A number of New York State regiments fought during the war. Here is a list of them. For our purposes, we are focusing on the NY 76th Regiment. Below find excerpts from two books, “Final Report on the Battlefield of Gettysburg Volume 1,” published in 1900. and “History of the Seventy-Sixth Regiment New York Volunteers” by AP Smith, originally published in 1867. It should be noted that the 76th continued to serve for the remainder of the war. The regiment lost a total of 330 men during service; 12 officers and 161 enlisted men killed or mortally wounded, 1 officer and 156 enlisted men died of disease.
Both excerpts recount Day 1 of the three-day battle. The first, pages 7-12, talk about the lead-up to the confrontation on July 1st and the opening moments of the battle, the time when Hannibal Howell was likely killed or mortally wounded. The second work discusses the immediate leading up to the battle, including a story about soldiers picking cherries on their way into Gettysburg.
That tidbit made it into one of Uncle Byron’s letters.
Chapter #12 – Momma Was Right
The weather was brutally hot, with many succumbing to the heat during our forced march several days before. We welcomed the chance to erect our tents and seek shelter from the sun’s scorching rays. Some of our boys took the opportunity to forage for food even though General Pope had expressly forbidden the act at risk of court-martial. But I have to admit, it was well worth the risk when they found a cherry orchard ripe with fruit. None of us had had fresh food in weeks. We had been living on hardtack and watery soup most of the time.
Both documents are in the public domain.
The Battlefields of Gettysburg and Chattanooga
Note: for some reason, the above doesn’t work on mobile devices
Final Report on the Battlefield of Gettysburg …. United States, J.B. Lyon Company, Printers, 1900.
History of the Seventy-Sixth Regiment New York Volunteers
Smith, A. P.. History of the Seventy-Sixth Regiment New York Volunteers. N.p., Higginson Book Company, 1998.