An 86th New York Reenacting Organization...

The 86th New York Volunteer Infantry, Company E

The 86th New York is an authentic Civil War reenacting unit based in the Southern Tier of New York State. The 86th New York reenactors were formed originally during the Civil War centennial events in the 1960s as a Skirmish Association unit, making us one of the oldest Civil War groups in the state. In the 1980s the group took on a new endeavor as a reenacting unit that participated in battle reenactments and living history events throughout the eastern United States. Since this time the unit has gone through many changes, but still has the same goal of honoring the original members of one of the best Civil War regiments to leave New York State.

Our membership hails mostly from Chemung and Steuben Counties – as did the membership of the original regiment – although we do have members in other areas as well, such as in Pennsylvania. As an organization we are always looking for recruits. Recruits must be at least 16 years old to carry a rifle and to participate in most soldier activities. We also have a civilian contingent known as the Elmira Soldiers Aide Society, which portrays an organization that actually existed during the war.

In the field we portray the 86th as it would have appeared on the campaign or on the march. This means no excess baggage. Everything we carry, we carry on our backs, just as the original soldiers did. Our main impression is of the 86th New York during Grant’s Overland Campaign in 1864. During this period of time, from May to June 1864, the regiment was reduced from 450 men to only 75 men, with many companies having less than 10 men left.

If you would like to know more about our unit, or if you would like to know how to join, email us at

During the war, the soldiers of the 86th New York Infantry established a close bond with their comrades in the 124th New York Infantry. Today, our reenactment organization often cooperates with the 124th New York State Volunteers, a reenactment unit that portrays this historic sister regiment of the 86th New York.

“The 124th has been brigaded with ours since the last bull run battle. It was got up in Orange County. It is as fine a regiment as there is in the Army of the Potomac. It was commanded by Col. Ellis. The Col. was killed in the battle of Gettysburg on the 2nd inst., and so was Maj. Cromwell of the same regiment. They were brave and able officers and their loss will be severely felt by the regiment and deplored by all who admire courage and patriotism.”

This web site is not affiliated with the 86th New York reenactment group, but the information on this page is provided as a service to our friends in that organization.

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MARCH 25, 2011