[CIVIL WAR]. Manuscript roster of casualties and officers and enlisted men on detached service, for the 120th Regt. New York Volunteer Infantry, Army of the Potomac. Various places, 1863-1865. 55 pages, large folio, neatly written in a large ledger book, the pages carefully ruled into columns, original binding of reversed calf, upper cover panelled and stamped: "Nominal Lists Casualties Company Orders Detailed Officers and Enlisted Men, Officers Absent and Present Not on Duty," minor wear, some leaves detached (but all present).
AN UNION REGIMENT AT CHANCELLORSVILLE, THE PEACH ORCHARD AT GETTYSBURG, AND HATCHER'S RUN
A detailed ledger written in a fine clear hand, which reveals in chilling detail the terrible losses suffered by this regiment, recruited in the Hudson Valley of New York. The 120th New York Volunteer Infantry was in almost continuous action with the Army of the Potomac from Chancellorsville and Gettysburg to the Wilderness and the Petersburg siege. The duty roster records name, rank, company, date of muster and current status: "On leave of absence," "Prisoner of war in the hands of the enemy," "in Division hospital." Most of the ledger comprises lists of casualties. A 4-page roster headed "List of Killed, Wounded and Missing in Action, Chancellorsville" tallies 9 killed, 45 wounded and 5 missing. The casualties at Gettysburg--when the regiment fought in the Peach Orchard (Sickle's salient) on the second day--extends to 10 pages and tallies 38 killed, 131 wounded and 12 missing. Similar rosters record casualties at James City, Virginia (few killed or wounded, many missing), Mine Run and Locust Grove, and (in combined form) Spotsylvania, the Wilderness, North Anna, Totopotomy Creek, the Petersburg siege, and Hatcher's Run (listing extensive casualties). The last entry, on 6 April 1865 records two men wounded during the Union army's "Pursuit of Lee's army..."
Under "nature of wounds," the ledger briefly describes each soldier's injury and sometimes, where it occurred: "Right leg amputated below knee - Petersburg. Mine"; " Head - very severe. On picket before Petersburg, Va."; "In arm -slight. In taking rebel fort and charging the rebels." On October 18, 1864, a stretcherbearer, William H. Duncan is recorded as having been wounded severely "while carrying out a wounded man from front lines." Severe casualties were suffered in the Battle of Boydton Plank-Road, as the ledger explains: "'Bull Ring' the name of the Battle given by our boys as we were surrounded by the rebs. Shell-shot and canister came from the front and rear of our Brigade." Other serious casualties occurred at the Halifax Plank Road, as the result of "An attack from the enemy on picket line at Fort Morton before Petersburg Va. A bullet and bayonet fight." An early note inside the cover states that at the "Peach Orchard at Gettysburg, General Barksdale who led the rebel charge, was killed within the ranks of the 120th." Summing up, the same writer notes: "The Regiment enlisted 2000 men but returned home unable to muster more than 350, such had been the work of bullet and disease." Records of this type are rare.