40th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment
|40th Regiment New York Volunteer Infantry|
|Active||June 27, 1861 to June 27, 1865|
|Engagements||Battle of Ball's Bluff, Peninsular Campaign, Second Battle of Bull Run, Battle of Chantilly, Battle of South Mountain, Battle of Antietam, Battle of Fredericksburg, Battle of Chancellorsville, Battle of Gettysburg, Battle of the Wilderness, Battle of Cold Harbor, Siege of Petersburg|
The 40th New York also had the 2nd highest numbers of casualties of any New York Regiment, behind the famous 69th New York Infantry of the Irish Brigade.
The 40th New York was mustered at Yonkers, New York on June 27, 1861 sponsored the Union Defense Committee of New York City by special authority from the War Department. Originally, the regiment was to be raised as the United States Constitution Guard by Colonel John S. Cocks of the 2nd New York but organization was not completed. With additional sponsorship by the Mozart Hall Committee it adopted the name Mozart regiment. Despite being a New York Regiment, only the original Constitution Guard were New Yorkers. The regiment was completed by taking four companies from Massachusetts and two from Pennsylvania. On September 6, 1862 the regiment absorbed the enlisted men of the 87th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment. On May 30, 1863 it absorbed the three year enlistees of the 37th New York, 38th New York, 55th New York, and 101st New York. On August 3, 1864 the regiment absorbed the 74th New York.
Two men of the 40th New York earned the Medal of Honor during the Civil War. Sergeant Robert Boody of Company B was awarded the medal for carrying wounded comrades from the field at the Battles of Williamsburg and Chancellorsville, and Private Henry Klein of Company E earned it for capturing a Confederate flag at the Battle of Sayler's Creek.
The regiment mustered out on June 27, 1865 after participating in the Grand Review of the Armies.
At the Battle of Fair Oaks (Seven Pines) the 40th New York gained considerable recognition for its action on June 1. The regiment's commander, Colonel Edward J. Riley, was kicked in the head and thrown by his horse prior to the battle, removing him from the front. Lt. Col. Thomas W. Egan led the regiment into battle on May 31, and on June 1 ordered a bayonet charge into the 5th and 8th Alabama regiments. The Mozart Regiment suffered 96 casualties, including every member of the color guard killed or wounded. Following the death of Color Sergeant Joseph Conroy, Color Corporal Robert Grieves, himself severely wounded, planted the flag far out in front of the regiment, before being ordered by Egan to withdraw.
Gettysburg, Second Day
The 40th New York played a critical role in the defense of the Federal left flank during the second day at Gettysburg, delaying the approach of Law's Division to Little Round Top. Below Devil's Den, the men of the 40th New York were called upon to delay at all costs elements of Benning's Georgia brigade and Law's Alabama brigade, as Confederates began forcing back Hobart Ward's 2nd Brigade of the Third Corps. The 40th New York charged seven times down the course of Plum Run, into the boulders of Devil's Den and the Slaughter Pen.
Total strength and casualties
The regiment suffered 10 officers and 228 enlisted men who were killed in action or mortally wounded and 2 officers and 170 enlisted men who died of disease, for a total of 410 fatalities.
- Floyd, pp. 153-154; Egan's Official Report.
- Gottfried, pp. 205-206; Adelman and Smith, pp. 46-48.
- The Civil War Archive website after Dyer, Frederick Henry. A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion. 3 vols. New York: Thomas Yoseloff, 1959.
- New York State Military Museum and Veterans Research Center - Civil War - 40th Infantry Regiment History, photographs, table of battles and casualties, and historical sketch for the 40th New York Infantry Regiment.
- History of the Fortieth (Mozart) Regiment, New York Volunteers: which was composed of four companies from New York, four companies from Massachusetts and two companies from Pennsylvania (1909) on Internet Archive