerning the siege of Port Hudson, Louisiana in July 1863 and the battles at Fisher's Hill and Cedar Creek, Virginia in 1864. These papers also include his detailed diary of his voyage from New York to San Francisco around Cape Horn in 1852, and letters related to his subsequent adventures prospecting for gold in California and post war business ventures at the Ellenville Glass Works and the Ulster Knife Company.
9 boxes (3.0 cubic ft.).
Located at the New York State Library Manuscripts and Special Collections.

Osborne, Seward R. "A Modest Hero..." [SGT Philip Decker, Co E]. Military Images Magazine 9:1 (Jul/Aug 1987) 14-15.

Osborne, Seward R. The saga of the "Mountain Legion" (156th N.Y. Vols.) in the Civil War. Hightstown, NJ: Longstreet House, 1994.

Plank, Will. Banners and bugles; a record of Ulster County, New York and the mid-Hudson region in the Civil War. Marlborough, N.Y. Centennial Press, 1972.

"Poughkeepsie Daily Eagle Newpaper Clippings relating to the 128th, 150th, and 156th Regiments." Poughkeepsie Daily Eagle. July, 1863.

Rhodes, Zadoc. Letters (1861-1866).
Letters addressed to William Terwilliger from various army camps in Louisiana. Rhodes commented on the successes of General Grant and the Union Army victories at Vickburg and Lookout Mountain. One of the letters also contains comments on the 1864 presidential election campaign.
5 items.
Located at the New York State Library Manuscripts and Special Collections.

Savas, Theodore P. et al.  The Red River Campaign :Union and Confederate leadership and war in Louisiana. Shreveport, LA : Parabellum Press, 2003. viii, 136 p. : ill., maps ; 23 cm.

Smith, Joseph W. Joseph W. Smith letter, 1862 Dec. 26.
1 letter.
Brief letter from Joseph W. Smith, a soldier in Company A of the 156th Regiment, New York State Volunteers, to his wife. Writing from New Orleans, La., Smith describes a recent sea journey from Key West, Fla, to Louisiana and the remedies he is taking for a bad cold.
Located at Louisiana State University.

Smith, Joseph W. Letters (1862-1864).
Letters sent to Smith's wife, concerned primarily with matters relating to his military pay. The letters were written at barracks in Baton Rouge and New Orleans, Louisiana.
12 items.
Located at the New York State Library Manuscripts and Special Collections.

"The story of the One hundred and fifty-sixth." Olde Ulster VII (Kingston 1911) 321-8.

 

 

Items in the museum collection are in bold.

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