Report of Col. Marshall Lefferts, Seventh Regiment New York State National Guard,
of operations June 16-July 18, including the Draft Riots.
JUNE 3-AUGUST 1, 1863.--The Gettysburg Campaign.
O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME XXVII/2 [S# 44]
HEADQUARTERS NEW YORK NATIONAL GUARD,
New York, October--, 1863.
Adjt. Gen. J. T. SPRAGUE.
SIR: I have the honor to report that, on the morning of the 16th June, I received the following telegram:
ALBANY, June 15--7.15 p.m.
Col. MARSHALL LEFFERTS,
Seventh Regiment New York State National Guard:
The Governor desires to know immediately how soon the Seventh Regiment can be in readiness to move to Philadelphia. Cannot the Seventh be the first regiment
J. B. STONEHOUSE,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.
As I was absent from the city, I did not receive this dispatch until the next morning at 10 o'clock, when I answered as follows:
NEW YORK, June 16--10 a.m.
J. B. STONEHOUSE,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General, Albany:
Have just arrived in the city, and have your telegram. I presume I can move with my regiment this evening. In order to carry full complement of men, it is necessary that I should be able to state to them definitely the time they will be required to be absent, and it will be difficult for them to remain any length of time, leaving on such short notice. Can they volunteer without being mustered into the service of the United States?
Colonel, Commanding Seventh Regiment.
To which I received the following answer:
ALBANY, June 15-10.55 a.m.
Col. MARSHALL LEFFERTS:
The Governor directs that you proceed forthwith with your regiment, as full as possible, to Harrisburg, Pa., and report to Major-General Couch. They volunteer for a time not to exceed three months' service; most likely not more than thirty days will be required. Requisition for transportation will be made upon Major Van Vliet, No. 6 State street and for subsistence upon Col. A. B Eaton, 7 State street.
JOHN T. SPRAGUE,
Upon receipt of this telegram, my order for assembling the officers and men was promulgated, and requisition made for transportation to be in readiness, and we should have taken our departure, but General Hall, who did not know of my orders to move immediately, went to the armory, and dismissed the men until the following morning, of which I promptly advised you by telegraph.
At an early hour on the morning of the 17th of June, we left the city, via Amboy, with a total of 583 men, but, in consequence of delays on the road, did not reach Philadelphia until late in the afternoon. At this point, I was requested to report to Colonel Ruff, U.S. Army, commanding at Philadelphia, who informed me that I should proceed to Baltimore, in conformity with the following order:
Philadelphia, Pa., June 17, 1863.
Commanding Officer Seventh Regiment New York State Militia:
SIR: You will proceed without delay to Baltimore, Md. Report, on the arrival of your regiment, to Maj. Gen. Robert C. Schenck, U.S. Volunteers, commanding that military department. Transportation is provided for your regiment via the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad.
By command of Major-General Halleck, General-in-Chief:
C. F. RUFF,
Lieutenant-Colonel Third Cavalry, U.S. Army, Comdg., Philadelphia.
Although I had your order to proceed to Harrisburg, I could not doubt you would desire me to go where there was the most need of my services, and at once marched my regiment forward, sending you the following notification of this change:
PHILADELPHIA, July 17, 1863---Midnight.
J. T. SPRAGUE,
I have received orders from Major-General Halleck to proceed to Baltimore, and the regiment is now on the cars ready to proceed to that city. I presume this will receive the sanction of the Governor.
Colonel, Commanding Seventh Regiment.
Upon arrival at Baltimore, I reported to Major-General Schenck, and was ordered on duty in the city for that night and following day, when we were directed to relieve the One hundred and twenty-ninth Regiment New York State Volunteers, Colonel Porter, at Fort Federal Hill. We remained at this fort until the 5th of July, during which time we were actively engaged on outpost and other duty, being frequently reduced to 150 men in the fort. On the 5th of July, we were ordered to report to General Briggs, and proceed to Frederick, Md., in light marching order, leaving tents, knapsacks, and baggage behind. This order was received during the night, and although two of our outposts were distant 9 and 12 miles, respectively, they were called in, and the regiment moved from the fort at 8 a.m., in a drenching rain. At Monocacy Junction, we were detained some time awaiting the decision of, I believe, Major-General Meade, whether the troops then on the road should go to Harper's Ferry. Finally, we received orders to march to Frederick City (by order), leaving two detachments for duty near that city. The regiment went into camp on the road to Harper s Ferry. We were here assigned to the Third Army Corps, Army of the Potomac. On the 8th of July, by the following order. I assumed command of Frederick, relieving General French, who was ordered to the command of the Third Army Corps:
SPECIAL ORDERS, No. 24.
Frederick City, July 8, 1863.
* * * * * * * * * *
II. Colonel Lefferts, Seventh New York Regiment, is detailed on special duty in Frederick City Colonel Lefferts will make such arrangements for guarding the depots, and for the police required for the city, as he may deem necessary.
III. Maj. H. A. Cole, Maryland cavalry, will report to Colonel Lefferts for instruction.
IV. The battalion, Fourteenth [First] Massachusetts Heavy Artillery, under Major Rolfe, now on duty at Monocacy Junction, will be relieved by a detachment from the Seventh New York Regiment, after which Major Rolfe will report to these headquarters in person.
As Monocacy Junction was made the grand depot for the Army of the Potomac, and a large portion of the army then moving through Frederick to South Mountain--Hagerstown--and pressing the rebel army to Williamsport, our duties were active, and, I trust, faithfully performed.
On July 14, I received the following order at 4 p.m.; called in the various detachments, and marched to Monocacy Junction:
HEADQUARTERS, Frederick, July 14, 1863.
Commanding Seventh Regiment New York State Militia:
SIR: Major-General Halleck directs that the Seventh Regiment New York State Militia be sent to New York, by railroad, to report to Major-General Wool. You will please take immediate measures to carry out this order.
I had been already notified by telegraph of the disgraceful riot in New York City, and, on the receipt of the foregoing order, made all haste in its execution. Detachments were called in, and, notwithstanding the roads were very heavy from a three-days' storm, we reached Monocacy Junction in four and a half hours from the time I received the order at Frederick City. I had sent one of my staff to the Junction, to explain the necessity of the transportation being ready, but I regret to say we did not leave the Junction until 11.45 p.m., and from this hour until daylight of the 16th July we were on the road. Receiving from His Excellency the Governor an intimation that the rails would be taken up at or near Newark, and my regiment probably attacked, which circumstance might delay my arrival in New York City, and the pressing necessity for our presence, I succeeded, with the assistance of Col. E. S. Sanford, in arranging with the authorities to transport the regiment via Amboy. Landing at Canal street, I marched up Broadway to the headquarters of Major-General Wool, at the Saint Nicholas Hotel, and reported for duty. I was directed by the general to proceed to the regimental armory, and remain in readiness for immediate service. At 10 a.m. I reported to His Excellency the Governor. I will mention here that in consequence of the order directing us to leave all baggage behind, upon our departure from Baltimore to join the Army of the Potomac, then moving upon Hagerstown, Md.. my men were entirely destitute of extra clothing, and had not, at the time of their arrival in New York, changed their underclothing for a period of eleven days, during which time they had also been without even the shelter of tents. At 3 p.m. of the same day, I received the following order:
ORDER.] NEW YORK, July 16, 1863.
Colonel Lefferts, of the Seventh Regiment, will proceed and take station with his regiment as follows: His headquarters, with one battalion, at the Eighteenth precinct, and one battalion, under command of the senior field officer, at the Twenty-first precinct, the colonel commanding both. He is charged with suppressing all mobs and riots, and will sternly use all means he has in doing so.
His district will extend from Seventh street to Sixty-fifth street, and he will make such further distribution of his regiment as he may think proper. He will continue in that district until he receives further orders, and will make frequent reports to these headquarters.
By command of Bvt. Brig. Gen. H. Brown:
JOHN B. FROTHINGHAM,
Lieutenant-Colonel, U.S. Army, Aide-de-Camp.
Upon its receipt, I at once marched my command into the district indicated, making my headquarters at the police station, Thirty-fifth street, two doors from Third avenue. Although we were fired upon, and during the march some shots returned, yet I know of no casualties. After dusk, my detachments of observation were continually annoyed by shots from the houses and other places of concealment. At 10 p.m. I directed a detachment of four companies, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel [James] Price, and a battery of two pieces, under command of Captain [E. P.] Rogers, Company I, to pass through the district as low down as Fourteenth street; this was promptly executed. I subjoin my report of the following morning:
HEADQUARTERS TWENTY-FIRST POLICE PRECINCT,
July 17, 1863.
General HARVEY BROWN,
SIR: I have the honor to report the district under my charge as quiet after 12 p.m. I was obliged to use harsh measures during the evening, but hope we shall have no further trouble.
In obedience to orders, a thorough patrol of the district between Thirty-fifth street and Fourteenth street, Third avenue and East River, was made last evening after 10 o'clock.
None of my men were injured.
Colonel, Commanding Seventh Regiment.
During the night of the 16th, I was informed of several depositories of arms, in the custody of the mob, and accordingly, on the morning of the 17th, I proceeded with my whole force to Thirty-eighth street and Second avenue, and, by surrounding the blocks, the houses were searched. This I continued from square to square, toward Fourteenth street, aided by an efficient platoon of police, under charge of Acting Captain --------. Soon 250 arms (many of them loaded and capped) were secured, and considerable clothing, which had been stolen from the store of Messrs. Brooks. At 2 p.m. of this day, I received orders from headquarters to return to the armory. On the afternoon of the 18th, I was obliged, by indisposition, to give the command to Lieutenant-Colonel Price. From this period the regiment remained on duty, by detachments, until -------, but without anything material to note.
I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,
Col., Comdg. 7th Regt. New York State National Guard.
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