Periods Of Service For
The 20th New York State Militia

April 28 - August 2, 1861
October 25, 1861 - January 29, 1866


“This Hand For Our Country”

This regiment is correctly termed the 20th New York State Militia. Although in 1861, New York State gave the unit a new numerical designation of 80, the regiment never accepted it! The main reason the Ulster Guard would not adhere to this change, although not the only reason, was because it had a history as the 20th NYSM since 1848.

Although it is listed under both regimental designations in the National Archives and in many reference books under both numbers, it should always be referred to as the 20th NYSM.  There are many 20th documents in my collection and even as late as 1866 each document is headed, 20th New York State Militia!

To further bolster the using of 20th as opposed to 80th I submit the following. On the two monuments at Gettysburg and the marker at 2nd Bull Run, the Federal Government has the 80th subservient to the 20th NYSM. Additionally, in nearly three dozen original pay vouchers in my collection, covering the period from 1862 through late 1865, enlisted men as well as officers were paid by a Federal paymaster, on Federal paymaster documents, as soldiers of the 20th New York State Militia.


Pay voucher dated August 31, 1865
referring to the regiment as the
"20th Regiment of New York State Militia"

Most any major library has the six volume set titled New York in the War of the Rebellion by Frederick Phisterer. In volume 1 you will find their 90 day service and in volume 4 you will find them under the 80th for the rest of their service.

Sadly, the blunder caused by New York State's new numbering system, which only affected four regiments, is still causing confusion today!

In my unending quest to know more about the 20th NYSM, I am always seeking original images, documents, letters, diaries... In fact anything concerning the 20th NYSM. Please contact me if you have anything pertaining to the regiment.

Seward R. Osborne
Historian
20th New York State Militia

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