Site hosted by Build your free website today!

Elmira Prison Camp OnLine Library

Submitted Information - Union Index - Union Troops - 50th NY Engineers

50th NY Engineers
Organized: Elmira, NY on 10/22/61
Mustered Out: 6/14/65 at Fort Berry, VA

Officers Killed or Mortally Wounded: 1
Officers Died of Disease, Accidents, etc.: 1
Enlisted Men Killed or Mortally Wounded: 19
Enlisted Men Died of Disease, Accidents, etc.: 206
(Source: Fox, Regimental Losses)


Fiftieth Infantry.:

The 50th, known as Stuart's regiment, and later as the 50th engineers, was organized at Elmira, of companies from the middle and western parts of the state, which were mustered into the U.S. service Sept. 18, 1861, for a three years' term. The companies were mustered in the service of the United States for three years at Elmira, A and D September 18; B August 16, C and F September 17; E August 29; G and H September 16; I August 26, and K September 30, 1861. October 22, 1861, the regiment was converted into and designated the Fiftieth, Regiment of Engineers. Two new companies, L and M, mustered in the United States service for three years in December, 1863, and January and February, 1864, joined the regiment in December, 1863, and February, 1864, respectively. Quite a number of men enlisted for this regiment in 1864 were assigned to the 15th N. Y. Volunteer Engineers. At the expiration of its term of service the men entitled thereto were discharged and the regiment continued in service.

The companies were recruited principally: A at Addison, Bath, Lodi, Painted Post and Savona; B at Auburn, Elmira, Geneva, Syracuse, Waterloo, and Honesdale, Pa.; C at Chemung, Elmira, Rome and Union; D at Elmira, Fulton, Geneva, Ogdensburgh, Oswego, Syracuse and Watkins; E at Buffalo, Elmira, Maine, Niagara Falls, North Hector, Penn Yan and Rome; F at Geneva, Elmira, Oswego, Potsdam and Union, and at Scranton, Honesdale, Mt. Pleasant and Moscow, Pa.; G at Caroline, Elmira, Greece, Hornellsville, Maine and Millport; H at Elmira, Maine, Malone, Ogdensburgh, Potsdam, Watkins, and at Williamsport, Pa.; I at Elmira, Geneva, Owego and Union, and at Hancock and Scranton, Pa.; K at Elmira, Ovid, Savona, Seneca Falls and Union; L at Rochester, Buffalo, Canandaigua, Elmira and Phelps; and M at Albany, Buffalo, Canandaigua, Elmira and Owego.

The regiment left the State 850 strong on September 20, 1861, and served as infantry at Washington, D. C., from September 22, 1861; in the 3d Brigade, Fitz-John Porter's Division, from September 30, 1861; as engineers at Alexandria, Va., receiving instructions in engineering duties, from October 22, 1861; in the Volunteer Brigade of Engineers, Army of the Potomac, from March, 1862. A detachment also served for a time in 1863, in the 8th Corps, Middle Department, and Company I, with General Sheridan from February, 1865, to Appomattox Court House, Va. Commanded by Col. William H. Pettes, the regiment was honorably discharged and mustered out at Fort Berry, Va., June 13 and 14, 1865.

In March, 1862, with the volunteer engineers' brigade, Army of the Potomac, the 50th moved to Yorktown and worked faithfully in digging trenches, constructing bridges and earthworks, etc., until the evacuation of that city. At White House the command was divided into several detachments, which were engaged in escort duty and bridge building until reunited at Dispatch Station on June 1, when the regiment was employed in providing for the passage of the troops over the Chickahominy.

It accompanied the army through the Seven Days' battles to Harrison's landing, where it was again separated, one detachment being sent to Hampton, Va. When the regimental headquarters was transferred to Hampton in August, a detachment was left behind at Harrison's landing, but on Sept. 3 the regiment was reunited at Washington.

Four companies were detached on Sept 12 and ordered to Harper's Ferry, where they were engaged in constructing pontoons and later returned in charge of two of the pontoons to Washington, leaving a part of the detachment behind. Another detachment was sent to the vicinity of Fredericksburg with these boats, and the headquarters of the regiment were transferred to Acquia creek, leaving one company at Washington.

Great assistance was rendered by the 50th in laying the bridges before the battle of Fredericksburg, when they were under continuous fire from the enemy's sharpshooters. Until July 17, 1862, the 50th was enrolled on the state records as an infantry regiment, but an act of Congress of that date accepted it as a regiment of the volunteer engineer corps, of the same rank as the regular army engineer corps.

After passing the winter in the neighborhood of Fredericksburg, the regiment joined in the Chancellorsville campaign, where it aided effectively in conveying the army across the river and was highly praised by Gen. Benham. At Deep run in June the 50th suffered the loss of 11 in killed, wounded and missing, while engaged in laying a bridge.

Cos. A, C, F, G, H and K remained in the field during the summer of 1863 and the others were stationed in Washington. In Dec., 1863, about three fourths of the regiment reenlisted and received their veteran furlough. At the opening of the Wilderness campaign in May, 1864, the 50th was again divided, one detachment assigned to the 2nd, one to the 6th, and one to the 5th corps, one company remaining in Washington.

In the winter of 1863-64 two new companies were added to the regiment and the ranks filled with new recruits. During the operations of the Army of the Potomac in May and June, 1864, the main work of the regiment was that of laying bridges at various points notably one 2,010 feet long, across the James.

At Petersburg the regiment was in demand at all points for work of construction and repair on the fortifications, and it also assisted in destroying railroads. During its long service the men became very proficient in engineering and through its steadiness under fire is said to have lost during the last year of its service no bridge material of any kind. In addition to their other works, the 50th NY Engineers also built the Gothic style Poplar Grove Church. This church provides the name of the Poplar Grove Cemetery at Petersburg.

With the fall of Petersburg and the subsequent abandonment of Richmond, the combined Armies of the James and Potomac pursued Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia westward. By this time the 1st, 15th and 50th New York Engineers had all been formed into the Engineer Brigade. Four Companies were detailed to enter the burning Capital of the Confederacy to down the self inflicted conflagration that was visited on the city in its final hours. At least one of the Companies so employed was from the 1st New York Volunteers. Meanwhile to the west the remainder of the regiment was shoring up bridges and repairing roadways, building field works and batteries in support of the on rushing Union Armies. The last mention of the regiment in combat comes at Farmville on the eve of the day before the surrender at Appomattox Court House, were they were employed building batteries for field artillery.

The 1st Regiment New York Volunteers was mustered out of service, along with the 15th and 50th Engineers, on July 15th, 1865, after having gone the distance from the first assault on the Confederacy to the death blow dealt at Appomattox.

The original members not reenlisted were mustered out at New York in Sept., 1864, and after participation in the grand review at Washington, the veteran organization was there mustered out on June 13-14, 1865. The loss of the regiment by death from wounds was 17 and by death from disease and other causes 214.

Source: The Union Army, Vol. 2, p. 86

Service Listing