The 143d Regiment New York Infantry Volunteers was recruited in the counties of Sullivan and Tompkins. Companies A. B. C. E. F. G. H. & K. were recruited in Sullivan, D. & I. were first recruited in Tompkins but not being full were filled after coming to the 143d N. Y.
The first authority to recruit in Sullivan county, in 1862 was given by Col. Ellis, in July, he was then raising the 124th, which was to be raised in the counties of Orange and Sullivan; August 12th, 1862, authority was obtained to recruit a regiment in Sullivan and the companies forming for the 124th were turned over to the county organization. The regiment not filling up as fast as desired arrangements were made with two companies then raising in Tompkins county. Capts. Higgins and Marvin brought what men they had, and some companies in Sullivan county, not filled, were consolidated with these two companies and some other of the companies not filled and the regiment was brought up to maximum strength.
The regiment went into camp at Camp Holley, near Monticello, N. Y., early in September, and companies D. and I. joined the regiment the last of September. The regiment was mustered in by Lieut Crowley, for 3 years, Oct. 8th, 1862, and the regimental colors were presented by the citizens of Sullivan county, October 9th. Hon. O. B. Wheeler made the presentation speech. The regiment started for the front, October 10th, 1862, marched to Middletown, N. Y., from there by rail; they lay some two days in New York city, in barracks then standing where the present Postoffice Building is situated. When they reached Washington they were assigned to the defences of that city, and put on picket and fatigue duty, in Virginia, and were camped at Upton's Hill, Va., first, then later at near Cloud's Mills, Va., and in April, 1863, they were sent, with other troops, to the relief of Sulfolk, Va. After the siege of Sulfolk, was raised, with other troops, under Gen. Keys, went to West Point, Va., and after Chancellorsville was fought they went to Yorktown, Va., June 1st, and then up to White House, Va., reaching there June 27th and starting back for Yorktown July 8th, reaching there 10th inst. and so on to the transports, and sent to Washington, and from there, by rail, to Frederick City, Md., which place was reached July 12, and then was sent out to reinforce Meade's army, then lying near Hunkstown, Md. A few days later Gen. Meade's army followed Lee's army into Virginia and the regiment crossed the Potomac, near Berlin, Va., and marched to near Warrington Junction, Va., where they went into camp. They lay until in September, 1863, when, after the battle of Chickamauga, Ga., was fought by Gen. Rosecrans, Gen. Joseph Hooker was sent west to the relief of Gen. Rosecrans at Chattanooga, Tenn, with the 11th and 12th Army Corps. They went by rail to Bridgeport, Ala., and there these two corps began a campaign that after fighting the battle of Wauhatchie, Tenn, Oct. 29th, 1863, resulting in opening the cracker road to Chattanooga, the regiment with the 11th and 12th corps was in Lookout Valley, Tenn., until the battle of Missionary Ridge, and the day before that battle began, the division, in which the regiment belonged, was put just night into the company streets of the 14th corps and the first day was among the troops that moved against the enemy's center at Orchard Knob. The 2nd day's fighting they were among the troops sent by Gen. Grant to the left to Gen. Sherman and were at the last of the battle on left of the army and as soon as Braggs army was routed the regiment, with other troops, under Gens. Sherman and Howard, were sent to the relief of Gen. Burnsides force, at Knoxville, Tenn. The whole command were in light marching order, having left knapsacks, etc. in camp, and were stripped for battle before going into Missionary Ridge. It was cold weather, rained and snowed part of the time and froze hard, and the troops suffered severley from the cold and insufficient protection from the storms. The only way they could keep from perishing, at night, was by burning large fires, (sometimes in parallel lines and lying between the fires, feet towards the fire and heads in the center) and sleeping beside them. At Louden, Tenn., Dec. 4th and 5th, 1863, the regiment was detailed to bridge the Little Tennessee river, a wide swift river some 300 yards wide, which they bridged between 7 p. m. and 5 a. m., making most of the bridge of wagons with two planks from bolster and from wagon to wagon. The last of benches, where the water was deepest, and many of the men were, of necessity, in the water, and it was so cold a man coming out of the water he could not get to the top of the river bank before his clothes were frozen stiff. After relieving Gen. Burnside the troops marched and went into camp at Lookout Valley, for a short time, and in January 1864, moved to Bridgeport, Ala., and went into winter quarters, where they lay until the Atlanta campaign opened. The 11th and 12th corps were consolidated and formed the 20th corps and Gen. Hooker in command. The Atlanta campaign opened in May, 1864, the battle of Rockey Faced Gap, Ga., opened the campaign but the battle of Resaca, Ga., May 13th, 14th and l5th, 1864, was the first pitched battle of the campaign. After Resaca and Johnston fell back the 143rd bridged one of the branches of the Etowah River in a short time so the infantry crossed on it.
From May 25th 1864, when the battle of Pumpkinvine Creek, Ga., opened, to July 3rd, 1864, it was about one continuous fighting and skirmishing and during which the enemy's positions of Altoona and Kenesaw Mountains were completely turned and fell into our army's hands. After maneuvering our army succeeded in getting on the south side of the Chattahoucha river and July 20 the battle of Peach Tree Creek, Ga., was fought. The investment of the city of Atlanta, by works, began July 22d, building heavy works, and from the last date to latter part of August the regiment was in exposed position in the line of investment, and almost constantly some portion, if not all of it, was under fire.
The 20th corps occupied the city of Atlanta, Sep. 2nd, 1864, and during the Atlanta campaign from May 7, 1864, to latter part of August, 1864, some portion of the regiment were almost daily under fire and men. of the regiment, wounded early in that campaign, rejoined their command before it was over. They lay at Atlanta, Ga., until Nov. 15, 1864, when Gen. Sherman moved out and began his campaign against Savannah, Ga., passing through Milledgeville, Ga., and several smaller towns. Gen. Sherman's army invested the city of Savannah. Dec. 10th, 1864, and the 143d was represented on the skirmish and picket line that day. The city surrendered, Dec. 22nd, 1864, and on or about January l5th or 16th, 1865, Sherman began his campaign through the Carolinas. Near Robertsville, S. C., the first brush with the enemy was had 143d. N. Y. skirmishing. They fell back and Sherman's troops occupied the town. This campaign opened with swollen streams and mud and they had to march often from knee to waist deep in water, and were at Fayetteville, N. C, early in March, where the army rested a day or two. The day after it moved on, the battle of Averysboro. N. C. was fought, (March 16th, 1865,) and three days later, March 19th, the battle of Bentonville, N. C., began. The brigade to which the regiment belonged, occupied the ground Carlins Division of the 14th corps were forced to fall back from. The 143d was on the extreme left, with no connections on their left flank, but held their ground for several hours and until night set in. The commander of the division, after that fight, said the 143d, N. Y, was made of staying qualities.
Shermans army occupied Goldsboro, N. C, March 25th, 1865. His troops lay there until after Lee's surrender when he marched to intercept General Johnston's army, and after some fighting resulted in the surrender of Johnston's army, then the whole of Gen. Sherman's army marched to Washington, D. C., were reviewed May 24th, 1865, and was disbanded, and the regiment was put into a temporary brigade and lay near Washington until July 20th, 1865, when it was mustered out of service and sent to New York city to be paid off and disbanded.
The regiment was reviewed at New York City by General Joseph Hooker and city officials, and General Hooker in front of the Astor House said a few words to the boys. He told them he was not given to speech making, but that he could not let the regiment disband without saying a word to them. After thanking them for the many times they had stood to their places he said '"it could be said of them what could not be said of many regiments, he did not know as of any others-the Johnnys had never seen their backs: that if they had at Peach Tree Creek, God only knows what the result would have been."
The 143d New York were in the 4d Brigade Abercrombie's Division from October 16, 1862, in the 22d Corps from February 1863; in 3d Hughston's Brigade, Gurney's Division Department, Virginia, at Sulfolk, Virginia, from April 1863; in 1st Brigade Gordon's of 7th Corps, from May, 1863; in the 4th Corps from June, 1863; in 1st Brigade, 3d Division, 11 Corps, from July 14, 1863; in 3d Brigade, 1st Division, 20th Corps, from April, 1864; in 2d Brigade, Bartlett's Division, 22d Corps from June 30, 1865.
The 143d New York took part in:
The siege of Suffolk. Virginia. April and May, 1863;
Battle of Nansemond, Virginia, May 3d, 1863;
Under General Keys on Peninsula, Virginia, May. June and July, 1863;
Battle of Wauthateke, Tennessee, October 28 and 29, 1863;
Battle of Missionary Ridge and vicinity, November 23, 24 and 25, 1863;
The relief of Knoxville. Tennessee, November and December, 1863;
The Atlanta Campaign, May 2d to September 2d, 1864;
Battle of Resaca, Georgia, May 13, 14 and 15, 1864:
Battle of Cassville, Georgia, May 19th to 22d, 1864;
Battle of Pumpkinvine Creek, Georgia, May 25, 1864;
Battles around Ackworth, Kenesaw Mountain, Lost Mountain, Big Shanty. Marietta, Golgotha, Nose Creek and Culps, Farm, June 4 to July 2, 1864;
Battle of Peach Tree Creek. July 20, 1864;
Siege of Atlanta, July 22 to August 26, 1864:
Atlanta to Savannah, ''March to the Sea," November 15 to December.22, 1864;
Battle of Montieth Swamp, Georgia, December 9, 1864;
Campaign of the Carolinas, January 17 to April 26. 1865;
Battle of Robertsville, S. C., January 29, 1865:
Battle of Lawtonville, S. C., Feb. 2, 1865;
Battle of Averysboro, N. C., March 16, 1S65;
Battle of Bentonville, N. C., March 19, 1865:
Battle near Goldsboro, N. C., March 27, 1865;
Battle near Akin Creek. N. C, April 10, 1865;
Battle near Bennett House, N. C., April 26, 1865.
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