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1st New Jersey Infantry

Regimental History
First Infantry,— Cols., William R. Montgomery, Alfred T. A. Torbert, Mark W. Collett; Lieut.-Cols., Robert McAllister, William Henry, Jr.; Majs., David Hatfield, Enos Fouratt, Alexander M. Way. This regiment was recruited under General Orders No. 15, of May 4, 1861. It was fully organized, equipped and officered by May 18, and on the 21st was duly mustered into the service of the United States, for three years, at Camp Olden, Trenton. It was one of the four regiments composing what was generally known as the 1st New Jersey brigade (the other regiments being the 2nd, 3d and 4th), for the greater part of the time of service. It was first attached to Gen. Runyon's division of reserves (militia) at the first battle of Bull Run, and then as already stated, became a part of the 1st brigade. Immediately subsequent to the first battle of Bull Run the 1st and 2nd went into camp near Alexandria, where the 3d, which was stationed at Fairfax during the engagement, also took position and the 4th upon its arrival was ordered to the same vicinity. On Oct. 15, a detachment of the 1st regiment fell in with the enemy, mainly cavalry, at Benson's tavern, and after a brief skirmish, in which the soldiers of the regiment emptied a number of saddles, retired with the loss of 3 or 4 killed. In the early part of March, 1862, the regiment advanced to Fairfax Court House, whence, on the morning of the 10th, a detachment under Maj. Hatfield and Capt. Vansickle was sent forward to Centerville, which place was entered about noon — the remainder of the regiment coming up shortly afterward under Lieut.-Col. McAllister. At the battle of West Point, Va., in May, 1862, the brigade during the evening relieved the troops in advance, which had borne the brunt of the fighting, and the men lay on their arms in line of battle until daylight, when they were ordered forward, the 1st, 2nd and 3d regiments acting as skirmishers and the 4th as a reserve. Advancing to a hill from which the enemy had the day previous shelled our transports, it was occupied and held until noon, when, the enemy having retreated, the troops returned to their old position, whence the 1st regiment was advanced on the 9th to join Stoneman's forces. On the night of June 21, the regiment, under McAllister, was sent out to guard a working party, near the Fair Oaks battle-field. At the battle of Gaines' mill the brigade was formed in two lines, the 3d and 4th regiments in front, the 1st and 2nd in the second line, and in this order advanced. About half an hour after reaching the field, the 1st, under Lieut.-Col. McAllister, was ordered into the woods to support Gen. Newton, and took position under the eye of Gen. Porter. Maj. Hatfield was wounded in the early part of the engagement and subsequently died of his injuries ; Capt. E. G. Brewster was killed; Capts. Way, Mount and others were wounded — the total loss in the regiment being 21 killed, 78 wounded and 60 missing. Lieut.-Col. McAllister displayed the utmost coolness throughout and many other officers and privates excited the warmest approbation by their steadiness under fire. The regiment also participated in the battles of Charles City cross-roads, Malvern hill, the second Manassas, Chantilly, Crampton's gap and Antietam. In the movement against Fredericksburg, in Dec, 1862, the brigade, to which had been added the 15th and 23d N. J., reached the north bank of the river on the night of Dec. 11, crossed at daylight on the following morning and was formed in two lines in rear of its division, as follows : First line, 15th and 23d deployed ; second line, 1st, 2nd, 3d and 4th, massed 100 yards in rear of the first. After the close of that battle and until the night of the 15th, the brigade remained inactive in the position it had occupied, the 1st regiment only being engaged on picket. In the operations at Fredericksburg in the spring of 1863 the brigade occupied a position in the line of rifle-pits close to the river, and this position was occupied until the evening of May 2, when the 1st regiment attacked and drove in the enemy's pickets on the right, the ground thus taken being promptly occupied and held. Col. Collett was killed in the thick of the fight at Salem Church. In the Gettysburg campaign, the brigade, which prior to this movement had participated in various apparently aimless marches in Virginia, was attached to Wright's division of the 6th corps, and then consisted of the 1st, 2nd, 3d and 15th regiments and Hexamer's battery — the 4th having been detailed for provost duty in Washington. The regiment was engaged at Fairfield, Pa., Williamsport and Funkstown, Md., Rappahannock Station and Mine Run, Va. During this time, Maj. Henry succeeded to the command of the regiment, and Col. Torbert being assigned to the command of a cavalry division, Col. Brown, of the 3d, temporarily took charge of the brigade, to which the 10th regiment was added before the grand advance under Grant. Late in the second day's fight at the Wilderness, the 1st, 4th and 10th regiments, lying on the left of Neill's brigade, were several times attacked with great ferocity by the Confederates, but at nightfall still held substantially the ground occupied by them in the morning — a heavy assault by the Confederate Gen. Gordon just at dusk, which at first promised to destroy the whole right wing of the army, being repulsed with heroic gallantry. Among the killed was Lieut. Swan of the 1st, and among the wounded were Maj. Way, Capts. Warner, Sitgreaves, Blythe and several lieutenants. In fact, the brigade was left with only a handful of officers and with terribly decimated ranks, the 1st regiment especially being greatly thinned. But it was as firm and indomitable on the morrow as when it first marched into the tangled thicket, where so many of its brave and noble ones gloriously fell. At Spottsylvania, Col. Campbell was detached with the 1st and 15th regiments and moved across the swamp, pushing the enemy before him through the woods until he reached a ridge commanding a certain road, which it was deemed important to occupy. Three days later the brigade was massed for a charge — the 1st, 4th and 15th in the first line, four companies of the 2nd and the 3d in the second line — and in this order pushed forward through the woods with muskets at a trail until within 100 yards of the Confederate works. During the first eleven days of this great campaign the 1st regiment lost 22 killed, 155 wounded, and 52 missing. The regiment next fought at the North Anna river, then at Hanover Court House, Totopotomy creek, and Cold Harbor. After the latter engagement the 1st and 3d regiments left the front, on June 3 — the two numbering 340 men — and reached Trenton on the night of the 7th. The men of these regiments who had reenlisted, and whose terms had not expired, were at first transferred to the 4th and 15th, but were subsequently consolidated into the 1st, 2nd and 3d battalions and with the 4th, 10th and 15th regiments, from that time forward until Feb., 1865, constituted the 1st brigade — the 40th being added at the latter date. The regiment continued in the service until the capitulation of Lee and was mustered out at Hall's hill, Va., June 29, 1865. The total strength of the regiment was 1,397, and it lost, by resignation 24, discharge 332, promotion 62, transfer 113, death 234, dismissal 4, deserted 124, and not accounted for 21, leaving 483 that were mustered out.

Regimental history taken from "The Union Army" by Federal Publishing Company, 1908 - Volume 3

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