We are going to be writing about the Civil War and hope that it brings out interesting and unique comparisons and facts. In one of the most glaring comparisons in the month of April was the fall of Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861, lead by the Confederate’s Brigadier General Beauregard beginning the fight of the Civil War. On April 15, 1861 the Fort was planning to surrender under the leadership of Major Robert Anderson, but it was not to be. Who would have thought that the same month almost to the day on April 15, 1865 exactly 5 years later, President Abraham Lincoln would die from a mortal wound from a bullet on April 14, 1865 at Ford Theater? What happened in those 5 years between 1861 and 1865 was the bloodiest, hardest fought fight America had ever experienced on her own soil.
This is the beginning and the end but what happens in the five years between was felt all over the North and the South. Palmyra did not escape the loss this war brought and became part of Company B of the 33rd Regiment. Company A was Seneca Falls, C – Waterloo, D – Canandaigua, E – Geneseo, F – Nunda, G – Buffalo, H – Geneva, I – Penn Yan, and K – Seneca Falls a second company made up of “fighting Irish” by a Patrick McGraw an experienced soldier with the “Queen’s Service” for 15 years. Being an experienced soldier was not the norm, most of the men and boys that joined up were just plain folks, lawyers, preachers, bakers, farmers, canal workers, tailors, and store owners.
Lt. Col. Joseph Corning began the call for volunteers. President Lincoln had called for over 70,000 soldiers after the fall of Fort Sumter. Sounds like a daunting task; but for the patriots in this area and many other areas New York State and the north, came quickly with energy and enthusiasm.
Since our focus is going to be on the 33rd Regiment, Company B at this juncture, we will talk about our local folks and the sacrifices they made and the valor that they showed. The first group came from Palmyra, Marion, and the surrounding communities to make Company B. Lawyer. Joseph Corning who was a New York State Assemblyman was the leader of this recruitment joined by his son John, Henry Draime, and Josiah White. The effort was in full swing and even “old” Captain Ira Lakey joined the speech makers. At a meeting in Marion the old whaling Captain Lakey offered the first 50 that enlisted $2 per person. The recruitment had begun and by April 28, 1861 seventy-seven men were recruited making Captain Joseph Corning their leader.
We may jump around just a bit because we’ll need to talk about the 111th NY Regiment at Gettysburg. We are following the months of the war no matter the year. The 33rd Regiment did not fight at Gettysburg although they saw many battles and were part of the Army of the Potomac. Thanks to George Contant and his book, “Path of Blood” The True Story of the 33rd New York Volunteers.
Page 2 of 2 - Our Fundraising dinner is April 20 at the Alling Coverlet Museum 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. with a full course dinner, appetizers, silent auction, and a live auction. For tickets and information, please call 597-6981. We have held the price for our sixth year.