The Schroeder Books
:History of the 5th New York Volunteer Infantry
Published by SCHROEDER PUBLICATIONS
ISBN: 1-889246-73-5. Price: $60.00 U.S.
the Regiment stood that day was the very vortex of Hell," ~~Andrew
Coats, Private, “Duryée’s Zouaves,” remembering the Battle of Second
April 12th, 1861, a group of military enthusiasts gathered in
Manhattan to form a two-year volunteer regiment in support of the Union cause.
Their unanimous choice for commander was Colonel Abram Duryée, a wealthy
mahogany importer with three decades of militia experience. At Duryée's
suggestion the new unit was outfitted in a colorful variation of the Zouave
uniform, described by one reporter as a "wild Saracenic costume." The
flashy attire and Duryée's reputation attracted hundreds of eager volunteers
for the Fifth New York Volunteer Infantry.
"Duryée's Zouaves," the Fifth was one of the most renowned fighting
regiments of the American Civil War. Their colorful Zouave uniform, precise
maneuvers, effectiveness in combat, and steady bearing under fire won them
universal respect and recognition. Many observers considered the Fifth New York
to be the best-drilled volunteer unit in the Federal Army. After suffering the
heaviest casualties in the first engagement of the Civil War at Big Bethel, the
regiment was posted to Baltimore before joining McClellan’s Army of the
Potomac for the Peninsular Campaign. The
Zouaves proved their fighting prowess at the battle of Gaines’ Mill inflicting
the highest number of Confederate casualties on the 1st South
Carolina Rifles that day. Just over
two months later the Fifth suffered a similar fate in a vain attempt to stop
General Longstreet’s assault at Second Manassas.
Despite losing 330 men that day, the Fifth soldiered on with an influx of
new recruits at the battles of Antietam, Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville
before mustering out of service in May 1863.
Nine of its soldiers attained the rank of general.
Drawing from period sources such as regimental records and soldier
letters and recollections, Vortex of Hell recounts their journey from
citizens to soldiers, in camp and in battle, and beyond.
History of the 5th New York Volunteer Infantry: Vortex of Hell
Return to Schroeder Books Return Home