United States Regiments & Batteries > New York > 72nd New York Infantry Regiment

“3rd Excelsior Regiment”

The 72nd New York Infantry Regiment served in the Eastern Theater of the American Civil War from July of 1861 until October of 1864. It lost 11 officers and 150 enlisted men killed or mortally wounded and 1 officer and 88 enlisted men to disease in the Civil War.

May-June The regiment was organized under the speacial authority of the War Department at Camp Scott, Staten Island, N Y., as the 3rd Regiment, Sickles’ Excelsior Brigade under the command of Colonel Nelson Taylor, Lieutenant Colonel Israel Moses and Major William O. Stevens.

  • Company A – New York City; Captain Gordon Gretchenecke
  • Company B – Jamestown, Chautauqua County; Captain James M. Brown
  • Company C – State of Vermont; Captain Isaac Lynden Chadwick
  • Company D – Dunkirk, Chautauqua County; Captain Caspar K. Abell
  • Company E – Dunkirk, Chautauqua County; Captain Patrick Barrett
  • Company F – Newark County, New Jersey; Captain John Leonard
  • Company G – Westfield; Captain Harmon J. Bliss
  • Company I – Delhi, Delaware County; Captain Robert T. Johnson
  • Company K – New York City; Captain John S. Austin
July 24 Left New York for Washington, D. C.

Duty in the Defenses of Washington, D.C.

Attached to Sickles’ Brigade, Division of the Potomac

September 15-
October 2

Expedition to Lower Maryland

October 13

Budd’s Ferry, Maryland

The regiment lost 1 man mortally wounded, and 1 officer and 2 men wounded.

October Attached to Sickles’ Brigade, Hooker’s Division, Army of the Potomac
October 25 Two more companies joined the regiment:

  • Company H – Dunkirk and New York City; Captain Stephen M. Doyle
  • Company L – New Jersey, Massachusetts, Delhi, Sinclairsville and Plattsburg
November 1 First Lieutenant Stephen M. Doyle was promoted to captain of Company H.
November 5 Captain James M. Brown of Company B was discharged. First Lieutenant Darwin Willard was promoted to Captain of Company B.
December 11 The regiment was transferred from the War Department to the State of New York and formally designated as the 72nd New York Infantry Regiment.
December 15 First Lieutenant John D. Graham was promoted to captain of Company L.
February 7 Captain John D. Graham of Company L was mustered out.
March Attached to 2nd Brigade, 2nd Division, 3rd Corps, Army of the Potomac
March 10 Advance on Manassas, Virginia.
March 18 Expedition from Dumfries to Fredericksburg, Virginia, and capture of stores
April 4 Reconnaissance from Liverpool Point to Stafford Court House and action at Stafford Court House.

Peninsula Campaign

Ordered to the Virginia Peninsula

April 10-May 4

Siege of Yorktown

May 5

Battle of Williamsburg

The 72nd New York Infantry Regiment lost Captain Darwin Willard and 59 men killed. Captains Patrick Barrett and Gordon Gretchenecke and 22 enlisted men were mortally wounded, Captains Robert Johnson and Darwin Willard, Lieutenants Samuel Bailey and Leopold Marcus, 1 other officer and 62 enlisted men were wounded, and 44 men missing.

First Lieutenant John P. Sanford was promoted to captain of Company B.

May 6 First Lieutenant William Toomey was promoted to captain of Company E.
May 18 First Lieutenant Charles Grossinger was promoted to captain of Company A.
May 31-June 1

Battle of Seven Pines or Fair Oaks

The regiment lost 10 men wounded.

June 25-July 1

Seven days before Richmond

Captain Stephen M. Doyle of Company H and 15 enlisted men were killed, 6 enlisted men mortally wounded, 61 wounded and 4 missing in the week’s fighting.

June 23 Captain Charles Grossinger of Company A was discharged. First Lieutenant Horatio B. Pennock was promoted to captain of Company A.
June 25

Battle of Oak Grove

June 29

Peach Orchard and Savage Station

June 30

White Oak Swamp and Glendale

July 1

Battle of Malvern Hill

Captain Stephen M. Doyle of Company H was killed.

July 2 First Lieutenant John H. Holmes was promoted to captain of Company H
August 4 Captain Horatio Pennock of Company A died of disease at Harrison’s Landing.
August 5 Malvern HillFirst Lieutenant Edward B. Arnett was promoted to captain of Company A.
August 6-16 At Harrison’s Landing
August 16-26 Movement to Fortress Monroe, then to Centreville. Major William O. Stevens was promoted to colonel.
August 26-
September 2

Pope’s Campaign in Northern Virginia

The regiment lost 7 men killed or mortally wounded, Captain John Sanford, Lieutenant Thomas Clark and 21 men wounded, and 7 men missing.

August 27
Action at Bristoe Station or Kettle Run

Captain John P. Sanford of Company B was wounded.

August 29
Battle of Brawner Farm
August 30
Second Battle of Bull Run

Sergeant Johm H. Haight of Company G was awarded the Medal of Honor for extraordinary heroism.

“While serving with Company G, 72d New York Infantry, in action at Williamsburg, Virginia. Sergeant Haight voluntarily carried a severely wounded comrade off the field in the face of a large force of the enemy; in doing so was himself severely wounded and taken prisoner. He went into the fight at Bristol [sic] Station, Virginia, August 27, 29 and 30, 1862, although severely disabled. At Manassas, he volunteered to search the woods for the wounded.”

September Duty in the Defenses of Washington
September 9 Colonel Taylor was promoted to brigadier general. Major William Stevens was promoted to colonel and Captain John Leonard of Company F to major. First Lieutenant John H. Howard was promoted to captain of Company F.
September 26 Captain Robert F. Johnson of Company I was discharged to become major of the 144th New York Infantry Regiment. First Lieutenant Samuel Bailey was promoted to captain of Company L.
October 20 Lieutenant Colonel Israel Moses was mustered out to accept appointment as surgeon, U.S. Volunteers.
October 25 Captain John Austin of Company K was promoted to lieutenant colonel. First Lieutenant Daniel Loeb was promoted to captain of Company  K.
November 1 Captain Daniel Loeb of Company K was discharged. First Lieutenant Berend Huttmann was promoted to captain of Company K.
November 10-12 Operations along the Orange & Alexandria Railroad.
November 25 At Fairfax Station
December 12-15

Battle of Fredericksburg

The regiment lost 2 men mortally wounded. Lieutenant James Fogerty and 5 men were wounded.

December At Falmouth
January 7 Captain John H. Howard of Company F was discharged. First Lieutenant William H. Post was promoted to captain of Company F.
January 16 Captain Isaac Lynden Chadwick of Company C was discharged.
January 20-24
“Mud March”
February 5-7 Operations at Rappahannock Bridge and Grove Church.
February 25 Company L broken up and transferred to Companies A, I and K.
April 27-May 6

Chancellorsville Campaign

May 1-5

Battle of Chancellorsville

Lieutenants Charles Hydorn, Harrison F. Ellis and William C. Brooks and 11 enlisted men were killed, Colonel Stevens, Captain Harmon Bliss and 2 enlisted men were mortally wounded, Captains John Holmes and William H. Post, Lieutenant John Mann, and 22 enlisted men were wounded, Lieutenants William Hall and Harvey Thomas were wounded and captured and 54 enlisted men were missing or captured.

Captain Bliss was wounded and captured in an attempt to bring the wounded Colonel Stevens off the field, and both fell into Confederate hands. Colonel Stevens died two days later. Captain Bliss was released and returned to a Union hospital on May 13th, but died on June 6th.

First Lieutenant William E. Wheeler was promoted to captain of Company D.

May 28 Lieutenant Colonel John Leonard was promoted to colonel, Major John Leonard to lieutenant colonel, and Captain Caspar R. Abell of Company D was promoted to major.
June 7 First Lieutenant Patrick Anderson was promoted to captain of Company G.
June 11-July 24

Gettysburg Campaign

July 1-3

Battle of Gettysburg

The 72nd New York Infantry Regiment was commanded by Colonel John S. Austin, who was wounded on July 2nd. Lieutenant Colonel John Leonard then took command.

Lieutenant Charles A. Foss and 13 enlisted men were killed or mortally wounded, Colonel Austin, Lieutenants Prentice Bishop, John S. Mann, John Robinson, Henry Steward and 66 enlisted men were wounded and 28 men missing in fighting in Sickles’ salient near the Peach Orchard.

Sergeant Thomas Horan of Company E was awarded the Medal of Honor for capturing the regimental flag of the 8th Florida Infantry Regiment on July 2nd.

The regiment is honored on the Excelsior Brigade monument at Gettysburg.

July 5-24 Pursuit of Lee to Manassas Gap
July 23
Wapping Heights, Virginia.
August-October Duty on the line of the Rappahannock
August 17 Captain Patrick Anderson of Company G was transferred to Company B and Captain William Wheeler of Company B was transferred to Company G.
August 27 Captain William H. Post of Company F was discharged. Lieutenant John Sanford was wounded near Bristoe Station.
October 9-22

Bristoe Campaign

October 28 First Lieutenant Henry McDonough was promoted to captain of Company D.
November 7-8 Advance to line of the Rappahannock
November 7

Kelly’s Ford

November 14 First Lieutenant John S. Mann was promoted to captain of Company H.
November 26-December 2

Mine Run Campaign

November 27

Payne’s Farm

Captain Henry McDonough and Privates George Conroy, George Schneider, James Palmer and Robert Marks were killed or mortally wounded. Lieutenant Horatio Springer of Company C and 14 men were wounded.

December Duty near Brandy Station
January 1 First Lieutenant Alexander M. Clark was promoted to captain of Company D.
February 6-7

Demonstration on the Rapidan

March Attached to 2nd Brigade, 4th Division, 2nd Corps
May 3-June 15

Campaign from the Rapidan to the James River.

Attached to 4th Brigade, 3rd Division, 2nd Corps

May 5-7

Battle of the Wilderness

The 72nd New York Infantry Regiment lost 4 men wounded, 2 mortally. Adjutant Henry J. Yates and 12 men were wounded, and 3 men were missing.

Two men from the regiment were awarded the Medal of Honor on May 6th. Sergeant Henri Le Fevre Brown of Company B “Voluntarily and under a heavy fire from the enemy, 3 times crossed the field of battle with a load of ammunition in a blanket on his back, thus supplying the Federal forces, whose ammunition had nearly all been expended, and enabling them to hold their position until reinforcement arrived, when the enemy were driven from their position.” Private James Marvin Young of Company B “with 2 companions, voluntarily went forward in the forest to reconnoiter the enemy’s position, was fired upon and one of his companions disabled. Pvt. Young took the wounded man upon his back and, under fire, carried him within the Union lines.”

May 8-21

Battle of Spotsylvania Court House

The regiment lost 4 men killed, 3 men mortally wounded, 3 officers and 24 men wounded, and 6 men missing between May 8 and 21.

May 10

Po River

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


The regiment lost 3 men killed or mortally wounded and 9 men wounded from May 23-31.

June 1-12

Cold Harbor

The regiment lost 3 men wounded, 1 mortally.

Captain John H. Holmes was transferred to Company C.

June 16-18

First Assault on Petersburg

Lieutenant John Kiener and 3 enlisted men killed or mortally wounded, and1 officer and 9 enlisted men wounded.

June 20 Companies A, B, D, E, F, I and K were mustered out under Lieutenant Colonel Leonard. Veterans and Recruits and Companies C, G and H were attached to 120th Regiment New York Infantry.
June 27 Colonel Austin was discharged for disability.
July 2 Companies C and G mustered out.
October 31 Company H mustered out.