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55th Infantry Regiment
Civil War
Fifty-fifth Militia; Garde De Lafayette; Lafayette Guard; French Regiment

History

Mustered in: August 28, 1861.
Transferred to the 38th regiment of infantry: December 21, 1862.

The following is taken from New York in the War of the Rebellion, 3rd ed. Frederick Phisterer. Albany: J. B. Lyon Company, 1912.
Colonel Baron Philipe Regis DeTrobriand was authorized by the War Department, July 25, 1861, to recruit a regiment of infantry. The 55th State Militia formed the nucleus of this regiment, which was recruited mainly in New York city, and consisted principally of Frenchmen. The regiment was organized in camp near New Dorp, Staten Island, and there mustered in the service of the United States for three years August 28, 1861, except Company B, which was not then organized and which joined the regiment in the field in April, 1862. The State recognized the regiment and gave it its numerical designation December 7, 1861. September 29, 1862, the regiment was consolidated into four companies, A, B, D and F; Company A being formed of a new company, just joined; B of B and K, old; D of C and D, old; F of A and F, old; the men of the other companies being distributed among the new ones.
The regiment left the State August 31, 1861; served at Fort Gaines, Md., in September, 1861; in Peck's Brigade, Buel's, later Keyes', Division, Army of the Potomac, from October, 1861; in same brigade, Couch's Division, 4th Corps, Army of the Potomac, later 1st Brigade, 1st Division, 4th Corps, from March 13, 1862; in 3d Brigade, 1st Division, 3d Corps, from September, 1862; in the 2d Brigade, 1st Division, 3d Corps, Army of the Potomac, from November, 1862; and the battalion, Companies A, B, D and F, was transferred, December 21, 1862, to the 18th Infantry, as Companies G H, I and K, respectively.
During its service the regiment lost by death, killed in action, 16 enlisted men; of wounds received in action, 20 enlisted men; of disease and other causes, 29 enlisted men; total, 65; of whom 5 died in the hands of the enemy.
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.
Fifty-fifth Infantry.—Col., Baron Regis De Trobriand; Lieut.-Cols., Louis Thourot, William H. King; Maj., Francis Jehl. The 55th, the "La Fayette Guard," composed mainly of members of French origin, was the outgrowth of the 55th militia, and was mustered into the U. S. service at New Dorp, Staten Island, Aug. 28, 1861, for three years. It left for Washington on Aug. 31, was ordered to Fort Gaines, Md., in September, and in October became a part of Peck's brigade, Buell's division, Army of the Potomac. In March, 1862, the regiment joined McClellan's army for the Peninsular campaign; participated in the siege of Yorktown and the battle of Williamsburg, serving with the 1st brigade, 1st division, 4th corps during the summer. In the battle of Fair Oaks, the loss of the regiment was 103 in killed and wounded, and during the Seven Days' battles it was employed in guarding trains. In the battle of Malvern hill the 55th was active and suffered considerable loss. In April, 1862, Co. B joined the regiment and in September, the regiment was consolidated into a battalion of four companies, which was assigned to the 3d brigade, 1st division, 3d corps, and in November, to the 2nd brigade of the same division. The command was actively engaged at Fredericksburg and on Dec. 21, 1862, was transferred to the 38th N. Y. infantry, with which the troops completed their term. The regiment lost during its service, 36 by death from wounds and 29 from other causes. On June 3, 1863, the members of the 38th who had not completed their term of enlistment were transferred to the 40th N. Y. The members of the 55th who did not reenlist were mustered out at New York city at the end of their term.

Battles and Casualties Table from Phisterer

Civil War Newspaper Clippings

55th Infantry Flag 55th Infantry Regiment National Flag

55th Infantry Flank Marker 55th Infantry Flank Marker

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.

Camp of 55th New York Infantry, near Tenallytown, D.C.
Description: 1 photographic print
Abstract: Two soldiers by fence in foreground, with one of them looking through binoculars, with camp and large group of soldiers in background.

Detrobriand, P. Regis. Four years with the Army of the Potomac. Boston: Ticknor and Co, c1889, repr 1988.

Detrobriand, P. Regis. The P. Regis Detrobriand papers, 1816-1960.
Year: 1816-1960
Description: 1 box.
Abstract: Contains the following types of materials: speech; correspondence. Contains information pertaining to the following wars and time periods: Civil War -- Eastern Theater; Indian Wars, 1865-1891; 1865-1897. Contains information pertaining to the following military units and organizations: 55th and 38th New York Infantry Regiments; 3rd Brigade,1st Division, III Corps; defenses of New York City, Department of the East, 1st Brigade, 3rd Division, II Corps; 31st and 13th United States Infantry Regiments. General description of the collection: The P. Regis Detrobriand papers include General officer's papers: 2 speeches by Major General Charles G. Stevenson to Lafayette Camp 140, Sons of the Union Veterans of New York [1960] -- discusses 55th New York Regiment in Peninsula Campaign [1862] under command of General Detrobriand. Limited discussion of post Civil War military career.
Located at the Military History Institute in Carlisle, PA.

 

 

Items in the museum collection are in bold.

 

New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs: Military History
Last modified: July 2, 2008
URL: http://www.dmna.state.ny.us/historic/reghist/civil/infantry/55thInf/55thInfMain.htm

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