14th Regiment History
The 14th Regiment started in Brooklyn, New York. Originally a militia regiment,
formed in 1847 as the Fourteenth Regiment, N.Y.S.M. It was composed of various
different companies in New York City. The Franklin Guards, Shields Guards,
and City Grenadiers were some of these companies. Their action early on was
not very exciting. They paraded at various events like the introduction of
water into the city but did not see any real combats. As a result the beginning
of the regiments history showed some lack of interest and insubordination,
but over time this was eliminated giving way to a "spirit of enthusiastic
comradeship", a notable feature of the Fighting 14th.
With the insubordination removed, the regiment could focus on the upcoming
actions that became more militarily eventful. In the summer of 1854, they were
called to suppress a riot that was caused by a man referring to himself as "the
Angel Gabriel.” In 1861, they were called several times to the Naval
Yard "in anticipation of an attack.. .by Rebel sympathizers.” These
events surely gave the 14th a rise in spirit and feeling of importance.
Their action would become much more exciting after President Lincoln's proclamation
in 1860. After the firing at Fort Sumter and President Lincoln's "proclamation
for 75,000 three-month troops", the 14th sprang into action and were ready
for the call. Although Lincoln had called for three-month volunteers the war
department told the 14th that they would be accepted for service only if they
volunteered for three years, they accepted right away. During this time in
New York City, a patriotic fever swept the city. "Colonel A.M. Wood telegraphed
Washington that his regiment was in readiness to take the field.” The 14th would be delayed in their departure
to the front line due to the Governor of New York. Political motives are believed
to be the reason for the delay. Colonel Wood then went to Washington and along
with Congressman O'Dell explained the situation and as a result, President
Lincoln directly ordered the regiment into action.
The 14th waited at Fort Green for their call to Washington. Colonel Fowler
was in command while Colonel Wood was in Washington. Once the message was received,
the 14th left Fort Green, arrived in Washington on May 22, 1861 and were mustered
into Federal Service on May 23. They were then known as the 84th N.Y. Volunteers.
While in Washington, they maintained camp drilling and picket duty until July
2. At this time, they moved to the vicinity of the Arlington House and made
camp. Here two companies were added and "the aggregate now being 960,
it was assigned to the Brigade of Brig. Gen. Andrew Porter.
On July 16, they entered enemy territory. Bull Run was their first battle.
General Irwin McDowell "in command of the column in active operation south
of the Potomac", was in charge of the planning for Bull Run. His strategy
for Bull Run was excellent but failed because it was poorly executed. In the
end, it was considered a "disastrous fight, a battle that with subsequent
experience was afterward looked upon as a large skirmish, a kind of free-for-all.” The
regiments together completely lacked cooperation, had the plan been carried
out with the order intended the outcome could have been much different. Yet
with all the poor performances, retreats, and disorderliness of the other regiments,
the 14th was regarded as having "behaved with a gallantry worthy of the
old guard of Napoleon.” Surely, McDowell must have wished everyone fought
as the 14th had that
day. During Bull Run Colonel Wood was wounded and then captured by the enemy.
The loss of the day was as follows:
Killed 2 21
Died of Wounds 10
On July 22, the regiment reached its old camp at Arlington. Between July
22 and September 28, the engineer corps was discharged from service.
Official Record of the Services of the Fighting Fourteenth:
Battle of Bull Run, Va., July 21, 1861.
Skirmish near Falls Church, Va., November 18, 1861.
Expedition to Fredericksburg, Va., April 17, 18, 1862.
Expedition to Spotsylvania Court House, Va., August 21, 23, 1862.
Skirmishes at Rappahannock Station, Va., August 21, 23, 1862.
Skirmish at Sulphur Springs, Va., August 21, 23, 1862.
Engagement near Gainesville, Va., August 28, 1862.
Battle of Groveton or Manassas Plains, Va., August 29, 1862.
Battle of Manassas or Second Bull Run, Va., August 30, 1862.
Battle of South Mountain, Md., September 14, 1862.
Battle of Antietam, Md., September 17, 1862.
Battle of Fredericksburg, Va., December 13, 15, 1862.
Expedition to Port Royal, Va., April 22, 23, 1863.
Skirmishes at Fitzhugh Crossing, near Fredericksburg, Va., April 29, May 2,
Battle of Chancellorsville, Va., May 3, 1863.
Battle of Gettysburg, Pa, July 1-3, 1863.
Battle of Mine Run, Va., November 23-30, 1863.
Battle of Wilderness, Va., May 5-7 1864.
Battle of Spotsylvania, Va., May 8-21, 1864.
Spanish American War
Their involvement in the Spanish American War was short lived. In April 1898
by order of the Adjutant General they were selected into service again.
The regiment went to Camp G.H. Thomas in Chicamauga, Georgia where they had
routine camp life. They were moved to Camp Shipp in Anniston, Alabama and remained
there until October 27, 1898 when it was mustered out of service.
Mexican Border Service
Their next call to duty was the Mexican Border Service on July 19, 1916.
Their order was a ten day hike across the wastes of Hidalgo County, Texas.
The conditions were harsh and often consisted of temperatures
reaching 120 degrees with no shade to block them from the sun.
In September they were ordered home and shortly thereafter
mustered out of service
World War One:
In World War One the 14th became part of the 165th and 106th which
known as the 2nd Pioneer Infantry Regiment.
The first call of duty was to have 350 non-coms and privates become part
of the 165th Infantry Regiment, where they were at Camp Mills waiting to be
overseas. In October 1917, the rest of the 14th went to Camp Wadsworth, South
Carolina. Here at Camp Wadsworth 1400 officers and men that combined with the
23rd Infantry to make up the 106th Infantry was reduced again. The rest of
the 14th stayed at Camp Wadsworth and was "re-designated as the 2nd Pioneer
Infantry Regiment.” The 106th took part in the battles of "Hindenburg
Line, France, September 29-30, 1918", "La Selle River, France, October
17, 1918", and "Jonc de Mer Ridge, France, October 18, 1918.” Their
engagements included "Vierstaat Ridge, Belgium, August 31 - September
2, 1918", Quennemont Farm, France, September 27, 1918", and "The
Knoll - Guillemont Farm. Other minor actions included "East Poperinghe
Line, June 9 - August 20, 1918" and "Dickebusch Sector, Belgium,
August 21-30, 1918".
Back at Camp Wadsworth the 2nd Pioneer Infantry was "filled to war strength
of about 3700 officers and men by replacements drafted from New York City and
vicinity"; they arrived in France in July 1918. When they arrived there
was "no specific combat duties", this resulted in a variety of missions.
The second battalion was ordered to Dijon. From Dijon "Lieutenant Colonel
Donovan took a large detachment" northeast to Nancy. "The lst Battalion
went to St. Nazaire where it became a replacement unit.” "The 3rd
Battalion with companies I and K went to Brest.” In Brest, they were
in charge of protecting the supplies coming in from the port. They also guarded these shipments
to the front lines. Companies L and M went to Is-sus-Tille, and controlled
the evacuation of casuals from the front lines.
After the Armistice, the 2nd Battalion and Companies L and M were assigned
to the Army of Occupation, "under Major General Allen.” The 2nd
Pioneer Infantry Regiment remained in Coblenz until the winter of 1919 when
it returned to the U.S. for demobilization.
1919 - 1941:
During the 14th's service in World War One a "Depot Battalion" was
organized and became the main core of the Post World War One 14th N.Y.N.G.
In the years after World War One to 1939, the regiment took part in its normal
regimental activities. This consisted of "weekly drills at the Armory
and two week camp tours at Camp Smith, Peekskill.” This changed in 1939
in light of the activities from World War Two. "Two weeks of maneuvers
took place at Plattsburg, New York.” After Plattsburg, they were called
to Camp Upton, Long Island for tactical exercises.
On September 16, 1940, they were changed again and the 14th Infantry Regiment,
N.Y.N.G became designated as the 187th Field Artillery (155mm Howitzer) and
formally inducted into Federal Service on the 3rd of February 1941. Another
change was "companies I, K, and L of the 3rd Battalion were transferred
out to form the 102nd Anti-tank Battalion.” In addition, Batteries G
and H became part of the 771st Tank Destroyer Battalion.
World War Two:
In World War Two there were vast changes in technology. To keep up with
the new global warfare the War Department's Table of Organization made many
In February 1943, the 187th was altered. "The 1st Battalion became the
187th Field Artillery Battalion" and "the 2nd Battalion became the
955th Field Artillery Battalion.” After this, the 187th Field Artillery
was identified by the War Department that, "it was the official descendant
of the 14th Infantry Regiment and 187th Field Artillery Regiment.” In
March 1943 the group went to camp A.P. Hill for training and then to Tennessee
After the maneuvers, the 187th Group went to Camp Dix, NJ for shipment overseas.
On November 2, they arrived in Bristol, England. They then moved to St. Andries
and resumed command. Under their command were the 186th and 953rd Battalions.
Then they were selected in early April, "to support troops in the assault
against Hitler's Atlantic Wall".
The 187th Battalion was attached to the 29th Infantry Division for the channel
crossing as a part of force "B" and scheduled to land on Omaha beach
at "D" plus 1 at 3rd tide plus 4 hours.” The postponement of "D" Day
had them returned to the port on July 3. "The Battalion arrived at ship
transit area off St. Laurent-sur-Mer at 8 AM June 7th.” Here they waited "within
a few hundred yards of the violent struggle on the beaches.” The 187th
Battalion was then ready for combat with the attached 29th Division. At this
time they, "ordered to locate new positions and de-waterproof whatever
space allowed.” There was an obstacle in landing when LST-388, that was
carrying most of the battalion, it had to have its ramp suspended to clear a mine detected by the ebbing tide. "De-waterproofing
was accomplished in a small Reid at a crossroad in Vierville.
On June 9, the battalion "took part in the attack on Trevieres." During
the time from June 10 until June 27 the 187th Field Artillery Battalion accomplished, "various
positions were occupied and innumerable targets fired upon.” In August,
they helped advance troops cross the Vire River and the 80th Infantry attack
Argentan. They also "joined in the reduction of the famed "Falaise
Pocket.” They passed through Paris, Belgium, and Luxembourg. In Luxembourg,
the 187th escorted Prince Felix to the capital Luxembourg City. By this time,
the 187th was "attached to the 5th Armored Division in its attack on the
On September 16, "the 187th with the 5th Armored Division and one battalion
of the 28th Infantry" accomplished the first penetration into Germany
during the war. On September 19, after an intense fight the 187th lost contact
with the other divisions. The 187th was continuously pushed back first across
the "Wallendorf Bridge into Luxembourg, then Eppeldorf, and finally a
position west of Ermsdorf".
The 187th would penetrate the Siegfried Line again but this time to the north.
To get there they passed through Lashied, Elsenbom, Wertzfeld, in Belgium and
Rott in Germany. In Rott, "it was a fierce and bloody fight that was made
in the Hurtgen." Eventually the 187th moved west in order to get in front
of the German penetration. After this "it was attached to the XVIII Airborne
Corps and placed in general support of the 456th Parachute Battalion of the
505th Airborne Infantry (82nd Airborne Division), holding the river line north
of Viel Salm.” They held this line until Christmas day.
On January 1, they were ordered to travel over icy roads to Andrimont, Belgium.
Without any traction equipment, "the success of the march was a tribute
to the drivers.” From there they fired on Stavelot, moved past Malmedy's
Five Points and a point southeast of Recht, Belgium. They attacked and successfully
captured St. Vith "and was subsequently relieved from the XVIII Airborne
Corps and returned to V Corps. "Other missions followed and on March 13
a rapid displacement of 54 miles was made to firing positions at Kell on the
Rhine.” They then pushed on until they met with the Soviet Red Army in
the vicinity of the Mulde River. "Attachment to the 2nd Infantry Division
was terminated on April 29" and then they were ordered to march south
to Gefrees "where on May 1 it was attached to the 97th Infantry Division.” The
final area of occupation before deployment for home was Strakonice, Czechoslovakia.
The 955th Battalion was fighting with the "V corps from Omaha Beach across
France.” On December 18, they were ordered to help protect "blocking
the vital Bullingen-Butgenbach-Weismes-Malmedy Road" that had been the
main route for the 12th Panzer Division. Here they maintained four days of
intense combat with the Germans eventually giving way to a German retreat.
The Present Regiment:
After the War Department had federalized the 14th for World War Two Colonel
Jackson who was commander of the 14th re-established the 14th Commanding officers
of the "
new 14th were Colonel G.G. Hollander, R.B. Beach, Harry L. Hayes, and finally "to
the real old 14er, Colonel J.J. Gambee", Gambee had served with the old
14th regiment. On November 29, 1946, issues were ordered to reestablish the
New York National Guard and upon federalization, the 14th Infantry will become
the 187th Field Artillery. "Thus, exactly one hundred years after its
creation the regiment will no longer be known or designated by the numeral
14.” Even though the numeral has been changed the spirit of the "Fighting
Fourteenth" and "Red Legged Devils" will live on forever.
Gordon Palmer, BA, The University at Albany
14th Regiment Vertical File. New York State Military Museum.
For more information on this unit see:
84th Regiment New York Volunteer Infantry
14th Regiment Infantry,
New York Volunteers
World War 1:
106th Infantry Regiment
Back to numbered units
New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs: Military History
March 10, 2006