18th New York Infantry
History of a Civil War Regiment
Responding to President Lincoln's initial call for troops, the 18th New York Infantry emerged as one of The Excelsior State's first regiments and mustered many of its earliest volunteers. Formed of companies from across the state, the unit saw combat early, suffering the first casualties of the Bull Run campaign when they were ambushed on the march four days before the battle. As part of the Army of the Potomac, they fought at Gaines's Mill, Crampton's Gap, Antietam, Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville. Drawing on numerous sources including several unpublished diaries, this book gives the complete history of the 18th--from the first enlistee to the last surviving veteran (who died in 1938)--with an emphasis on the experiences of individual soldiers. Full of photographs, detailed maps, and an amazingly thorough roster.
Whether you're interested in this great regiment, or a fan of anything Civil War, this book will give you a new perspective and insight to Civil War soldiers that no other regimental history has ever done before.
I learned about my great-great-great-grandfather, Robert Conklin, when I was just a boy. He was long dead before the people that told me about him were even born. Everyone knew little, and nothing was known of his service, even when you researched the 18th New York Infantry. This is all before the dawn of the internet, but even when that broke, there was nothing about the 18th NY, except for mere mentions of their existence. Nothing detailed. In a quest to learn more about Robert, I took on the entire regiment. All 1,069 names that ever were a part of the regiment.
My research into the 18th started in 1999, and I began with one bold fact: No one had ever written anything about the 18th New York Infantry, neither author nor veteran who knew their story best, even after 136 years. I was disappointed to say the least, and somehow I took this shortfall in history as my burden. More than a century of silence is an outcry for a regiment of volunteer patriots that gave so much towards the preservation of the Union. Being a war veteran myself (The Iraq War), I know that every soldier has a story to tell, and these men were no different.
My sixteen-year journey of collecting and researching anything and everything associated with the 18th could be best described as obsessive, but a good historian must commit themselves in deep research if anything original and fresh is to ever surface. I’ve been to every hometown from which the companies hailed. I’ve exhausted the shelves and holdings of countless historical societies, libraries, and cemeteries across the country. I’ve walked every battlefield the 18th was ever on, the sites of all of their long-term encampments, and I’ve followed the trails of their marches. I had to make up for the loss of those eye-witnesses lost to time who could intimately describe the settings, so I needed to be there to know what they saw. Now it is all complete and ready to be read. From beyond their graves, their story can now be told.
- Ryan A. Conklin, author of The 18th New York Infantry in the Civil War: A History and Roster
Also available in Kindle eBook
Unlike other regimental histories, this book has 15 customized maps to show the 18th's positions in battles, and - get this - 129 images, 69 of which have never been published before!
Civil War News, Vol. 43, No. 3, p. 33, March 2017
Author proceeds of the book are donated to the American Battlefield Trust, formerly known as the Civil War Trust, America's largest non-profit organization (501-C3) devoted to the preservation of our nation's endangered Civil War battlefields. The Trust also promotes educational programs and heritage tourism initiatives to inform the public of the war’s history and the fundamental conflicts that sparked it.