About the monument to the 125th New York
The nine foot tall granite monument is topped with the trefoil symbol of the Second Corps. It has a circular bronze plaque of the Seal of the State of New York just above the base and a rectangular tablet on its rear inscribed with a dedication to George Willard. The monument was dedicated on October 3, 1888 by the State of New York.
The 125th New York at Gettysburg
The 125th New York was commanded at the Battle of Gettysburg by Lieutenant Colonel Levin Crandell, a bookkeeper from Troy, while Colonel George L. Willard commanded the brigade. Colonel Willard was killed on July 2, and is honored on a monument in the swale to the west of the regimental monument as well as on a plaque on the monument itself.
Corporal Harrison Clark of Company E was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions on July 2nd at Gettysburg when he “seized the colors and advanced with them after the color bearer had been shot.”
The 125th and its sister regiments in the brigade had been branded as the “Harpers Ferry cowards” for their surrender – through no fault of their own – with the garrison of Harper’s ferry during the Antietam campaign in 1862. Paroled but forced to spend a miserable winter in a Union prisoner of war camp in Chicago until exchanged, the brigade was looking for a chance to clear their name – and got their chance at Gettysburg.
See Lieutenant Harry Haskell’s Official Report on the 125th New York in the Battle of Gettysburg
From the front of the monument:
125th New York Infantry,
3d Brig. 3d Div. 2d Corps
Recruited in Rensselaer Co. N.Y.
Mustered in at Troy, N.Y. Aug. 27th 1862.
Engaged in 23 battles.
Mustered out at Albany, N.Y. June 5th 1865.
From the tablet on the rear:
Colonel 125th New York Infantry. Major 19th United States Infantry and Brevet-Colonel United States Army.
Born August 15, 1827. Killed in action July 2, 1863 while in command of his brigade at the place marked by a granite monument 1,070 yards to the left.
July 2, 1863, Regiment in line at the stone wall until 7 p.m. when the Brigade went to the support of the Third Corps, charged and drove back Barksdale’s Mississippi Brigade. Return at 8:30 p.m.
July 3, 1863, Regiment in front on line of the stone wall west side of Hancock Avenue at time of Longstreet’s Assault.
Number engaged, 500; killed, 26; wounded, 104; missing, 9; total, 139. Regiment participated in all of the battles engaged in by the Army of the Potomac from that time up to and including Appomattox, Va., April 9, 1865.
See more on the 125th New York Volunteers in the Civil War