United States Regiments & Batteries > New YorkInfantry

“United Turner Rifles “

The 20th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment lost 8 officers and 53 enlisted men killed or mortally wounded and 1 officer and 58 enlisted men to disease during the Civil War. The regiment is honored by two monuments on the Antietam battlefield.

May 6 Organized at New York City and mustered in for two years Federal service under Colonel Max Weber, Lieutenant Colonel Francis Weiss and Major Engleberth Schnepp
May Quartered at the Turtle Bay Brewery.
June 13 Left state on steamship Alabama at the foot of Canal Street at 6 p.m.
June 15 Arrived Fortress Monroe, Va. 6 a.m. Attached to Fortress Monroe and Camp Hamilton, Dept. of Virginia. The regiment was armed with Remington rifles, with officers’ shoulder straps and noncomissioned officers chevrons and stripes changed to green to denote a regiment of sharpshooters.
August 7 Hampton, Va.
August 28-29 Bombardment and capture of Forts Hatteras and Clarke, N. C.
September 13 Duty at Fortress Monroe and Camp Hamilton
October 7 Companies G, H, I & K ordered to Newport News
December 22
New Market Bridge, near Newport News

The regiment lost 1 officer and 6 enlisted men wounded

January 3 Reconnaissance to Big Bethel
April 28 Captain Lorenz Meyer of Company A promoted to major
May 9 Embarked for expedition under General Wool against Norfolk attached to 2nd Brigade, 1st Division, Dept. of Virginia
May 10 Landed at Ocean View and advanced on Norfolk. Reached Tranter’s Creek at 9 a.m. and skirmished with Confederate battery. Reached fortifications of Norfolk at 6 p.m. and occupied city.
May 12 Camped near the Navy Yard
May 15 Colonel Weber was discharged and promoted to brigadier general, Lieutenant Colonel Weiss promoted to colonel, Major Schnepp was promoted to lieutenant colonel
May 24 Moved to Paradise Creek on Suffolk Road
June 3 Returned to Portsmouth and embarked for the Peninsula
June 6 Landed at White House Landing
June 7 Marched along Richmond & West Point Railroad to Savage’s Station
June 8 Marched to Camp Lincoln
June 9 Joined Army of the Potomac in the field. Attached to 3rd Brigade, 2nd Division, 6th Army Corps
June 25-July 1 Seven days before Richmond
June 29
Savage Station

Attacked by the 7th and 8th Georgia Infantry, then advanced two miles, followed by a charge on Confederate lines.

June 30
White Oak Swamp

The regiment lost 2 killed, 10 wounded and 20 captured or missing in a surprise attack on the camp.

July 1 Malvern Hill
July At Harrison’s Landing
July 4 Colonel Weiss resigned
July 19 Major Ernst Von Vegesack of General Butterfield’s staff transferred in, commissioned as colonel and given command of regiment
August 16 Marched toward Fortress Monroe
August 18 Passed through Williamsburg
August 19 Through Yorktown
August 21 Arrived Fortress Monroe
August 22 Embarked
August 24 Arrived Alexandria
August 29 Marched to Centerville, reaching the battlefield at dark
August 29-31 In works at Centreville
September 1 Fell back to Fairfax Court House, which it reached at 3 a.m., and picketed the Centreville Road
September 2 Marched 20 miles to Alexandria
September 6-22 Maryland Campaign
September 6 Marched through Alexandria, over the Long Bridge, and through Washington and Georgetown
September 7 Rested in camp near Georgetown
September 8 Marched through Rockville
September 10 To Barnesville
September 11 Remain in camp at Barnesville
September 12 Marched toward South Mountain
September 14
Crampton’s Pass, South Mountain
September 15 – 16 Remained in line of battle
September 17
Battle of Antietam

Marched to Antietam battlefield at dawn. Took part in charge toward the Dunker Church, losing 9 officers and 42 men killed, 100 wounded and 2 men missing.

From the War Department markers (double marker number 74) on the Antietam battlefield:

Irwin’s Brigade came on the field about noon of the 17th, and formed across the Smoketown Road in rear of a line of Artillery.

After an unsuccessful attempt to penetrate the Confederate line south of the Dunkard Church, the Brigade rallied behind the ridge east of the Hagerstown Pike and between it and Mumma’s Lane, the left of the Brigade resting a few yards west of the lane, where it was exposed to a severe fire of Artillery and Sharpshooters.

About 5 P.M., the 7th Maine, on the left of the Brigade, crossed Mumma’s Lane, moved obliquely across the front of Brook’s Brigade, charged over the Bloody Lane at this point, dispersed the Confederates in its front and in the orchard on its left and reached the low ground North of Piper’s Barn, when the enemy from behind the stone fence on the Hagerstown Pike and the hill adjoining poured a severe fire on its right flank and front.

The regiment then obliqued to the left, passed through an opening in the fence into the orchard and to within 70 yards of Piper’s House, here it was met by a withering fire from a column of the enemy moving down the hill east of the house and driven back through the orchard with great loss.

It reformed a short distance east of this point and returned to the position from which it had advanced.

At noon of the 18th, the Brigade was relieved by Cochrane’s Brigade of Couch’s Division.

From the War Department marker (number 75) on the Antietam battlefield:

Irwin’s Brigade reached the field about noon of the 17th, formed line across the road at this point, and charged through the Batteries and across the fields in their front to check the advance of the Confederates from the West Woods. The direction of its advance was south of the Dunkard Church and, when its right Regiments, the 33d and 77th New York, were nearly abreast the Church, they received such a destructive fire on their right and rear as compelled them to retire to the cover of the ridge in front of the Church, the remainder of the Brigade forming on their left. Late in the day the 7th Maine charged across the Bloody Lane to Piper’s Barn and was repulsed with great loss.

About noon of the 18th the Brigade was relieved by Cochrane’s Brigade of Couch’s Division, and withdrawn to the rear.

From Colonel von Vegesack’s report:

“the regiment formed in line of battle in the woods on this side of Antietam Creek at about 11 o’clock a. m. on the 17th of September, 1862. Advancing through the woods the regiment came into an open field, where they attacked the enemy and drove him across the field and the adjoining heights. The regiment occupied these heights until relieved the next morning.”

September 19 Marched through Sharpsburg and camped near the Potomac
September 20 Marched to Williamsport
September 23 Marched through Sharpsburg and camped near Bakersville
October 11 To Hyattstown
October 18 To Clar Spring
October 29 To Williamsport
October 31 Marched to Boonesboro
November 1 Moved through Burkettsville to Jetersville
November 3 Marched to Berlin and crossed the Potomac on the pontoon bridge
November 4 Camped near Union
November 5 Moved to near the Centerville Turnpike
November 6 Moved to White Plains in heavy snow
November 9 Moved to New Baltimore
November 15 – 16 Marched t o Catlett’s Station
November 18 In camp near Aquia Creek
December 4 Crossed the railroad at Falmouth
December 5 To Belle Plains
December 11 Moved up to the Rappahannock
December 12-14
Battle of Fredericksburg

Crossed the river and supported batteries to the east of town

December 15 Withdrew across the Rappahonnock
December 19 Moved to White Oak Chapel and went into winter quarters, building huts
January 20 “Mud March”
January 22 Returned to winter quarters at White Oak Church
April 20 Marched to the Rappahannock
April 20 – 29 Camp on the Rappahannock. 202 men refused duty on the grounds that their terms of service had expired, and were placed under arrest.
April 27-May 6 Chancellorsville Campaign
April 29-May 2 Operations at Franklin’s Crossing
May 3 Maryes Heights, Fredericksburg
May 3-4
Salem Heights
May 4
Banks’ Ford

The regiment was on the right flank of the advanced Union line of defense, on the high ground just north of the Plank Road. It was attacked by Early’s Brigade and held for an hour and a half of heavy fighting, when Colonel Ernst von Vegesack was wounded. When he fell the regiment broke and ran for the rear. It lost 9 enlisted men killed or mortally wounded, 6 officers and 83 enlisted men wounded and 4 officers and 106 enlisted men captured.

May 5 Withdrew across the Rappahannock
May 6 The regiment’s term of servce expired. Three years men transferred to 3rd New York Battery and to Battery “F” 5th United States Artillery
May 7 Marched to Falmouth Station to board trains for Washington
May 8 Passed through Baltimore and honored by a torchlight procession by the Baltimore Turnverein
May 10 Arrived in New York
June 1 Regiment mustered out at New York City, expiration of term, under Colonel Von Vegesack, Lieutenant Colonel Schnepp and Major Meyer