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Sculpted by Gary Casteel

 

1863 Signed and Numbered Limited Edition Monument Replicas

 

In September of 1862, the 154th New York Volunteer Infantry, made up of eight regiments recruited from Cattaraugus County and two from Chautauqua County, was mustered in.  Known as the “Hardtack Regiment”, the 154th was essentially a green regiment until the Spring 1863 campaign.  Part of Col. Adolphus Buschbeck’s 1st Brigade, 2nd Division, XI Corps of the Army of the Potomac, the regiment proudly wore the white crescent corps badge.

 

On April 10, 1863, the XI Corps was reviewed by President Abraham Lincoln, and on April 13th   began its uneventful march to Hartwood Church as the Spring campaign commenced.  On the morning of April 14, the men struck camp and marched to a bluff that overlooked Kelly’s Ford on the Rappahannock River, camping near Mount Holly Church with a Confederate camp visible across the river. 

 

On April 28, the rest of the XI Corps, the V Corps, and the XII Corps arrived; together these Corps formed the right wing of the Army of the Potomac and were under the command of Maj. Gen. Henry W. Slocum.  That afternoon, Colonel Patrick Henry Jones of the 154th New York gathered his officers and advised them that the regiment was to cross the river in pontoon boats and clear the enemy from the opposite shore.  By May 1, the troops had crossed and marched to a densely wooded area known as the Wilderness.  As Sgt. Horace Smith of Company D noted, “Our boys feel first rate.  We shall probably have some fighting to do tomorrow, but we are ready for them.”

 

During the night of May 1, General Robert E. Lee, divided his army and sent a force commanded by Lt. Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson to strike the unsupported right flank of General Joseph Hooker’s right wing—the XI Corps.  On the morning of May 2, the 154th New York, together with the 73rd and 27th Pennsylvania regiments, moved into the rifle pits of the Orange Plank Road, facing south, near Gen. Oliver O. Howard’s headquarters at Dowdall’s Tavern.  Throughout the day, rumors of Stonewall Jackson moving around the XI Corps’ flank abounded. 

 

Around 5 p.m., the 154th left their rifle pits to prepare their suppers; however, they never got to eat.  While they cooked, startled wildlife preceded Stonewall Jackson and his approximately 28,000 men who unleashed a surprise attack, bursting from the woods howling the rebel yell and firing muskets, rifles, and artillery.  The Confederates quickly smashed Deven’s division on the extreme right flank of Hooker’s army and sent the survivors fleeing towards the east.  Buschbeck realigned his brigade to face the attack—positioning his men in a shallow trench dug earlier; however, as the trench was built to face east rather than west, it offered scant shelter to the men. 

 

“The 154th New York held the far left, near Dowdall’s Tavern. The 73rd Pennsylvania and 27th Pennsylvania extended the line to the right, and the 29th New York, together with rallied elements of Schurz’s and Devens’s divisions, occupied the pit north of the road. The so-called Buschbeck Line numbered between 4,000 and 5,000 men. Only one cannon—part of Capt. Hubert Dilger’s Battery I, 1st Ohio Light Artillery—stood with the infantry. Some of the corps’ artillery had been captured. The rest, including Dilger’s other guns and the reserve artillery, had been sent to the rear.

 

Here the Hardtack Regiment faced its baptism of fire under the most disadvantageous circumstances—holding the left flank of a small force, covering the demoralizing rout of its corps, and facing an enemy overwhelming in numbers, flushed with victory, and eager to destroy this last bit of opposition. Behind Buschbeck’s line, the Plank Road disappeared into the gloom of the Wilderness. It was more than a mile to the nearest Union reinforcements.” (American Battlefield Trust; “Baptism of Fire: The 154th New York in the Chancellorsville Campaign” by Mark H. Dunkelman; August 1, 2022; updated February 16, 2024.)

 

The Confederates overwhelmed the Buschbeck Line.  Outnumbered, outflanked, and subjected to heavy fire, the Union line inevitably crumbled.  As the regiments fled, 154th New York stood fast.  Realizing that the regiment was in danger of being captured, Colonel Jones, the highest-ranking officer left on the XI Corps battlefield, gave the order to retreat.  Unfortunately, as the men had to retreat across an open field for about 800 feet before reaching the woods to their rear, many of their seriously wounded, including Colonel Jones, were left to be taken as prisoners.   Around midnight, the remainder of Buschbeck’s brigade, including the 154th New York, was ordered to the rear of General Hooker’s headquarters at Chancellorsville, where it spent the rest of the night. 

 

The monument was dedicated on May 26, 1996 and is located on the south side of Plank Road (Virginia Route 3).  It is about 0.35 mile east of the Orange Plank Road intersection.

154th New York Volunteer Infantry (Chancellorsville)

SKU: 1140
$115.00Price