140th New York Infantry Living History Organization

140th on Little Round Top, by John Wagner

The Historical 140th NY

The 140th Regiment of New York Volunteers was organized during August and early September of 1862, citizens of Monroe County comprising the majority of its members. Companies B, C, E, F, K and part of G were men from Rochester; the remaining four and a half companies were populated from citizens of the neighboring towns and villages.

The 140th left Rochester on September 19 of 1862 and after a brief stay in the defensive fortifications around Washington, DC, saw some action at the battles of Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville. The regiment went through its first severe punishment in battle on the second day of July in 1863 at Gettysburg. No sooner had it arrived on the battlefield when the 140th was ordered into action on the slopes of Little Round Top. Although the 140th was successful in its defense of the Hill, it cost the regiment 133 casualties: 37 dead including Colonel Patrick O'Rorke, 78 wounded and 18 missing. (see also The Supreme Event in its Existence, The 140th New York on Little Round Top; and Addendum Written by Brian A. Bennett)

In the winter camp of 1863-64, the regiment was outfitted as Zouaves. These flamboyant uniforms were patterned after elite French army units which had earned military glory in the 1850's, and they were "awarded" to the 140th in recognition of the regiment's seamless record. (see also Origins of the Zouaves and The Zouave Craze.)

During 1864, General Grant assumed command of all Federal forces and began a relentless push toward the Confederacy's capitol of Richmond. The 140th's participation in this campaign cost 384 of its men in 39 days, as well as the life of Colonel George Ryan. The heaviest losses were at the Wilderness and Cold Harbor. By the war's end, Sgt. Robert F. Shipley had won the Congressional Medal of Honor, but only 245 of its original members answered to its final muster.

Painting courtesy of John Wagner

Prints available, actual size 22 3/8" x 29 1/8",
for further information please contact:

John Wagner
2134 Five Mile Line Road, Penfield, New York 14526
Phone: (716) 271-0580

Regimental Flag of the 140th NY

The flag of the 140th NY is 5'6'' by 6' of dark blue silk, painted with oils and bordered by gold bullion fringe. It was manufactured by Frank Van Dorn of New York City.

The men of the 140th were told that their flag ... shall be to successive generations the sufficient testimony that in the hour their country's peril, the sons of Old Monroe did their full duty among the defenders of the Republic.

Left Side Right Side
The inscription reads: God Help the Right 140th Regt. New York S.V. The inscription reads: Presented by 34 Young Ladies of Rochester N.Y. to the Monroe Co. Regt.

Artwork courtesy of Brian A. Bennett

The flag carried by the 140th New York, as were those of most New York State Regiments, was sent to Albany for safe keeping. Unfortunately, the flags were neglected and many have now deteriorated beyond repair.

For more information and what you can do to help, see New York State Flags.

On July 15, 2001, Senator Richard Dollinger announced plans to secure funding to restore New York State's flags! For additional information and to sign the E-Petition, Click Here.

Robert Shipley

Sgt. Shipley's Congressional Medal of Honor
(Won at the Battle of Five Forks)

Sergeant Robert Shipley, of Company A, One hundred and fortieth New York Infantry, ran across a flag-bearer of the Ninth Virginia Infantry, who had his back turned toward him. A gentle poke with the butt of the rifle reminded the Virginian that a Union soldier wanted his flag. "Pass those colors over to me," Shipley shouted. The Confederate whirled around and with the flagstaff for a club was about to let it down on the head of the sergeant, but the latter, considering this the wrong answer to his command, made good use of his bayonet, which rendered further parley superfluous, and thus secured the flag.
(Text taken from Deeds of Valor. Photo courtesy of Brian Bennett.)

Campaigns and Engagements Fought by the 140th NY

Casualty Totals

Battle Related
Officers 4
Wounded - Died
Officers 4
Wounded - Recovered
Officers 13
Officers 7
Non-Battle Related
Died of Disease and other causes
Officers 1
Died as POWs
Officers 1

Ryan Zouaves B/W Photo

The Ryan Zouaves

James Craddock

The Ryan Zouaves were a post-war drill company organized in November 1866 by Lt. John McDermott of the 140th NY. The name was in honor of Col. George Ryan, the second Colonel of the 140th NY. The Colonel in command of the regiment at the time it received its Zouave uniforms in January of 1864. The organization lasted until 1932 when the last member passed away.

Two artifacts of the Ryan Zouaves were found in the 1873 Rochester Time Capsule which was opened in 2000. The first item is a pamphlet containing the constitution and bylaws. The second item is a list of the Commissioned and Noncommissioned Officers, November 16, 1866.

Also included was pamphlet containing the rules, regulations and bylaws of O'Rourke Post No. 1, Dep't. of New York G.A.R.

Additional Information

Bennett, Brian A., Sons of Old Monroe, A Regimental History of Patrick O'Rorke's 140th New York Volunteer Infantry. Morningside, 1992

Bennett, Brian A., The Beau Ideal of a Soldier and a Gentleman, The Life of Col. Patrick Henry O'Rorke, From Ireland to Gettysburg. Triphammer Publishing, 1996

Bennett, Brian A., An Unvarnished Tale, The Public and Private Civil War Writings of Porter Farley, 140th N.Y.V.I. Triphammer Publishing, 2007

Coffey, Christopher, Regiment. (Video) Time-Warner Communications, 1995.
Available in all Monroe County Libraries

Library of Congress, Civil War Maps Collection

Last Updated: 03/31/2013