|Unit History Project|
9th Regiment, New York Volunteer Infantry
Taken from New York (State). Bureau of Military Statistics. 3rd Annual Report of the Bureau of Military Statistics. Albany: The Bureau, 1866, 88-101.
NINTH REGIMENT INFANTRY, N. Y. S. V. The Nith Regiment infantry, N.Y.S.V., or " Hawkins Zouaves aves," was organized in the city of New York in May, 1861. It had for its origin a company of about sixty men organized as Zouaves in the autumn of 1860 by Col Rush C. Hawkins, a gen-tleman who had served in a regula regiment during a part of the war with Mexico. Around this nucleus some seven hundred and eighty men had gathered early in April, 1861.
On April 23d six companies were mustered into the State ser¬vice, and on the 27th the remaining four were accepted; and on the 4th of May the several companies were mustered into the service of the United States by Captain S. B. Hayman, Seventh U. S. infantry. On the 13th of May (Special Order 176) it was num¬bered and accepted into the State service, and the election of the following field officers confirmed, viz: Rush C. Hawkins, colonel; George F. Betts, lieutenant colonel, and Edward A, Kimball, major. May 8th, and 30th, it received forty Springfield and six hundred and eighty percussion muskets, the latter model of 1842, caliber 69. May 29th, the State Board ordered $9,700 to be applied to the payment of the cost of uniforms and equipments for its non-commissioned officers and privates. June 5th, it received one hundred common and eighteen wall tents, and on the same day left New York on steamers "Marion" and "George Peabody" for Fortress Monroe. To assist in the organization of the regiment, $7,820 was expended by the Union Defense Com¬mittee of New York city. The expenditure by the State on account of the regiment up to the 15th of August, 1861, was $38,856.77, exclusive of subsistence and quarters. The regiment arrived at Newport News on the 9th of June, and was assigned to Phelps' brigade. In August, in company with the "Turner rifles" (Twentieth New York), it went on an expedition up the Peninsula. On the 27th of August, three com¬panies went to Hatteras Inlet, N. C., with Gen. Butler, where they landed through the surf and cut off the retreat of the enemy; and on the 13th of September the other seven companies were sent to the same place. It remained at Hatteras Inlet until the 3d of February 1862, when it was selected as one of the regiments for the Burnside North Carolina expedition—Gen. J. C. Parke's brigade—Gen. A. E. Burnside commanding coast division. It reached Roanoke Island on the 7th, landed in the evening of that day, and the next morning participated in the attack on the forts and the capture of the island. In this engagement it rendered distinguished service in a splendid charge along the causeway, and carried the enemy's works at the point of the bayonet. It lost thirteen men wounded in this action, three of whom subse¬quently died. On the 11th of February it re-embarked on transports, on the 18th embarked on gunboats and went on an expedition up the Chowan river, and on the 20th drove the enemy from the town of Winston, landed and destroyed their stores and burned the town.
On the 5th of March the regiment again disembarked on Roan¬oake Island, and took up its quarters in the barracks built by the enemy. On the 6th the Ninth and Eighty-ninth New York and Sixth New Hampshire were organized into a brigade under com¬mand of Col. Hawkins. On the 7th of April, companies I and K, with other troops, went on an expedition to Elizabeth city, routed a force of the enemy and captured about seventy-five prisoners. On the 16th the regiment embarked on the transport " Ocean Wave," started for Elizabeth city, and landed the same night at a point some three miles below. The plan of this movement was to surprise and destroy the canal locks at South Mills. For this pur¬pose Col. Hawkins' brigade was to move by a circuitous route to a point some twenty miles distant, and thereby cut off the retreat of the enemy, while a force of two regiments, under Gen, Reno, was to attack them from the front. Owing to the treachery of a guide who misled his command, Col. Hawkins' brigade failed to get in the rear of the rebel forces. Gen. Reno's column taking the direct road soon found the enemy and engaged them near Camden, N. C. Col. Hawkins' command soon arrived on the field, and a severe action ensued. Col. Hawkins formed the Ninth in line of battle and ordered a charge with fixed bayonets supported by the Eighty-ninth. The enemy seeing this approach, turned upon it all their field pieces and musketry. Cob Hawkins was severely wounded, and many of his subordinate officers also suf¬fered, and the command was thrown into temporary confusion The regiment was soon rallied; however, by Lieut. Col. Kimball, and again led forward. Meantime the Eighty-ninth came up, and the two regiments moved forward. The enemy hurled its artillery and musketry on the Eighty-ninth, then in the advance, and then broke, and fled from their strong entrenchments in confusion. During the whole affair the Ninth behaved with great gallantry. They had landed in the night and waded on shore through water waist deep, stood in line of battle until two o'clock A. M., and then marched about thirty miles in their wet clothes, and finally, although weary and exhausted, led the charge on the enemy that changed the whole order of battle and accomplished decisive results. In this action the regiment lost nine killed, fifty-nine wounded and eight missing. After a few hours rest, it marched back to the steamer and returned to the island. On the 7th of May, company C, on board the " Shawshane," went up the Chowan river to the town of Gatesville, landed and destroyed a large amount of commissary stores belonging to the enemy. On the 11th of June, company F proceeded to Plymouth, N. C., and remained there in charge of the town. On the 10th of July, the regiment embarked on transports and went to Norfolk, Va., and encamped at Old Fort Norfolk on the 12th. The regi¬ment was now acting as a part of the 12th brigade (Col. Hawkins), 3d division (Gen. Rodman), 9th army corps (Gen. Burnside). On the 24th of July, it left Norfolk and encamped at Newport News; August 3d, left Newport News and encamped at Falmouth Station; August 5th, marched to Aquia Creek; September 4th, embarked for and encamped near Washington, D. C.; September 7th, left Washington and marched to Frederick, Md., where it encamped on the 12th.
The 9th corps now became a part of the Army of the Potomac. On the 13th of September, the regiment advanced beyond Jeffer¬son, Md., as skirmishers to clear the road of the enemy, and returned the same night; September 14th, marched to Middle¬town, and afterwards to South Mountain, during which action it was engaged in supporting a battery of the left center; September 15th moved forward and encamped near the enemy's lines; Sep¬tember 16th, took position in line of battle, at Antietam, on the left center, and, on the 17th, forded Antietam creek, charged on the enemy, and was heavily engaged during the entire day, with a loss of forty-four killed, one hundred and seventy-five wounded, and eighteen missing. At night it encamped, near the field of battle. (See report of Lieut. Col. Kimball, appended.) On the 18th, it moved to the left as pickets; was relieved, fell back and encamped. September 19th, marched four miles and encamped; September 21st, company K, with its guns, was detached, and proceeded to and occupied Loudon Heights, Va.; September 26th, regiment changed camp to the other side of Antietam creek, near the iron works; October 7th, crossed the mountain at Solomon's Gap, and encamped at Pleasant Valley; October 28th, crossed the Potomac at Berlin and marched through Virginia to Gaskin's Mills, where it encamped; October 31st, com¬pany, G detached as body-guard to Gen. Burnside; November 15th, moved and continued on to Falmouth Station, where it arrived and encamped November 19th; November 2lst, company K reported from Loudon Heights.
On the 11th December, the regiment moved across the Rappahannock river at Fredericksburg, as a part of Colonel Hawkins' brigade of General Getty's division, Ninth corps (then under General Wilcox), in General Sumner's right grand division, and on the 13th was engaged in supporting a battery in the center. In this action it lost one killed, eight wounded, and six missing. On the night of the 15th it re-crossed the river and returned to camp at Falmouth Station, where it was joined, on the 26th, by company F, from Plymouth, N. C.; remained here until about the 1st of February, when the Ninth corps was sent to Newport News and placed under the command of General Wm. F. Smith. The regiment was then sent to Suffolk, Va., where, on the 11th of April, Lieutenant Colonel Kimball, who had commanded it the most of the time from the affair at Camden, was shot by General Corcoran, under circumstances that require no explanation in this report. The regiment remained at Suffolk, until the expiration of its term of service, just prior to which time (April 28th,) General Dix appealed, by general letter, to its members to remain for a few days longer, or " long enough, at least, to supply " its place "by another regiment." Although fully appreciating the motive which prompted this appeal, the regiment declined the request, and the officers passed a resolution, upon which Colonel Hawkins based his reply to General Dix that the regiment had honorably fulfilled every requirement made, upon its entering the service; that its activity had been such that not five per cent of its mem¬bers has visited their homes on furlough; that it had "changed its camp twenty-nine times, spent five months upon the sand-banks of Hatteras, and lost over four hundred men (killed and wounded) in two years," and that it could with justice require that trans¬portation to New York should be furnished on the 3d of May. It was well known that the enemy had commenced to raise the siege before this appeal of General Dix was made. Transporta¬tion was furnished, and the regiment "returned without arms or equipments. The regiment reached New York on the the steamber "Kennebec" on the 5th of May, and was received in the most enthusiastic manner. During its period of service the regiment had 1,380 men. Out of this number about 500 were killed, wounded, or died of acci¬dent or disease; 420 recruits and re-enlisted men were transferred to the Third New York (then reorganizing,) and remained at Sullolk, and 250 original members returned to the State.
On the 29th of May, 1863, (Special Orders 252), [Assem. No. 71.] the re-organization of the regiment was authorized—Edward Jardine, late major, to be colonel; William G. Barnett, late captain, to be lieutenant colonel, and James B. Whiting, Jr., to be major. A considerable number of its old members re-enlisted, but, the work of recruiting being slow, the men enrolled wore consolidated with the 17th New York, October 14, 1863. (Special Orders, 805.)
Lieut.-Col. KIMBALL'S Report of battles of South Mountain and Antietam.
Colonel—I beg to report that in accordance with your orders I left Frederick with my regiment on the morning of the 13th, and took position about three miles on, the Jefferson road. I here received orders from Col. Bush, of the United States Lancers, to reconnoitre the enemy, who was reported in front in position with artillery and cavalry. I did so by throwing forward company B, Lieut. Bartholomew, on the left, who soon reported the enemy as having left the position he occupied the night before, with three guns and a small cavalry force, and the road in front clear. Mean-while, I detached companies C and H, Capt. Parisen and Lieut. McKechnie, to the, right in the woods, who soon discovered, engaged and drove a large picket force of the enemy's cavalry across the fields toward Middletown. While the operations were going on, I advanced the main body of. my regiment, consisting of five infantry and one battery company, with five howitzers, on the main road as far as Jefferson, as support to the lancers. It was my intention to cut off the retreat of the enemy's cavalry, at the junction of the roads between Middletown and Jefferson, but the pursuit and fire of Capt. Parisen was too vigorous, and the enemy's horses too fleet, for the accomplishment of this purpose. I then received your order to return and bivouac at Frederick, which I accomplished about eleven o'clock at night, after a hard day's work of sixteen hours and a march of eighteen miles. Although meeting no large force of the enemy, I may properly say that this was the commencement of the series of successes which for the next six days crowned the efforts of our army, and resulted in driving the rebel troops from Maryland soil.
After returning to Frederick an alarm of fire was given, and it was discovered that the jail was in flames. By your order I detailed companies B, G and K, to assist the provost guard on the occasion, which duty they performed with alacrity, assisting to work the engines and guarding the, prisoners till two o'clock on the morning of the fourteenth. The utmost praise is due to officers and men for their patience and determination during the entire day and night, to be ready for any emergency that might offer. In an hour after we took up our line of March on the Middletown road, and proceeding about ten miles at a quick pace, we found the enemy in a very strong position, high up in what is called the South Mountain, where we arrived at about four o'clock in the afternoon. Our troops had already engaged the enemy's right wing, and were forcing him back with great slaughter, when your brigade was ordered to take position on the left of the road and support a battery of four pieces, which it did successfully, the Eighty-ninth regiment resisting, at the point of the bayonet, a charge of the enemy, in the most gallant and admirable manner. Being upon the extreme left of the brigade, the ninth did not receive the main attack of the enemy which was so furiously made on the left, although in position to take any advantage of any circumstance that might offer. In this battle we lost one man wounded, who was at a little distance from the regiment.
The slaughter of the enemy during the afternoon had been most awful. The Ohio troops being the principal ones engaged on our side, and pitted against the enemy, consisting mostly of North Carolina troops. Upon seeing the arrival of fresh troops, the rebels broke and fled in disorder. This ended the second day's campaign from Frederick. Again I have to thank all officers and men of the regiment for the discipline exhibited on this occasion, and cheerful obedience to every order, although nearly exhausted with fatigue, hunger and want of sleep.
After bivouacking on the field, we again marched on the 15th, and on the evening of the 16th, after dark, took position in front of the enemy's right wing, your brigade being on the extreme left of our own forces, and a small creek (the Antietam) between us and the enemy.
In accordance with your orders I immediately threw forward company C, Capt. Parisen, to act as picket guard and skirmishers, which duty was most admirably performed, our pickets frequently engaging the enemy's sharpshooters during the night and keeping them at bay.
At daylight on the morning of the 17th, six of the rebel guns commenced shelling us, with such effect as to compel us to change our position. The Ninth lost here in wounded twelve men.
After changing our positions still further to the left, I directed, in accordance with orders from the General commanding the bat¬tery, company K, Capt. Whiting, to open fire on the enemy's battery, across the creek, which we did, soon silencing it. Immedi¬ately after this we were ordered to ford the creek and form in line of battle on the bluff opposite, directly in front of the enemy, which order was promptly executed, pushing his entire line of skirmishers back from the creek, and compelling him to retire to his main force on his left, we proceeding by the right flank along the bluff of the creek for about three-fourths of a mile to the brow of a hill, till within about eight hundred yards of the enemy's main body of artillery and infantry. Here we halted for rest, when the rebels opened an unmerciful fire of shot and shell upon us, killing and wounding a number of my regiment, and shooting my horse from under me by the explosion of a shrapnel.
We were soon ordered to advance, which was promptly done, the different battalions moving in line of battle, and dressing on their colors, with as much coolness and accuracy as though upon the drill ground instead of the battle field. After proceeding about two hundred yards you ordered the charge to be made, when we rushed forward with a wild huzzah, peculiar, to the Zouaves, and immediately received the fire of thousands of the enemy's fresh troops, consisting of artillery and infantry, which had been brought forward to meet us. At this time the gallant Cooper fell. A shell fell in my lines, killing eight men at one explosion; a round shot took off private Conway's head. While the infantry fire was like hail around and among us, producing the most dreadful carnage, not a man who was not wounded wavered or faltered, but all pressed on with charged bayonets to the top of the hill and drove the enemy from his position.
At this time our color-bearers and guard had all been shot down, when Capt. Lebair, of company F, seized one, and Capt. Leahy, of company I, the other of our standards, and advanced them to the wall near the road, when the rout of the enemy at this point, became complete. After crossing the road and ravine the enemy promptly rallied and attempted to turn upon us by a flank movement on our left, but were prevented by the Eighty- ninth, under command of Major Jardine of the Ninth, who gave them the bayonet, and captured their colors, which proved to be those of a South Carolina regiment, and completing the victory at this point.
After resting here for a short time, and finding the enemy massing fresh troops in large force-on our left, we were ordered to retire and take position about four hundred yards in the rear of the one we then occupied, which change was executed in good order and without confusion. After remaining in this position for a short time we were positively ordered to withdraw from the greater part of the field we had won. The men retired in good order, at a slow step, and with tears in their eyes, at the necessity which compelled them to leave the field they had so dearly won, and bivouacked for the night. Thus ended one of the hardest battles ever fought on this continent' * * * [End of Kimball's report.]
New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs: Military History