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photo of Company G, Brooklyn Fourteenth Regiment
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Company "G." Brooklyn Fourteenth Regiment

In Camp Before Fredericksburg, 1862

The Fourteenth Regiment New York State Militia, Co. K was officially formed on July 5, 1847. The regiment was originally made up of wealthy young men. The Brooklyn Armory at the corner of Henry & Cranberry Streets was their headquarters. In 1860, the Fourteenth adopted a variation of the uniforms of Colonel Ellsworth's Chicago Zouaves which consisted of baggy red pants, short blue jackets, white leggings and a blue and white hat.

With the start of of the Civil War the regiment swelled with volunteers. Many additional companies were formed. The military divided the army into the following entities: a company made up of 50-100 soldiers, with 10 companies in a regiment; a brigade made up of five regiments; a division composed of two or three brigades, and a corps composed of two - three divisions, totaling 30,000-40,000 men. Co. K was one of the earliest companies of the Fourteenth Regiment, but once the war began many more companies were formed, including Co. G of the photograph.

After the Battle of First Manassas (Bull Run), their uniform and their brave fighting led to the nickname the "Red-legged Devils." This uniform was worn during their entire three-year enlistment.

Also known as the Brooklyn Chasseurs, the Fourteenth courageously fought in most of the major battles of the War: First & Second Manassas (Bull Run), Antietam Creek, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Wilderness, and Spotsylvania. The "Red-legged Devils" were the only regiment to fight in all three days of the Battle of Gettysburg. They have been honored by having three monuments erected at National Battlefield Park in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

On May 22, 1864 the regiment was mustered out. They left by train on May 24 and arrived in Jersey City, New Jersey, in the evening of the 25th. Read about how the great cheering crowds greeted the soldiers when they returned home to Brooklyn in this article from the Brooklyn Daily Eagle: "The Fourteenth regiment left by gaslight and returned by gaslight..." (May 26, 1864).

For more about the 14th Regiment, see Documents 55, 103, 104, and 108.

Citation - Document 42
The Eagle and Brooklyn, Vol. 1
December 1862
Brooklyn Public Library – Brooklyn Collection

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