United States Regiments & Batteries > New York > Infantry


“Ulster Regiment”

“Washington Guard”

The 120th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment was formed in August of 1862 and mustered out in June of 1865. The regiment was part of the Army of the Potomac for its entire career, fighting in all of its battles from Fredericksburg to Appomattox.  It lost 11 officers and 140 enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and 3 officers and 179 enlisted men to disease during the Civil War. The regiment is honored by a monument at Gettysburg.

1862
August 22 Organized at Kingston, N.Y., and mustered in under Colonel George H. Sharpe, Lieutenant Colonel Cornelius D. Westbrook and Major John R. Tappen. All had been captains in the 20th New York State Militia during its 90 day enlistment in 1861.

George Sharpe

Colonel Sharpe

August 24 Left State for Washington, D.C.; Attached to Whipple’s Brigade, Defenses of Washington, D.C.
October Attached to 1st Brigade, 2nd Division, 3rd Army Corps, Army of the Potomac (Daniel Sickles’ Excelsior Brigade)
November At Fairfax Station, Va.
November 10-12 Operations on Orange & Alexandria Railroad
December Transferred from 1st Brigade to 2nd Brigade, 2nd Division, 3rd Army Corps
December Rappahannock Campaign
December 12-15
Battle of Fredericksburg
1863
January At Falmouth
January 20-24 “Mud March”
February 5-7 Operations at Rappahannock Bridge and Grove Church
February 9 Colonel Sharpe was “temporarily” assigned to the army’s Provost office. In reality the brilliant Sharpe would head the army’s intelligence department for the rest of the war.

Colonel Sharpe would retain his rank as colonel of the 120th New York throughout the war, which left Lieutenant Colonel Cornelius Westbrook in command. But Lieutenant Colonel Westbrook was detailed to engineering duties at this time, leaving Major John R. Tappen in acting command of the regiment.

April 27-May 6 Chancellorsville Campaign
May 1-5
Battle of Chancellorsville

The regiment lost 4 killed, 49 wounded and 13 missing

June 11-July 24 Gettysburg Campaign
July 1-3
Battle of Gettysburg

The 120th New York Infantry Regiment was commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Cornelius D. Westbrook until he was wounded on July 2. Major John R. Tappen then took command.

From the monument:

Held this part of the line on the second day of July, 1863. Present for duty,
30 officers, 397 men, total 427. Casualties, from the war department, Killed in battle, 8 officers, 25 men, Wounded, 10 officers, 144 men, Missing 17, Total 204.
On July 3rd, supported the left centre of the Army.

Monument to the 120th New York Infantry at Gettysburg

Monument at Gettysburg

July 5-24 Pursuit of Lee to Manassas Gap, Va.
July 23 Wapping Heights
August Duty on line of the Rappahannock and Rapidan
September 13-17 Advance from the Rappahannock to the Rapidan
October 8-22 Bristoe Campaign
October 8-10 James City
October 10 Russell’s Ford, Robertson’s River, and Bethesda Church
November 7-8 Advance to line of the Rappahannock
November 7 Kelly’s Ford
November 26-December 2 Mine Run Campaign
November 27 Payne’s Farm
November 28-30 Mine Run
December-May Duty near Brandy Station
1864
February 6-7 Demonstration on the Rapidan
February 27 Lieutenant Colonel Westbrook discharged due to his Gettysburg wounds. Major Tappen promoted to lieutenant colonel.
March Attached to 2nd Brigade, 4th Division, 2nd Army Corps
May 3-June 15 Campaign from the Rapidan to the James. attached to 4th Brigade, 3rd Division, 2nd Army Corps
May 5-7
Battle of the Wilderness

The regiment lost 5 killed, 48 wounded and 8 missing

May 8 Laurel Hill
May 8-21
Spotsylvania Court House
May 12 Assault on the Salient or “Bloody Angle”
May 19
Harris Farm or Fredericksburg Road
May 23-26
North Anna River
May 26-28 On line of the Pamunkey
May 28-31 Totopotomoy
June 1-12
Cold Harbor
June 16-18 Before Petersburg
June 16 Siege of Petersburg
June 22-23 Jerusalem Plank Road, Weldon Railroad
June 24 Captain Abram L. Lockwood of Company A promoted to major
July Attached to 3rd Brigade, 3rd Division, 2nd Army Corps
July 27-29 Demonstration north of the James
July 27-28 Deep Bottom
July 30 Mine Explosion, Petersburg (Reserve)
August 13-20 Demonstration north of the James
August 14-18 Strawberry Plains, Deep Bottom
September 29-October 2 Poplar Springs Church
October 27-28
Boydton Plank Road, Hatcher’s Run

The regiment lost 8 killed, 30 wounded and 21 missing

November 5 Front of Forts Hascall and Morton
December 9-10 Reconnaissance to Hatcher’s Run
December 3 Lieutenant Colonel Tappen mustered out
December 20 Major Lockwood promoted to lieutenant colonel
December 26 Captain Walter Scott of Company G promoted to major
1865
February 5-7
Dabney’s Mills, Hatcher’s Run

The regiment lost 6 killed, 32 wounded and 46 missing

March 25 Watkins’ House
March 28-April 9 Appomattox Campaign
March 29-31 Boydton and White Oak Roads
April 2
Fall of Petersburg

First Lieutenant William Plimley of Company F earned the Medal of Honor “while acting as aide to a general officer, voluntarily accompanied a regiment in an assault on the enemy’s works and acted as leader of the movement which resulted in the rout of the enemy and the capture of a large number of prisoners.”

April 3-9 Pursuit of Lee
April 6
Sailor’s Creek
April 7 High Bridge, Farmville
April 9
Appomattox Court House

Surrender of Lee and his army.

April At Burkesville
May 2-12 Moved to Washington, D.C.
May 23 Grand Review
June 3 The 120th New York Infantry Regiment mustered out under Lieutenant Colonel Lockwood. Veterans and Recruits were transferred to 73rd New York Infantry.