The Civil War in the East

51st New York Infantry Regiment "Shepard Rifles"


The 51st New York Infantry Regiment lost 9 officers and 193 enlisted men killed or mortally wounded and 2 officers and 174 enlisted men to disease during the Civil War.


It is honored by a monument at Antietam.


July 27 -
October 23

Organized at New York City from a variety of organizations, including six companies of the Shepard Rifles, two companies of the Scott Rifles and two companies of the Union Rifles. Colonel Edward Ferrero was placed in command, with Robert B. Potter as lieutenant colonel and Charles W. LeGendre as major.

October 29

Left State for Annapolis, Md. and duty there.


January 6-
February 7

Burnside's Expedition to Hatteras Inlet and Roanoke, Island, N. C. Attached to Reno's 2nd Brigade, Burnside's North Carolina Expeditionary Corps

February 8

Battle of Roanoke Island

The regiment lost 3 enlisted men killed, 11 wounded, and 9 missing


Duty at Roanoke Island

March 11-13

Movement to New Berne, N. C.

March 14

Battle of New Berne

Lieutenant George D. Allen and 14 enlisted men were killed, Captain David R. Johnson and 17 enlisted men mortally wounded and Lieutenant Colonel Potter, Major Le Gendre, Lieutenants Abraham McKeee and Francis Tryon and 37 enlisted men wounded. It was the greatest loss of any regiment in the battle.

March 15

The regimental chaplain, Orlando N. Benton, died of disease.


Attached to 2nd Brigade, 2nd Division, Dept. of North Carolina

April 17-19

Expedition to Elizabeth City


Duty at New Berne

July 6-9

Moved to Newport News, Va. and attached to 2nd Brigade, 2nd Division, 9th Army Corps, Army of the Potomac

August 2-4

To Fredericksburg

August 12-15

March to relief of Pope

August 16-September 2

Pope's Campaign in Northern Virginia

The regiment lost 89 casualties in the campaign.

August 21

Kelly's Ford

August 23-24

Sulphur Springs

August 27-29

Plains of Manassas

August 29

Battle of Groveton

August 30

Battle of Bull Run

The regiment lost 23 enlisted men killed or mortally wounded, 49 enlisted men wounded, and 17 men missing or captured.

September 1


September 6-22

Maryland Campaign.

September 10

Colonel Ferrero was appointed Brigadier General, and Lt. Colonel Potter was promoted to colonel.

September 12

Battle of Frederick City

September 14

Battle of South Mountain

Second Lieutenant Charles Springweller and 3 enlisted men were killed and 12 enlisted men wounded.

September 16-17

Battle of Antietam

Commanded by Colonel Robert Potter. The regiment gained fame by carrying Burnside's Bridge in charge with the 51st Pennsylvania.


From the monument:

"In compliance with orders received from General Burnside on the morning of September 17, the 51st New York and the 51st Pennsylvania were selected to carry this bridge at all hazards.

The 51st New York, with the 51st Pennsylvania on its right, formed on the ridge in the rear of this position, moved forward at double quick, and at One P.M. carried the bridge at the point of the Bayonet. The passage was obstinately disputed.


Casualties: 1 officer* and 18 men killed, 4 officers** and 64 men wounded, Total 87.


*First Lieutenant Andrew L. Fowler
**including Lieutenants William T. Ackerson, William Berryman and Clifford Coddington

September 19 - October 26

At Pleasant Valley

September 22

Colonel Ferrero promoted to brigadier general. Major Le Gendre promoted to lieutenant colonel

October 27-November 17

March to Falmouth, Va.

November 11


November 13

Sulphur Springs

November 15


November 20

Captain Charlton R. Mitchell of Company H promoted to major

December 12-15

Battle of Fredericksburg

The regiment lost 18 enlisted men killed or mortally wounded and Captains George Whitman and John Stuart, Lieutenants Frank Butler and William Schoonmaker and 50 enlisted men wounded.


January 20-24

"Mud March"

February 19

Moved to Newport News, Va.

March 14

Colonel Potter promoted to brigadier general, Lieutenant Colonel Charles W. LeGendre to colonel, Major Charlton Mitchell to lieutenant colonel and Captain John Wright of Company A to major

March 26-April 1

To Covington and Paris, Kentucky, attached to Army of the Ohio.

March 29

Colonel Robert Potter promoted to brigadier general

April 3

Moved to Mt. Sterling, Kentucky

May 6-7

To Lancaster

May 23

To Crab Orchard

June 3-17

Movement to Vicksburg, Miss., attached to Army of the Tennessee

June 17-July 4

Siege of Vicksburg

July 5-10

Advance on Jackson, Miss.

July 10-17

Siege of Jackson

The regiment lost 1 man wounded

July 19-22

Destruction of railroad at Madison Station


At Milldale

August 6-20

Moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, then to Nicholasville, Ky. and attached to the Army of the Ohio for Provost duty in District of Kentucky, Dept. of the Ohio


Attached to District of North Central Kentucky, 1st Division, 23rd Army Corps, Army of the Ohio


A majority of the regiment re-enlisted.



Attached to 2nd Brigade, 2nd Division, 9th Army Corps


Veterans on furlough


Moved to Annapolis, Md., and rejoined corps attached to 1st Brigade, 2nd Division, 9th Army Corps, Army of the Potomac

May 3-June 15

Campaign from the Rapidan to the James

May 5-7

Battle of the Wilderness

Captain Daniel Jenkins and 26 enlisted men were killed or mortally wounded, Colonel LeGendre, 1 other officer and 45 enlisted men were wounded, and 5 men were captured or missing.

May 8-21

Spottsylvania Court House

The regiment lost 16 enlisted men killed or mortally wounded and, 27 enlisted men wounded in the campaign

May 10

Po River

May 12

Ny River

May 22

Assault on the Salient

May 23-26

North Anna River

Attached to Engineers, 2nd Division, 9th Army Corps. The regiment lost 1 man mortally wounded

May 26-28

On line of the Pamunkey

May 28-31


June 1-12

Cold Harbor

The regment lost 4 enlisted men killed, 8 wounded and 5 missing or captured

June 1-3

Bethesda Church

June 16-18

Assault on Petersburg

The regiment lost 6 enlisted men wounded, 1 mortally

June 16, 1864 -

April 16, 1865

Siege of Petersburg

The regiment lost 1 officer and 8 enlisted men killed or mortally wounded and 27 enlisted men were wounded in the siege exclusive of battles

July 2

Attached to 1st Brigade, 2nd Division, 9th Army Corps

July 30

Mine Explosion, Petersburg

Captain Samuel H. Sims and 11 enlisted men were killed or mortally wounded, 19 men were wounded and 2 men were captured in hand to hand fighting

August 13

First Lieutenant Charles H. Bunker was killed on picket duty

August 18-21

Weldon Railroad

September 29-October 2

Poplar Grove Church, Peeble's Farm

First Lieutenant Frank Butler and 24 enlisted men were killed or mortally wounded, 2 enlisted men were wounded and Major John Wright, Captain George Whitman, Lieutenants William Caldwell, James Carberry, William Hoyme, Samuel Pooley, Palin Sims and Frederick Waldron and 309 enlisted men were captured when the regiment was surrounded.

October 6 - 24

Lt. Colonel Charlton and other non-veterans discharged near Poplar Grove

October 27-28

Boydton Plank Road, Hatcher's Run



Major Wright, Captain Whitman, Lieutenants Caldwell, Carberry, Hoyme, Pooley exchanged and returned to regiment. Major Wright was promoted to lieutenant colonel

March 25

Fort Stedman, Petersburg

March 28-April 9

Appomattox Campaign

April 2

Assault on and fall of Petersburg

April 3-9

Pursuit of Lee to Farmville

April 20-28

Moved to Petersburg, then to City Point and Washington, D.C.

April 20

Lieutenant Colonel Wright promoted to colonel. Captain Thomas B. Marsh of Company I promoted to lieutenant colonel

April 29

Captain Whitman promoted to major

May 23

Grand Review


Duty at Washington, D.C., and Alexandria, Va. Veterans and recruits from the 109th New York transferred in.

July 25

Mustered out at Alexandria under Colonel John Wright, Lieutenant Colonel Marsh and Captain Whitman

About the Author • ©2015 Steve Hawks