Monday, March 28, 2011

The 76th New York Infantry Impression for South Mountain

On January 16, 1862, the 76th New York Regiment was mustered in the service of the United States for three years. The very next day the regiment left New York and reported to Washington, D.C., where it was assigned to the3rd Brigade, Casey's Division, Army of the Potomac. The 76th New York would then serve in the vicinity of Washington during the first winter of the Civil War. It suffered it first major casualties during the second Battle of Manassas when they were part of General John Pope’s Army of Virginia. Less than a month later they fought hard on some of the toughest terrain upon South Mountain, and three days later they fought at Antietam. The 76th New York took part in most of the major battles from Antietam, to Gettysburg, to the Wilderness. Because of the thinning ranks, the 76th New York began mustering out of service by companies beginning on July 1, 1864 and ending on January 1, 1865.

During the Battle of South Mountain on September 14th, 1862, the 76th New York was ordered up the mountain. Upon reaching the summit, the men were ordered to drop knapsacks and position themselves near a stone fence, where they fought against the Virginians of Pickett's Brigade under the command of General Richard Garnett. The fighting took place near Frostown Gap and lasted for over an hour. This area saw witness to some of the fiercest fighting that lasted into the darkness.

Here I am protraying a member of Company D of the 76th New York Infantry Regiment. I am wearing the New York State Jacket, J.T. Martin contract trousers, and a forage cap copied after the Lewis J. & Issac Phillips of New York model. I am also wearing a civilian style shirt rather than the military issue dommet flannel. My equipment belt is the early war belt with a keeper and puppy paw style SNY oval buckle. I carry a cap box, and 58 cal. cartridge box for the Enfield Rifled Musket that I carry, as well as a bayonet and scabbard. I have a double bag knapsack where I would keep my second pair of clothing, personal items, one ground cloth, and shelter half. My haversack is the standard U.S. haversack. My canteen is a smoothside and features a grey jeans-cloth cover with a leather strap.

Upon researching the 76th New York in 1862, many details were added to my impression. For example, the 76th New York Infantry Regiment were using Enfield muskets with the exception of four companies who were at that time carrying the Austrian rifled musket. Small details like this really help to get your point across during programs.

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