121st New York Infantry

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Monument to the 121st Regiment at Gettysburg
Emory Upton

The 121st New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment, commonly known as the "Onesers" or "Upton's Regulars", was a volunteer regiment recruited during the American Civil War from Otsego County and Herkimer County, New York. The Hon. Richard Franchot was appointed colonel of the regiment and authorized to establish his headquarters at Richfield Springs, Otsego County. He proceeded without delay to organize the regiment, and on August 23, 1862, the regiment was mustered into the service of the Union Army. The command at that time consisted of 39 officers and 946 enlisted men. The 121st Regiment proceeded to Washington, arriving there on the morning of September 3, and was assigned provisionally to a brigade under Colonel Gibson with headquarters at Fort Lincoln.

On the march to the South Mountain and Antietam battlefields the regiment was assigned to the Second Brigade, First Division, Sixth Corps and remained with the command during its entire term of service.

Colonel Richard Franchot resigned on September 25, 1862, and selected Colonel Emory Upton, at the time a first lieutenant in the Regular army, under whose command the regiment made a record second to none in the Army of the Potomac.[citation needed]

There is an interesting controversy concerning who captured Confederate Major General Custis Lee, son of Robert E. Lee, at the Battle of Sailor's Creek Virginia on April 6, 1865. Private Harris Hawthorn of the 121st New York claimed his capture and applied for and received the Medal of Honor for this act in the year 1894. The 37th Massachusetts Infantry disputed this award in the year 1897, claiming that Private David Dunnels White of their regiment was the actual captor of Major General Custis Lee. This entire matter is currently under review by the United States Army.


The companies were recruited principally from these towns and organized by region:


Final Report on the Battlefield of Gettysburg (New York at Gettysburg)by the New York Monuments Commission for the Battlefields of Gettysburg and Chattanooga. Albany, NY: J.B. Lyon Company, 1902

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