74th NY Militia

74th New York Militia

(Brief History)

Pre Civil War Years

The 74th NY Militia organized in June 1854 in Buffalo, NY. Company D of the 65th Regiment was transferred forming the nucleus of the 74th NY Militia. Company B was organized in August and Companies C and E in September, 1854; Company A was formed in May, 1855, and these five companies constituted the regiment until February, 1858, when two companies were added; one of cavalry (Company R) and one rifle company (Company L), were organized.

The Civil War years

In 1860 Companies F, G, H and I were organized, and the designation of Company L was, in 1865, changed to Company K. Company R was disbanded in 1865.

During the Civil War the regiment furnished to the country nearly 300 officers and over 1,000 men, who received their first military instruction while members of it.

In May, 1861, four of its companies, B, C, D and F, volunteered in a body, forming the nucleus of the 21st Volunteers.

Between late May 1861 and May 1863, the 74th NY Militia, was guarding & protecting the City of Buffalo.

On June 18, 1863, the 74th NY Militia was called into active service, and the regiment was ordered to Harrisburg, Pa., for a service of thirty days. The unit was commanded by Colonel Watson A. Fox. The 74th NY Militia left Buffalo with nine companies on June 19, 1863.

The 74th NY Militia was involved with the Gettysburg Campaign, guarding and protecting railroad bridges, trestles and railroad crossings in and around the state capital (Harrisburg, PA) area.

Following General Lee’s retreat of his Army of Northern Virginia, the 65th & 74th NY Militia were both took part in a skirmish near Clear Springs, Maryland on July 10, 1863.

During this period the regiment lost by death in its first service in (June-July) 1863: one enlisted man due to disease.

Following the skirmish, the 65th & 74th NY Militias were sent to New York City to help put down the draft riots.

The 65th & 74th NY Militia had returned to Buffalo and were mustered out of active service on July 30, 1863.

On November 16, 1863, the regiment was again mustered in the United States service for thirty days for the protection of the frontiers of the State. It served (nine companies), at Buffalo and was there mustered out December 16, 1863.

This concluded the active service during the Civil War years.

Post Civil War Years

Following the Civil War in 1868 Company H was disbanded. Company I was consolidated with Company B in 1870, and in 1882 Companies E and K were disbanded. Company E was reorganized in 1886 and Company H in 1891.


The regiment has received authority to place silver rings on the lances of its colors, engraved as follows:

On the National Color:

  • Active service during the Gettysburg Campaign, June – July 1863

  • Active service – in Buffalo, NY during November – December, 1863

On the State Color:

  • NY City Draft riots, July 1863

  • Negro riot, 1864

  • Fenian invasion of Canada, 1866

  • Hornellsville, 1877; Buffalo, 1892.

Echoes Through Time

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Echoes Through Time shared Andersonville National Historic Site's post.

A Glimpse into Andersonville’s Archives

Chartered in 1883, the Women’s Relief Corps (WRC) served as an auxiliary to the Grand Army of the Republic. In 1896 they obtained the land that was once the location of the infamous Andersonville Prison, and right away started making improvements to the run-down condition that they received it in.

One of their first projects was constructing a cottage on site for families visiting Andersonville National Cemetery to use. This nine room, brick cottage sat on a piece of newly acquired land that the WRC purchased as an expansion to their preservation effort. Their ultimate goal: to memorialize the prison site. Efforts to create a memorial to the Civil War prisoners who suffered and died in the prison included a memorial rose garden, memorial orchard of pecan trees, and a road surrounding the historic prison site for visitors to use to explore.

By 1910, the grounds became almost too expensive for the WRC to maintain. It was then that the U.S. Government agreed to a land transfer. A WRC monument was erected at Andersonville in 1911 to honor the efforts of the women managing the site, followed by a monument to one of their founding members, Lizabeth Turner. While the government owned the land, however, the WRC still managed some aspects of it until the 1950s.

The WRC medal handed out to its members was in the shape of a Maltese cross. Some with red, white, and blue ribbons, others (like the one pictured) have the red, white, and blue stripes incorporated into the medal. “F.L.C” is engraved in each one to remind members of the Corps’ founding motto: Fraternity, Charity, and Loyalty.

This metal, along with other items in our collections, will be on display in the National Prisoner of War Museum later this year. (JH)(NPS Photo)