“C” Company Documents- 3rd New York Light Artillery

Documents, rosters, muster rolls, letters, etc, from Lt. Charles B. Randolph’s hold copies of Company “C,” 3rd NY Light Artillery, originally the 19th NY Infantry.

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This regiment was initially formed in  May,1861 as the 19th New York Infantry, at Elmira for three month duration, with “C” Company under the command of Captain James E. Ashcroft. The regiment left the state in June, heading for Washington, later stationed at Harper’s Ferry. During their time in service the regiment was at time heavily engaged in skirmishing with the enemy. The 3rd NY Light Artillery served in the Department of Virginia, and North Carolina, and remained there for the duration of service in the summer of 1865, seeing some small action against the enemy

In August of 1861, at their term of service was to expire, ordered were received for a re-muster of these men for another two year period. Great dissatisfaction was shown amongst at total of 206 members of the regiment, and 23 of the worst offenders were sent to the Dry Tortugas, the rest were held in arrest until they were ready to re-enlist. A good number of the men of Company “C” deserted in August and September, many were captured and confined, and some joined the 3rd Light Artillery in February of 1862.  The muster roll for May 22, 1861 (initial muster roll) has the muster out roll on the reverse, and this is where it is recorded the status of all members of company “C.” 20 members of “C” deserted, and to the date of mustering out (converting to 3rd Light Artillery) only 5 had joined the 3rd Artillery.

This collection came from the papers of Lieutenant Charles B. Randolph, who started in the company as an Ensign (militia rank for 2nd Lt.). contains the initial April 16th (fully manuscript) muster roll, and the May of ’61 enlistment roster (printed form), entitled, “Inspection And Muster Roll” beginning in April 23rd, 1861, with the documents going up to the time when Lt. Randolph musters out in June of 1863.

One of the small scraps of enlistment notes is one for a William H. Barnes, who enlisted on April 18, 1861; a 29 year old ” Photographist.” Another manuscript document dated May 22, 1861, is the oath of allegiance to the United States, signed by three recruits, sworn be for a justice of the peace. There are various orders, for one soldier to leave a ship at Newbern, NC, letters from soldiers to Capt Ashcroft who are inquiring about certain matters while in hospital; others asking for their descriptive list to allow them to muster out as unfit for service; list of an inventory of a private Shaw who died at the hospital at Newbern, listing all his possessions; Court martial proceedings brought up by Capt. Ashcroft, 11 in total, intoxication, AWOL, desertion, leaving a post, refusal to obey an order, etc.

Beginning in June of 1861, there are 18 Company Returns, listing the status of various soldiers absent sick, or on detached service, the last one dated March of 1863.

There are 15 Muster Rolls, as stated the initial May of 1861.

There are more descriptive lists for soldier who died, or for small groups of men listing the amount of money for articles issued at the time of enlistment, etc., other miscellaneous notes totaling 70 plus.

Lt. Randolph, mustered out in October of 1863, then enlisted as a private in the 148th NY Infantry, promoted to sergeant in May of 1864, captured at Petersburg, then paroled some time after.  He was discharged for promotion in December of 1864, when taking a commission as a captain in the 118th U.S. Colored Infantry, assigned to the Army of the James, and later sent to Texas, mustering out in February of 1866.  There is a multi-page account in pencil of his Civil War service, briefly describing his service, but mostly focusing on his health while in service, mention of his imprisonment in the hands of the Confederacy, most likely a draft sent to the Government Pension Office.

Condition for the most part is very good and better. Only a few of the documents have any serious damage (one mouse chewed at top margin, one muster roll acid free taped in some weak folds.

Excellent group of documents to understand the goings on in a company during the war, one that had to contend with desertions, as well as disease, and some combat.  This is the only (of many) paper collections were it contained the original muster documents before any printed forms were use (not yet received by the company from the state), a day after President Abraham Lincoln’s call for 75,000 volunteers on the 15th.