of the 66th
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.
The Sixty-sixth New York Volunteers were organized in New
York City during the summer of 1861 by Col. Joseph C. Pinckney. Its first camp
was at Elm Park. It was intended to be a reorganization, as volunteers, of the
old Sixth New York State Militia, known as the Governor's Guard, which had already
served three months under Colonel Pinckney.
By accessions from this regiment and the consolidation of
several small organizations, it finally became a regiment of about 900 men.
The regiment is credited by the Adjutant General of the State
with a total loss during the war of 9 officers and 88 enlisted men killed. Four
officers and 120 enlisted men died of disease — total, 221 deaths. Also
272 officers and men wounded, 235 missing, making a total of 728.
A loss of 728 men is, without doubt, very nearly the total
loss of the regiment during the war, from all causes, but it is not accurate
as to the statement of comparative number killed, wounded and missing; also
died of disease.
The regiment is credited with a loss of 1 killed, 10 wounded, and 59 missing
at the battle of Chancellorsville. Many of the missing here were either killed
or wounded, and left on the field. At this battle, the regiment, with others,
held that portion of the line commanded by Colonel Miles. After Miles was wounded,
the command devolved upon Col. O. H. Morris, and it was always thought that
some of the credit of holding the line should have been given to Morris. It
was a difficult position, and was held to the last moment possible. The Sixty-sixth
only retreated after a Delaware regiment on its left had been captured. Many
were wounded. The retreat was extremely dangerous, and the wounded were left
in the hands of the enemy. Some were burnt to death, without doubt, as the woods
took fire. Of the 59 missing then, it is fair to assume that many were killed
or wounded. Finally, Capt. Daniel Munn, who commanded the regiment for a time
after the capture of Colonel Hammell at Petersburg, in a letter to the writer,
says: "You wished me to give a statement of the losses during the Wilderness
campaign. I can give a statement of the losses sustained by the regiment from
May 2, 1864, to December 30, inclusive. I rendered a report to army headquarters
in triplicate, giving the losses by company, in killed, wounded and missing,
by name, and the date of the disability. I simply give the company and their
aggregate losses during the above-mentioned period.
"I omit the loss by company, but the total was 65 killed, 100 wounded
and 89 missing. Most of the missing were captured on the I7th of June at Petersburg,
and many of them died in prison."
Captain Munn goes on to say: "When the regiment, April
30, 1864, broke camp, it numbered 265 enlisted men and officers. Our losses
were 254 enlisted men and officers, killed, wounded and missing. The regiment
gained by recruits and men returned from hospital, during the above period.
The morning after your capture, the regiment numbered but 70 men and officers."
It is hard to reconcile this report with that of the Adjutant
General of the State, except on the supposition that the State reports were
made up from first reports made by regimental adjutants, when there was an uncertainty
about the fate of the missing, while Munn's report was made after more accurate
information had been obtained.
As to Gettysburg, no accurate account will be attempted.
The loss of 5 killed, 29 wounded, and 10 missing, was made on the second day,
and is probably a fair percentage of those engaged. Capt. Elijah F. Munn was
the first man killed — his death occurring just before the charge through
the Wheat-field, and, while holding position on the left centre. A solid shot
passed through his body. Most of the loss was met in the Wheatfield, and the
road just beyond. Colonel Morris and Lieutenant Colonel Hammell were both wounded.
Capt. George H. Ince was killed, and Lieutenant Banta shot through the lungs.
And, here, in the woods, at about the most advanced point reached by the regiment
in its charge on the enemy, the State of New York has erected a monument to
the memory of the men who died there.
Back to 66th
Regiment During the Civil War
New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs: Military History
March 27, 2006