86th Regiment
New York Infantry

“Steuben Rangers”

Organized at Elmira and mustered in November 20, 1861. Left State for Washington, D.C., November 23, 1861. Attached to 2nd Brigade, Casey’s Division, Army of the Potomac, to March, 1862. Wadsworth’s Command, Military District of Washington, to August, 1862. Piatt’s Brigade, Whipple’s Division, to September, 1862. 1st Brigade, 3rd Division, 3rd Army Corps, Army of the Potomac, to June, 1863. 2nd Brigade, 1st Division, 3rd Army Corps, to March, 1864. 1st Brigade, 3rd Division, 2nd Army Corps, to June, 1865.

SERVICE: Duty in the Defenses of Washington, D.C., until August, 1862. Pope’s Campaign in Northern Virginia August 16–September 2. Duty in the Defenses of Washington until October. Moved to Point of Rocks, thence to Pleasant Valley, Md., October 18-19. Movement toward Warrenton, Va., October 24–November 16. Reconnaissance to Manassas Gap, Va., and skirmish November 5-6. Movement to Falmouth, Va., November 18-24. Battle of Fredericksburg, Va., December 12-15. Duty near Falmouth until April 27, 1863. “Mud March” January 20-24. Chancellorsville Campaign April 27–May 6. Battle of Chancellorsville May 1-5. Brandy Station and Beverly Ford June 9. Gettysburg (Pa.) Campaign June 11–July 24. Battle of Gettysburg July 1-3. Pursuit of Lee July 5-24. Wapping Heights, Va., July 23. Duty on line of the Rappahannock until October. Bristoe Campaign October 9-22. Advance to line of the Rappahannock November 7-8. Kelly’s Ford November 7. Mine Run Campaign November 26–December 2. Duty near Brandy Station until 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. Before Petersburg June 16-18. Siege of Petersburg June 16, 1864, to April 2, 1865. Jerusalem Plank Road, Weldon Railroad, June 22-23, 1864. Demonstration north of the James July 27-29. Deep Bottom July 27-28. Demonstration north of the James August 13-20. Strawberry Plains, Deep Bottom, August 14-18. Poplar Springs Church September 29–October 2. Boydton Plank Road, Hatcher’s Run, October 27-28. Reconnaissance to Weldon Railroad December 9-10. Dabney’s Mills, Hatcher’s Run, February 5-7, 1865. Watkins’ House March 25. Appomattox Campaign March 28–April 9. Boydton and White Oak Roads March 29-31. Crow’s House March 31. Fall of Petersburg April 2. Sailor’s Creek April 6. High Bridge and Farmville April 7. Appomattox Court House April 9. Surrender of Lee and his army. At Burkesville until May 2. Moved to Washington, D.C., May 2-12. Grand Review May 23. Mustered out June 27, 1865.

Regiment lost during service 13 Officers and 159 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and 2 Officers and 129 Enlisted men by disease. Total 303.

From A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion by Frederick H. Dyer.

  • Nickname - Steuben Rangers

  • Recruitment Area:
    • Company A - Syracuse
    • Company B - Addison
    • Company C - Corning
    • Company D - Hornellsville
    • Company E - Elmira
    • Company F - Corning
    • Company G - Canisteo
    • Company H - Troupsburg
    • Company I - Steuben County
    • Company K - Woodhull

  • Dates of Service:
    • Mustered in: Nov. 20-23, 1861 at Elmira
    • Mustered out: June 27, 1865 near Washington, DC

  • Colonels:
    • Benjamin P. BAILEY
    • Benjamin L. HIGGINS

  • Casualty Totals:

     Officers             9
     Enlisted            92
     Officers             5
     Enlisted            67
     Officers            16
     Enlisted           379
     Officers             1
     Enlisted            63
         TOTAL          632

 Died of disease and other causes
     Officers             3
     Enlisted           134
     As POW              17
         TOTAL          154


From New York in the War of the Rebellion by Frederick Phisterer.

Eighty-sixth Infantry. – Cols., Benijah P. Bailey, Benjamin L. Higgins, Jacob H. Lansing, Nathan H. Vincent; Lieut.-Cols., Barnard J. Chapin, Benjamin L. Higgins, Jacob H. Lansing, Michael B. Stafford, Nathan H. Vincent, Luzern Todd; Majs., Seyman G. Rheinvault, Benjamin L. Higgins, Jacob H. Lansing, Michael B. Stafford, Nathan H. Vincent, Frederick Van Tine, Luzern Todd, Samuel H. Leavitt.

The 86th, known as the Steuben Rangers, was recruited in Steuben, Chemung and Onondaga counties, mustered into the U.S. service at Elmira, Nov. 20 to 23, 1861, and left for Washington on Nov. 23. It passed the first winter in the performance of guard duty at or near Washington and was not ordered to the front until Aug., 1862, when it joined the forces under Gen. Pope and lost 118 in killed, wounded and missing at the second Bull Run.

It then moved to Fredericksburg, participated in the battle there with the 1st brigade, 3d division, 3d corps, and then went into winter quarters near Falmouth. It bore a prominent part in the battle of Chancellorsville, was engaged at Brandy Station, and was in the thick of the fight at Gettysburg.

Moving southward via Wapping Heights, Auburn and Kelly’s ford, no further loss was met with until the Mine Run campaign, when the regiment lost 32 in the action at Locust Grove. At Brandy Station, where the Army of the Potomac made its winter quarters, a large number of the regiment reenlisted and received their veteran furlough in Jan., 1864, and the 86th continued in the field as a veteran regiment.

Camp was broken in April for the Wilderness campaign, the regiment being assigned to the 1st brigade, 3d division, 2nd corps, with which it fought through all the battles of that memorable advance toward Richmond, meeting its heaviest loss at the Po river, where 96 were killed, wounded or captured.

It accompanied its brigade and division to Petersburg shared in the first assault, the engagements at the Weldon railroad, Deep Bottom, Strawberry Plains, Poplar Spring Church, the Boydton road, the Hicksford raid, Hatcher’s run and in the Appomattox campaign, winning renown as a fighting regiment.

It was commonly named “The fighting regiment of the Southern Tier.” Out of a total enrollment of 1,318, the regiment lost 98 killed in action, 73 died from wounds, and 153 from other causes during service. The loss in officers was also heavy. Lieut.-Col. Chapin was killed and Maj. Higgins severely wounded at Chancellorsville, and Lieut.-Col. Stafford fell before Petersburg.

From The Union Army, Vol. II.

86th New York Portrait Gallery

Roster of the 86th Regiment, New York Infantry

The Civil War Diaries of William Owen
Co. K, 86th Regiment, New York Infantry

Letters Written by Augustus W. Canfield
Co. D, 86th Regiment, New York Infantry

Letter from First Lieutenant Stephen A. Baley
Company H, 86th New York

Civil War Letters from Elias P. Jordan
Company H, 86th New York Infantry

Historical Sketch of the 86th
Maj. Samuel H. Leavitt

Col. Nathan H. Vincent
Portrait and Biographical Album, Mecosta County, Mich.

Gettysburg Diographs by Dennis Morris
Portraying the 86th New York in Battle on July 2, 1863

The 86th New York Volunteer Infantry, Company E
An 86th New York Reenacting Organization

A Note to Descendants of Members of the 86th
New York, and to Others Who Are Interested
in the History of the Regiment

Regimental Monument, Gettysburg, Pa.

...Chaplain Jonathan Watts of the 86th New York Volunteers, a.k.a. the “Steuben Rangers”...was a Methodist Episcopal pastor who had such strong feelings for the cause that he opened his own recruiting office in Hornell. “If you will attack this government, ordained by God, you must be struck down,” thundered Chaplain Watts. His fiery orations converted some 300 soldiers at a prayer meeting in Falmouth, Virginia.

Jim Lesch, “‘Faith of Ancestors’ fills Hector Church,” The Odessa File.


86th Infantry Regiment - Civil War
(New York State Military Museum)

Diary of Isaac Rathbun, Co. D, 86th N.Y. Volunteers
(New York State Military Museum)

Civil War Diary of Captain N. S. Baker, Co. G, 86th New York Vols.
(Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County)

86th New York Infantry Regiment
(Stone Sentinels)

86th New York Infantry
(The Historical Marker Database)

William G. Raymond - U.S. Vol. Hospital Chaplains, 86th N.Y.
(Civil War Gazette)

Biography of Clark S. Carr
(Our County and Its People: A Memorial History of Tioga County)

Henry Hill
(2nd Bull Run, Aug. 30, 1862)

Anderson Attacks the Wheatfield
(Gettysburg, July 2, 1863)

Gettysburg Monuments: 86th New York Infantry
(AOL Video)

124th New York Volunteer Infantry
(“Sister-Regiment” of the 86th New York)

History and Times of the 124th New York Volunteers
(another web site)

David Jay Webber’s

Dedicated to the memory of George Ellis (1818-1888), Company E, 86th New York Infantry; the site host’s great-great-great-great-grandfather.
“Remember the days of old; consider the generations long past” (Deut. 32:7).



Web Sites Maintained by David Jay Webber


APRIL 25, 2004

alternate URL for this web page: