Periods Of Service
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,
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
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
20th New York State Militia