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5th New Jersey Infantry

Regimental History
Fifth Infantry. — Cols., Samuel H. Starr, William J. Sewell; Lieut. - Cols., Gershom Mott, John Ramsey; Majs., William S. Truex. Ashbel W. Angel. This regiment was organized under the provisions of an act of Congress, approved July 22, 1861, and was fully organized, equipped and officered by Aug. 22, at which time it was mustered into the U. S. service at Camp Olden, Trenton, for three years. It left the state on Aug. 29, with a full complement of men — officers, 38; non-commissioned officers and privates, 823; total, 861. Upon arrival at Washington it went into camp at Meridian hill and remained there until the early part of Dec, 1861, at which time it was ordered to report to Gen. Joseph Hooker, near Budd's ferry, Md., where it was brigaded with the 6th, 7th and 8th N. J. in what was known as the 3d brigade of Hooker's division. But the four regiments named were generally known as the 2nd New Jersey brigade. When Beauregard withdrew from Manassas, Gen. Hooker, acting with his usual promptitude, determined at once to occupy the abandoned position, and in obedience to his orders, Lieut.-Col. Mott, on March 10, 1862, crossed the Potomac with a detail of 500 men of the 5th regiment and seized the deserted works, capturing 4 guns, together with a large quantity of shells, grape and canister, round shot, and other materials of war. The regiment participated in the siege of Yorktown ; then moved to Williamsburg, where Hooker opened the fight, advancing his skirmishers on both sides of the road by which he had come up, at the same time throwing forward two batteries on the right, and sending in the 5th as their support, in which position the regiment bravely maintained its reputation. At the battle of Fair Oaks the 5th and 6th moved forward under Col. Starr, cutting their way through a mass of panicstricken fugitives. In this conflict, the loss of the 5th was 4 men killed, 51 wounded and 2 missing. After the action the two regiments went into camp for the night in their old position, but on the morrow advanced and occupied the ground recovered from the enemy, where they remained until June 25, being almost constantly on duty at the front. In the engagement known as the "affair" at Seven Pines, on June 25, the losses of the regiment were 2 killed, 13 wounded and 2 missing. In the series of engagements that followed, until September, 1862, the brigade suffered severely, losing at Bristoe Station 44 men in killed, wounded and missing; at Bull Run, 199 men; and at Chantilly, 5; a total of 248, of which the 5th lost 51. Going into camp at Alexandria, the brigade remained undisturbed until Nov. 1, when Lee having been driven from Maryland, it proceeded towards Bristoe Station, where it arrived on the 4th. For the Chancellorsville campaign in the spring of 1863, the brigade crossed the Rappahannock on Friday, May 1, under command of Gen. Mott. Two regiments, the 5th and 8th N. J., were detached to guard the pontoons, while the others were picketed along the Rappahannock to its junction with the Rapidan, and thence along that river to connect with pickets thrown out by Carr's 1st N. Y. brigade. Soon after this disposition had been made orders were received to withdraw the pickets and advance the whole division to the front ; but while waiting for the 5th and 8th regiments to join the brigade, Gen. Mott received further instructions directing him to guard the ford, Seeley's battery being placed at his disposal to aid in that duty. During the contest which followed, Gen. Mott was wounded and Col. Sewell, of the 5th, assumed command. The losses of the brigade during the day amounted to 378 men, and of the 5th regiment, 12 killed, 104 wounded and 9 missing. Among the killed were Lieuts. Sawyer and Moore. At the battle of Gettysburg Seeley's battery was brought up and placed in position, supported at first by another and later by the 5th regiment, lying on the side of a road directly in front. In the face of a tempest of battle-hail the regiment held its position for a time, but other regiments giving way, it was also ultimately compelled to fall back with the battery. Col. Sewell and acting Maj. Healey being badly wounded. At the battle of the Wilderness, on May 5, 1864, the 2nd brigade had been advanced to an elevated position on the Brock road, where breastworks were hastily thrown up. Two regiments — the 5th and the 8th N. J. — under command of Col. Sewell, moved up the road to its junction with what was known as the Furnace road, where Sewell was placed in command of the skirmish line. At 5 o'clock on the morning of the 6th, the line again advanced, three regiments, the 5th, 6th and 11th N. J., being placed under Col. Sewell. The total losses of the regiment during the months of May and June, 1864, amounted to 16 killed, 119 wounded and 22 missing. During the months of Aug. and Sept., 1864, a large number of substitutes were forwarded to the regiment and with those who had reenlisted and those whose term of service had not expired, composed what was known as the 5th battalion, retaining their organization until Nov. 6, 1864, when they were consolidated with the 7th regiment. The regiment proper, consisting of 200 men, was mustered out Sept. 7, 1864.

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

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