of the 136th
Taken from Final Report on
the Battlefield of Gettysburg (New York at Gettysburg) by the New York
Monuments Commission for the Battlefields of Gettysburg and Chattanooga. Albany,
NY: J.B. Lyon Company, 1902.
In the summer of 1862 the President of the United States called for "300,000
more" troops to suppress the Great Rebellion. This call met with a prompt
response throughout the entire North. In the State of New York regiments were
raised in each senatorial district. In the Thirtieth District, comprising the
counties of Allegany, Livingston, and Wyoming, 1,000 patriotic young men rendezvoused
at Portage where a regiment was quickly organized, which was designated by the
state authorities as the One hundred and thirty-sixth New York Volunteers. It
was mustered into the service of the United States on September 26, 1862, with
the following field officers in command:
James Wood, Jr. Colonel,
Lester B. Faulkner: Lieutenant Colonel,
David C. Hartshorn: Major.
Leaving Portage October 2, 1862, the regiment moved to Virginia,
where It was assigned to Smith's (Second) Brigade, Steinwehr's (Second) Division,
Eleventh Corps, then encamped in the vicinity of Fairfax Court House. Its first
experience under fire occurred at Chancellorsville, where it sustained a slight
loss. It was not actively engaged in this battle, for the brigade, then under
command of Gen. F. C. Barlow, was absent on a reconnaissance at the time the
Eleventh Corps was attacked. After the battle the regiment returned to its camp
near Brooke's Station, on the Aquia Creek Railroad.
Remaining in camp about six weeks it started, June 12, 1863,
on the Gettysburg campaign. After a series of long and toilsome marches the
regiment arrived at Emmitsburg, Md., on June 29th, having marched twenty-two
miles that day, and thirty-eight miles within the preceding twenty-four and
one-half hours, over roads heavy with mud and rain, and blocked with wagon trains.
Leaving Boonsboro Gap at 4:40 p. m., on Sunday, June 28th, and moving by way
of Frederick, the column arrived at Emmitsburg at 5 p. m., on the 29th, having
accomplished this remarkable march of thirty-eight miles without any straggling
or murmurs of complaint. On the 30th there was a general muster of the army,
at which the One hundred and thirty-sixth reported 23 officers and 529 men present
for duty, including noncombatants.
On July 1st, the Eleventh Corps was ordered to Gettysburg, pursuant to a plan
for a concentration of the left wing of the army at that point. The corps started
in the morning, with Col. Orland Smith's Brigade, to which the One hundred and
thirty-sixth New York belonged, bringing up the rear. This brigade was then
composed of the following regiments:
33d Massachusetts Col. A. B. Underwood,
136th New York Col. James Wood, Jr.,
55th Ohio Col. Charles B. Gambee,
73d Ohio Lieut. Col. Richard Long.
On arriving at Gettysburg, General Steinwehr, the division
commander, halted the brigade and formed it in line of battle, by battalions
in mass, in rear of Cemetery Hill, the rest of the corps, except Wiedrich's
Battery, having passed through the town and engaged the enemy in the open fields
on the farther side. Smith's Brigade advanced through the cemetery to the front
of the hill overlooking Gettysburg, from which position it was apparent that
the Union troops, First and Eleventh Corps, were retreating, and falling back
through the streets to Cemetery Hill. Colonel Smith placed his four regiments
so as to resist any attack which might be made on the hill. But the long line
of the brigade, with its waving colors and resolute appearance, caused the Confederate
generals to hesitate until the opportunity for a successful attack was lost.
Smith's Brigade held this very important and exposed position at the base of
Cemetery Hill during the fighting of the two succeeding days. The One hundred
and thirty-sixth New York was on the left, where it held the extreme left of
the Eleventh Corps line, and joined the right of the Second Corps. It lay along
the Taneytown Road behind a stone wall that bounded the west side of the road,
and at the base of the western slope of Cemetery Hill, from whose crest the
Union batteries at times delivered a heavy fire over the regiment. From his
position on the Taneytown Road, which at this point is very near the Emmitsburg
Road, Colonel Wood sent out most of his men as skirmishers and sharpshooters
who, during the second and third days' fighting, were subject to a continuous
and deadly fire from the Confederate sharpshooters who occupied positions at
close range. Some of the men of the One hundred and thirty-sixth occupied houses
in the outskirts of Gettysburg, the line of the Eleventh Corps running along
the eastern edge of the town. This skirmishing and sharpshooting was so active
and continuous that the regiment, without participating in any other fighting,
lost 106 men killed and wounded during the second and third days. Some of these
casualties occurred in the great cannonade which, on the third day, preceded
Longstreet's assault on the Second Corps. Many of the Confederate gunners directed
their fire against the Union batteries on West Cemetery Hill which, in turn,
were firing over the heads of the men in the One hundred and thirty-sixth.
After Gettysburg the regiment participated in the pursuit of Lee's retreating
army, and with its corps returned to Virginia. In September (1863) the Eleventh
and Twelfth Corps were ordered to Tennessee to relieve General Rosecrans' army
which was then shut up in Chattanooga without any line of supplies. Arriving
in Tennessee the regiment was placed on guard duty along the Nashville and Chattanooga
Railroad, between Anderson and Tantalon. On October 26th it was relieved, and
rejoined the brigade at Bridgeport. On the 28th it was engaged in the famous
midnight battle at Wauhatchie, where the brigade marched to the relief of Geary's
Division of the Twelfth Corps, but encountered the enemy on the way, the Confederate
brigade of General Law Hood's Division, Longstreet's Corps — having occupied
a high hill that commanded the road. Under orders from General Steinwehr, three
regiments of Smith's Brigade, numbering in all about 700 muskets, charged up
the steep declivity in the darkness. They had received orders not to fire, but
to use the bayonet only. The five Confederate regiments under Law, about 1,800
strong, abandoned the crest of the hill after a brief resistance, leaving the
line of their retreat strewn with rifles, swords, hats, caps, and haversacks.
In the following month, on November 23d, the regiment was engaged in the battle
of Missionary Ridge near Chattanooga, Tenn., in which Lieut. Charles F. Tresser
was mortally wounded. It then marched with the Eleventh Corps to the relief
of Burnside's army, which was besieged at Knoxville, Tenn. This was a long march,
during which the men suffered for lack of tents and blankets, and were obliged
to forage on the country through which they passed for rations and subsistence.
One man died from exposure. The corps returned to Chattanooga on December I7th,
and the men reoccupied their former camp in Lookout Valley, where they remained
during the winter.
In April, 1864, the Eleventh and Twelfth Corps were consolidated, forming
a new corps, the Twentieth, the command of which was given to Maj. Gen. Joseph
Hooker. Under this arrangement the regiment was placed in the Third Brigade,
Third Division. The brigade, which was commanded by Colonel Wood, of the One
hundred and thirty-sixth New York, was composed of the following commands:
20th Connecticut: Col. Samuel Ross,
33d Massachusetts: Lieut. Col. Godfrey Rider,
136th New York: Lieut. Col. Lester B. Faulkner,
55th Ohio: Col. Charles B. Gambee,
73d Ohio: Maj. Samuel H. Hurst,
26th Wisconsin: Lieut. Col. Fred. C. Winkler.
The division was commanded by Maj. Gen. Daniel Butterfield, formerly chief
of staff, Army of the Potomac.
Breaking camp on May 1, 1864, the regiment started with Sherman's army on
the Atlanta campaign. With faces turned southward the men commenced the long
victorious march on which there was to be no retracing of their footsteps. The
enemy's forces were first encountered at Buzzard Roost and Rocky Face Gap, Ga.
They were driven from their position, an action in which the One hundred and
thirty-sixth participated, but with slight loss.
On May 15, 1864, the regiment was actively engaged at the battle of Resaca,
Ga., in which it sustained a loss of eighty-one in killed and wounded. In this
battle Butterfield's Division captured a battery of four brass Napoleon guns,— twelve-pounders. After daily skirmishes, the principal ones occurring at Cassville,
Dallas, New Hope Church, Kenesaw Mountain, Pine Knob, Lost Mountain, and other
localities, in some of which the fighting involved the whole regiment, the division
found itself in position July 2oth, at Peach Tree Creek. Here the line of the
Twentieth Corps was attacked by the Confederate army under General Hood, which
made repeated and desperate assaults on the Union position, only to be repulsed
with terrible loss. The men of the One hundred and thirty-sixth bore an honorable
part in this battle, during which one of their number, Priv. Dennis Buckley,
of Company G, captured the battle flag of the Thirty-first Mississippi, knocking
down the Confederate color bearer with the butt of his musket and wrenching
the colors from his grasp. While Buckley was waving the captured flag defiantly
at the ranks of the enemy a bullet fired at him struck the flagstaff, glanced,
and hit him in the forehead, killing him instantly. A year or more after the
war closed the War Department gave a Medal of Honor to be delivered to the mother
of Dennis Buckley, in recognition of his heroism at the battle of Peach Tree
Creek and the capture by him of one of the enemy's flags.
On the morning of July 22d the brigade advanced within two miles of Atlanta,
where it occupied various positions during the siege that followed. For six
weeks the One hundred and thirty-sixth lay in the trenches before the city under
fire daily, many of the men being killed or wounded while in the works, which,
towards the close of the siege, were advanced to within close range of the enemy's
lines. The Confederate troops evacuated Atlanta during the night on September
1st, and the Twentieth Corps, now under command of General Slocum, entered the
city and took possession. "Atlanta was ours, and fairly won."
With the occupation of the city came a period of rest and quiet for ten weeks,
a pleasing respite from the privations and dangers of the previous campaign.
On November 15, 1864, refreshed and strengthened by its stay at Atlanta, the
regiment started with Sherman's army on the March to the Sea. The corps was
under the command of Gen. A. S. Williams, General Slocum having been placed
in command of the left wing, which composed of the Fourteenth and Twentieth
Corps, was designated the Army of Georgia. The division was commanded by Gen.
William T. Ward, who had succeeded General Butterfield, while on the Atlanta
campaign; the regiment was under Lieutenant Colonel Faulkner.
The army arrived at Savannah, December 11, 1864, and immediately laid siege
to the city, which was evacuated on the 21st.
After a month's stay at Savannah the army started northward January 16, 1865,
on the campaign of the Carolinas, arriving at Goldsborough, N. C., on March
24th, after a march of 454 miles, part of which was made over difficult roads
and over many rivers and swamps, some of which had to be waded through. In crossing
the Edisto River the men waded half a mile in water from twelve to thirty-six
inches deep. Skirmishing with the enemy was a frequent occurrence, while a general
engagement with Johnston's army occurred at Averasborough, N. C., March 16,
1865, and at Bentonville, N. C., March 19-21, 1865. In the fighting at Bentonville,
Maj. H. L. Arnold, who was in command of the regiment, was severely wounded.
During the campaign in the Carolinas the brigade was commanded by Gen. William
Cogswell, formerly colonel of the Second Massachusetts, an able and fearless
Leaving its camp near Goldsborough, N. C., on April 10th, the regiment started
on its last, homeward march. Passing through Richmond, Va., May 11th, and then
the battlefields of Chancellorsville and Spotsylvania, it arrived at Alexandria
on the 19th. On the 24th it marched proudly in the final Grand Review at Washington,
and thence out the Bladensburg Pike, where it encamped while waiting for its
Back to 136th Regiment During the Civil War
New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs: Military History
March 20, 2006