|Unit History Project|
The 24th and 184th New York State Volunteer Infantry Regiments:
Several years ago Kent Scriber of Ithaca, New York found an old sepia picture and frame at Elizabeth (his Aunt Betty) Buscall’s home in Cambridge, New York. Elizabeth is Kent’s father’s (Minch) sister. Their parents were DeBlance and Carrie Minch Scriber. DeBlance was the son of Miner Scriber of Parish, NY. The print (below) was taken of a group of Civil War soldiers from a company that was formed primarily from Oswego County in September of 1864. Attached to the frame was a label stating the following: Civil War 1861-1865, Captain in Civil War & killed in war, Stephen Scriber. RFD Parish Brother of Miner Scriber, was bought by this brother to go to war in place of him, Stephen, Miner was DeBlance’s father. Etched in the frame was: Stephen is at far left of picture. Since finding this picture, Kent has been researching this long-lost relative’s history. As it has turned out, most of this written information has been found to be inaccurate. The following is information that he has been able to research during the past several years.
The “trigger” for Kent’s interest in investigating Stephen J. Scriber began after a visit to Charleston, South Carolina in November of 2002. While there visiting his daughter Brynn, he went to the Fort Sumter Museum and in the museum shop there was a computer search setup for looking up relatives in the Civil War (fee of $100 to $150). Kent passed on this offer, but realized he could start searching the internet for further information. Shortly after this he found information online relating to the NYS 184th Infantry Regiment. Muster rolls showed that Stephen J. Scriber was honorably discharged from the war on June 29th, 1865 (at City Point, Va). Obviously, he was not killed in the war. He was the Captain of the 184th, but his Company K did not see any actual battle action. The 184th NYS Infantry attached to the defenses of Bermuda Hundred, Va and later operations at Petersburg and Richmond, Va from Harrison’s Landing, Va until the war was over. Much more searching online, reading, library visits, and requests for information from the National Archives in Washington D.C. followed. Trips to various battlefield sites and visitor centers also followed. Pension materials received from the National Archives showed that Stephen actually was in the Civil War for two terms. He was also in the initial aspects of the war. He was a member of NYS 24th Infantry from May1861 to May 1863 and this regiment was involved in several major battles (Second Bull Run, South Mountain, Antietam, Fredericksburg, and Chancellorsville).
Little by little further pieces of information were gathered that showed the inaccuracy of the label that came with the original picture. Although Kent found several Stephen Scribers in his ancestry searches, his great grandfather, Miner Scriber (born 1840, son of Jacob & Lorena of Parish, NY), apparently did not have a brother named Stephen. It appears that Miner Scriber may have had a great uncle, an uncle, and a cousin, all with the name of Stephen Scriber, but not a brother. The 1850 census indicated that Miner’s uncle Stephen was born about 1818 – son of another Stephen Scriber from Herkimer, NY. Miner’s siblings included Emily (born 1842), Lovina (1843), Mary (1845), and Lorana (1847). Another Stephen Scriber (born 1837 in Parish, NY) and his brother Charles (born 1840) lived nearby in Schroeppel (Hinmansville), NY, and participated in the Civil War. They were the sons of George and (Lydia) Margarett Scriber. Most likely George and Jacob Scriber (and perhaps Stephen) were brothers, making Miner a cousin of Stephen and Charles. Therefore the Stephen that went to war was not the one from Parish and there has been no evidence found that Miner Scriber (born 1840) was drafted and paid him to go to war in his place. There is presently no way to verify that the person on the far left in the picture is Stephen, although it is quite likely because the officers would be in front of the regiment for the pose. An intriguing mystery is that there is no explanation as to how the picture ended up in the Buscall’s belongings in Cambridge, NY, but it is likely it was somehow passed down through the family.
Another fascinating piece of information was uncovered by Kent on a trip to Sharpsburg, Md where he was visiting the Antietam Battlefield during the summer of 2004. While speaking with one of the guides he discovered that the Brigadier General for Stephen’s NY 24th Infantry was none other than Abner Doubleday, the supposed inventor of the game of baseball. With Kent’s passions for both baseball and the Civil War, this Civil War/baseball connection provided a most ironic discovery.
Stephen J. Scriber was born in Parish, NY in approximately 1837 and was the son of George and Lydia Margarett Scriber who eventually moved to Hinmansville, NY (Town of Schroeppel). Stephen was raised on a farm and was educated at the public school, Falley Seminary at Fulton, NY. He was also enrolled at the State Normal School at Albany where he was the first person to leave that school for the Army in 1861. According to pension records from the National Archives (Washington, D.C.), Stephen J. and his younger brother Charles B. Scriber, both enlisted into the service on May 9, 1861 (Fulton, NY) to serve their country for two years. Before entering the service Stephen apparently taught school (District 18 in Oswego County) in the winter and in the summers worked on the farm and boated wood and salt. Charles worked on his parent’s farm. Stephen was mustered in as first sergeant, Company H, 24th NY Infantry on May 17, 1861 in Elmira, NY. Charles was mustered in as a private in the same unit on the same date. The companies in this unit were recruited principally from Oswego, Parish, Fulton, Sandy Creek, and Belleville. Surviving two year members of the unit were honorably discharged and mustered out of the service, under Col. Samuel R. Beardsley, May 20th, 1863, at Elmira, NY. Before reenlisting in September of 1864, Stephen again taught for one year.
As stated by Lewis Benedict, NYS 24th Infantry, Company H (same company as Stephen and Charles Scriber), in his May 21st, 1861 letter home, the unit initially left Fulton, NY and spent one night in Geneva, NY before arriving at Elmira. Here they set up encampments where they lived in “shanty’s” near the Chemung River for a few weeks. After leaving Elmira in July of 1861, this unit went to Washington, D.C. and to Virginia where they served in the defenses of Washington, D.C. till March of 1862. In the fall of 1861 the regiment was quickly given a taste of war’s realities at their camp across the Potomac River from Washington, DC. This Oswego county regiment split time between constructing their camp for winter and drilling as soldiers. Dysentery and other sicknesses were noted in the camp. The 24th NYS Infantry was called out to the front to cover the Union’s retreat (the “Great Skedaddle”) from First Bull Run (Manassas). Here they held that picket line and provided the only organized force between the victorious Confederates and Washington, D.C. for about three weeks. They did this without tents, blankets, or other baggage. It may have been fortunate that the Rebels were also disorganized and did not follow up their victory at Manassas. When the 24th Infantry returned, the soldiers erected “Fort Upton” (at Upton’s or Throgmorton’s Hill) outside of Washington DC near Alexandria, Va. When stationed a few miles to the south the soldiers could observe Confederate troops drilling and carrying out dress parade.
The regiment moved southward in Virginia to Falmouth and Fredericksburg (Pennisular Campaign under McClelland) until again moving northward under General Pope’s Virginia Campaign in June. Stephen was promoted to second lieutenant and transferred to Co. I, 24th NY Infantry on August 29th, 1862, during the fighting at Groveton and Second Bull Run.
New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs: Military History