Friday, November 22, 2013


The 125th New York; a regiment raised in Rensselaer County, New York, was officially exchanged on November 22nd 1862 from Camp Douglas, Chicago, Illinois.

The 125th New York Infantry was raised in Rensselaer County, New York and was mustered into Union service at the end of August 1862 in Troy, New York with Colonel George L Willard as their commander for a term of three years.  The men left Troy by train August 30th 1862 for Martinsburg, Virginia.  Just a few days later they were involved in the Battle of Harper’s Ferry.  Several of the men of the regiment were killed and wounded.  The 125th were also among the 11,500 men garrisoned at Harper’s Ferry who surrendered to the Confederates on September 15th 1862.

The 125th along with the other captured troops were sent under parole to Camp Douglas in Chicago, Illinois to await exchange.  They would be referred to as the “Harpers Ferry Cowards”   The exchange came for the 125th on November 22nd 1862, and the men were sent back to Virginia, where they took up position in the defense of Washington, DC.  They were camped at Centerville on June 24th 1863, when they became part of the II Corps, Union General Alexander Hay’s Division.  Their commander Colonel George L Willard became the brigade commander.  The men marched off to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.  During the Battle of Gettysburg the 125th lost 139 men killed and wounded, including Colonel Willard.

The 125th would go on the fight at Bristoe Station, the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor and many more.  They would be engaged every day during the siege of Petersburg from July 16th 1864 through April 1st 1865.  The 125th or what was left of it was at Appomattox when Confederate General Robert E Lee surrendered.

Following the Grand Review of the troops in Washington, DC, the men of the 125th proceeded to Troy, New York, where they were mustered out of service June 15th 1865.

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