Honoring Our Civil War Veterans

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For 2017, Traditional Firemens Irish Night will honor local veterans of the Civil War. The Historical Fire Company is researching recently digitized civil war records, seeking the names of Larchmont and Mamaroneck civil war veterans, and we will present to the American Legion an honor roll of local residents who served in the Civil War, including local veterans whose service has not been locally recognized until now. We will also be honoring four infantry regiments, three infantries of “Fire Zouaves) the NY 5th, 11th and 73rd) all consisting mostly of volunteer firefighters from New York City and the surrounding area. The 11th NY Infantry Fire Zouaves were commanded by Colonel Charles Loeser who lived in the Larchmont Manor House during the 1890s. The 5th NY Infantry Second Fire Zouaves included Private Nicholas Hoyt, a Mamaroneck fisherman, and private Lucius B. Watson who is buried in the Gedney Cemetery n Mamaroneck.

 

Colonel Charles McKnight Leoser, from a 1861 graduation photograph from the United States Military Academy at West Point

Colonel Charles McKnight Leoser, from a 1861 graduation photograph from the United States Military Academy at West Point

Charles McKnight Leoser lived in the Larchmont Manor House in the 1890s. At the time, he was the publisher of Bonfort’s Wine and Spirits, which was a leading trade journal for this field. However, Leoser also was a civil war veteran. He was assigned to and eventually commanded the 11th NY Infantry, sometimes called Ellsworth’s Zouaves. It was formed in May 1861 and consisted mostly of volunteer firefighters from New York City and the surrounding areas. Originally commanded by Colonel Elmer E. Ellsworth, command passed to Lt. Colonel Noah L. Farnham and then to Colonel Loeser.

The first large-scale battle experience was in the First Battle of Bull Run. The Zouaves were among the troops who charged Henry Hill four times, and during the battle the  The engagement ended in a retreat of the northern forces, and the Zoaves were in the rear guard of the retreat and 35 men were killed, 74 wounded and 68 missing or captured.

Prisoners of war of the 11th New York Infantry "Fire Zouaves" at Castle Pinckney, South Carolina.

Prisoners of war of the 11th New York Infantry “Fire Zouaves” at Castle Pinckney, South Carolina.

Colonel Loeser appears in a New York Times article in 1862 attempting to persuade former members to rejoin. According to the article “the object of the meeting was to get the old members of the First fire Zouaves to return to their regiment. It was now in a first state of discipline, and commanded by a highly efficient officer, Col. Loeser, who had graduated at West Point. All members who returned to the regiment would have their pay, during the time they have been absent, given them, and no charge of desertion brought against them.”

According to a history of the Fire Department of New York written in 1887, Birth of the Bravest: A History of the New York Fire Department From 1609 To 1887, (A.E.Costello, 1887) Colonel Leoser, interviewed in the 1880s said “If I were called upon to recruit a regiment tomorrow, had he his choice of material, he would recruit it from the old firemen of New York.”.

Nicholas H. Hoyt and the 5th NY Infantry Fire Zouaves 

Another regiment New York Fire Zouaves was organized in April 1861 by wealthy Manhattan lumber merchant Abram Duryée. Among the recruits for the regiment was Nicholas Hoyt of Mamaroneck.

Nicholas Hoyt in the 1860 Mamaroneck Census with his wife Susan and four children.

Nicholas Hoyt in the 1860 Mamaroneck Census with his wife Susan and four children.

Nicholas H. Hoyt appears in the 1860 census of Mamaroneck with his wife Susan and four children Adalaide, James, Melissa and Susan. He is 26 years old and his occupation is “fisherman.”

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He also appears in the Muster Records of the 5th New York Infantry. He enlisted on May 9, 1861 in New York, and this explains why there is not record of his enlistment in Town of Mamaroneck Records. But the record indicates at the bottom that he was “born in Mamaroneck NY.” He enlisted as a private and was appointed a corporal in September 1962.

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According to  The Union army: a history of military affairs in the loyal states, 1861-65,    “At Malvern hill, the 5th was active, then spent a short time at Harrison’s landing, and afterward took a prominent part in the battle of the second Bull Run, where, of 490 members present, it lost 117 killed or mortally wounded, 23 per cent, of those engaged, the greatest loss of life in any infantry regiment in any one battle. The remnant of the regiment served with the division through the battles of Antietam, Shepherdstown, Snicker’s gap and Fredericksburg without serious loss, and went into winter quarters at Falmouth. It was also active at the battle of Chancellorsville and then returned to New York city, where it was mustered out on May 14, 1863.” 

It is highly likely that Nicholas Hoyt was one of the 490 members of the 5th who fought at the Second Bull Run, because according to the record, Hoyt was promoted to Corporal in September 1862, a month after the battle. His next Battle was Fredericksburg where union losses were heavy, and his death probably resulted from General Burnside’s disasterous “Mud March.” He died in a winter camp near Falmouth, Virginia in February 1863, three months before he would have been mustered out, and returned to his wife and four children in Mamaroneck – in May 1863.

Mamaroneck’s Civil War Roll Of Honor

Based on recently digitized military records, we can now begin to identify Civil War soldiers with connections to Mamaroneck. The first table lists members of the Fire Zouave regiments. We have better records of the Second Fire Zouaves – the 5th Infantry – than we have of the First Fire Zouaves, which is the 11th Infantry which Colonel Loeser commanded. However, we have a complete list of the members which is a starting point.

Name Birth Birth Place Enlistment Regiment
Charles McKnight Leoser 1839  Reading, PA USMA West Point, 1861 11th Infantry
George R Baxter abt 1840 Mamaroneck 1863 5th Infantry
Henry Edward abt 1828 France Mamaroneck 5th Infantry
William H Fisher abt 1842 Mamaroneck New York, 1862 5th Infantry
Jacob Hall abt 1841 Mamaroneck New York, 1862 5th Infantry
Nicholas Hoyt abt 1835 Mamaroneck 1861 5th Infantry
Samuel A Lawrence abt 1844 Mamaroneck 1862 5th Infantry
James Merritt abt 1828 Westchester Co New York, 1861 5th Infantry
Richard E Seaman abt 1838 Mamaroneck 1862 5th Infantry
William A L Seaman abt 1840 Mamaroneck 1862 5th Infantry
William A Sickles abt 1841 Mamaroneck 1862 5th Infantry
Isaac W Taylor abt 1835 1861 5th Infantry
Charles E. Wells  abt 1841 New York, 1862 5th Infantry

 

The following table lists members of other regiments

 

 Name Birth Birth Place Enlistment Regiment
William Barnard 1835 Lonville. NY 1861 1st Artillery
Jeremiah R. Boughton 1837 1864 134th Infantry
Oliver Brower abt 1840 Mamaroneck, 1863 13th Artillery
Thomas J. Coles Abt 1831 Baltimore, 1862 4th Infantry
John B Remsen abt 1843 Mamaroneck, 1863 13th Artillery
William H Schnhelton abt 1837 Mamaroneck, 1863 13th Artillery
Theal, Isaac L 158th Infantry
Robert Wright abt 1828 Mamaroneck 1863 158th Infantry
Henry Chapman abt 1843 Mamaroneck 1862 164th Infantry
Samuel Murdock abt 1839 Mamaroneck, 1861 27th Infantry
Alfred F Willis abt 1831 Mamaroneck 1862 4th Artillery (Heavy)
Franklin Rocks abt 1826 Mamaroneck 1861 59th Infantry
Joshua E Fowler abt 1824 Mamaroneck 1862 6th Artillery (Heavy)
Patrick McTiernan abt 1818 Ireland Mamaroneck, 1862 6th Artillery (Heavy)
Sidney Smith abt 1840 Mamaroneck, 1862 6th Artillery (Heavy)
Emile Theinbaud abt 1827 France Mamaroneck, 1862 6th Artillery (Heavy)
George Wells abt 1822 Mamaroneck, 1862 6th Artillery (Heavy)
Watson, Lucius B.       98th Infantry
William J Smith abt 1837 Mamaroneck 1861 84th Infantry