Arming the Empire State: Arms Issues to New York Infantry Regiments in 1861

    During the Civil War, the state of New York provided more than 400,000 men to the Union army, the highest number of soldiers of any state, and as can be imagined, the task of arming those hundreds of thousands of volunteers was a very difficult one. At the outbreak of hostilities, the state militia numbered 19,000 men but the state possessed only about 8,000 long arms nearly all of which were utilized to arm the eleven militia regiments which left the state in the earliest days of the war. The state dispatched an agent to England on April 24th to purchase 25,000 Enfield pattern rifle muskets but upon his arrival, he found those weapons hard to find as Confederate agents had already been busy buying up the stock. Eventually, he was able to secure 19,000 Enfields at a cost of $335,000; these weapons arrived in bits and pieces over the next several months and were issued out soon after their arrival to newly formed regiments. 

A perusal of the adjutant general’s report for the state of New York issued in early January 1862 provides the following list of how the Empire State’s infantry regiments were armed during the first year of the war. Just to be clear, this list describes what the regiments were armed with as they left the state of New York- once they arrived at the front, many of these regiments would re-armed over the course of the next 12-18 months with superior weapons. The vast majority of these regiments (but not all) went into service with the Army of the Potomac or served in the Shenandoah Valley under Generals Banks or Fremont. Several entries are blank or are listed as “armed by the U.S.” but of the 85 regiments whose arms issues are known, 15 of them also received more than one type of arm, with the most common being a situation where the flank companies were issued rifles while the balance of the regiment received smoothbore muskets.

Out of those 85 regiments whose arms issues are listed, 56 of or two-thirds of the total, received .69 caliber Model 1842 Springfield smoothbore muskets (it is possible that some of these had been rifled during the 1850s). The second most common arm was the Pattern 1853 Enfield rifle musket which was issued to 13 regiments, or 15% of the total. This leaves 15 regiments which received quite a plethora of different arms. Nine regiments received older model U.S. model muskets (1822s, 1835s, and 1840s, with 1840s by far the most common); these weapons were originally flintlocks and it is unknown how many of these older guns had been converted to percussion prior to issue. Two regiments received the well-regarded Remington-contract Model 1841 Mississippi rifle muskets, while three regiments received French rifled muskets (caliber and precise make unknown).

The final four regiments each received a unique arm: the storied 7th New York Militia was armed with .58 caliber U.S. Model 1855 Springfield rifle muskets, the 39th New York (the Garibaldi Guard) received Harper’s Ferry rifles with saber bayonets, the 89th New York received Prussian muskets (caliber and make unknown), and the 88th New York of General Francis Meagher’s Irish brigade received .54 caliber Austrian-made Lorenz rifle muskets. Its not clear how long the 88th carried Lorenz rifle muskets as by March 1862, one veteran noted that “the regiment was armed with buck and ball muskets for General Meagher had a theory that most of our fighting would be at very close quarters. So it was, but sometimes our short-range weapons were a disadvantage.” That leads me to think that the regiment was re-armed with .69 caliber Model 1842 smoothbores after they joined the Army of the Potomac.

The report is laid out in two sections- the top section lists the weapons followed by the regiments which used them; the bottom section is the New York report verbatim laid out in order of regimental number and date when the regiment left the state. 


This unidentified corporal of Co. E of the 22nd New York poses with his knapsack, Enfield P56 rifle musket, and sword bayonet. The 780 men of the regiment originally left the state in 1861 armed with .69 caliber Model 1842 smoothbore muskets. 

.69 caliber U.S. Model 1822 Springfield smoothbore musket

Regiments: 50th, 86th


.69 caliber U.S. Model 1835 Springfield smoothbore musket

Regiment: 47th


.69 caliber U.S. Model 1840 Springfield smoothbore musket

Regiments: 6th, 13th, 19th, 46th, 65th, 82nd


.58 caliber U.S. Model 1841 Mississippi-Remington rifle musket

Regiment: 28th, 45th


Unidentified private of the 44th New York

.69 caliber U.S. Model 1842 Springfield smoothbore musket

Militia: 5th, 8th, 12th, 13th, 25th, 28th, 69th, 71st

Regiments: 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 12th, 14th, 15th, 16th, 17th, 20th, 21st, 22nd, 23rd, 24th, 25th, 26th, 27th, 29th, 30th, 31st, 32nd, 33rd, 34th, 35th, 36th, 37th, 38th, 40th, 41st, 43rd, 44th, 49th, 51st, 52nd, 54th, 55th, 60th, 63rd, 64th, 68th, 69th, 75th, 80th, 82nd


.58 caliber U.S. Model 1855 Springfield rifle musket

Militia: 7th


.577 caliber British P53 Enfield rifle musket

Regiments: 3rd, 18th, 48th, 56th, 57th, 58th, 61st, 62nd, 64th, 77th, 79th, 85th, 90th, 91st 


Harper’s Ferry rifles (described a Minie rifles with saber bayonets)

Regiment: 39th


Prussian muskets

Regiment: 89th


French rifled muskets

Regiments: 66th, 73rd, 87th


.54 caliber Austrian Model 1854 Lorenz rifle musket

Regiment: 88th (“In March 1862, the regiment was armed with buck and ball muskets for General Meagher had a theory that most of our fighting would be at very close quarters. So it was, but sometimes our short-range weapons were a disadvantage.”)

State of New York cartridge box plate

 Militia Regiments (90-days’ service)

Regt. #        Colonel                 Date of Departure  How armed           Strength

5th N.Y.       C. Schwarzwalder  April 27, 1861        1842 Muskets        600

6th N.Y.       Jos. C. Pinckney     April 21, 1861                                     550

7th N.Y.       Marshall Lefferts    April 19, 1861        1855 Springfields   1050

8th N.Y.       George Lyons        April 23, 1861        1842 Muskets        900

12th N.Y.      Daniel Butterfield  April 21, 1861        1842 Muskets        900

13th N.Y.      Abel Smith            April 23, 1861        1842 Muskets        486

20th N.Y.      George W. Pratt     May 7, 1861                                        785

25th N.Y.      Michael Bryan        April 23, 1861        1842 Muskets        500

28th N.Y.      Michael Bennett     April 30, 1861        1842 Muskets        563

69th N.Y.      Michael Corcoran   April 29, 1861        1842 Muskets        1050

71st N.Y.      A.S. Vosburgh       April 21, 1861        1842 Muskets        950


This unidentified soldier of the elite 7th New York Militia poses in his elaborate militia uniform complete with a shako. The regiment left the state in April 1861 armed with Model 1855 Springfield rifle muskets as well as sandwiches from Delmonicos and velvet-covered camp stools upon which to sit and eat them. The sandwiches and camp stools didn't last long in the service. 

Regiments sent to front up to July 30th 1861:

Regt. #        Colonel                 Date of Departure  How armed           Strength

1st N.Y.        Wm. H. Allen                                     1842 Muskets        846

2nd N.Y.       Jos B. Carr             May 19, 1861         1842 Muskets        791

3rd N.Y.       Fred Townsend     June 3, 1861           Enfield Rifles         780

4th N.Y.       A.W. Taylor                                        1842 Muskets        780

5th N.Y.       Abram Duryee                                    1842 Muskets        842

6th N.Y.       William Wilson      June 12, 1861         1840 Muskets        780

7th N.Y.       John E. Bendix                                   1842 Muskets        783

8th N.Y.       Louis Blenker        June 3, 1861           1842 Muskets        804

9th N.Y.       Rush C. Hawkins   June 5, 1861           1842 Muskets        786

10th N.Y.      W.W. McChesney  June 5, 1861           1842 Muskets        713

11th N.Y.      Elmer Ellsworth    May 1, 1861                                        1079

12th N.Y.      Ezra L. Walrath     May 29, 1861         1842 Muskets        778

13th N.Y.      I.F Quinby            May 29, 1861         1840 Muskets        780

14th N.Y.      James McQuade     June 17, 1861         1842 Muskets        780

15th N.Y.      J. McL. Murphy     June 29, 1861         1842 Muskets        777

16th N.Y.      Thos. A. Davies     June 25, 1861         1842 Muskets        776

17th N.Y.      H.S. Lansing          June 21, 1861         1842 Muskets        803

18th N.Y.      Wm. A. Jackson     June 18, 1861         Enfield Rifles         781

19th N.Y.      John S. Clark          June 7, 1861           1840 Muskets        739

20th N.Y.      Max Weber            June 19, 1861         1842 Muskets        800

21st N.Y.      Wm. F. Rogers       June 18, 1861         1842 Muskets        777

22nd N.Y.     Walter Phelps, Jr.    June 28, 1861         1842 Muskets        780

23rd N.Y.      H.C. Hoffman       July 5, 1861            1842 Muskets        784

24th N.Y.      Timothy Sullivan    July 2, 1861            1842 Muskets        780

25th N.Y.      James E. Kerrigan  July 3, 1861            1842 Muskets        777

26th N.Y.      Wm. H. Christian   June 20, 1861         1842 Muskets        772

27th N.Y.      Henry W. Slocum   July 9, 1861            1842 Muskets        861

28th N.Y.      D. Donnelly          June 24, 1861         Remington Rifles   782

29th N.Y.      A. von Steinwehr   June 24, 1861         1842 Muskets        778

This group of soldiers from Co. E of the 29th New York Volunteer Infantry poses in this camp scene dating from 1862 when the regiment was serving in the Mountain Department under General John Fremont. A German regiment, the 29th served under Colonel Adolph von Steinwehr who later led a division of the 11th Army Corps during the Battles of Chancellorsville and Gettysburg. The 29th mustered out of service June 20, 1863 being a two-year regiment. 

30th N.Y.      Edward Frisby       June 27, 1861         1842 Muskets        782

31st N.Y.      C.E. Pratt              June 27, 1861         1842 Muskets        774

32nd N.Y.     R. Matheson          June 28, 1861         1842 Muskets        767

33rd N.Y.      R.F. Taylor            July 8, 1861            1842 Muskets        895

34th N.Y.      Wm. Ladue            July 2, 1861            1842 Muskets        783

35th N.Y.      Wm. C. Brown       July 10, 1861          1842 Muskets        688

36th N.Y.      C.H. Innes             July 12, 1861          1842 Muskets        780

37th N.Y.      J.H. McCunn         June 22, 1861         1842 Muskets        803

38th N.Y.      J.H.H. Ward          June 23, 1861         1842 Muskets        782

39th N.Y.      F. D’Utassy           June 27, 1861         Harper’s Ferry Rif.  939

40th N.Y.      E.J. Riley               July 4, 1861            1842 Muskets        1039

41st N.Y.      L. von Gilsa           June 26, 1861         1842 Muskets and

                                                                             2 cos. With rifles    1041

42nd N.Y.     Milton Cogswell     June 30, 1861                                      1048

79th N.Y.      I.I. Stevens            June 4, 1861                Enfields             791

82nd N.Y.     G.W.B. Tompkins  May -, 1861            1840 & 2 Muskets  1040

83rd N.Y.      John W. Stiles        May 27, 1861                                      800

84th N.Y.      Alfred M. Wood                                                              859



Private George E. Williams, Co. B, 5th New York (Duryee's Zouaves) poses with a Sharps rifle. Williams was promoted to corporal in January 1862 then to sergeant in July 1863 before being wounded and captured in the Wilderness while in the 146th New York. Duryee's Zouaves left New York in 1861 armed with .69 caliber Model 1842s but later traded them for this superior arm. The regiment is perhaps best remembered for its colorful garb and heavy casualties sustained on the second day of Second Bull Run. 

Regiments sent to the front between July 30th 1861 and January 1, 1862:

Regt. #        Colonel                 Date of Departure  How armed           Strength

43rd N.Y.      Francis L. Vinton   Sept. 19, 1861        1842 Muskets        834

44th N.Y.      S.W. Stryker           October 21, 1861   Springfield Rifles    977

45th N.Y.      G. von Amsberg    October 9, 1861     Remington Rifles   993

46th N.Y.      Rudolph Rosa        Sept. 16, 1861        1840 Muskets and

                                                                             2 cos. With rifles    887

47th N.Y.      Henry Moore         Sept. 16, 1861        1835 Muskets        700

48th N.Y.      Jas. H. Perry           Sept. 17, 1861        Enfield rifles          889

49th N.Y.      D.D. Bidwell          Sept. 21, 1861        1842 Muskets        826

50th N.Y.      Chas. B. Stuart       Sept. 21, 1861        1822 Muskets        873

51st N.Y.      Edward Ferrero     Nov. 10, 1861        1842 Muskets        882

52nd N.Y.     Paul Frank             Nov. 11, 1861        1842 Muskets and

                                                                             2 cos. With rifles    744

53rd N.Y.      L.J. D’Epineuil       Nov. 16, 1861                                     945

54th N.Y.      E.Z. Kozlay           Nov. 10, 1861        1842 Muskets and

                                                                             2 cos. With rifles    860

55th N.Y.      R. De Trobriand    Sept. 1, 1861          1842 Muskets and

                                                                             2 cos. With rifles    470

56th N.Y.      C.H. Van Wyck      Nov. 7, 1861          Enfield Rifles         1143

57th N.Y.      Samuel K. Zook     Nov. 12, 1861        Enfield Rifles         840

58th N.Y.      W. Kryzanowski    Nov. 7, 1861          Enfield Rifles         822

59th N.Y.      Wm. L. Tidball       Nov. 30, 1861                                     867

60th N.Y.      Wm. B. Hayward   Nov. 4, 1861          1842 Muskets and

                                                                             2 cos. With rifles    902

61st N.Y.      Spencer W. Cone   Nov. 10, 1861        Enfield Rifles         831

62nd N.Y.     J. L. Riker                                           Enfield Rifles         988

63rd N.Y.      R.C. Enright          Nov. 29, 1861        1842 Muskets        817

64th N.Y.      Thomas J. Parker   Dec. 10, 1861         Enfield rifles and

                                                                             1842 Muskets        830

65th N.Y.      John Cochrane       Oct. 10, 1861         1840 Muskets and

                                                                             2 cos. With rifles    857

66th N.Y.      Jos. C. Pinckney     Nov. 16, 1861        French rifled musk. 775

67th N.Y.      Julius Adams          October -, 1861                                  844

68th N.Y.      Robert J. Betge      August -, 1861       Springfield Rifles    732

69th N.Y.      Robert Nugent      Nov. 18, 1861        1842 Muskets and

                                                                   2 cos. With Enfield rifles  788

The 80th New York, the old 20th New York State Militia, left the state with the flank companies armed with rifle and the line companies armed with Model 1842s. This image of six soldiers dates from 1862 when it was part of General Irvin McDowell's First Army Corps. The regiment suffered 279 casualties at Second Bull Run in August 1862 and 170 out of 287 engaged at Gettysburg the following year. 

70th N.Y.      Daniel E. Sickles    August -, 1861       Armed by U.S.       844

71st N.Y.      Geo. B. Hall           August -, 1861       Armed by U.S.       844

72nd N.Y.     Nelson Taylor        August -, 1861       Armed by U.S.       985

73rd N.Y.      W.R. Brewster       September 1861     French rifles           856

74th N.Y.      C.K. Graham         September 1861     Armed by U.S.       844

75th N.Y.      John A. Dodge      Nov. 30, 1861        1842 Muskets        854

77th N.Y.      Jas B. McKean       Nov. 27, 1861        Enfield Rifles         866

80th N.Y.      Geo. W. Pratt        October 24, 1861   1842 Muskets and

                                                                             2 cos. With rifles    837

85th N.Y.      U.L. Davis             December 3, 1861  Enfield rifles and

                                                                             Foreign muskets    944

86th N.Y.      B.P. Bailey             Nov. 23, 1861        Smoothbores         944

87th N.Y.      Stephen A. Dodge December 2, 1861  French rifled musk. 789

88th N.Y.      Henry M. Baker     December 16, 1861 Austrian rifles         731

89th N.Y.      H.S. Fairchild         December 6, 1861  Prussian muskets   873

90th N.Y.      Jos. S. Morgan       December 16, 1861 Enfield Rifles         856

91st N.Y.      Jacob van Zandt    December 20, 1861 Enfield Rifles         914


Private Henry F. Lincoln of Co. B of the 47th New York Volunteer Infantry stands proudly with his knapsack, canteen, cartridge box, and rifle musket. 



“The Army of New York,” Buffalo Commercial Advertiser (New York), January 17, 1862, pg. 2


  1. Very interesting article. Is it definite that the Remington rifles (28th NY and 45th NY) were 58 caliber and not 54? I have a 54 caliber M1841 Remington with the F. Grosz muzzle reduction for a bayonet. The stock is marked indicating that it was a captured Union rifle and approved for reissued from the Richmond Armory. Curious as to which NY unit may have carried this into which battle where rifle Companies may have been captured or abandoned rifles on the field.

    1. It is a best guess- from what I've read, many of the Remington's were bored out to .58 caliber in the late 1850s to use the army's new standard .58 caliber ammunition. Unfortunately, the NY adjutant general's report doesn't go into that level of detail.

  2. Dan: This is an amazing list! What a great service you've provided those of us who research NY regiments in the war - thank you! FWIW, I recommend one very minor correction; The middle initial of the 79th NY's colonel was I, not J (Isaac Ingalls Stevens, who fell on 1 Sept. 1862 at the Battle of Chantilly). Keep up the great work!

  3. Great piece, Dan - great research. And so I have a question, as I am in the middle of a book - two books, actually - dealing with my two dozen ancestors who served in the Pennsylvania Reserves: Do you, or does anyone you know, have the same kind of information on Pennsylvania Regiments? I want to get their armament correct and have long struggled to acquire reliable information. Specifically, at this time, I vitally need to know what the 34th PA (5th Reserves) carried, though they served in so many different regiments that I need general information too. Much thanks!

    1. That's a great question and I wish I had the answer for how Pennsylvania's regiments were armed. I have not yet come across anything covering the whole state like the New York and Ohio pieces, however, I do have access to the ordnance reports for the Army of the Potomac during the Fredericksburg Campaign. At that time (December 1862), the records show that the 34th Pennsylvania (5th Reserves) was armed with .69 caliber U.S. Model 1842 smoothbores.


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