New York State Volunteers
The Salt Point Rangers
"The Fourth Onondaga Regiment"
History of the 149th NYSV
James F. Gates, enlisted as private in the 149th NYSV on August 30th, 1862 at the age of 21. He was a member of Company E. He was wounded on June 27th, 1864 at Kenesaw Mountain ,GA. He mustered out of Company E, 149th Regiment New York Volunteers on June 12th, 1865 in Bladensburg, MD.
On the 20th day of August, 1862, The War Committee at Syracuse announced their intention of organizing another regiment. Immediately men authorized by it began erecting recruiting shanties on public squares and streets in the city, and began recruiting to fill the ranks of what was then called the "Fourth Onondaga Regiment".
The men took up residence in Camp White, located at the old Fair Grounds, just outside of the city limits. On the 8th of September, the regiment received uniforms, and on the 18th day of September they were sworn into service of the United States. On the 21st they received knapsacks, canteens, and blankets.
On the 23rd of September, the regiment departed for the Seat of War aboard cars of the NYC railroad, via Geneva, Elmira, Williamsport, Baltimore, and Washington. The regiment arrived in Geneva around 1pm, and then boarded three steam launches to transport them down Seneca Lake. They arrived near Watkins Glen and then again boarded train cars to Elmira.
While in Elmira, the regiment received their muskets, to the men's disappointment they were the British Enfield type, and not the preferred Springfield. Along with the muskets they received bayonets and accoutrements, but oddly enough, no scabbards for their bayonets.
The first official casualty of the regiment occurred while en route to Washington from Baltimore, aboard cars of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. Without scabbards in which to stow their bayonets, the men fixed then in a reversed fashion on the muzzles of their muskets. One soldier had carelessly allowed the muzzle of his piece to protrude from an opening in the box car, the muzzle was struck by a lumber train traveling on a track along side them in the opposite direction. The bayonet was sent careening through the air and entered into another hole further back in the same car. The bayonet upon reentering the car, struck a man in the face, effectively taking out an eye and permanently disfiguring the man. He was discharged upon reaching Washington.
Originally entering service as part of the 12th Corp, under General Slocum, the regiment would later become part of the newly formed 20th Corp, but always would serve under the white star.
The Colonel of the Regiment was Col. Henry A. Barnum. Col. Barnum had been a Capt. in the 12th N.Y. and served with McClellan during the Peninsula Campaign. He was shot through the hip at Malvern Hill, and was left for dead. He ended up in the hands of the enemy but was later paroled. He was thought dead by the Union forces, and a body that was thought to be his was sent home to Syracuse for burial. He later returned to Union lines much to the surprise of all whom had thought he was dead. Being recovered from his injury, he was given the Colonelship of the newly formed 149th NYSV. Col. Barnum would survive the war and by it's end would receive the Congressional Medal of Honor, and hold the Brevet rank of Maj. General of U.S. Vols.
Lieut. Col. of the regiment was Charles B. Randall. He too was formerly of the 12th N.Y. and became part of the 149th in March of 1863. Col. Randall was severely wounded at Gettysburg, and was disabled for several months. He returned to the regiment to take command from September 29th of 1863 to July 20th of 1864 when he was killed at Peach Tree Creek.
The regiment captured many enemy colors, which were sent back home to Syracuse to be displayed in many store front windows with pride. Six men of the 149th NYSV received the Congressional Medal of Honor for the acts of bravery. The men of the 149th NYSV distinguished themselves in many engagements, including Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Lookout Mountain, Missionary Ridge, RingGold, Resaca, New Hope Church, Peach Tree Creek, the Atlanta Campaign, and Sherman's March to the Sea.
The 149th would go on to be part of the Grand Review in Washington after Lee's Surrender at Appomattox. By the end of it's service, they had suffered over 600 casualties and 211 deaths, and would be recognized as one of the top 300 fighting regiments.
For more photos of original members of the 149th NYSV, click below.
For a complete list of battles fought and losses, click below.
To read the transcribed letters of Ike Foster of Co. G, click below.
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