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History of the 125th New York



The regimental history has been reproduced for those those wanting to purchase a copy of it.  The original regimental history was written by its Chaplain, Ezra Simons and is available form Higgins Books.  Other information given in this brief history were obtained from Phister's.

We add to this page as more of the history of the 125th comes to our attention.  If you have any new information on the men of the 125th that you would like to share, please feel free to contact us so we can share the information with all interested in the original 125th New York State Volunteer Infantry.




125th NY Infantry ( 3-years )
Organized: Troy, NY on 8/27/62
Mustered Out: 6/5/65 at Alexandria, VA

Officers Killed or Mortally Wounded: 15
Officers Died of Disease, Accidents, etc.: 1
Enlisted Men Killed or Mortally Wounded: 112
Enlisted Men Died of Disease, Accidents, etc.: 112
(Source: Fox, Regimental Losses)


(Three Years)

One Hundred and Twenty-fifth Infantry.-Cols., George L. Willard, 
Levin Crandell, Joseph Hyde; Lieut.-Cols., Levin Crandell, Aaron 
B. Myer, Joseph Hyde; Majs., James C. Bush, Aaron B. Myer, Samuel 
C. Armstrong, Joseph Hyde, Joseph Egolf, Nelson Penfield, William 
H. H. Brainard.


This regiment, recruited in the county of Rensselaer, was 
organized at Troy, and there mustered into the U. S. service on 
Aug. 27-29, 1862, for three years. Two days later it left for 
Harper's Ferry, where it was captured on Sept. 15, at the 
surrender of that post.


The regiment was immediately paroled and was stationed at a 
paroled camp at Chicago, Ill., for two months, when the men were 
declared exchanged and returned to Virginia in December. It was 
encamped at Centerville during the winter and in the spring of 
1863 was attached to Gen. Hays' brigade.


In June, 1863, the brigade joined the 3d division, 2nd corps, 
then marching to Gettysburg, Gen. Hays taking command of the 
division. At the battle of Gettysburg Col. Willard was killed 
while in command of the brigade and the loss of the regiment 
amounted to 26 killed, 104 wounded and 9 missing.


It distinguished itself at Bristoe Station in October, both 
officers and men fighting with dash and extreme gallantry. Its 
loss in this action was 36 killed, wounded and missing. It was 
also present at the action of Mitchell's ford, and took part in 
the Mine Run campaign, with a loss of 41 men.


Upon the reorganization of the Army of the Potomac in April, 
1864, it was transferred to Barlow's (1st) division, to which it 
was attached during the remainder of its service. It lost 28 in 
killed, wounded and missing at the battle of the Wilderness, 
where Lieut.-Col. Myer fell mortally wounded.


At the Po river and Spottsylvania its loss was 10 killed, 74 
wounded and 6 missing, while further severe losses were sustained 
at the North Anna, Cold Harbor, and the battles around 
Petersburg, where its losses aggregated 85 killed, wounded and 


Recrossing the James it fought at Deep Bottom and Strawberry 
Plains, and upon returning to the lines around Petersburg it was 
engaged in the disaster at Reams' station, losing 9 wounded and 
13 captured. It was present at Hatcher's run in December, but 
without loss. Its veteran ranks had been sadly decimated by its 
hard service and when the final campaign of 1865 opened it could 
report only 12 officers and 219 men "present for duty," although 
it still carried 547 names on its rolls.


In this campaign the regiment participated in the final assault 
on Petersburg and the engagements of Deatonsville road, High 
bridge and Farmville, where it fought its last battle. The loss 
during the campaign was 32 killed, wounded and missing. The 
total enrollment of the regiment during service was 1,248, of 
whom 15 officers and 112 enlisted men were killed and mortally 
wounded, or 10.1 per cent.; 1 officer and 115 men died of disease 
and other causes; 3 officers and 61 men died in Confederate 
prisons; 464 officers and men were killed and wounded. It was 
mustered out near Alexandria, Va., under Col. Hyde, June 5, 1865, 
having gloriously earned its title as a fighting regiment.

Source: The Union Army, Vol. 2, p. 141

(Three Years)

Colonel John A. Griswold was authorized, July 28, 1862, to 
raise this regiment in Rensselaer county; on his resignation, 
Col. George L. Willard succeeded him August 15, 1862; the 
regiment was organized at Troy and there mustered in the 
service of the United States for three years August 27-29, 
1862. The men not entitled to be mustered out with the 
regiment were, June 5, 1865, transferred to the 4th Artillery.

The companies were recruited principally: A at Hoosick 
Falls; B, D and H at Troy; C at Lansingburg, Troy, Sandlake, 
Pittstown and Schaghticoke; E at Sandlake, Stephentown, Nassau 
and Hoag's Corner; F at Troy and Poestenkill; G and I at Troy 
and New York city, and K at Schaghticoke and Troy.

The regiment left the State August 31, 1862; it served in 
the 2d Brigade, from September, 1862, at Harper's Ferry, W. 
Va., where it was surrendered; at Camp Douglas, Chicago, Ill., 
from September 27, 1862; in the defenses of Washington, in 1st 
Brigade, Casey's Division, and later 22d Corps, from December, 
1862; in the 3d Brigade of the same, from January, 1863; in the 
3d Brigade, 3d Division, 2d Corps, from June, 1863; in the 3d, 
for a time in the Consolidated, Brigade, 1st Division, 2d 
Corps, from April, 1864; and, commanded by Col. Joseph Hyde, it 
was honorably discharged and mustered out June 5, 1865, near 
Alexandria, Va.

Source: Phisterer, p. 3,477



Original 125th Roster







List of 125th's Assignments 1862-1865


  • Organized at Troy, N.Y., and mustered in August 29, 1862.

  • Left State for Baltimore, Md., August 31; thence moved to Martinsburg, Va., September 2, 1862. Retreat to Harper's Ferry, W. Va., September 11-12. Attached to Miles' Command, Harper's Ferry, W. Va., September, 1862.

  • Camp Douglas, Chicago, Ill., to December, 1862.

  • 3rd Brigade, Casey's Division, Defences of Washington, D.C., to February, 1863.

  • 3rd Brigade, Abercrombie's Division, 22nd Army Corps, Dept. of Washington, to June, 1863.

  • 3rd Brigade, 3rd, Division, 2nd Army Corps, Army of the Potomac, to March, 1864.

  • 3rd Brigade, 1st Division, 2nd Army Corps, to June, 1864.

  • Consolidated Brigade, 1st Division, 2nd Army Corps, to November, 1864. 3rd Brigade, 1st Division, 2nd Army Corps, to June, 1865.

  • SERVICE.--Defense of Harper's Ferry, West Va., September 12-15, 1862. Maryland Heights September 12-13. Bolivar Heights September 14-15. Surrendered September 15. Paroled September 16 and sent to Annapolis, Md., thence to Camp Douglas, Chicago, Ill., and duty there guarding prisoners till November, 1862.

  • Declared exchanged November 22, 1862. Moved to Washington, DC, November 23-25. Camp at Arlington Heights, Va., till December 3, and at Centreville, Va., till June, 1863.

  • Ordered to join Army of the Potomac in the field and Joined 2nd Army Corps June 25, 1863. Gettysburg (Pa.) Campaign June 25-July 24. Battle of Gettysburg, Pa., July 2-4. Pursuit of Lee to Manassas Gap, Va., July 5-24.

  • Duty on lines of the Rappahannock.and Rapidan till October.

  • Advance from the Rappahannock to the Rapidan September 13-17. Bristoe Campaign October 9-22. Auburn and Bristoe October 14.

  • Advance to line of the Rappahannock November 7-8.

  • Mine Run Campaign November 26-December 2.

  • Duty near Brandy Station till May, 1864.

  • Demonstration on the Rapidan February 6-7.

  • Campaign from the Rapidan to the James May 3-June 15.

  • Battles of the Wilderness May 5-7.

  • Spottsylvania May 8-12.

  • Po River May 10.

  • Spottsylvania Court House May 12-21. Assault on the Salient "Bloody Angle" May 12.

  • North Anna River May 23-26.

  • On line of the Pamunkey May 26-28.

  • Totopotomoy May 28-31.

  • Cold Harbor June 1-12.

  • Seige of Petersburg June 16, 1864, to April 2, 1865. Jerusalem Plank Road, Weldon Railroad, June 22-23, 1864. Demonstration on north side of the James July 27-29. Deep Bottom July 27-28. Demonstration north side of the James August 13-20. Strawberry Plains, Deep Bottom, August 14-18. Ream's Station August 25. Reconnaissance to Hatcher's Run December 9-10. Dabney's Mills, Hatcher's Run, February 5-7, 1865. Watkins' House March 25.

  • Appomattox Campaign March 28-April 9. On line of Hatcher's and Gravelly Runs March 29-30. White Oak Road March 31. Sutherland Station and fall of Petersburg April 2. Pursuit of Lee April 3-9. Sailor's Creek April 6. High Bridge and Farmville April 7. Appomattox Court House April 9. Surrender of Lee and his army.

  • Moved to Washington, DC, May 2-12. Grand Review May 23. Mustered out at Alexandria, Va.. June 5, 1865. Veterans and Recruits transferred to 4th New York Heavy Artillery.

  • Regiment lost during service 15 Officers and 112 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and 1 Officer and 112 Enlisted men by disease. Total 240.




Books about the 125th NYSVI


"125th New York's Regimental History" by Ezra Simons: Higginson Book Company, 148 Washington St., Salem, MA 01970


"Friend Jennie - The Civil War Letters of Lt. George Bryan 125th NY State Volunteers" From the collection of Joseph Stickelmyer: for purchase on Ebay or by contacting Joseph at








Francis and his brother William joined Co. K in Schaghticoke, Renssellear co.. Francis was only 16 when he musterd in as a Drummer." Col. Willard concluded to have buglers only so I received a bugal" . Francis discovered that his "lungs were too weak" for a bugal so on Sept. 9, 1863, "I gave up the bugal and took a gun". The following is a diary entry from his experience at Harper’s Ferry.

Sept. 11th. We arrived at Harper’s Ferry about daylight. Willie and I hired a boy to show us a hotel. We paid for the boy’s dinner. Willie and I paid ($1) one dollar for breakfast, dinner and supper. We slept on top of the baggage in the car. At Martinsburg the regiments slept on their arms.


Sept. 12th, Friday. At 3 a.m. the regiment took p the line of march to Harper’s Ferry (distance 22 miles), accompanied in the march, the 65th Ill Inf., 12th Ill. Cav and and Illinois Battery. When about 4 miles from Harpers Ferry, the troops were formed into line of battle, but the forces seen approaching proved to be union troops, the 8th N.Y. Cavalry, which came from Boliva Heights, to meet us. The rebel forces, under the immediate command of General Jackson ("Stonewall"), were following close after us. About 7 p.m. we were led on the field of Harper’s Ferry. In front and east of us were Loudon Heights, with the Shenandoah River between us an the heights beyond. To the left and north of us was Camp Hill, below which and to the left was the village of Harper’s Ferry. Beyond toward Maryland Heights, between which and Loudon Heights, the Shenandoa (ind. "Daughter of the Stars") meet the Potomac (Ind.-"Place of the Burning Pine") meet and move eastward. Their junction regarded as a great curiosity and an object truly grand and-magnificent. The eye take in at a glance, the (?) torrent foaming and dashing them; the picturesque top and sides of the mountains, the gentle and winding current of the river below the ridge presenting, altogeather, a landscape capable of awaking the most delightful and sublime emotions. Just behind us were Bolivar Heights. The last named, with camp hill, the village and Maryland Heights were in our position. Here were stationed the 32 Ohio and 2 companies of the 39th N.Y., with a few Maryland troops who had fallen back to this position from the advancing enemy. On the morning of the 12th, the 126th N.Y. was added to the force. Col. Dixon H. Miles was in command of all the Union Forces. General Julius White, who led the troops from Martinsburg, waiving his seniority in favor of Colonel Miles. This officer had been ordered on the 15th of August by General Wool, then in command of the department including Harper’s Ferry, to fortify Maryland Heights. This he had refused or neglected to do. He knew the importance of the position, for he had served here in the May previous. On the evening of the 12th he visited the Heights and consulted with Col. Thomas H. Ford who was directing at the front. When he retired he left word with Col. Ford, that if he found that he must withdraw he should first spike the guns. But no adequate effort was made to put the position in readiness for an assault. Our regiment (125th) was ordered out on picket. My brother and I were left with the other guards under Lt. Picket, in charge of the baggage at the R.R. Depot. When off guard, my brother and I went out (sight seeing), to visit the U.S. Armory, that was established in 1789 and in the fifties was brought into notice by John Brown’s raid. On the 12th I was on guard all night. John McConki of (my) Co. K. 125th N.Y. Vol. Inf., while on picket, told the Officer of the Day that he could not pass his post unless he said "Bunker Hill" which was the countersign. He was known as "Bunker Hill" afterwards.


Sept. 13th. Our Regiment, at daylight, returned to camp. We had hardly eating our breakfast before firing commenced. The rebels under Mclaws advancing up the heights, from the east, a feeble, broken resistance was followed by the spiking of the guns, and rolling them down the hill, the union forces were withdrawn to Harper’s Ferry, leaving Maryland Heights to the rebels, and with it the master of the situation. About 9 a.m. while we stood in knots watching the rebels running out of the woods on the opposite hill, that we were shelling, they opened fire upon us. The first shell took the head off of a horse, and killed a calavryman. We cought up our things and skedaddled down the hill, through a ravine and up to the re doubt, southward of Bolivar Heights to support the 6thIllinois Battery. In the afternoon of the 13th, from a tree top of Louden Heights, a rebel flag was waved, signaled to Gen’l Jackson, west of Bolivar Heights, that the investment of the union forces was complete. We slept on our arms all night without blankets or overcoats. Picket firing was kept up through the night when a running down the hill a rebel shell passed over my head and started down the hill in front of me, my officers hollered to me to stop, but I could not until I tripped and fell, the next moment the shell strucked a tree and exploded.


Sunday, Sept. 14th, It was a beautiful day. In the morning the rebels were seen advancing. Col. George L. Willard passed along our line asking the men "are you ready to fight them?" The response was "let them come on." The enemy did not come within firing distance, and we were soon relieved by the 3rd Maryland, and marched back to camp for breakfast. On the open plain Rev. Dr. Barlow, our chaplin was conducting a divine service (10:30 a.m.) when the rebels batteries on Loudon Heights sent their first shell at us, which fell in front of the Colonel’s tent, but did not explode. There was a scampering of them (?) parked near us. By order of Col. Willard, the regiment fell back in hasty forms (?) to a ravine in the rear of our camp and near Bolivat Heights. Some of Jackson’s forces advanced against this point but were driven back by the 3rd Maryland. Our men were placed in support of a battery. One of our men picked up a grape shot that was rolling slowly toward him, which he quickly dropped as it was hot. After dark, we were sent south of the battery on Boulivar Heights. It was a cold night and our men suffered severely, as they were destitute of their overcoats thrown away on the forced march from Martinsburg. That (14th) Sunday night the cavalry was with us, under Colonels Arno Voss and Davis, cut their way through the enveloping line and reached Greencastle, Pennsylvania, capturing on the way a large rebal train of over fifty wagons.That night the entire beleaguered force might have escaped the net entangleing them. If cavalry could make their way out, surely infantry could have done likewaise, abandoning, if need were, the guns.


The 125th's Surviving National and Regimental Colors. Originals owned by the NYS Military Museum.

Major Joseph Egolf

Colonel George L Willard

(From the New York State Military Museum website.)

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