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86th Infantry Regiment
Civil War
Steuben Rangers


Mustered in: November 20, 1861
Mustered out: June 27,1865

The following is taken from New York in the War of the Rebellion, 3rd ed. Frederick Phisterer. Albany: J. B. Lyon Company, 1912.
This regiment, Col. Benajah P. Bailey, was organized at Elmira November 23, 1861, and there mustered in the service of the United States for three years November 20-23, 1861. June 21, 1864, the men of the 70th Infantry, not mustered out with their regiment, were transferred to this. At the expiration of its service the men entitled thereto were discharged and the regiment retained in service.
The companies were recruited principally: A at Syracuse; B at Addison; C and F at Corning; D at Hornellsville; E at Elmira; G at Canisteo; H' at Troupsburg; I in Steuben county and K at Woodhull.
The regiment left the State November 23, 1861; served in 2d Brigade, Casey's Division, Army of Potomac, from December, 1861; in 3d Brigade, Smith's Division, Army of Potomac, from January 16, 1862; in 2d Brigade, Casey's Division, Army of Potomac, from February, 1862; in General Wadsworth's Military District of Washington, D. C., from March, 1862; in Piatt's Brigade, Reserve Corps, Army of Virginia, from August, 1862; in same brigade, Whipple's Division, 12th Corps, Army of Potomac, from October, 1862; in 1st Brigade, 3d Division, 3d Corps, Army of Potomac, from November, 1862; in 2d Brigade, 1st Division, 3d Corps, Army of Potomac, from June, 1863; in 1st Brigade, 3d Division, 2d Corps, Army of Potomac, from April, 1864; and it was honorably discharged and mustered out, commanded by Col. Nathan H. Vincent, June 27, 1865, near Washington, D. C.
During its service the regiment lost by death, killed in action, 9 officers, 92 enlisted men; of wounds received in action, 5 officers, 67 enlisted men; of disease and other causes, 3 officers, 151 enlisted men; total, 17 officers, 310 enlisted men; aggregate, 327; 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.
Eighty-sixth Infantry.—Cols., Benijah P. Bailey, Benjamin L. Higgins, Jacob H. Lansing, Nathan H. Vincent; Lieut.-Cols., Bar-nard J. Chapin, Benjamin L. Higgins, Jacob H. Lansing, Michael B. Stafford, Nathan H. Vincent, Luzern Todd; Majs., Seyman G. Rheinvault, Benjamin L. Higgins, Jacob H. Lansing, Michael B. Stafford, Nathan H. Vincent, Frederick Van Tine, Luzern Todd, Samuel H. Leavitt. The 86th, known as the Steuben Rangers, was recruited in Steuben, Chemung and Onondaga counties, mustered into the U. S. service at Elmira, Nov. 20 to 23, 1861, and left for Washington on Nov. 23. It passed the first winter in the performance of guard duty at or near Washington and was not ordered to the front until Aug., 1862, when it joined the forces under Gen. Pope and lost 118 in, killed, wounded and missing at the second Bull Run. It then moved to Fredericksburg, participated in the battle there with the 1st brigade, 3d division, 3d corps, and then went into winter quarters near Falmouth. It bore a prominent part in the battle of Chancellorsville, was engaged at Brandy Station, and in the thick of the fight at Gettysburg. Moving southward. via Wapping heights, Auburn and Kelly's ford, no further loss was met with Until the Mine Run campaign, when the regiment lost 32 in the action at Locust Grove. At Brandy Station, where the Army of the Potomac made its winter quarters, a large number of the regiment reenlisted and received their veteran furlough in Jan., 1864, and the 86th continued in the field as a veteran regiment. Camp was broken in April for the Wilderness campaign, the regiment being assigned to the 1st brigade, 3d division, 2nd corps, with which it fought through all the battles of that memorable advance toward Richmond, meeting its heaviest loss at the Po river, where 96 were killed, wounded or captured. It accompanied its brigade and division to Petersburg, shared in the first assault, the engagements at the Weldon railroad, Deep Bottom, Strawberry Plains, Poplar Spring Church, the Boydton road, the Hicksford raid, Hatcher's run and in the Appomattox campaign, winning renown as a fighting regiment. It was commonly named "The fighting regiment of the Southern Tier." Out of a total enrollment of 1,318, the regiment lost 98 killed in action, 73 died from wounds, and 153 from other causes during service. The loss in officers was also heavy. Lieut.-Col. Chapin was killed and Maj. Higgins severely wounded at Chancellorsville, and Lieut.-Col. Stafford fell before Petersburg.

Battles and Casualties Table from Phisterer

Monument at Gettysburg

Historical Sketch

Civil War Newspaper Clippings

86th Infantry Guidon 86th Infantry Guidons

86th Infantry National Flag 86th Infantry National Flag

Muster Roll

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 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.

Baker, N. S. The Civil War diary of Captain N.S. Baker, Co. G., 86 New York Vols.
Description: [96] leaves ; 28 cm.
Note(s): Typewritten copy of a diary and three letters dated 1862 to 1864./ Material copied by A. Porter S. Sweet, author's grandson.
Located at the Rochester Public Library.

Bovee, Daniel B. Civil War Miscellaneous Collection
(Enlisted man's letter, Jun 9, 1864)
Located at the Military History Institute in Carlisle, PA.

Chase, Stephen P. CWTIColl
(Enlisted man's diaries, Jan 1, 1862-Oct 24, 1865; his memoirs, 1915; diary of Sylvester Hunt, Jan 1-Apr 26, 1862)
Located at the Military History Institute in Carlisle, PA.

Houghton, Charles A. HoughtonColl
(Enlisted man, Jeremiah Clark's, letters, Nov 17, 1861- Aug 30, 1964)
Located at the Military History Institute in Carlisle, PA.

Rathbun, Isaac R. "A Civil war diary, the diary of Isaac R. Rathbun, Co. D, 86th N.Y. volunteers, Aug. 23, 1862-Jan. 30, 1863." NYH XXXVI (1955) 336-45.

Raymond, William Gould. Life Sketches and faith work of Elder W. G. Raymond, written by himself. Boston: "Washington Press" George E. Crosby & Co. Printers, 1891.
Only pages 1 - 63 are available.

Rinker, Henry. HCWRTColl
(Enlisted man's letters, Mar 26-Jun 17, 1865)
Located at the Military History Institute in Carlisle, PA.

Scott, George W. Letters (1862-1863).
Description: 4 items
Abstract: Letters sent to Scott's sister regarding his experiences of military life and the Battle of Chancellorsville.
Located at the New York State Library Manuscripts and Special Collections.

Stanton, Amos B. Amos B. Stanton papers, 1843-1930.
Description: .6 cubic ft.
Abstract: Primarily Civil War letters from Stanton to his wife. Also, family letters, certificates, pension files, clippings, publications, and diaries of John Crosby and Amos B. Stanton.
Finding aid:
Located at the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library.

Wiley, James A. HCWRTColl
(Enlisted man's letters, Aug 31, 1861-Sep 5, 1862)
Located at the Military History Institute in Carlisle, PA.


New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs: Military History
Last modified: January 29, 2018

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