of the 95th
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.
On June 12, 1863, the First Army Corps, commanded by Maj.
Gen. John F. Reynolds left its camp near White Oak Church, Va., and started
northward in pursuit of the Confederate army, which was also moving northward
bent on the invasion of Pennsylvania. The Ninety-fifth New York at this time
was in Cutler's (Second) Brigade, of Wadsworth's (First) Division, First Corps.
The brigade roster stood as follows:
Second Brigade: Brig. Gen. Lysander Cutler
7th Indiana: Col: Ira G. Grover
76th New York: Maj. Andrew J. Grover
84th New York: Col. Edward B. Fowler
95th New York: Col. George H. Biddle
147th New York: Lieut. Col. F. C. Miller
56th Pennsylvania: Col. J. W. Hofmann.
After a series of marches and halts — the marches,
long, hot, and tiresome — the division arrived on June 30, 1863, at Marsh
Run, four miles south of Gettysburg, where it bivouacked that night. At a muster
made that day the Ninety-fifth reported 24 officers and 239 men present for
duty. This number, however, included several who might properly be classed as
noncombatants, as their duties did not require them to follow the colors into
Leaving Marsh Creek on the morning of July 1st, at 8 o'clock,
Wadsworth's Division, which had the advance of the corps that day, started for
Gettysburg, Cutler's Brigade leading the column. When within about one mile
of the town information was received that the enemy was approaching Gettysburg
on the Chambersburg Pike, and that Buford's Division of cavalry was already
engaged with the Confederate skirmishers. General Reynolds ordered Wadsworth's
Division to leave the Emmitsburg Road at the Codori House and march across the
fields in the direction of the firing, which then could be distinctly heard.
Pushing forward at a rapid pace Cutler's Brigade struck the Chambersburg Pike
about three quarters of a mile west of Gettysburg, at 10 o'clock, and went into
action immediately, relieving Buford's hard-pressed cavalrymen. Wadsworth arrived
none too soon, for two strong Confederate divisions — Heth's and Fender's
— were already moving to the attack.
General Wadsworth placed three of Cutler's regiments on the
north side of the pike, and then sent the Ninety-fifth and Eighty-fourth (Fourteenth
Brooklyn) New York along the south side of the McPherson farm buildings, where
the two latter regiments became engaged immediately. The three regiments on
the right of the road were driven back in time by the superior force of the
enemy, whereupon Colonel Fowler of, the Eighty-fourth, who was in command of
the two detached regiments, ordered them to about face and fall back, a movement
which was done slowly and in good order. After retiring a short distance the
two regiments changed front, and attacking the successful Confederates on the
flank drove them back to the line of an unfinished railroad grade, where they
sought shelter in a deep cut, whose steep, rocky sides afforded no opportunity
for escape after they were once penned up in it. Here several hundred Confederates,
belonging to Davis's Mississippi Brigade, were captured with their colors and
sent to the rear. In this brilliant affair the Eighty-fourth and Ninety-fifth
New York were assisted by the Sixth Wisconsin, which formed in line on Fowler's
right. Colonel Biddle, of the Ninety-fifth, was wounded early in the fight and
retired from the field, the command devolving then on Maj. Edward Pye, who was
ably assisted by Capt. James Creney, senior captain of the regiment.
The success at the railroad cut was only temporary, and the brigade retired
to a position near the Lutheran Seminary, the men of the Ninety-fifth assisting
in dragging off the field a piece of artillery from which the gunners had been
driven by the enemy. The brigade reformed, and advancing again reoccupied the
ground which the three right regiments occupied at the opening of the battle,
and where they had delivered the opening volley of the battle of Gettysburg.
Here they were outflanked for the second time, and obliged to fall back to Seminary
Ridge where, by changing front, they delivered an effective fire which was of
great assistance to the troops of Robinson's (Second) Division, and which contributed
largely to the capture of Iverson's North Carolina Brigade.
Driven from the ground by largely superior numbers, the First and Eleventh
Corps fell back through the streets of the town and occupied Cemetery Hill,
Wadsworth's Division occupying a line on the adjoining slope of Culp's Hill.
Cutler's Brigade threw up breastworks here, in which the Ninety-fifth remained
during the succeeding two days of fighting. The regiment lost 7 killed, 62 wounded,
and 46 captured or missing; total, 115, out of less than 250 engaged. Nearly
all these casualties occurred in the battle of the first day. Many of the missing
were killed or wounded men who were left on the field, and who fell into the
hands of the enemy when the Union troops were obliged to retreat. Some of the
missing were men who, with one of the officers, were captured as they fell back
through the town, and whose escape was cut off by the swiftly-pursuing Confederates.
The Ninety-fifth Regiment was raised in New York City. Recruiting for it commenced
in November, 1861; but an organization was not effected until March 6, 1862,
when George H. Biddle, who had been active in the work of recruiting, was commissioned
colonel. Seven of the companies were raised in New York City, one at Haverstraw,
one at Sing Sing, and one in Westchester County. James B. Post was commissioned
lieutenant colonel, and Edward Pye, major.
Arriving in Washington March 19, 1862, the regiment was placed in General
Wadsworth's command and stationed at Camp Thomas. After a short stay at the
Capital it crossed the Potomac into Virginia and camped at Aquia Creek. In May,
1862, it was assigned to Doubleday's Brigade, with which it served in Pope's
campaign. Under command of Lieutenant Colonel Post it was under fire for the
first time in the fighting near Gainesville, Va., August 28, 1862, one of the
actions connected with the second battle of Manassas or Bull Run. It was also
engaged the same day in fighting at Groveton, and was under fire again on the
3Oth, its losses in this battle amounting to 23 killed and wounded, and 90 missing
or captured, a total of 113. Many of the missing were also killed or wounded.
Doubleday's Brigade at this time was in Hatch's (First) Division, of McDowell's
Corps. Upon the reorganization of the army after Pope's defeat and retirement,
McDowell's Corps became the First Corps of the Army of the Potomac. Doubleday's
Brigade — Second Brigade, First Division — was composed of the Seventh
Indiana, Seventy-sixth and Ninety-fifth New York, and Fifty-sixth Pennsylvania.
The brigade participated in the Maryland campaign, and the regiment, commanded
by Maj. Edward Pye, was engaged at the battles of South Mountain and Antietam,
although its casualties in these two battles were comparatively slight. Colonel
Biddle commanded the regiment at Fredericksburg, December 13, 1862, where the
regiment lay under a heavy artillery fire. Casualties: 1 killed and 3 wounded.
After returning from the field of Fredericksburg the entire army went into winter
quarters, the First Corps encamping near Belle Plain at Aquia Creek. Upon the
opening of the Chancellorsville campaign, the Ninety-fifth accompanied the First
Corps on its march down the river to Pollock's Mill, a place below Fredericksburg,
where on April 29-May 1, there was some sharp skirmishing and considerable artillery
firing, during which two men of the regiment were wounded. On the morning of
May 2d (1863), the First Corps started for Chancellorsville to join the main
army, and after a hard march arrived there at dark. Taking position on Hooker's
extreme right it was present, but not engaged in the great battle of May 3d.
Some firing occurred along its picket line in which the Ninety-fifth lost two
men wounded. Defeated and driven back from his selected position at the Chancellor
House, Hooker withdrew his forces across the river, and his army returned to
the abandoned camps from which they had started a few days before flushed with
a confidence in success and coming victory.
Gettysburg having been fought and won, the Ninety-fifth accompanied Meade's
army in pursuit of the retreating Confederates, and recrossing the Potomac shared
in the numerous marches, counter-marches, and fruitless maneuvers which occupied
the army during the succeeding summer and fall. Colonel Biddle and Lieutenant
Colonel Post resigned in October, 1863, whereupon Maj. Edward Pye was commissioned
colonel, and Capt. James Creney was made lieutenant colonel, both of which were
merited, well-deserved promotions.
The regiment took part in the movement on Mine Run, November 26-De-cember
2, 1863, during which it encountered some fighting on the skirmish line, but
with few casualties. After this campaign the Army of the Potomac went into winter
quarters, and the men of the Ninety-fifth erected comfortable cabins at their
camp near Culpeper, Va., in which they remained during the following winter
and spring. The health of the regiment was good, and as the men had no severer
duty than ordinary drill and dress parades, the winter passed quickly and pleasantly
away. The most of the original members re-enlisted and went home on veteran
furlough. Some recruits were received, and when the spring campaign opened the
old regiment, although not strong numerically, was in the highest state of efficiency.
In April, 1864, the War Department ordered the organization of the First Corps
discontinued and merged in that of the Fifth. The brilliant record of the. First
Corps, and the gallant services which it had rendered on so many hard-fought
fields deserved better treatment from the Government than this. But the orders
were final, and the First Corps flag was furled.
Under this new order of things the old brigade to which the Ninety-fifth belonged
became the Second Brigade — under General James C. Rice — of Wadsworth's
(Fourth) Division, Fifth Corps. The corps was commanded by Maj. Gen. Gouverneur
K. Warren, one of the ablest and most brilliant generals in the Army of the
On May 4, 1864, the regiment bid good-bye to the comfortable quarters in which
they had passed a pleasant winter, and started on the long and bloody campaign
which, under Grant's leadership, was to know no end until victory and peace
were assured. Crossing the Rapidan at Germanna Ford the men bivouacked at 3
p. m. for the night. On the following day, May 5th, the march was resumed at
7 a. m., and about noon the brigade encountered the enemy in force in the Wilderness,
near Parker's Store. Companies A, E, and I, of the Ninety-fifth were deployed
as skirmishers, but the Union troops being driven back, the Confederates captured
all of Company E, and part of Companies A and I. The brigade suffered severely
in this fight, but did not abandon its ground until left without support on
either flank. It was engaged again the next day, from 6 a. m. until 3 p. m.,
during which the Ninety-fifth made a charge on the enemy's position, forcing
the withdrawal of a battery which had proved very annoying. Captain Burn of
the regiment was killed in this fighting. Later in the day General Wadsworth
was killed while cheering on the brigade. Lieutenants Osburn and Woodrow, of
the Ninety-fifth, were also killed in this battle.
The regiment marched to Todd's Tavern on the 7th, and on the 8th went into
action at Spotsylvania, where it shared in the hard fighting each day from May
8th to May 12th. In the charge on the enemy's works, May 10th, General Rice,
the brigade commander, was seriously wounded, and died after suffering amputation
of his leg.
The regiment was engaged also at the battle of the North Anna, May 24th, and
at Bethesda Church (near Cold Harbor) May 3O-June 2. In the fighting at the
latter place Colonel Pye, of the Ninety-fifth, was mortally wounded, dying ten
days later of his injuries. In his death the regiment sustained a serious loss,
as he was a gallant and efficient officer. The losses of the regiment during
the month of May, 1864, were:
Date. BATTLE. Killed. Wounded. Missing. Total. May 5-7, Wilderness 18 64 92
174 May 8-12, Spotsylvania 6 51 8 65 May 24-26, North Anna 1 6 1 8 May 30-31,
Bethesda Church I 11 .... 12 Total 26 132 101 259 Leaving Cold Harbor, June
12th, the army marched to Petersburg, the regiment crossing the James River
on the pontoons, June 16th, at 11 a. m.
The next day it arrived at Petersburg, and took position in front of the enemy's
works. On the 18th it participated with the corps in the unsuccessful assault
on the entrenchments, during which Lieutenant Colonel Creney, who was in command
of the regiment, was severely wounded. Its casualties in this assault were 8
killed, 37 wounded, and 1 missing; total, 46; a severe loss in view of the small
number carried into action. The command of the regiment now devolved on Maj.
Robert W. Bard.
On August 18, 1864, the regiment marched with the Fifth Corps to the Yellow
House, on the Weldon Railroad, where a severe engagement occurred on August
18th and 19th.
While holding this line on the 21st, the enemy attacked the pickets about
eight in the morning, and drove in the left of the line, capturing Company E
and part of Company C. Major Bard was severely wounded while engaged in withdrawing
the pickets. During this affair on the picket line Priv. R. Smith, of the Ninety-fifth,
a mounted orderly at brigade headquarters, succeeded in capturing 2 officers
and 20 men of Hagood's (Confederate) Brigade who, having become separated from
their command, were trying to make their way back through a piece of woods.
For this meritorious act Private Smith was awarded a Medal of Honor by the War
Department. The casualties in the Ninety-fifth at the battle of the Weldon Railroad
were: 6 killed, 20 wounded, and 52 captured; total, 78.
Colonel Creney, having recovered from his wound, rejoined the regiment in
the latter part of August. The regiment, now numbering only 213 muskets, was
present at the battle of the Boydton Road, October 27, 1864, and took part also
in the Hicksford Raid, December 7-11, 1864, where it assisted in destroying
a long piece of the Weldon Railroad, burning the ties and then twisting the
rails after they had become heated in the fires thus built. During the intervals
between these movements and engagements the regiment lay in the trenches before
Petersburg engaged in the various duties and undergoing the dangers incidental
to that long, memorable siege.
On February 6 and 7, 1865, the regiment took part in the battle of Hatcher's
Run, or Dabney's Mill, an engagement which was fought almost entirely by the
Fifth Corps. The Ninety-fifth numbered at this time 6 officers and 247 men.
Gen. Henry A. Morrow, who commanded the brigade in this battle, speaks in terms
of praise in his official report of Colonel Creney, who was severely wounded
in this action. The loss in the regiment was 2 killed, 33 wounded, and 2 missing;
But the campaigns of the Ninety-fifth were drawing to a close, and on March
31, and April 1, 1865, it fought its last battle. The fighting on March 31st
is known as the battle of Gravelly Run, or White Oak Road, while the action
on the following day (April 1st) is known as that of Five Forks. Under command
of Capt. George D. Knight the regiment was engaged both days. On the second
day, at Five Forks, it took into action only 6 officers and 88 men. Its casualties
in the two days' fighting were 4 killed, 63 wounded, and 9 missing; total, 76.
The regiment, in company with the Fifth Corps, pushed on in pursuit of Lee's
retreating army, and was present at the final surrender at Appomattox.
Back to 95th Regiment During the Civil War
New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs: Military History
March 30, 2006