|Unit History Project|
16th Regiment, New York Volunteer Infantry
SIXTEENTH REGIMENT INFANTRY, N. Y. S. V.
The Sixteenth regiment infantry, N. Y. S. V., or " First Northern New York Regiment," was organized at Albany on the 10th of May, 1861, from companies recruited in the northern counties of the State, viz:
The companies were accepted by the State under separate orders and on the following dates, viz: A and C on the 24th of April ; B on the 30th of April; D on the 2d of May ; E, F, G, H and I out the 7th of May, and K on the 8th of May. On the 9th of May (Special Orders 153) the regiment was accepted and numbered, and an election of field officers ordered to beheld; on the 10th (Special Orders 162) the election of Thomas A. Davies as Colonel, Samuel Marsh as Lieut. Colonel, and Buel Palmer as Major, was confirmed, and on the 15th it was mustered into the service of the United States for two years by Captain L. Sitgreaves. On the 30th of May (Special Orders 240) the regiment was sent to "Camp Morgan," near Norman's kill, in the town of Bethlehem. While here it was partially supplied with arms and ammunition, but was not completely armed until the 24th of June, when four hundred smooth-bore muskets, pattern of 1842, calibre 69, were issued to it in addition to the three hundred previously received ; and on the same date (Special Orders 287) one hundred common and eighteen wall tents were ordered, but not fully issued until the regiment reached Washington.
The several companies were liberally assisted by the communi¬ties in which they were organized, and most of them were pre¬sented with colors before their departure for Albany. At Abany they received clothing, knapsacks and outfit generally from the State. The expenditure by the State, on account of the regiment, prior to August 15th, 1861, was $46,526.71, exclusive of subsistence and quarters.
The regiment received orders June 25th, 1861, to proceed to New York, and on the afternoon of that day embarked on the steamer "McDonald" and two barges in her tow. It arrived in New York on the morning of the 26th, and landed at the foot of Fourteenth street, North river, from whence it marched to Wash¬ington parade ground, where it received a pair of flags from Mrs. Joseph Howland, through Mr. Robert S. Hone. It then marched down Broadway to pier No. 3, where it again embarked. It remained on transports off the battery until the 7th, and then moved to Elizabethport, and took passage on the New Jersey Central railroad to Easton, and thence to Harrisburg; left the latter place on the 28th; reached Baltimore in the morning, and Washington at 11 A. M. on the 29th.
At Washington the regiment went into camp on a plain three-fourths of a mile distant from the capitol, where it remained under instruction nearly a fortnight. It was then placed in the second brigade and fifth division, Col. Davies commanding brigade and Col. Miles the division. It crossed the Potomac on the 11th of July, from the navy yard, landed at Alexandria and encamped a short distance west of the city under the guns of Fort Ellsworth. It was hardly settled in its new camp, however, when it was ordered to join the advance against the enemy at Manassas. In this movement it was commanded by Lieut. Col. Marsh, Col. Davies being in command of the brigade. It marched from camp on the 17th of July, by way of Braddock road, and encamped near Fairfax station. On the march it had some skirmishing with the enemy's pickets, and came upon the camp of the fifth Alabama regiment, which had been abandoned and partially destroyed. It bivouacked on the night of the 17th, and marched early the next morning to Little Rock Run, near Centreville, and halted until the morning of the battle, but took no part in the action of the 18th. On the morning of the 21st it marched over Centreville Heights and down to Blackburn's ford, where the reserve (the fifth division of which it was a part) held the left bank of Bull Run until dark. It was but slightly engaged, the movement of the enemy in the direction of the ford having been cheeked and driven back by the artillery. It arrived at Centreville about dark and took position for the night, but at 10 1/2 P.M. was ordered to retire towards Alexandria. It reached Fairfax Court House at 3 A. M.; rested until daylight; resumed march and reached its former camp at 9 A. M. Of the 22d.
The regiment remained in camp near Fort Ellsworth, engaged in routine and picket duties, until about the 15th of September, when its location was changed to the site of Fort Lyon. Here it was assigned to the Second brigade (Gen. H. W. Slocum) of Gen. Franklin's division. This brigade was composed of the Sixteenth and Twenty-seventh New York, the Fifth Maine, and the Ninety-sixth Pennsylvania, and was not subsequently changed during the period of service of the Sixteenth, except by the addition of the One hundred and twenty-first New York early in September, 1862.* The position of the brigade in the army of the Potomac, however, was changed. Under the organization of March 13th, 1862, it was the Second brigade (Slocum's), First division (Frank¬lin's), First corps (McDowell's). In May following it was the Second brigade, First division, Sixth corps (Franklin's); and in this last relation it remained until it left the field, at which time Gen. Brooks was in command of the division, Gen. Bartlett of the brigade, and Gen. Sedgwick of the corps. This explanation will enable the reader to trace the movements of the regiment in official reports.
[* The brigade was at this time composed of the Sixteenth, Twenty-sixth and Twenty-seventh N. Y. V. and the Fifth Maine Vols. A few weeks after the Twenty-sixth was assigned to some other brigade, and the Ninety-sith Pennslyvania took its place.]
Fort Lyon was built by Slocum's brigade in the fall of 1861. On tbe 7th of October, the regiment moved its camp to a site half a mile from Fairfax seminary, towards the south-east -- its. former location on Hunting creek having proved unhealthy. The new location was named " Camp Franklin." Here the regiment spent the winter of 1861-2.
An the 10th of March, 1862, the regiment marched to Fairfax Court House and bivouacked in the suburbs of the village, re¬mained until the 14th, and then marched back to Benton's Tavern, and from thence the next day to its old camp. On the 6th of April, as a part of McDowell's corps, it went by railroad to Man¬assas Junction, and from thence marched ten miles to Catlett's Station. After remaining here two or three days, the order annexing the division to McDowell's command was revoked, and Gen. Franklin returned by railroad to Alexandria to form a part of the expedition for the Peninsula. On the 19th of April, the regiment embarked on the "Daniel Webster, No. 2," from Maine, and arrived at Ship Point, near the mouth of York river, on the 22d—landed and remained on shore until the evacuation of York-town May 3d. On the 3d, it re-embarked and moved up to Yorktown where it remained until the battle of Williamsburgh on the 5th. On the 6th, it moved up the York river to West Point, landed at Brick-House Point, on the south side, just at night, bivouacked near the shore, and sent out a detachment on picket. On the 7th was fought the battle of West Point, Com¬panies. C, F, G and K were upon that occasion on picket and en¬gaged as skirmishers, and the remaining six companies of the regiment were engaged in supporting Ayer's battery. The only losses sustained by the regiment were among the companies of skirmishers, of whom six were killed and sixteen wounded. At the conclusion of the action the regiment marched three miles up the York river to Eltham, where it remained a day; thence towards Cumberland three miles, and remained two days. Here Franklin's corps (the Sixth) was organized. Cumberland was reached on the 15th, White House on the 16th, and Tunstall's Station, five miles from White House, on the 19th. From this point the movement was in the following order: Stoneman in the advance, Franklin's corps in support, and Porter's corps in reserve.
The regiment crossed the Chickahominy on the 20th of June. On the 27th, it was recalled to support Gen. Porter at Gaines' Mills, where Slocum's brigade—the " straw hat" men of history— charged and retook a battery.* In this action the regiment lost about two hundred and thirty in killed, wounded and missing. On the 28th, the regiment was on picket on Garnett's hill. The line was attacked and driven in with a loss of two killed and four wounded: The enemy was repulsed and the line re-established. On the 29th began the movement to Harrison's Landing; crossed White Oak swamp and bivouacked near Charles City Cross Roads. On the 30th, moved to Charles City Cross Roads, where the enemy attacked about 2 P. M. In this engagement the regiment sup¬ported the First Massachusetts battery, and had two killed and seven wounded by one of Hexamer's guns, but sustained no loss by the enemy. Marched about midnight and reached Malvern Hill, but took no part in the battle, the division having moved on and. established a picket line near James river. On the 3d, resumed the march and reached Harrison'n Landing at about 2 A. M.
[* The Sixteenth regiment alone wore straw hats—a gift from a friend
of the regiment; and the only "battery" taken was two guns of our
own army re-captured by the Sixteenth.
The regiment remained at Harrison's Landing until the 16th of August, and then marched to Charles City Court House; 17th, crossed the Chickahominy at Barnett's Ford on a pontoon bridge; 18th, reached Williamsburgh; 19th, Yorktown; 21st, Newport News. Here it took the steamer "New Brunswick" for Alexan¬dria, and arrived at the latter place on the 24th, marched to near its first camp, formed its old picket line on the 27th, and remained until the 28th. Marched to Annadale on the 28th; on the 30th, took dinner at Fairfax, reached Centreville at five and Crib Run at six P. M., and at night stood on picket to the left of Warrenton turnpike: on the 31st, fell back to Centreville Heights, at eight P. M. fell back to Fairfax Court; House, and, on the 1st of Septem¬ber, back to Alexandria and went into camp at Fort Lyon.
The regiment was not permitted to remain inactive, however. On the 6th of September it crossed the Long Bridge and marched through Washington and Georgetown to Tenallytown and arrived before morning. On the 7th moved at 5 p. M. towards Rock¬ville; 8th, marched through Rockville at 11 A. M., and continued until night; 9th, marched through Darnestown and encamped; 10th, marched for Portsville; 11th, remained at Darnestown; 12th, marched for Urbania through Hyattstown—acting during the day as guard to the division baggage train; 13th, marched through Buckeytown; 14th, crossed the mountain, passed through Jefferson and skirmished into the village of Birkettsville. At the first appearance of Franklin's corps the enemy held the crest and eastern slope of the Catocton mountain, with infantry, but retired across the Middletown valley without much resistance and along South Mountain for several miles. They were met by Franklin at Crampton Gap—Smith's division to the left and Slocum's to the right—halted and exchanged fire for three-quarters of an hour. The regiment lost here one color-bearer killed and one wounded, and two sergeants and one lieutenant wounded. At 5 P. M., Gen. Newton, who was temporarily in command, ordered a charge, which was made by the division in three lines. The enemy made a stout resistance along the stone wall and in the woods at the foot of the mountain, but at length gave way and were driven slowly up and over the mountain. The 16th was the first to reach the crest of the mountain, and the first to drive the enemy down, the west slope. In this action it lost sixty-three in killed and wounded, and captured the flag of an Alabama regiment. The corps bi¬vouacked on the crest of the mountain and there remained on the 15th and 16th. On the 17th, advanced, through Roversville and Buena Vista, and arrived on the battle-field at Antietam at noon— passed through Keedysville and took position near the Dunker church about 2 p. M. The corps was not engaged here, but lost some men by sharp-shooters—the 16th having one killed and three wounded. In the afternoon the 16th moved to the left near the grave-yard in support of Smith's brigade; remained on picket all night and next day (18th); withdrawn on the evening of the 18th; on the 20th, passed towards Sharpsburgh and encamped near the river towards Williamsport; on the 22d, marched to near Bakers¬ville, went into camp and remained over a month. On the 31st, the corps again commenced its advance and reachcd Cramptpn Gap; October 1st, to near Berlin; 2d, crossed the river on pon¬toons at Berlin, and marched through Lovettsville and encamped. The march was continued and Belle Plain Landing reached on the 4th of December; remained at Belle Plain until the 10th, and then marched to the Rappahannock near Pollock's Mills.
The operations of the regiment in the movement against Fred¬ericksburg may be briefly stated. The brigade to which it was attached was under the command of Gen. Bartlett; the division under Gen. Brooks (Gen. Slocum having been transferred to the command of the 12th corps), and the corps under Gen. Sedgwick. It crossed at the lower bridges on the 12th, and took position on the left of Gen. Meade; but was not engaged in tht battle and lost nothing. On the 13th, it was on picket duty; on the 14th and 15th, on picket and skirmish line; re-crossed, on the night of the 15th, and marched sixteen miles and bivouacked; on the 19th, went into winter camp.
The regiment remained in camp until the "mud march" of January, in which it participated. It then returned to camp and remained until the 29th of April, when it moved again to Pollock's Mills and crossed the Rappahannock in boats under fire. The 3d brigade moved first in pontoon boats—fifty men to each boat; the 2d brigade followed, and then the 1st. The landing was effected and the enemy driven from their rifle-pits. The division then formed and remained on picket for three or four days. On the 3d of May, it advanced to join General Hooker at Chancellorsville; passed through Fredericksburg and out on the plank road to Salem Church and there met the enemy. In this engagement the regiment lost twenty killed, forty-nine missing and eighty-seven wounded. Its position was in the front line on the right of the brigade. The battle continued until night, when the brigade fell back one mile; lay in skirmish line on the 4th, and re-crossed the river at night on pontoon bridges at Banks' Ford, and encamped two or three days; moved to winter camp and remained about one week and was then ordered home. The regiment left Falmouth by railroad on the 10th of May; and from Washington by railroad via Philadelphia to New York and Albany, where it arrived on the 14th, and was mustered out on the 15th of May, 1863. It went out with 798 men; received 163 recruits; had 587 killed and wounded, and returned with 281 men—leaving its three year recruits in the field in a battalion with similar recruits from the 18th and 27th regiments, under Captain G. S. Hall.
New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs: Military History