The 76th N.Y.
It Fought Right Beside the Old Iron Brigade.
By Homer D. Call, Co. G, 76th NY
|National Tribune March 21, 1912|
Editor National Tribune: In a former issue of your valuable sheet I note an inquiry from Comrade Daniel West, who I remember as a member of Co. G, 76th N.Y., to which I belonged, asking in relation to the 76th N.Y., to which you reply, stating that the 76th N.Y. was mustered into service at Albany, N.Y., early in 1862, and desire to say that you were misinformed in the matter.
I was a member of that regiment from September, 1861, to February, 1865. The regiment was organized in Cortland county, N.Y., and mustered into the United States service on Oct. 4, 1861, at Cortland, N.Y., a;; later the regiment was moved to Albany, N.Y., when the 850 men of that regiment were consolidated into seven companies, and companies - H, I, K - were added from Otsego County, N.Y., and later was commanded by Col. Wainwright, who made it one of the best regiments in the service.
I also note in your issue of Nov. 30 the explanation of Capt. Robert C. Palmer, as to where and when the Wisconsin Brigade received the cognomen of the "Iron Brigade," dating the same from the battle of South Mountain.
Now, while I do not know why they were called the "Iron Brigade," I do know that in August, 1862, when the 76th N.Y. was sent from Fredericksburg, Va., where we had been doing provost duty for some time, our Maj. Livingston being the military governor of that section, to join Gen. Pope's army, we were placed in Gen. King's Division of the Old First Corps, and the Western Brigade, which was composed of the 2d, 6th and 7th Wis. and 24th Mich., were in that division, and we camped, marched and fought side by side with them until the Old First corps was practically expended in the service, and after the battle of Gettysburg the entire corps was formed into one division and attached to the Old Fifth Corps, under Gen. Warren. At the time we were attached to King's Division on Aug. 4, that brigade was known as the "Iron Brigade," and the battle of South Mountain was fought later in that campaign - if I remember correctly, the latter part of September. That brigade was entitled to all the honor that can be bestowed as no braver or more devoted body of men ever fired a shot in defense of the old Flag than the "Iron Brigade."
The incident referred to by Capt. Palmer was no doubt the closing scenes of the fight for possession of Turner's Gap. Our own brigade was on the extreme left, the 56th Pa. being to the right of the 76th N.Y. the "Iron Brigade" at the right of them. The enemy charged our line three times, only to be repulsed, and the last volley fired by us was when the enemy was less than 20 paces away and the slaughter was simply terrible. The enemy fell back during the night and early the next morning I went forward to view the field and found lying within 40 feet of our line, the body of the Confederate Colonel Strange, and for rods one could have walked stepping from one dead body to another.
I only write from memory as to dates, but the scenes of that battle areas fresh in my mind today as on that beautiful Sabbath when we charged the rugged slopes of South Mountain to be met a its summit by the most bloody reception the 76th ever met outside of the morning of July 3, 1863, at Gettysburg.
- Homer D. Call, Co. G, 76th N.Y., Syracuse, N.Y.
Transcribed by Conrad Bush, who notes "I believe he meant July 1, 1863" BC Bush 2009
Return to 76th Roster (C)
Return to Letters from the 76th NY
Return to 76th NYSV Homepage
- Last Updated August 1, 2009