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47th Infantry Regiment
Civil War
Washington Grays

History

Mustered in: September 14, 1861
Mustered out: August 30, 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 Henry Moore received authority from the War Department, July 24, 1861, to recruit a regiment of infantry; it was recruited principally in New York city and Brooklyn, and a few men came from Dutchess county; the Imperial Zouaves, Col. Wesley Merritt, an incomplete organization, recruited under authority from War Department, of July 27, 1861, formed its nucleus. September 14, 1861, the State authorities gave it its numerical designation, and it was, on the same day, mustered in the service of the United States for three years, at East New York. January 30, 1864, a portion of the Enfants Perdus were transferred to the regiment. At the expiration of its term of service, the men entitled thereto were discharged and the regiment retained. June 17, 1865, it received 301 officers and enlisted men of the 115th Infantry, not mustered out with their regiment.
The regiment left the State September 19, 1861; served in Viele's, 1st, Brigade, T. W. Sherman's Expeditionary Corps, from September 19, 1861, at and near Washington, D. C.; in the Department of the South, from November, 1861; on Edisto Island, Department of the South, from March, 1862; in the 1st Brigade, 1st Division, Department of the South, from June, 1862; at Hilton Head, S. C., from July, 1862; in Terry's Brigade, 10th Corps, from January, 1863; unassigned, 10th Corps, from February, 1863; at Ossawba Island, Ga., 10th Corps, from April, 1863; on Folly Island, S. C, from July, 1863; at Hilton Head, S. C., from November, 1863; in Barton's Brigade, Seymour's Division, 10th Corps, in District of Florida, from December, 1863; in 2d Brigade, 2d Division, 10th Corps, Army of the James, from April, 1864; in 1st Brigade, 3d Division, 18th Corps, from May 30, 1864; in the 2d Brigade, 2d Division, 10th Corps, from June 15, 1864; in same brigade and division, 24th Corps, from December, 1864; in Provisional Corps, from March, 1865; in 2d Brigade, 2d Division, 10th Corps, from April 2, 1865; and it was honorably discharged and mustered out, under Col. Christopher R. Macdonald, August 30, 1865, at Raleigh, N. C.
During its service the regiment lost by death, killed in action, 7 officers, 57 enlisted men; of wounds received in action, 29 enlisted men; of disease and other causes, 157 enlisted men; total, 7 officers, 243 enlisted men; aggregate, 250; of whom 55 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.
Forty-seventh Infantry.—Cols., Henry Moore, James L. Frazer, Henry Wood, Christopher R. McDonald; Lieut.-Cols., James L. Frazer, Pierce C. Kane, George B. Van Brunt, Albert B. Nicholas, Christopher R. McDonald, Joseph McDonald; Majs., Daniel Lloyd, Pierce C. Kane, George B. Van Brunt, David Allen, Christopher R. McDonald, Edward Eddy, Jr., Charles A. Moore, Frank A. Butts, The 47th, the "Washington Grays," was recruited in New York and Brooklyn and mustered into the U. S. service at East New York, Sept. 14, 1861, for a three years' term. It left the state Sept. 15, with 678 members, for Washington, and with the 1st brigade of Sherman's division, embarked for Hilton Head in October, and arrived there on Nov. 3. It was stationed at Hilton Head until Jan. I, 1862, when it was ordered to Beaufort, S. C., to participate in the operations against Port Royal ferry and then returned to Hilton Head. Early in February the regiment moved to Edisto island and remained there until ordered to James island in June, where it became a part of the 1st brigade, 1st division and was engaged at Secessionville. On July I it returned to Hilton Head, where it performed guard and picket duty during the ensuing fall and winter. It was active in the assault on Fort Wagner in July, 1863, and was stationed in that vicinity during the remainder of the year. In the Florida expedition in Feb., 1864, the regiment suffered a loss at Olustee of 313 in killed, wounded and missing. After proceeding up the St. John's river as far as Palatka, the expedition returned to Hilton Head. In April the 47th was ordered to Virginia and assigned to the 2nd brigade, 2nd division, l0th corps, Army of the James, at Bermuda Hundred. On May 25, the division was assigned to the 18th corps and after several encounters near Bermuda Hundred, notably at Port Walthall Junction, the regiment joined the Army of the Potomac just before the battle of Cold Harbor, in which it bore an active part. . On June 15, it was transferred to the 2nd brigade, 2nd division, l0th corps; took part in the first assault on Petersburg; was present at the mine explosion, July 30; and was active in engagements at Strawberry Plains, Fort Harrison and on the Darbytown road. The original members not reenlisted were mustered out in July, 1864, but the veterans and recruits continued as a regiment in the field. In Dec., 1864, in the 2nd brigade, 2nd division, 24th corps the regiment was ordered to Fort Fisher, N. C., and played its part in the reduction of that stronghold. The 47th passed the remaining months of its service in the Carolinas, being present at Smithfield, Fort Anderson, Wilmington, Cox's bridge and Bennett's house, and on April 2, 1865, was attached to the 2nd brigade, 2nd division, l0th corps. It was mustered out at Raleigh, N. C., Aug. 30 1865, after four years of faithful and efficient service to the Union Cause. During its term of service the regiment lost 93 by death from wounds and 157 from other causes.

Battles and Casualties Table from Phisterer

Civil War Newspaper Clippings

47th Infantry Battle Flag 47th Infantry Flank Markers

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.

Butts, Josiah. "Letters from the Southern army". California farmer XVIII (1862/63) 185; XIX (1863) 146, 170, 178; XX (1863/64) 1, 25, 50, 58, 83, 123, 129. 272. [Title varies: I, "Letter from South Carolina"; II-VIII, :Letter from Port Royal". Letters are dated: December 31, 1862, to October 24, 1863.]

Davis, W. W. H. Records, 1862-1866.
Description:285 items
Abstract: Consisting chiefly of military records, 1862-1864 and 1866, re General and Special Orders, regimental and surgeon's reports, and official correspondence; records document the duty of Davis' Brigade, especially the 104th Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers commanded by William Watts Hart Davis, while on the S.C. Sea Islands of St. Helena Island, Folly Island, and Morris Island. The Brigade consisted of, at various times, the 104th Pennsylvania Volunteers, 52nd Pennsylvania Volunteers, Independent Battalion New York Volunteers, 100th New York Volunteers, 56th New York Volunteers, 47th New York Volunteers, 11th Maine Volunteers, and 1st Connecticut Battery. General Orders of interest include one outlining camp sanitary regulations (21 February 1863), Number 59 regarding cakes cooked in fat (26 August 1863), Number 25 stopping music at funerals on Morris Island (12 September 1863), and Number 35 regarding whiskey sold to regimental surgeons (12 April 1864).
Preferred citation:Records of the Davis Brigade, Department of the South, United States Army, South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina.

Fasulo, Fasulo. "Forty-seventh New York Infantry at the Battle of Olustee."
Available at: /battleofolustee.org/47th_ny_inf.html

Gorham, Henry W. Correspondence,1857-1863.
Description: 55 items
Abstract: Correspondence of Gorham while he was serving in Maryland during the Civil War with the 13th and 47th Regiments, New York State Militia
Bio/History:Union soldier, of Brooklyn, N.Y.
Located at Duke University

Halpine, Charles G. The life and adventures, songs, services, and speeches of Private Miles O’Reilly [pseudo.]. New York: Carleton, 1864.

Halpine, Charles G. Baked meats of the funeral, a collection of essays, poems, speeches, histories, and banquets. New York, N.Y.: Carleton, 1866.
Located at the University of Kentucky.

McAfee, Michael J. "47th Regiment, New York Volunteer Infantry: 'The Washington Grays.'" Military Images Magazine (Jul/Aug 1997): p. 33.

"Perry's Saints : Reunion of the veteran associations of the 47th and 48th regiments, N.Y. vols.." Grand Army Review. Aug 1885. 49-50.

Seaman, Edward J. - Civil War Miscellaneous Collection
(Enlisted man's letters, Sep 30, 1862-Mar 21, 1863).
Located at the Military History Institute in Carlisle, PA.

     Van Vleck, Henry L. Papers, 1861-1862.
Description: 1 Folder
Abstract: Papers, include: picket pass for Headquarters 47th Regiment New York Volunteers, Fort Edisto St., dated April 27, 1862, and signed by Col. Henry Moore; a letter from Van Vleck on board the Roanoke (Steamship) off Annapolis (Md.), dated Oct. 19, 1861, to "Dear Parents and friends," which describes sleeping on deck, the food, his dislike of the Irish brigade which fights a lot, and waiting for his pay; and a letter to Van Vleck from James L. Smith, Capt, Company D, 47th, Headquarters 47th Regiment New York Volunteers, at Camp Moore, Hilton Head (S.C.), dated Nov. 18, 1861, recommending his promotion from Sergeant to Lieutenant. A diary which was once part of the collection is now missing.
Bio/History:From Augusta (Kalamazoo County, Mich.), Van Vleck served in the Sherman Battery or Company D, 47th New York Volunteers or Infantry
In: Clarke Historical Library at the Central Michigan University

     Waddell, Alfred M. The Confederate soldier: an address delivered at the written request of 5,000 ex-Union soldiers, at Steinway Hall, New York City, Friday evening, May 3d, 1878, for the benefit of the 47th N.Y. Veteran Volunteers (Miles O’Reilly’s Regiment). Washington : J.L. Pearson,1878.

Wenzel, Augustus. Letters, 1861-1865.
Description: 25 items.
Abstract: Group of letters written by Augustus Wenzel mostly to his brother, Henry Wenzel, regarding his experiences of military service during the Civil War. While serving in the 47th Infantry, he wrote mostly about guarding prisoners of war at Fort McHenry in Baltimore. During his second tour of duty with the 18th Cavalry, he wrote from various army camps in Louisiana concerning his duties as hospital steward. He also complains frequently about not receiving his paychecks from the Army in a timely manner.
Notes: Unpublished transcripts file with the original letters./ Bio/History:Civil War soldier; served in Company B of the 47th New York State Militia Infantry Regiment, May 1861 - September 1862; re-enlisted for service in Company I of the 18th New York Cavalry Regiment, 21 September 1863 - 23 May 1865.
Located at the New York State Library Manuscripts and Special Collections.

 

 

New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs: Military History
Last modified: August 2, 2012
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