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Manuscript Collections

 

 

Collection 141

Anonymous

"War Records of the 25th New York Vol[unteer] Cav[alry] 1863 and 1865," n.d.

 

 

Processed by

Jim Stephens

 

Edited by

Carla Z. Tobias

 

Monmouth County Historical Association
70 Court Street
Freehold, New Jersey

 

August 1999

 

INTRODUCTION

Organization of the 25th Regiment, New York Cavalry (also known as the Sickles Cavalry, named after New York Congressman Major General Daniel Sickles) was authorized by Governor Horatio Seymour on September 4, 1863. It received its numerical designation on January 15, 1864. The recruits for this regiment came from throughout the state of New York, primarily from the cities of Saratoga, New York City, Brooklyn, Schenectady, Kingston, Poughkeepsie, Tarrytown, Troy and Plattsburgh. Recruiting proceeded slowly. Companies A and B were mustered into the army on February 20, 1864, but Companies L and M were not fully recruited and mustered until mid-October 1864. Due to the recruiting difficulties, the companies of the 25th were forwarded to the army individually.

The first companies of the 25th Regiment to take the field were assigned to the 22nd Corps, responsible for the defenses of Washington, DC, in April 1864. In June, the 25th was transferred to the Provost Guard (military police) of the Army of the Potomac. They were assigned to protect the supply depot at White House Landing, Virginia, along the York River. It was while at this base that the 25th received it's first taste of combat when a detachment of Confederate cavalry attacked the post on June 20, 1864. The base at White House Landing was discontinued following the repulse of the rebel horsemen and the 25th helped to escort the wagon train that carried the supplies to the Army of the Potomac's new base at City Point on the James River.

When troops under the command of Confederate General Jubal Early threatened Washington, DC in July 1864, the 25th New York Cavalry was among the regiments rushed to the capital's defense. They participated in the successful defense of Fort Stevens, a fight that was witnessed by President Lincoln who observed the struggle from the fort's ramparts.

Following the defense of Washington, the 25th Regiment joined the First Division of the Cavalry Corps of Major General Philip Sheridan's Army of the Shenandoah. During the fall of 1864 they participated in major engagements at Opequan and Fisher's Hill. When the bulk of Sheridan's command was transferred back to the Army of the Potomac, the 25th was one of the regiments that stayed behind in the Shenandoah. They remained there until the end of the war in April 1865. The 25th Regiment returned home to New York in June, when they were mustered out of the army on June 27 at Hart's Island, having suffered the loss of one officer and 65 enlisted men during their term of service.

 

DESCRIPTION OF COLLECTION

This collection consists of a 27 page handwritten account of the 25th Regiment's service entitled "War Record of the 25th New York Vol. Cav. 1863 and 1865.". The author and date of this account are not noted or known. The first two pages, which give a brief synopsis of the regiment's service, are noted as "Copy from New York in the War of the Rebellion taken from A.G. of New York reports." "A.G." is most likely "Adjutant General."

The next 19 pages appear to have been copied from official dispatches and reports concerning the engagements at White House Landing and Fort Stevens. Among the documents copied are reports and dispatches from Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant, Major General Philip H. Sheridan, Major General Horatio G. Wright, Major General Christopher Auger, Brigadier General Seth Williams and Brigadier General J.J. Abercrombie. These documents are followed by a two page list entitled "Engagements which 25th NY Vol. Cav. took part." The list runs from June 1864 to March 1865. Another two page list, entitled "Roll of Honor of the 25th N.Y. Vol. Cav.," records the regiment's dead. The account is ended with a transcript of Brigadier General George A. Custer's report on the Battle of Opequan, Virginia, September 19, 1864. The 25th NY Cavalry is mentioned in the report five times. The person who transcribed the document underlined each mention of the 25th in red.

This account is an excellent place to start for researchers investigating the history of the 25th New York Cavalry. It is also useful for the reports concerning the engagements at White House Landing, Fort Stevens and Opequon, which were written by notable generals. While this account lacks intimate details of the organization and activities of the 25th New York Cavalry, it does provide a helpful tool for researchers investigating the 25th, the cavalry of the Army of the Potomac and the Army of the Shenandoah, or the fighting at White House Landing, Fort Stevens and Opequan. There are no known connections in this collection to Monmouth County, New Jersey. For a complete list of the MCHA's Civil War holdings, see the librarian for a copy of the guide to the MCHA Civil War collections.

No material was separated from this collection.

 

Provenance: Unknown

Restrictions: None

Number of Items: One

 

Bibliography

1. Amann, William Frayne. Personnel of the Civil War, Volume 2: The Union Armies. New York: Thomas Yoseloff, 1961.

2. Dyer, Frederick. A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion, Volume 3: Regimental Histories. New York: Thomas Yoseloff, 1959.

 

 

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This page last updated 31 July 2008.

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