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Primary Sources for the 20th New York State Militia

New York Daily Herald, May 8, 1861

Albany, May 7, 1861.

The orders recently sent to the Twentieth regiment, Col. Pratt, of Ulster county, were countermanded last night, and the regiment ordered to proceed to Washington by the eight o’clock train. This change of arrangements was in consequence of information received by Gov. Morgan from reliable parties in New York, which he did not feel at liberty to disregard.

The following despatch was received by the Governor yesterday :—

New York, May 6, 1861.
Gov. Morgan—We have reliable information, in which we have implicit confidence, that the capital is in immediate peril. What do you recommend?
(Signed) S. DRAPER, Chairman.

Shortly afterward Gov. Morgan received the following confirmatory despatch :—
New York, May 6, 1861.

GOVERNOR MORGAN—The government asks for 5,000 stand of arms. The case admits of no delay. Can Gen. Welch furnish them from the arsenal here, to be replaced from Springfield?

Governor Morgan had previously consulted Mr. Wadsworth as to the advisability of sending the Twentieth regiment to Washington, and Mr. Wadsworth had expressed his opinion that it was unnecessary. Before three P. M. yesterday, however, Governor Morgan received the following :-—

New York, May 6—2.30 P. M.

GOVERNOR MORGAN - On information just received I advise the Twentieth regiment to be sent to Washington to-night by eight o'clock train. Highiy important.


Acting on the above advice, Governor Morgan issued orders for the instant departure of Colonel Pratt's regiment for Washington.

Colonel A. Van Vechten has resigned his position as Assistant Adjutant General. Dissatisfaction with the course of the Board of State Officers is understood to have occasioned his resignation.


Monticello (NY) Republican Watchman, May 9, 1861

The following letter is from a young man who, two years since, was for several months a resident of our village. When he enlisted he was attending the Ellenville High School.

As will be seen, the letter was not intended for publication.

May 19, 1861.

W. J. GROO, Esq. - Dear Sir: I having a few leisure minutes, will write a few lines to you. I am in the twentieth Regiment of the New York state militia, under Col. G. W. Pratt. The Regiment is at present stationed as a part of the defence of the department of Annapolis. About one-half of the Regiment is stationed at Annapolis Junction, which is at the point where the railroad from Annapolis meets the one from Baltimore to Washington, 22 miles from Washington and 18 from Baltimore. It has been here since Saturday May 11. I have been there, until to day, when by order of Col. Pratt, 10 men besides myself were chosen to go about 3 miles distant, to guard a point on the railroad; which is in much danger of being attacked, and the track torn up by a gang of secessionists in the neighborhood.

The other half of the regiment is posted at different points on the railroad From Annapolis to Annapolis Junction, to keep the track down. Since we have been at the camp at Annapolis Junction, we have been kept on duty a great portion of the time, as an attack from a company of horsemen, who are reported to be making preparations for it, was expected every night. To meet this, a good guard is kept around the camp, and picket guards are kept out on all sides at a distance of one-half to a mile. Scouting parties are also kept out every night. The latter are generally made up of those who volunteer to go. Nearly every day the Col., with about 250 men, takes a march from 8 to 12 miles around in the country, in order to ascertain whether or not rebel forces are gathering in this vicinity. Friday I went with the company - we traveled about 15 miles. We were in pursuit of a company of horsemen who, for a time, we were quite certain of meeting, but did not. The Regiment is now under Gen. Cadwallader. When we leave this place or where we well go is very uncertain. Quite likely we will go either to the Relay House, Washington, or Harper's Ferry. I presume we will leave soon. Through this and adjoining counties, things are being quieted very fast; and the union feeling is gaining ground rapidly. Several spies have been arrested by the regiment, who I presume will be hung. The people generally, in this part, profess to be Union people, and treat us with much respect especially, is this no along the railroad.

The country is middling level - some of the soil very fertile, and some very poor and unproductive. Weather somewhat warmer than in Sullivan; still the nights are colder than I expected. Yesterday morning at Annapolis Junction was a nice frost.

The soldier's life is one of a more rugged, toilsome character than anything I ever engaged in heretofore; still I am not disappointed with it, for I weighted the matter well before I enlisted, and prepared to meet the worst. I have not slept in a bed since the 22d of April. In the camp we have cloth tents, and straw for beds; are kept on pork, beef, beans, soa crackers, coffee, and occasionally biscuit. Each man has his ration dealt out to him. I have not received but one letter from home since I have been in the army. A letter is as fine a treat as any of us wish for. I write nearly all the spare time I have; I write so many letters for soldiers who cannot write. It is a hard matter to get paper and envelopes. New York state bills will not pass here only with a few merchants, and on the cars.

I do all my writing on a newspaper on my knee. My health is very good, and so is that of the regiment generally. The spirits of all in the Regiment seems in a high range. All are ready to meet any emergency. With me the thought of a conflict with arms is not accompanied with dread or horror; and from appearance the same feeling reigns in the major part of the regiment. Our term of enlistment terminates the last of July; whether I remain longer is a matter of doubt. B. G. Childs is in a company of the Zouaves from New York city.

My address is Company E, 20th Regiment, New York State Militia, in care of Col. G. W. Pratt, Maryland. Please let me hear from you the first opportunity. I remain, Yours, Resp'ly,


The Baltimore Sun, May 15, 1861


The Relay House military post was held on Monday by about 1,000 of New York Infantry, under the command of Col. Lyons. This force has since been reinforced by troops from Washington, including the Eighth Massachusetts Regiment, making 2,000 or 3,000 in all there. The Twentieth New York Regiment is at the Annapolis Junction.

The trains from the West yesterday brought nothing important from Harper's Ferry, save the “note of preparation” to repel an expected invasion by United States troops. Troops were arriving and fortifications progressing.


The Baltimore Sun, May 16, 1861

[Correspondence of the Baltimore Sun]


Gen. Cadwallader's Brigade—Troops at Annapolis Junction—Laurel Factory—Division of the Circuit Court, &c.

Gen. Cadwallader's fine brigade of Pennsylvania volunteers, which left Philadelphia by railroad last night, have doubtless arrived at the “Monumental city.” It is supposed here that their present destination is the Relay House.

At Annapolis Junction everything wears a cheerful aspect. The main body of the twentieth regiment of New York volunteers are still there, and look remarkably well. These men are well-bred farmers and mechanics, unaddicted to intemperance or profanity, which greatly enhances the pleasures of a visit to their camp. On Sunday, and occasionally during week evenings, Divine service is performed by their chaplain. The every day drill, and dress parades each afternoon at five o'clock, contribute very much to the gratification of the good country folks of that entire neighborhood. Col. Pratt is deservedly popular with his command. Portions of this regiment remain on guard at various points between Annapolis and the Junction. Near Beltsville there is also one company of troops located, and another at Bladensburg.

At Laurel Factory the employees of the cotton mills are still kept on half-time work.


The Baltimore Sun, May 23, 1861

Affairs at the Relay and Junction Military Posts. Col. Jones, in command at the Relay Camp, was on Tuesday ordered to report to General Butler, at Annapolis, previous to his departure for Fortress Monroe. Major Watson was in the meantime in command at the Relay post.

On Saturday night last a file of soldiers, said to be from Annapolis Junction, appeared at the residence of Major Wm. B. Bond, Anne Arundel county, and demanded the arms of a rifle company commanded by Captain Bond, a son of the Major, who was absent at the time of the visit. The officer In command of the squad, not being satisfied with the answer to his interrogatories, searched the premises, but found no arms.

The Twentieth New York Regiment is guarding the military route from Annapolis to the Junction.


Saugerties Telegraph, May 24, 1861

Mr. Dunbar Schoonmaker, son of John M. Schoonmaker, of Kingston, and member of the 20th Regiment, was killed at Annapolis Junction, Md by the accidental discharge of his revolver on Friday morning last. The particulars of the accident was given by capt. George H. Sharp are as follows:

On rising for the day, between 5 and 6 o'clock, he proceeded to put his quarters in order, roll up his blanket, and place it with his knapsack and equipments in their proper places. Preparatory to doing so, he took his pistol from under his coat, and put it into the breast pocket of a blue flannel shirt he was wearing. He then stooped over to raise his musket, which had been lying by his side during the night, and in the act of bending, the pistol fell from the pocket, became reserved by falling as as to present the muzzle towards his body, and struck its hammer against the but of the musket. The blow discharged the pistol, when Schoonmaker raised himself erect, proceeded about twenty five feet, and suddenly reeled and fell into the […] Frantz, who, with several others, was hurrying on with him towards the Lieutenants quarters. They laid him down immediately, but he was already dead, when he reached the floor.

The remains of the deceased were brought to Kingston on Monday last, accompanied by Capt. Sharp and a detachment of privates from the ranks of Co. B. The funeral took place at 5 o'clock in the afternoon, and was attended by a large concourse of citizens.

The members of the Fire Department of Kingston and Rondout were out in full ranks as were also the National Grays, and a detachment from the Cavalry Co. of the 20th Regiment. The body was buried with military honors.

Mr. Schoonmaker was about 23 years of age, and was confessedly one of the very best men in his company in his soldiery bearing and exemplary conduct.


New York Times, May 29, 1861

ANNAPOLIS JUNCTION, Thursday, May 23, 1861.

The present status of the New-York Twentieth Regiment affords but meagre material for exciting narrative. We are stationed at Annapolis Junction, where the road running westward from Annapolis City connects with the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, being distant from Washington 22 miles, from Baltimore 18, and from Annapolis 20 miles. A portion of our force are distributed along the railway leading to Annapolis, as a picket guard, Our position, although a highly responsible one, is not the most completely suited to the tastes of the ardent soldier, who is never fully in his element except when in the actual pursuit of the bubble reputation at the cannon's mouth. Ours are the more prosy duties of camp life. We pass our time, and sorely tempt our patience in exhausting drills, and wearisome guard duty. Our appetites, too, are sorely aggravated with biscuit of a lamantine hardness, and meat tough and salt beyond description. Sleeping upon the damp ground, and standing at lonesome outposts, exposed hour after hour to the chill night air, or the parching sunshine, is also a part of our daily experience. All these things, however, are tolerably well endured because they were anticipated.

But these are not the only ardor-dampening influences that are brought to bear upon us. Although we hove now been a full month in the service, we are most lamentably destitute of clothing, arms and equipments in general, Some of our boys are entirety barefooted, others are without coats, pants, shirts, and other necessary articles of clothing few of them are provided with cartridge-boxes, and none of them may be said to be fully and thoroughly equipped. We cannot impute this unfortunate state of things to our field-officers, who, we believe, have done everything in their power for our relief. We feel, however, that a screw is loose somewhere, and somebody is to be blamed for it. We are not addicted to gratuitous grumbling, and yet it is not to be wondered at that some of our barefooted and ragged braves should occasionally give expression to a little feeling, and represent themselves to be the most shabbily treated of all Uncle Sam's soldiery. One month of our service has just expired and the regiment is just getting over the disappointment of not being visited by the paymaster. It is really too bad that men who are willing to endure all the privations, and accept all the hazards of a solders life, should not receive their sorry stipend of […] dollars, at the expiration of each month promptly. Few of our men have families—and fewer steal a cent of spending money , and yet, without a little ready change they cannot procure so much as a three-cent paper of tobacco, or a letter stamp, send a friendly word to relatives and friends far away. They feel, furthermore, that they are subject to extraordinary dangers, and prefer to make the most of their money, while they are in a condition to enjoy it. Our men did not enlist in the service from mercenary consideration and consequently, no serious disaffection may be apprehended on this score - although I am certain that should the Government manifest a little more regard for their personal comfort, it would find them a much […] if not more efficient body of soldiers.

Our regiment has been the recipient of valuable favors from private sources. The good people of Ulster have furnished us a large quantity of clothing previous to our departure. The father of our estimable Colonel Hon. ZADOCK PRATT, of Prattsville, presented us, but a week since, with six firkins of butter, and the Colonels excellent wife has contributed from her pocket money, the sum of $250, to be distributed among the noncommissioned officers and privates.

Since writing the above, I have received an intimation that we are soon to be transferred to another command. As active hostilities appear to be the order of the day, we may soon be regaled with the smell of gunpowder.



New York Daily Tribune, May 30, 1861


Correspondence of The N. Y. Tribune.

Our regiment (the 20th N. Y. S. M.) is stationed at Annapolis Junction, keeping guard over the railroads connecting Washington with Baltimore and Annapolis. Our duties as a guard have been severe and trying, We may congratulate ourselves, however, upon having faithfully discharged them, as neither of these important lines of transit has been tampered with since we have been here, which is owing as much, perhaps, to our vigilance as to the forbearance of the enemy, as we have found it necessary to scour the surrounding country with frequent scouting parties, and to make numerous arrests of persons suspected of treasonable designs.

There has been some dissatisfaction among our men, occasioned by an unpardonable delay on the part of the authorities in furnishing us with our complement of arms and equipments; but as we have just received a good supply of these articles, we have nothing more to complain of on that score. Our first month's service expired on the 23d inst., and we have been on the qui vive for the Paymaster. The probability, however, that we shall not be visited by that functionary is apparent, and, although disappointed, we are not disaffected. A little re-enforcement in the shape of funds would be a godsend to our braves, many of whom have not money enough to buy a postage stamp or a three-cent paper of tobacco, Our prevent situation affords an excellent school in which to “learn to labor and to wait.”

We have been the recipients of choice favors from private sources. Old Ulster furnished us, at our departure, with a goodly supply of underclothing and shoes, and since we have been stationed at this place we have received six firkins of butter from the ample dairy of the Hou. Zadoc Pratt, the father of our estimable Colonel. Mrs. Pratt, the wife of the Colonel, has also given from her pocket-money the nice little sum of $200, to be distributed among the non-commissioned officers and privates of the regiment. We are, of course, very grateful and highly appreciative.

There is a pretty well-founded anticipation current with us that we shall, in a day or two, be transferred to a more active field of duty. Whatever order may come, we shall respond with alacrity, and be assured we shall try to do our duty, our whole duty, to our country and its blessed institutions.


Windham (NY) Journal, June 6, 1861

From our Regiment.

It is due to our old and highly valued friend, Brevt. Lieut. A. N. B., of Co. R,, 20th Regiment, to day that the following extracts from his letters were not written by him with a view to their publication, but simply for the perusal of his friends, and we, by permission think of enlarging that circle. Believing that anything concerning the welfare of our gallant 20th, who have gone forth to brave toil and danger for us, will be interesting to our readers we publish all for which we have space. We trust that measures will immediately be taken by us of the “mountain towns” to allow our brave fellows that they will not be permitted to suffer privations, which it is in our power to prevent, viz: want of clothing and other necessaries, We do not doubt that aid would be rendered as freely here as it has been in the river towns, if some one would only take the initiatory steps. ED. JOUR.

CROWNSVILLE, May 21, 1861.

The 20th Regiment is guarding the Railroad from Annapolis to the Baltimore Junction. It is far from being completely equipped or uniformed; but I think no blame is chargeable to the commanding officers. Requisitions for these things have been repeatedly made upon the State, General government, and Union relief Committee; but the enthusiasm of the North has outstripped the powers of all these to relieve the wants of the soldiery - so rapidly concentrated - but all that are men endure this cheerfully.

The Regiment is daily under the strictest drill, and rapidly improving. Discipline seems to chafe the dignity of a few, but such will find U. S. service no child's play - where for seemingly trifling misdemeanors the penalty is death. Thus far I am delighted with the service, but only fear we may not have just one chance to measure our nerve with the rebels.

The Schuyler Guards, from Rhinebeck, consolidated with our Company, are all fine men. The Journal of one day may give you a little idea of our duties: Reveille at 4 1/2 in the morning, when the nightly sentries are relieved, and all the Company fall in line for roll call and a short drill; breakfast at 7; Company drill at 6, dinner 12; dress parade at 3; supper at 6, and at 7 1/2 we station our sentinels along the track for guard, being relieved every two hours by a Sergeant and Corporal. Besides there is an officer of the night to oversee all these, watch the sleepy sentries, and guard against attack: which duties I am performing tonight, almost stealing time to write.

Our bill of fare includes, first and chiefly, sea biscuit, hard as flints, to speak after the manner of men; very salt beef, pork and bacon, with now and then some rice or beans. But it is astonishing house this, for rations, does slide out of sight. Of course the officer's mess occasionally sees something a little different. Last Sunday, however, we were invited out to a sumptuous dinner with a planer near here.

We sleep wrapped in a single blanket, on the bare floor, little touch at first, but now it's no trouble at all, only the nights are chilly here.

Our arms are within reach, to guard against any sudden attacks, which however now we but little expect, for Maryland is yet loyal, although there are traitors enough within her borders. The general sentiment toward us is friendly. Vegetation seems forward to us, but very backward to the inhabitants. Peaches are abundant - about the size of walnuts. Climate very healthy, and water good. We have New York and Baltimore dailies. You may believe we devour the war news greedily.

The gigantic plans of Gen Scott are fast ripening, and soon we expect to witness and perhaps help in some hot work, for it is a fact that Southern troops can fight, and they are hastening North. But if beaten at first,

“In God is our trust,
And our cause is just.”

The most discouraging thing we hear is the miserable jangling of a few men and journals about party and the like; such men I did not come here to fight. Norther Secessionist now are much worse than Tories of '76; and if the volunteers ever see a secession flag hoisted around home, you may conclude there will be something of a row.

We have a great deal of fun as well as work. The other night a Jewett volunteer was Sergeant of the guard, and an alarm being given that men were seen skulking back of the camp, he took two or three men and bravely led on the attack. The night being dark they charged upon an object, which proved to be a hen-coop made of a barrel, killing six chickens. Some though, had the old hen been awake they would have had a warm time of it. Fort Chickens is a by-word.

Sunday last some of our men came to the quarters drunk. The Captain dispatched a detachment under my command to arrest those who were found in that condition, and the seller of the liquor. After some little trouble we found out the offender - a free negro. We arrested him, and while the men stood guard I searched the house. It reminded me of Dinah's kitchen, in “Uncle Tom's Cabin.” We played Maine Law with his liquors, and brought him off.

We are only enlisted for three months, from April 23d. If after that our country needs me I may stay longer. But 'tis almost morning, and I must Close. B.

May 28, 1861.

We have suffered cruelly, as a Company, and indeed as a Regiment, from not being better equipped before leaving home. Almost any day barefooted sentries in shirt sleeves might be seen. By advice we left many articles in Kingston we should have brought. Greene County men in the Regiment are not so well provided for as are Ulster county's, from want of home aid; though I know it is from your ignorance of our destitution. This thing I hope will obtain general publicity, for it is not yet too late for a speedy relief. I don't ask this so much for myself as for others; suffering sons of Greene county. I think at least the mountain towns might do a little. B.


Saugerties Telegraph, June 7, 1861

May 20th, 1861.

DEAR —–: It gives me pleasure to be able to acknowledge the receipt of yours of the 24th inst., as also to hear that all are in their accustomed health and spirits.

That the people of Saugerties will do all that lies in their power to make us comfortable, I doubt not, but allow me to put in my protest against doing so, under the mistaken idea that we are in a starving and naked condition. Many letters have been received here within the last few days stating that Ulster Co., is full of rumors to the effect that the 20th Regiment are each and all about to give up the ghost in consequence of hunger; and that we have not clothing enough to cover our nakedness, being without shoes and shirtless. If such stories should be prevalent among you, (and I doubt not there are,) allow me to contradict them most emphatically. -

Although we are in need of many things to make us more comfortable, yet we are not quite as bad off as these unfounded rumors would make us seem. I have written to several in Saugerties, that it would be of great benefit to the men to have a change of shirts and stockings, and that many needed shoes. Not that they were entirely destitute of these things, but that they were necessary for their personal comfort and bodily health.

I trust that the good people of our town will not relax their most praiseworthy efforts to make their representatives live as comfortable as possible, Send on your clothing, &c., not; however with the understanding that they are going to the relief of a starving and destitute soldiery, but to place the men, not already. I must confess, too well provided for, in a better condition to pass safely through the coming campaign.

As to food; I think in the aggregate they have sufficient, although each man may not at all times get his exact quota. This, however, is unavoidable; there being eight hundred to feed three times a day, it is almost impossible to divide so that every man that every man shall get an equal quantity Uncle Sam having so many to provide for just at present, that I should not think it strange if some occasionally suffered. Taking all things into consideration, the Ulster Guard should not complain on that score nor do they with very few exceptions. We are yet at Annapolis Junction, as when last I wrote you. The men are in unusual good health, much more so I think, that the same number generally are, distributed among their friends at home. The climate agrees with them perfectly, the thermometer ranging from sixty to sixty five. When we shall leave here is yet a secret but probably in a few days.

Mr Camp, of Westchester, has just come is from the train, and tells me that a messenger arrived in Washington, bringing the news that there was thirty thousand rebel troops concentrated at Manasses Junction, and ten thousand South Carolina troops were then marching on Alexandria. That the rebels have warned their friends in A. to leave their furniture, and all that was not actually necessary, for their convenience on the road behind them. If this should prove true, a heavy battle will soon be fought fought at or near Alexandria. Camp also stated that Gen. Mansfield had told him this afternoon that this would probably be the case. There was perfect confidence in Washington that our troops would be victorious. I have no double as to the result. Our country's flag must and shall be maintained. The 20th will perhaps be moved on tomorrow. Your Friend,

R. L.


Windham (NY) Journal, June 13, 1861

Extract of a letter from the 20th.

The following extracts are from a private letter from one of the Windham boys, now with the 20th Regiment: [ED. JOUR.

June 2d, 1861,

We are all camped out in tents, upon a piece of ground that was formerly used by the enemy as a drill and parade ground, but when the Federal troops appeared they fled like “chaff before the wind.” Its curious that I don't receive any letters. I have written eight or nine and received two, and one Windham Journal. I would like the Journal, but don't get it. We had an Ulster county supper last night, consisting of cake, bread, &c., which was sent to the Regiment by the ladies of Ulster county. It's curious that Greene county does not do something for the boys from that county. Other members of our Company have had revolvers presented to them by their friends, and if the town of Windham cannot do, as much as other towns I am mistaken, that's all. I am sitting in my tent, surrounded by soldiers, and the most of them are writing to their friends, and homes. While I sit writing this my next door neighbor has been shot through the hand. It was done accidentally. This is the most serious accident which has taken place as yet. W. A. M.


Albany Evening Journal, June 13, 1861


One of the pickets of the 20th New York, stationed along the road from the Junction to Annapolis, was fired on last evening by a party of mounted rebels, who fled upon receiving a volley in return. The camp at the Junction was ordered under arms and a skermishing party sent out and scoured the country for miles around, but failed to find the assailants. The country in the vicinity of the camp is of such a character as to give the mounted rebels great advantage in attacking infantry.


New Paltz Times, June 14, 1861

The following order was issued by Col. Pratt on the 28th ult., at Annapolis Junction:

The Stars and Stripes will be hoisted on the flag staff at half-past three o'clock, and the Camp will be known as Camp Reynolds, in compliment to the zealous and active friend of the Ulster Guard. Henry H. Reynolds, of Kingston, N. Y.


Saugerties Telegraph, June 14, 1861


June 6TH, 1861.

P. CANTINE, Esq, Sir: The Havelocks, &c., have just arrived in good order. I shall attend to the distribution of them to-morrow. All well.

June 6TH, 1861.

PETER CANTINE, Esq, Dear Sir: I have received your favor of the 30th ult., and have also the pleasure of assuring you of the safe arrival of boxes destined for G company, Capt. Hendricks. This company is now stationed at several points along the Annapolis road, and Paymaster Overbaugh goes in the morning to assist in the distribution of the kind donations of the friends at Saugerties.

I hazard nothing in saying that these contributions will be welcomed, and thoroughly appreciated by the recipients, who will, no doubt, express their thankfulness in more particular terms.
Very respectfully Yours,

CROWNSVILLE, June 6th, 1861.
PETER CANTINE, Esq, Saugerties.
Dear Sir: Your esteemed favor, bearing date, May 30th, this day came to hand, contents noted. Two boxes containing the following articles were received a couple of days since, viz:
34 pair Shoes; 75 Flannel Shirts; 2 pair Drawers; 100 pair Socks; A lot of Pipes and Tobacco from M. Krohn.

Words fail me, my Dear Sir, when I attempt to convey to you and through you, to the patriotic citizens of Saugerties, the sincere gratitude of my command and myself, for the promptness and generosity displayed in answering the call made upon them.

I fully appreciate the many difficulties under which you have labored in attaining this result, and this, were it possible, would add to our gratitude.

Our necessities were urgent, and your generosity has exceeded them. It is very true, as many have urged, that either the State or Federal Government, should have furnished all these necessaries. But when we reflet upon the enormous demands so suddenly made upon each, we can only be surprised that in so short a time they should have accomplished so much. Both are doing nobly. the main spring of the American heart, has at last been touched on its most sensitive chord; and the people are responding to the calls upon their patriotism with a unanimity, such as the past of no other people can show. Future historians will point to this epoch of a national existence as the one in which was decided more momentous questions, than even those for which our forefathers hopefully carried forward a seven years way, during the progress of which, their footprints were traced in blood, on the snows of Valley Forge.

We, their descendants, are not called upon to make such terrible sacrifices; but the spirit aroused through our land, exclusively shows that our people have not degenerated, but are ready by deeds to prove themselves “worthy sons of worthy sires.” Our Company are at present detailed for duty along the railroad between Annapolis City and Annapolis Junction. My quarters are at Crownsville, Md. We are surrounded by covert foes, who only wait the time when our arms shall meet a reverse in Virginia, or the approaching Congressional election, to be held on the 13th inst., in this state, to re[…] the bloody scenes of Baltimore. But experience I believe will demonstrate that our boys will prove themselves worthy the trust reposed in them. We impatiently await marching orders for Virginia, the stirring news from whence we read with beating, hopeful hearts. These we will probably not receive until after the election.

In conclusion permit as one and all to renew our heartfelt thanks to you and the generous donors who in the time of our need, have so nobly stepped forward, to our assistance. May a just Providence watch over and prosper you and yours; may God bless you, is our earnest prayer.
Your Ob't Serv't,
Capt. Co. G, 20th Reg., N. Y. S. M.


New York Daily Tribune, June 17, 1861

Affairs at Annapolis.

Correspondence of The N. Y. Tribune.


Camp life drags along somewhat wearily with us Annapolis Junction. To be a soldier without fighting is a grievous bore. Well-appointed regiments pass by almost every day within sight of our encampment. Their destination is Virginia. We greet them with patriotic enthusiasm, but cannot help envying them the good fortune of being permitted to pay their regards in person to our chivalrous brethren of the sunny South.

Monday we were aroused by the long roll. picket, about a mile from the camp had been fired into, As soon as we were formed into line and received our ammunition we heard a volley of discharged so near that an immediate engagement anticipated. Our company (E) was throw forward as skirmishers, but upon reaching the picket learned that the enemy vamosed, and that none our men had been injured by their fire, although balls were heard whizzing very near them. After a thorough reconnaissance, we returned, disappointed not having been able to overtake and pulverize our cowardly assailants. The volley we was fired by the guard, and it is though some of the enemy were killed or wounded, as they appeared to be engaged in the removal of some object, and traces of blood designedly obscured were found near the spot next day. The enemy appeared to be mounted, and evidently mustered in considerable force for a midnight sortie. The night was very dark, and the affair took place under cover of a thick forest; consequently it was difficult to obtain reliable information of the result.

A majority of the people in our neighborhood regard us very offishly. It is evident that many of them who have put on the semblance of loyalty, are waiting and that impatiently — the withdrawal of our troops to return to their old occupation of tearing up railroads, persecuting the few faithful Abdiels around them, plotting and executing treason against the Government. Some of them manifest their friendliness by exacting exorbitant prices for straw, and such extras as the men think they can't dispense with. Sometimes they are caught prowling about in the character of informers. Last week we arrested one of these prowlers named Shipley, and held him in confinement. He was released after taking the oath of allegiance.

Negro fugitives have been challenged by our sentinels. Our men are not disposed to aid in their escape, but they will have no part in reclaiming them, although money has been offered them, in some for their assistance. To morrow the Marylanders will hold their election. It is thought that a portion of our force will be detailed as an election police.

Our encampment is very pleasantly located near the Junction. The men appear to be well satisfied with their quarters, and with the rations dispensed by the Army Commissary. Their general health is excellent and were they sufficiently uniformed the would not doubt prove themselves equal to any troops in the service.


Windham (NY) Journal, June 20, 1861

Extract of a letter from the 20th Regiment.


The 20th Regiment are yet the protectors of the Annapolis & Washington Railroad, are are enjoying it very well, have plenty to eat, and their quarters are very good, much better I think than any regiment in the vicinity of Washington, outside its limits. I can contrast our position with that of others with some degree of intelligence, as I visited almost every camp outside Washington.

Last Friday, in company with Col. Pratt, we started from here by Rail in the morning; took a carriage in Washington, and went over the long bridge, famous as the one passed over by the troops the night Alexandria was taken; made the entire rounds of the army in Alexandria; visited the Howard House, where the gallant Ellsworth fell; stood upon the very spot where himself and the rebel Jackson died; saw the flag-staff where then floated the secession flag, but now glorious waves the stars and stripes, and now hangs at half-mast, in respect to the memory of the honored one who planted them there. I also brought away with me a part of the piratical sheet he so gallantly tore down, and a piece of the handkerchief that was in the left pocket of his coat, when the wound was inflicted; both flag and handkerchief being stained by his noble heart's blood, spilt in defence of his country's honor.

We then went some three miles out of Alexandria, where the Michigan 1st and Ellsworth's Zouaves are throwing up entrenchments. Saw the out-posts of the enemy, and the spot where the fight was had last Friday night. On that very night, about four hours after we were there, in fact the very corps of cavalry that had the engagement, were drawn up before headquarters, ready for a start, and started a few minutes after we left, as we did not leave until eight in the evening. They were a fine looking body of men. We also visited Arlington Hights, the Headquarters of Gen. McDowell, saw the General, and reviewed his command. The spot I think is one of the most beautiful I ever saw, commanding the entire view of Washington and surrounding country for miles. In a military point of view it has the entire command of the city. It has been raining a perfect torrent; New York rains can't being with it.

R. L.



Peoples Press, June 20, 1861

In relation to the Death of Pvt. Dunbar Schoonmaker, George Sharp said “Coddington and Maricle lay next to him on one side and Howe on the other, and they and others immediately called out to know if he was shot.”

He “fell into the arms of Frantz, who, with several others, was hurrying on with him. They laid him down immediately, but he was already dead when he reached the floor.” Company B occupied “a narrow building some forty-five feet long, by the side of the Railroad track, used sometimes as a storehouse. In the northerly end of the building, a small part of it roughly partitioned off, serves as the kitchen and officers' quarters.”


Red Hook (NY) Journal, June 20, 1861

We are permitted to take the following extracts from a letter of Le Grand B. Curtis, of this village, a member of the 20th N. Y. Regiment, stationed at Annapolis Junction, to a friend here:—


DEAR FRIEND:—I received your letter on the third, and was glad to hear that you were all well, I can assure you that I am the same. We came from Crownsville one week from last Sunday—we always have the luck to move on Sunday—we got here about five o'clock in the afternoon, after which we had to go to work and put up our tents or sleep on the bare ground. We have to drill pretty hard here: we do not drill quite so hard on Sunday except in the afternoon. We have preaching every Sunday morning, and prayer meeting every night in the week.

Our Company went off on a scouting party day before yesterday; we went out three miles north of the Camp, and examined a large brick house where firearms were supposed to be hidden, and took the man who was there at the time, He confesses that be sent off one hundred fire-arms the night before. It is reported that he is to have choice, either to be shot, or remain prison for life.

I don't think I told you about that prisoner we took at Crownsville, about one mile and a half from the place where we were stationed. There was an old darkey there who sold rum, and some of the boys found it out, and went down one Sunday and got a little light headed. We took the old man prisoner, and put him in the guard-house with those who were drank. They scared the old man a great deal. He thought he was to be shot, but it was his first offence, so they let him go after destroy ing his liquors. We also took a fort, while at that place, but I was not on guard that night so I did not have a share in it. One of the farmers had some chickens, in barrels, not far from the camp fire, and about the middle of the night some of the boys gave an alarm that they saw some one where the chicken coops were. They all rushed up, and either took the coops for men or something worse, for they attacked the “fort;” which afterwards took the name of “Fort Chickens.”— The old hen was not in, or they might not have taken it so easily. The boys have great times talking about the brave fellows who stormed “Fort Chickens.”

Well, I have just had my supper and a great supper it was. Sour breed,and coffee strong enough to knock a fellow down We have had two beautiful days, yesterday and to-day. To-day, especially, it rained so hard part of the time it came through the tent like a bath. Oh! who wouldn't be a soldier? We have good times singing the Star Spangled Banner, &c. It is, almost meeting time, so I shall have to close.
L. B. C.


The Baltimore Sun, June 28, 1861

At an early hour yesterday morning the twentieth New York regiment, stationed at Annapolis Junction, and part of the sixth and eighth Massachusetts regiments, stationed at the Relay House, were brought to this city, arriving about daylight. They occupy positions on the western limits of the city.


Monticello (NY) Republican Watchman, July 3, 1861

A correspondent of the Ellenville Journal, writing from Annapolis Junction, says:

Owing to the heated temperature, or eating cherries which are quite plentiful about here, there is, at present, an unusual amount of sickness in the camp.

There may be other causes for this state of things, but these are regarded as the most prominent. The following members of our company, (E) are now severely, if not dangerously invalid - James Loraine, Palmer Bowers, Webster Burton, John Cooper, and James W. Pierce. Others are complaining of dysentery, but are not yet disabled from the performance of duty.

John Cooper has since died. This is the first death that has occured in the Ellenville company.


Windham (NY) Journal, July 4, 1861

Extract of a letter from the 20th Regiment.

HEAD QUARTERS, 20th Regt.,
June 22, 1861.

DEAR BROTHER —Not knowing when I shall write you again, I will do so now. During the forenoon the 20th Regiment has been all excitement and activity, preparatory to marching at a moments notice, in consequence of, of an order received this morning, from the powers that be—ordering the Colonel to hold his regiment in readiness for immediate service. Within one hour after the order was received the entire Regiment was all packed, and in marching order, excepting the tents,—now we await the approaching steam horse, to “stack tents,” get on board and be off. God only knows where.

Probably to the scene of action, soon to be, (if not already,) inaugurated on the “sacred soil” of the, once justly, proud “mother of Presidents;” but now, alas! polluted by the tread of rebels and traitors, to the generous government which made them all they are or ever will be.

There has been many rumors hereabouts, as well as at home. I understand that we are to go home, to Baltimore, to Annapolis, where we were first located, &c, So says rumor; but in my humble judgement the only move we will make, if any within the next four weeks, will be as above suggested, to the front.

You cannot imagine the extreme desire among our men to move forward, All are ready and eager for fight; and should they be fortunate enough to be accomodated, woe be unto the traitor's band that stands before them, At present I have charge of the Hospital, established for the Regiment here—a fine commodious dwelling house situated on a knoll, in a fine and airy position, about one fourth of a mile from the camp,—in fact, just the place for such an institution. When I announced our orders to the patients this morning, I advised them to remain quiet at least until the train was ready to start—and to remain there, if not well enough, as I feared some would not be. The spontaneous answer of the eight was, “never! When the 20th goes, we go also, sick or well.” This shows the stuff of which our Regiment is composed, give them a chance and I will be responsible for their valor.

There are constant rumors here of battles on the front, in Virginia, of success and reversion between the contending powers; but there is nothing certain.

We are expecting that a powerful and decisive move will soon be made. This is all the satisfaction I can give you at present. When I shall be able to write you again I cannot tell—perhaps, never; If not, my friends shall have the satisfaction of knowing that my life, though but short and uneventful has not been entirely in vain. Should our Regiment not be permitted to return to their homes, and former associations; should they be destined to fall on the battle field, in the defence of our time honored flag, and the institutions under which the American nation has become one of the greatest and happiest nations upon earth, tell the friends of the 20th to stand ready and willing to take our places, and battle for the right until treason and rebellion, ceases in our land; which eventually it will, if the administration stands firm, and an opportunity is given to the American people to show their strength in the defense of liberty and justice, which they so dearly love, Wishing to be remembered to all who may inquire, I remain your affectionate brother,


Windham (NY) Journal, July 4, 1861

From The 20th Regiment.



As we are formerly from the town of Windham and vicinity, we thought a few lines would be interesting to our friends and fellow citizens. We have just taken our breakfast, and now are seated on the shady side of our tent, to give as good an account of ourselves as circumstances will admit of.

We have had orders, within a few days, to be in readiness for a march at an hour's notice; and yesterday we took it for granted the hour had arrived. Our knapsacks were quickly thrown up on our shoulders, haversacks put up, tents taken down, and our canteens filled, (with water only) but alas! our wishes and expectations were immediately put to an end, as far as all prospects of leaving were concerned, by an order from one of our officers to “fall in for battallion drill.” We have thus been disappointed several times, and now we have come to the conclusion to remain here until further orders, which are hourly expected. Our boys from Greene county are unusually well, and complain but little. The weather is very warm, thought the Marylanders say:

“I reckon you have not seen the hottest.” The mercury yesterday stood at 90 in the shade, with a prospect of getting higher. W. A, M. received a box from Windham last week, which upon being opened was found to contain articles. which a soldier knows only how to appreciate, The cake, &c, were quickly distributed to our boys,. who gave three hearty cheers and a tiger for the ladies of Windham. The bottle of “Costar's Rat Exterminator” was soon opened, and the “rats” went in. The donators will please accept the thanks of said “rats.” We are happy to learn an Aid Society has been organised in Windham as well as other towns in the county. It is one of the best institutions, we think, that ever was established, and shows a feeling of kindness never to be forgotten by the soldier, Over six thousand troops passed through here the past week, en route for the seat of war, and more are daily expected. You are as well posted, probably, in regard to the movements of troops and war news as We are; therefore we deem it unnecessary to comment any farther upon the subject, The sun is getting the advantage of us, and we must soon come to a close. It will be useless to forward us any more boxes, as we know not at what moment we will receive orders to move. Though letters will be thankfully received as heretofore, it will be well enough to write on the envelope, “To follow the Regiment.” Hoping this will reach you in safety, we remain Yours, &c.

W. A. M. & L. S. O.



Saugerties Telegraph, July 5, 1861



Dear Sir: Your favor of June 13th, came duly to hand, contents noted.

Owing to a press of other business, and the hurry of preparation for marching orders for Virginia, for which we were told to hold ourselves in readiness at half an hour's notice, I have until this time been unable to find the proper opportunity to acknowledge either the receipt of your letter or the 75 India Rubber blankets and 13 pair socks, all of which came duly to hand; and I now tender the sincere thanks of myself and command for this additional testimony of the noble generosity of the people of Saugerties.

Inasmuch as our time will soon expire, I think nothing more will be required to insure the comfort of the men. Again we all tender you our sincere gratitude. Yours truly,
Capt. Co. G, 20th reg. N. Y. S. M.
P. S. Having been informed that a blue flannel shirt, for drill purposes received by me a few days since, was forwarded by Mr. Shaler, of Saugerties, you will confer a favor by returning to that gentleman my sincere thanks for the same.


The Buffalo Commercial, August 1, 1861

New York, July 31.

The U.S. Transport, Jos, Whitney Loveland, from Baltimore and Fort McHenry, 6 P.M. 29th, has arrived. She brings a detachment of the 20th regiment of Ulster Co. State Militia, consisting of Companies A, C and G, 226 men; also the following prisoners: Richard Holm Police Commissioner, Baltimore; S. W. Davis, do.; W. H. Gatchell, do.; Chas. Howard, do.; also Dr. Edward Johnson, taken on board the steamer Mary Washington, with the “French Lady;” Samuel H. Lyon, F. C. Fitzpatrick, John H. Cusick, James E. Murphy and Charles M. Hagelin.

The following are the officers of the detachment of the 20th regiment: Maj. J, B. Hardenburgh, Dr. Loughran, Capt. Steenburg. Co. R; Capt. Hendrick, Co. G; Lieut. Barker, Co. A; Lieut. Bush,Co. R; Lieut. Stevens, Co, A; Lieut. Baylen, Co. G; Lieut. Miller, Co. G.

The term of enlistment of this regiment has expired, and they are returning home whee they will be joined by the remainder of the regiment and mustered out of the service. They will reorganize for the war.


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