Union monuments at Gettysburg > New York > Infantry

The monument to the 126th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment is south of Gettysburg on Hancock Avenue in Ziegler’s Grove. (Hancock Avenue at Ziegler’s Grove tour map)

Monument to the 126th New York Infantry at Gettysburg

The monument to the 126th New York

The 16′ 4″ granite monument is topped with the trefoil symbol of the Second Corps. A round bronze Seal of the State of New York is on the front of its upper section above a bronze portrait of Colonel Sherrill by sculptor Caspar Buberl. It was dedicated on October 3, 1888 by the State of New York.

About the 126th New York

The 126th, along with 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 more than did so at Gettysburg.

The 126th New York at Gettysburg

The 126th New York was commanded at the Battle of Gettysburg by Colonel Eliakim Sherrill, a farmer and former U.S. congressman from Geneva. Sherrill took over the brigade on July 2nd after Colonel Willard was killed near the Codori Farm. Lieutenant Colonel James M. Bull then took command of the regiment. Sherrill was mortally wounded at the location of the monument during Pickett’s Charge on July 3.

The Medal of honor as it looked at the time of the Civil War Three soldiers of the 126th were awarded the Medal of Honor for their actions at Gettysburg. Captain Morris Brown, Jr. of Company A and Private Jerry Wall of Company B both captured enemy battle flags. Sergeant George H. Dore of Company D when “the colors being struck down by a shell as the enemy were charging, this soldier rushed out and seized it, exposing himself to the fire of both sides.”

The 126th’s fighting at Gettysburg did not end with Pickett’s Charge. On July 4th the regiment occupied a position in Ziegler’s Grove (roughly where their monument is today) and carried on a heavy skirmish duel with Posey’s Mississippi Brigade, who were sheltering in the burned-out ruins of the Bliss Farm.

2nd Corps Headquarters Flag Attached to the 3rd Brigade, 3rd Division, 2nd Corps, Army of the Potomac 2C-3D

From the front of the monument:

126th New York Infantry

3d Brig. 3d Div.
2d Corps
July 3d 1863

From the rear of the monument:

The regiment was in position two hundred yards at the left, July 2 until 7 p.m., when the brigade was conducted thirteen hundred yards farther to the left and the regiment with the 111th N.Y. and 125th N.Y., charged the enemy in the swale, near the source of Plum Run, driving them there from and advancing one hundred and seventy five yards beyond, towards the Emmitsburg Road, to a position indicated by a monument on Sickles Avenue. At dark the regiment returned to near its former position. In the afternoon of July 3rd it took this position and assisted in repulsing the charge of the enemy, capturing three stands of colors and many prisoners.

Number engaged,    Killed,   Wounded,   Missing
Officers               30,           5,                  9.
Enlisted men   425,         35,             172,            10.
Total engaged 455.                     Total losses, 231.

Bas relief of Colonel Eliakim Sherrill from the monument to the 126th New York Infantry at Gettysburg

Bas relief of Colonel Eliakim Sherrill from the monument

From the right side:

Colonel Eliakim Sherrill.
Born February 16th 1813.
Died July 4th 1863.
Served as a member of Congress and State Senator.
Entered the U.S. Military Service
as Colonel of the 126th N.Y. Infantry in 1862.
Mortally wounded July 3d 1863
while in command of his brigade.

From the left side:

The regiment participated in the following engagements:

Harper’s Ferry
Auburn Ford
Bristoe Station
Mine Run
Morton’s Ford
Po River
North Anna

Cold Harbor
Deep Bottom
Strawberry Plains
Ream’s Station
Boydton Plank Road
Sutherland’s Station

Location of the monument

The monument to the 126th New York is south of Gettysburg on the east side of Hancock Avenue at its northern end, about 35 yards south of Cyclorama Avenue. (39°49’00.1″N 77°14’04.0″W)

The 126th New York is featured on the A Dangerous Position wayside marker at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park.

See more on the history of the 126th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment in the Civil War