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.