Recruiting the 157th Regiment --- Sources of the Different Companies --- Staff and Line Officers --- Camp Mitchell --- Ordered to the Front --- In Camp at Arlington Heights --- The Regiment Assigned --- The First Death --- At Centerville --- Christmas in Front of Fredericksburg --- In Burnside's "Mud Campaign" --- Battle of Chancellorsville --- Severe Marching --- Gettysburg --- The Roll Call After the Battle --- Recruiting and Reorganization --- Engagement at Hilton Head --- An Incident --- Major Place as Provost Marshal --- Mustered Out.

This regiment was raised chiefly in Cortland and Madison counties. Company C came from the towns of Cincinnatus, Taylor, Cuyler and Willet. Company D from Marathon, Freetown, Preble and Scott. Company E from Cortland, Virgil and Harford. Company H from Homer and Truxton; and Company K from McGrawville, Marathon, Solon and Truxton. The remainder of the regiment was made up of Madison county men, except about thirty, who came from Chenango county. The regiment was ordered to rendezvous at Hamilton, Madison county, and while here on the 19th of September, 1862, was mustered into the United States service for a term of three years unless sooner discharged. The following were the regimental and line officers:---

    Colonel --- P. P. Brown, Jr.
    Lieutenant - Colonel --- George Arrowsmith.
    Major --- J. C. Carmichael.
    Quartermaster --- P. H. McGraw.
    Surgeon --- H. C. Hendrick.
    Assistant-Surgeons --- J. M. Crawe, F. D. Beebe.
    Adjutant --- O. E. Messinger.
    Company A --- Captain, J. H. Smith; First Lieutenant, George R. Seaton; Second Lieutenant, J. L. Palmer.
    Company B --- Captain, T. J. Randall; First Lieutenant, J. C. Ware; Second Lieutenant, C. H. Van Slyke.
    Company C --- Captain, Frank Place; First Lieutenant, J. A. Coffin; Second Lieutenant, Job D. Potter.
    Company D --- Captain, W. O. Dunbar; First Lieutenant, S. Z. Miner; Second Lieutenant, Luther L. Stillman.
    Company E --- Captain, B. B. Andrews; First Lieutenant, J. K. Backus; Second Lieutenant, B. F. Jones.
    Company F --- Captain, J. R. Stone; First Lieutenant, W. A. Stone; Second Lieutenant, Samuel Wickwire.
    Company G --- Captain, Abram Tuttle; First Lieutenant, W. D. Bailey; Second Lieutenant, H. Frank.
    Company H --- Captain, William Beck; First Lieutenant, ____ Buck; Second Lieutenant, George Adams.
    Company I --- Captain, William Bellinger; First Lieutenant, T. W. Priest; Second Lieutenant, William Snider.
    Company K --- Captain, N. M. Daniels; First Lieutenant, William Barnum; Second Lieutenant, L. V. Kinney.

    The following constituted the non-commissioned staff:---
    Sergeant- Major --- B. S. Fitch.
    Quartermaster-Sergeant --- C. O. Newton.
    Commissary-Sergeant --- A. W. Kingsbury.
    Hospital Steward --- ----- Paige.
    Drum-Major --- Alexander Bates.

    On the 25th of December the regiment left Camp Mitchell for the front. They arrived at Albany on the morning of the following day, where a stand of colors was presented them, and soon afterward the regiment was en route for New York city, where they arrived in the evening, and passed the night in City Hall Barracks. In a few days they were ordered to Washington, and went into camp temporarily on Arlington Heights. On Tuesday, the 30th of September, the first march of the regiment was ordered to Camp Chase. On the 11th of October marching orders were received, and when reveille was sounded, long before daybreak on the following morning, the tents were quickly struck, and the regiment was soon ready for the advance. After a weary march they arrived at Fairfax Court House, where the regiment was assigned to the First Brigade, Third Division of the Eleventh Corps, under General Franz Sigel. The division was under command of General Carl Schurz.

    While at Fairfax Henry Richardson, of Company G, being employed on a detail to prepare a place for hospital tents, was struck by a stray bullet and instantly killed. Had Richardson moved his head but slightly, the fatal missile would have struck Major Carmichael, who was standing very near him. The death of Richardson cast a gloom over the entire regiment, and the scene when his lifeless body was taken away was one of the deepest sadness.

    The regiment remained here about three weeks, when they were ordered to Centerville. After a few weeks here marching orders were received, and on the 15th the regiment joined Burnside's army; here the organization was ordered to prepare for inspection, in prospect of their taking part in the battle of Fredericksburg, which was then in progress. Christmas was passed in front of Fredericksburg. On the 19th of January the regiment was ordered to prepare for march at an hour's notice, with three days' rations. On the morning of the 20th camp was struck, and the columns started on the advance. One of the characteristic Virginia rain storms soon afterward began, and within two hours the movement of artillery and the pontoon trucks was impossible. On the morning of the 21st the enemy, with full knowledge of the movement, had posted near the river at Kelly's Ford, "Burnside stuck in the mud," a legend in which there was, unfortunately, too much of truth.

    The regiment was ordered into winter quarters in a fine oak forest, known as Oakland Farm, where the erection of quarters was begun. These were scarcely finished when orders were received, on the 5th of February, before daylight, from Colonel Brown in person, to be ready to move at dawn.

    The next day's march was through mud and rain, and on the afternoon of the 6th the column halted and went into camp about two miles from Burke's Station. The 157th participated in the battle of Chancellorsville on the 2d of May, where the loss in killed and wounded was quite heavy. The regiment was forced to leave their killed and wounded on the field in the hands of the enemy. Colonel Brown, in speaking of the part taken by the regiment in this engagement, says" "The 157th did its duty well. My officers proved themselves brave and efficient men, and the behavior of the regiment was such as to give full confidence to the future." The colonel placed the number of killed, wounded and missing in this engagement at one hundred and three; the list, however, was imperfect, as the number greatly exceeded Colonel Brown's estimate.

    On the morning of May 5th the regiment returned to their camp, where they remained until the 12th of June, when marching orders were received, and they advanced a distance of nine miles, camping near the old grounds at Hentwood Church. The march of the next day was one of great severity. A tramp of twenty-five miles in the month of June, on a dusty thorough-fare, under the scorching rays of a southern sun, is not a pleasure jaunt by any means, and members of the 157th who read these lines will remember that welcome bivouac in the green woods at the close of this day's fatiguing march.

    After many days of severe marching, of which the reader has already gained an idea in the history of the 76th regiment, the 157th reached the bloody field of Gettysburg, in which it performed honorable service and lost many of its brave men and officers. At the close of the great struggle it was a sad sight to look upon the thinned ranks of the 157th; of the five hundred men who two days before marched up to meet the enemy, less than three hundred now remained. A relic of those bloody hours remains in the roll call taken on an envelope with a pencil, by Major Carmichael. It reads as follows:---

    "First roll-call after first day's battle at Gettysburg, evening of July 1, 1863. Co. A, six privates, one corporal, one sergeant; Co. B, five privates, one corporal; Co. C, six privates, one corporal, one sergeant; Co. D, six privates, one corporal, one sergeant; Co. E, two privates, Co. F, five privates, two corporals, one sergeant; Co. G, seven privates, two corporals; Co. I, two corporals. Total, thirty-nine privates, eight corporals, four sergeants. Total fifty-one."

    Many prisoners were taken from the regiment and were hurried off to those so-called prisons, life in which was far more to be dreaded than death on the battle-field.

    Colonel Brown being ordered north, the command of the regiment devolved upon Major Carmichael. On the 25th of July the march was taken up for Warrenton Junction, a distance of thirteen miles, where they remained until the 1st of August, when they marched to Greenwich and went into camp. On Monday, the 3d of August, the troops marched to near Catlett Station, and on the 6th at midnight orders came to the division to proceed to the depot, packing everything for a passage to Alexandria. Taking the cars they arrived at that city on the morning of the 8th. At noon they boarded a steamer, which transported them down the Potomac to Hampton Roads, and thence to Newport News, where they arrived the following day. On the morning of the 10th the regiment boarded a steamer for passage to Charleston, S. C., and on the afternoon of the 12th they crossed the bar at Stony Inlet and disembarked on Folly Island. Here they remained until the 16th, when they were marched up the beach to the Rope Ferry where they crossed to Morris Island and proceeded to the front on three days' picket duty. The regiment remained in camp at Folly Island until February 7th, when marching orders were received. In a contest with the enemy soon after the 157th lost one man from Co. I and one wounded.

    Near the close of April, 1864, a recruiting party returned to the regiment, Colonel Carmichael bringing with him a stand of colors presented to the regiment by the citizens of Cortland county. Soon after the regiment proceeded to Jacksonville, Florida, where the brigade was dissolved. An order dividing the regiment into two commands was received on the 20th of April. The larger, of six companies, to-wit, A, B, C, D, E, and F, under Colonel Brown, was to be stationed at Fernandina, while the remaining companies, G, H, I, and K, under Lieut.-Colonel Carmichael, where to proceed to Picolata, about forty-five miles above Jacksonville, on the St. John's.

    On the 21st of April the regiment broke camp and moved to boats, the band and regimental colors of blue going with Col. Brown, while the Cortland banner remained with Lieut.-Col. Carmichael. On the 15th of June the 157th was at Hilton head, with Col. Brown again in command. Here a new brigade was formed, consisting of the 157th, 144th, 41st New York Vols., and the 104th Pennsylvania, under command of Col. Davis, of the latter regiment. The 157th was in the engagement which took place near Charleston the 5th of July, and lost one man taken prisoner. On the 28th of November companies A, B, C, G, and H, under command of the lieutenant-colonel, left Fort Pulaski for Hilton Head. The regiment was in the engagement at Honey Hill, where thirty men were wounded, Captains McWilliams and Lieutenants Grant and Forbes among the number. The battle of Honey Hill was a sharp contest, and the 157th added new laurels to those already honorably won. In the engagement the 157th and the 56th were fighting side by side, when the former fell back for ammunition. The enemy, observing this movement, increased their forces at that point and drove back the 56th. At this juncture Col. Carmichael ordered up the 157th, commanded them to charge and they dashed in upon the enemy, checked their onslaught and, driving them back, re-established the line. Loss, forty men.

    On the 5th of December a reconnaissance in force was made on the Coosahatchie Road, where Col. Carmichael came near losing his life. The incident is related as follows by a private of the regiment: "Reaching a clearing on the right of the road, the line was wheeled to the right, to face an earthwork or redoubt on a knoll beyond, having an embrasure for one gun. Two or three rebel cavalrymen were discovered near the work, who disappeared, leaving the scene apparently rebelless. Col. Carmichael, evidently disliking the appearance of the place, halted his line when within easy musket range, and, with two cavalrymen, proceed to reconnoitre the position. The colonel had passed one-third of the distance round when a volley was poured from a force of the enemy secreted in the redoubt; the cavalrymen wheeled and withdrew, but the horse of the colonel was struck by a ball and threw its rider. The colonel arose from the tall grass, when another volley was fired at him. By that time the 157th's skirmishers were excited, and, without orders, commenced a rapid fire. The colonel ordered the men to cease firing, and crawling through the grass and bushes, succeded in getting to the rear without a bullet wound, yet severely injured by the fall from his horse."

    On the 9th of December the regiment participated in an engagement, losing fifteen wounded, one mortally. February 27th, 1864, five companies of the 157th, D, E, I, H, and K, embarked for Georgetown, S. C. About a week afterward the remainder of the regiment followed. The quarters of the 157th at this place were in stores on Main street. The town was guarded by a provost-guard under Major Frank Place, as provost-marshal. Lieut.-Col. Carmichael commanded the regiment and Col. Brown the post. The Georgetown post was made a center for recruiting negro soldiers, and in consequence of orders from headquarters, promulgated to that effect, the country in that vicinity was nearly depopulated of blacks, who hurried within the Union lines. Among these uncultured people Major Place was a magnate of superlative greatness. He gave a patient ear to their many grievances and even solemnized marriages and granted divorces for them.

    The garrison of Georgetown consisted of the 157th and four companies of the 107th Ohio. On the first of April they were reinforced by the 25th Ohio, four companies of the 56th New York, six companies of the 107th Ohio, 54th (colored) Massachusetts, 32d U. S. C. T., two companies of the 4th Massachusetts Cavalry, and a section of artillery for the purpose of forming an expedition into the interior of the State. April 5th the column moved off. Gen. E. E. Potter, commanded the expedition; Col. P. P. Brown, the Second Brigade; and Lieut.-Col. Carmichael, the 157th Regiment. The night of the 5th was passed in the vicinity of Potato Ferry, on Black River. At six o'clock on the following morning the march was resumed, and after a severe tramp they encamped near Kingstree. The following night they went into camp at Montgomery's plantation, and the night of the 8th was passed at Brewerton. April 9th the march was again taken up, and, when within two miles of Dingle's Mills, they were informed that a battery of three guns commanded the approach to Sumpterville, and that the battery was located on the opposite side of a swamp one mile wide, and covering the road leading through it. Preparations were immediately made to capture the battery, and after the several positions had been taken up by the various commands, the 157th was ordered to the front, and Company I thrown forward as skirmishers, under command of Col. Carmichael.

    When nearly through the swamp the men were fired upon by the enemy's skirmishers, and one man wounded. Company I immediately returned the fire, when the colonel ordered the firing to cease, and halted his men. At this juncture the firing of the enemy also ceased, and they hailed to learn who the advancing party were. The answer, "The 157th New York Volunteers" had hardly ceased to reverberate through the tangled wildwood, ere the enemy again opened a sweeping fire. Emerging form the swamp, the colonel halted his command behind a fence in front of the rebel position, and awaited the arrival of his regiment, which had become scattered. While waiting for his men to collect, an aid of Gen. Potter came through the swamp to ascertain the position, and the colonel's reply was, "Wait ten minutes, captain, and you can return to the general by way of the road." During this time the enemy directed a brisk fire with grape and canister, and scarcely had one-half of the regiment formed in line, when Col. Carmichael gave the order to charge. With a yell the men leaped the fence, and with a double-quick charged the battery, from which the enemy fled, leaving their guns and colors, together with their dead and wounded on the field. It was a dashing exploit, reflecting great credit upon the men of the 157th and their gallant commander. Colonel Carmichael's loss was twenty-two killed and wounded, and that of the enemy much greater.

    Succeding the engagement at Dingle's Mills, the 157th participated in a spirited contest at Lampter and Rafting Creeks. On the 10th of July, 1865, the rolls were finished and the regiment mustered out of service, the work being completed August 1st.

    The following is a list of battles participated in by this regiment; Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Hagerstown, Fort Wagner, siege of Charlestown, first and second John's Island, Camp Milton, Honey Mill, Partridge Hill, Deveaux Neck, Statesburg, Dingle's Mills, Lampter Creek, Rafting Creek.

Transcribed by Tim Stowell - April / May, 2006.

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