German Units from New York


The list below is comprised of units that were entirely or largely German or had German companies.  Some of these units are well known as being German or partially German, while other units were added after looking through their rosters and determining that the names of the soldiers were mostly German (appearing similar to the names in established German units).  The units added to the list are noted as such.

For each unit, nicknames that it or its German companies were known by are listed, as well as what years it was in service, which companies were German (if the regiment was not entirely German) and where the companies were recruited.  The transfers of men into and out of the unit are also noted.  The “Veteran” honor was given to units that remained in service after its original enlistments had expired.

Keep in mind that when referring to units or parts of units being comprised of Germans did not mean that every member was born in what would later be Germany or was an ethnic German.  Some soldiers were the children of German immigrants that were born in the United States.  Ethnic Germans lived in many other countries in Europe, while people in other countries and of other ethnicities would have been familiar with German culture and language.  For example, people from Switzerland and Austria spoke German.  For more on Germans across Europe, see The Germans as Immigrants to the US.

The majority of Germans during the Civil War did not serve in ethnic German units but in units comprised of both natural born Americans and immigrants.  Many of these units would have been described as normal, American units.  There were so many Germans in the Union army that it has been said that to find a company without a German in its ranks would have been a rarity.

Infantry regiments in the Civil War were normally comprised of ten companies, lettered A-I and K.  The letter J was not used because of its similarity to the letter I.  Cavalry and Heavy Artillery regiments were normally comprised of twelve companies, A-I and K-M.  Light Artillery regiments were similar, except that their subunits were called batteries, not companies

I do not have any other information on these units, nor is this list complete regarding all the partial German units from New York.  If there are any problems or corrections, please let me know. 

Entirely German Infantry Units:

5th New York Militia
 “Jefferson Guard” 
A militia regiment located in New York City.  It was ordered into Federal service in 1861 and 1863, but in 1862 the order was recalled.  An attempt to organize the regiment in 1861 as a volunteer three-year unit failed.

11th New York Militia
“Washington Rifles”
A militia regiment located in New York City.  It was ordered into Federal service in 1862 and 1863.  The names of the soldiers in the regiment appear to be German and it was added to the list.

65th New York Militia
A militia regiment located in Buffalo.  It was ordered into Federal service in 1863.  Members of the regiment enlisted in the 21st NY, 49th NY and Battery I, 1st NY Artillery.  Almost the entire regiment enlisted and formed a large part of the 187th NY.  The regiment does not appear in lists of German units, but was formed before the war from German militia companies.

7th New York
“Steuben Guard; Steuben Regiment”
– 1861-1863 –
Companies A-H and K were recruited in New York City and Company I was recruited in Brooklyn.  When the regiment mustered out, the remaining men were transferred to the 52nd NY.  In 1864, those surviving men were transferred to the 7th NY Veterans.

7th New York, reorganizing
– 1863 –
An attempt to reorganize the regiment in New York City for further service failed.  The men who enlisted were transferred to the 178th NY as its Company G.

7th New York Veterans
– 1864-1865 –
The regiment was recruited in New York City, Brooklyn, Jamaica, Tarrytown, Albany, Poughkeepsie, Goshen, Schenectady, Kingston and Troy.  Once the regiment arrived in the field, the surviving men from the 7th NY were transferred from the 52nd NY to the 7th NY Veterans.

8th New York
“1st German Rifles; Blenker’s Rifles”
– 1861-1864 –
The regiment was recruited in New York City.  It provided some men for the 2nd Independent Battery, NY Light Artillery.  Most of the regiment was mustered out in 1863, but one company remained in the field until 1864 when its soldiers were transferred to the 68th NY.

8th New York, reorganizing
– 1863 –
An attempt to reorganize the regiment in New York City for further service failed.  The men who enlisted were transferred to the 178th NY as its Companies H and I.

20th New York
“United Turner Rifles”
– 1861-1863 –
Companies B, C, E and F were recruited in New York City.  Company A was recruited in Newark, NJ.  Company D was recruited in New York City, Albany, Poughkeepsie and New Jersey.  Company G was recruited in New York City, Poughkeepsie, Rochester, Syracuse and Newark, NJ.  Company H was recruited in New York City, Brooklyn, Hudson, Morrisania, Saugerties and Union Hill.  Company I was recruited in Brooklyn, Williamsburgh and College Point.  Company K was recruited in New York City, Brooklyn and New Jersey.  When the regiment mustered out, the remaining men were transferred to the 3rd Independent Battery, NY Light Artillery and Battery F, 5th US Artillery. 

20th New York, reorganizing
– 1863 –
An attempt to reorganize the regiment for further service failed.  The men who enlisted were transferred to the 16th NY Cavalry.

29th New York
“Astor Rifles; 1st German Infantry”
– 1861-1864 –
Companies A-I were recruited in New York City and Company K was recruited in New York City and Philadelphia, PA.  The 29th provided most of the men that formed the 2nd Independent Battery, NY Light Artillery, and most of those men came from Company H.  Most of the regiment was mustered out in 1863, but one company remained in the field until 1864 when its soldiers were transferred to the 68th NY.

29th New York, reorganizing
– 1863 –
An attempt to reorganize the regiment for further service failed.  The men who enlisted were transferred to the 13th NY Artillery.

41st New York (Veteran)
“De Kalb Regiment; 2nd Yager Regiment”
– 1861-1865 –
Companies A-F and I-K were recruited in New York City.  Company G was recruited in Philadelphia, PA.  Company H was recruited in Newark, NJ.  Company F was armed as artillery and detached from the regiment to form the 9th Independent Battery, NY Light Artillery.  A new Company F was formed in 1863.

45th New York (Veteran)
“5th German Regiment; 5th German Rifles; Howe’s Rifles”
– 1861-1865 –
The regiment was recruited in New York City.  In 1865 the regiment was consolidated with the 58th NY and disbanded.

46th New York (Veteran)
“Fremont Rifle Regiment”
– 1861-1865 –
The regiment was recruited in New York City.

52nd New York (Veteran)
“German Rangers; Sigel Rifles”
– 1861-1865 –
The regiment was recruited in New York City.  In 1863, the 52nd received the remaining men from the 7th NY after it mustered out.  In 1864 the surviving men from the 7th NY were transferred to the 7th NY Veterans.

54th New York (Veteran)
“Hiram Barney Rifles; Barney Black Rifles; Schwarze Yaeger”
– 1861-1866 –
The regiment was recruited in New York City and Brooklyn. 

68th New York (Veteran)
“Cameron Rifles; 2nd German Rifle Regiment”
– 1861-1865 –
Most of the regiment was recruited in New York City but some men were recruited in New Jersey, Maryland and Pennsylvania.  In 1864 the remaining men of the 8th NY and the 29th NY were transferred to the regiment.

Partially German Infantry Units:

28th New York Militia
“Rifles”
A militia regiment located in Brooklyn.  It was ordered into Federal service in 1861, 1863 and 1864.  The names of soldiers in the regiment in 1861 and 1863 appear to be mostly German, and a New York Times article from 1862 notes them as being German.  However, in 1864, the majority of the names on the roster appear to be non-German, but the regiment was added to the list.

31st New York
“Montezuma Regiment; Baxter Light Guards; 1st New York Union Volunteers”
– 1861-1863 –
The regiment was recruited in New York City except for Company I, which was recruited in Williamsburgh.  After the regiment mustered out, the remaining men were transferred to the 121st NY.  The names of the soldiers in Companies C and E appear to be German and the regiment was added to the list.

39th New York (Veteran)
“Garibaldi Guard; Italian Legion; Netherland Legion; Polish Legion; Hungarian Regiment; 1st Foreign Rifles”
– 1861-1865 –
The regiment was recruited in New York City.  It was described as having three German companies, three Hungarian companies, one Swiss company, one Italian Company, one French company and one Spanish and Portuguese company.  Companies B, C and E-I were the German, Hungarian and Swiss companies. 

49th New York (Veteran)
“2nd Buffalo Regiment”
– 1861-1865 –
The regiment was recruited in Buffalo.  A number of men from the 65th Militia enlisted in the regiment.  The names of the soldiers in Company B appear to be German and the regiment was added to the list.

58th New York (Veteran)
“Morgan Rifles; United States Rifles; Polish Legion; Gallatin Rifles”
– 1861-1865 –
The regiment was composed of Germans and Poles and recruited in New York City.  In 1865 the 45th NY was consolidated with the regiment. 

103rd New York (Veteran)
“Seward Infantry”
– 1861-1865 –
Companies A-H and K were comprised of Germans.  Company A was recruited in New York City and the rest of the regiment was recruited in Elmira.  Company A was nicknamed the “Grenadiers”, Companies B and C the “Corps d’Elite”, Companies D-F the “3rd German Rifles” and Companies G-K as “Baker’s Rifles and New York Battery”.

119th New York
– 1862-1865 –
Companies B-E and G were comprised of Germans while Companies F, I and K had large numbers of Germans.  Companies B-D were known as the “Sigel Life Guard” or “Sigel Sharpshooters”.  When the regiment mustered out in 1865, the remaining men were transferred to the 102nd NY.

178th New York
– 1863-1866 –
Company G was formed of men from the failed reorganization of the 7th NY, and Companies H and I were formed of men from the failed reorganization of the 8th NY.  These three companies had been recruited in New York City.  The regiment was added to the list.

187th New York
– 1864-1865 –
Companies A, C-E and H appear to have been comprised of Germans.  A large part of the regiment was formed from the 65th Militia.  The regiment was recruited in Buffalo, Syracuse, and Elmira and Erie, Cattaraugus and Chautauqua counties.  The regiment was added to the list.

Independent Corps Light Infantry
“Enfants Perdus; Lost Children; German Legion; Independent Battalion Of Infantry”
– 1862-1864 –
The battalion was recruited in New York City.  It originally mustered in with seven companies and three more joined it in the field.  The tenth was broken up on its arrival and the men transferred to the other companies.  In 1864, the unit was disbanded and the men transferred to the 1st NY Engineers, the 47th NY and the 48th NY.  During the war, the battalion was described as being comprised of foreigners.  There appears to be a number of German names on the roster. 
 

Cavalry Units:

1st New York Cavalry (Veteran)
“Lincoln Cavalry; Carbine Rangers; Sabre Regiment; 1st US Volunteer Cavalry”
– 1861-1865 –
Companies E, G, I, and L were comprised of Germans and recruited in New York City.

4th New York Cavalry
“1st Regiment German Cavalry; Dickel’s Mounted Rifles; Lincoln Greens”
– 1861-1865 –
Companies A, D, H, and I were comprised of Germans, while Company B seems to have had a large number of Germans.  Companies A, D, and I were recruited in New York City, Company H was recruited in Cleveland, OH and New York City and Company B was recruited in Yonkers.  After the regiment mustered out, the remaining men were transferred to the 9th NY Cavalry.
 

Artillery Units:

Battery I, 1st New York Artillery (Light) (Veteran)
– 1861-1865 –
The battery was recruited in Buffalo, Lancaster, Amherst and Elmira.  A number of men from the 65th Militia enlisted in the battery.  In 1863 the remaining men of the 2nd Independent Battery, NY Light Artillery were transferred into the battery. 

2nd Independent Battery, New York Light Artillery
“Blenker’s Battery; Light Battery A, 1st Artillery Regiment”
– 1861-1863 –
The battery was formed when men were taken from the 29th NY, most of them from Company H, and the 8th NY, and given guns left by the artillery company of the 8th NY Militia to use at the Battle of First Bull Run.  Afterwards, the unit was officially organized as a battery and the men were transferred in from their original regiments, along with some other men from Blenker’s Division.  When the battery mustered out in 1863, the remaining men were transferred to Battery I, 1st NY Artillery. 

2nd Independent Battery, New York Light Artillery, reorganizing
– 1863 –
An attempt to reorganize the battery for further service failed.  The men who enlisted were transferred to the 15th NY Heavy Artillery.

9th Independent Battery, New York Light Artillery
– 1861-1864 –
The battery was originally recruited as Company F of the 41st NY in New York City.  It was armed as artillery, detached from the regiment and formed as an independent battery.

1st New York Artillery Battalion (Heavy)
“Baden Artillery; Brickel’s German Artillery; German Artillery Corps.”
– 1861-1863 –
All four companies were recruited in New York City.  In 1863, the battalion was broken up and the companies became the 29th, 30th, 31st and 32nd Independent Batteries, NY Light Artillery.

29th Independent Battery, New York Light Artillery
– 1863-1864 –
The battery was originally recruited in New York City as Company A of the 1st NY Artillery Battalion.  In 1863 the company was converted to the 29th Independent Battery.  In 1864 the battery was mustered out and the remaining men were transferred to the 32nd Independent Battery.

30th Independent Battery, New York Light Artillery (Veteran)
– 1863-1865 –
The battery was originally recruited in New York City as Company B of the 1st NY Artillery Battalion.  In 1863 the company was converted to the 30th Independent Battery.  In 1864 the battery received the remaining men of the 31st Independent Battery.

31st Independent Battery, New York Light Artillery
– 1863-1864 –
The battery was originally recruited in New York City as Company C of the 1st NY Artillery Battalion.  In 1863 the company was converted to the 31st Independent Battery.  In 1864 the battery was mustered out and the remaining men were transferred to the 30th Independent Battery.

32nd Independent Battery, New York Light Artillery (Veteran)
– 1863-1865 –
The battery was originally recruited in New York City as Company D of the 1st NY Artillery Battalion.  In 1863 the company was converted to the 32nd Independent Battery.  In 1864 the battery received the remaining men of the 29th Independent Battery, and the remaining men of the 15th Independent Battery in 1865.

3rd New York Artillery Battalion (Heavy)
“German Heavy Artillery; Senges’ Battalion of Artillery”
– 1861-1863 –
All five companies were recruited in New York City.  In 1863 the battalion formed Companies A-E of the 15th NY Artillery.

15th New York Artillery (Heavy)
– 1863-1865 –
Companies A-E were formed from the 3rd New York Artillery Battalion.  Companies G-L were also comprised of Germans.  Companies A-E, H and I were recruited in New York City, Company G was recruited in Buffalo and New York City and Companies K and L were recruited in New York City, Catskill, Buffalo and Troy.  The men recruited for the failed reorganization of the 2nd Independent Battery were transferred to this regiment.
 
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