About the 124th New York
The 124th New York State Volunteers is a Civil War era reenactment unit based in southern New York. We are a not-for-profit corporation recognized by the State of New York as an Historic Military Command, the only New York living history organization so designated. The unit was started in 1982 in Orange County, NY, where the old regiment was raised.
In the Ranks of 124th New York
The 124th New York's membership hails mostly from Orange County, NY, just as the original regiment did. Our roots, however, stretch from Connecticut to New Jersey and as far as Virginia and North Carolina. Recruits, either fresh fish or seasoned veterans, are always welcome. Prospective members must be at least 17 years old and in good physical condition. Those under 17 may join, if a parent or guardian joins as well. Each recruit must be sponsored by an existing member and must be voted in on a one-year probationary period by the membership. After the successful completion of the probationary period, the membership again votes to accept the new recruit. Spouses and children are welcomed in this group. Dues are Adults: $45/year & Children: $15/year.
As of 2012, the 124th is now offering an Associate Member option. This option is for members who wish not to participate in living history events, but still wish to support and stay in contact with the 124th. Dues is $10 per year and includes a subscription to the unit's newsletter.
The group has its monthly meeting on the second Tuesday of each month at The Orange County Farmers Museum in Montgomery, NY; meetings start at 7PM. Several weekend events will be held at the Farmers Museum starting in the spring; including a three day reenactment held in September.
The Historic Regiment
The 124th New York was formed in Orange County, NY in July and August 1862 in response to President Abraham Lincoln's call for 300,000 three-year volunteers. Colonel Augustus Van Horne Ellis, a prominent local citizen from New Windsor, NY was chosen colonel. Ellis was a valuable commodity in the growing volunteer army, as he had prior military experience and had seen the battlefield. Ellis had his eye set on raising a front line fighting regiment and made every effort to ensure the regiment was well trained and disciplined.
The 124th left for the seat of war on September 6, 1862 nearly 1000 strong and arrived in Washington, DC a few days later. There they spent the next seven months learning the ins and outs of drill, guard duty, and soldierly life. Over this time, nearly 300 soldiers were lost due to death, desertion, and discharges.
During the Chancellorsville Campaign in May of 1863, the 124th got their first taste of combat and proved themselves as a fighting regiment. Just prior to the battle, Col. Ellis issued the men orange ribbons to remind them of Orange County, but more importantly to help them identify their dead and wounded on the battlefield. The ribbon would become an iconic symbol of the regiment and help secure them with a new nickname, "The Orange Blossoms."
From Chancellorsville on, the 124th fought in every major battle the Army of the Potomac participated in. Each took a different, yet costly, toll on the regiment. Only once, in 1864, was the regiment reinforced with new recruits. Upon being mustered out of US service on June 15, 1865, the ultimate debt paid by the 124th was finally seen as only 138 of the original men remained in the ranks.
124th New York's Impression
The 124th New York seeks to portray the Union infantry volunteer of the Army of the Potomac as he appeared at the mid-war. Our membership follows a list of authenticity standards. New recruits must enter the ranks as a private, as experience is gained one may move up the rank structure. The 124th New York is open and willing to accommodate most military and civilian impressions.
The 124th NY is working with the staff of the Orange County Farmers Museum, in Montgomery, NY to restore one of Orange County's great farms to its 19th century glory. With the completion of a 19th century style farmhouse, based on the Abram Brian Farm House of the Gettysburg National Military Park, and 5 period style soldier's winter cabins, the museum has much to offer for the farm and Civil War enthusiast.