125th NY Infantry Vets. Medal


Jan 27, 2021
Boston Mass/ Seattle Wa
125th NYSV Veterans Medal

My newest regiment medal. I normally collect ID’d items. However the story of the 125th and it’s sister regiments is among my favorite stories of the war. The 125th mustered into federal service in late August of 1862. Under the command of Col. George L Willard.

Their first brush with combat ended with disaster at Bolivar Heights. Where the 125th along with its sister regiments were compelled to surrender by Gen. Jackson. In what was the largest surrender of US forces until Bataan 80 years later. This surrender earned the 125th and its brigade the biting nickname of: “the Harpers Ferry Cowards”.

After the surrender 125th was released on parole and was guarding prisoners until June of 1863. Returning to service just in time for the Gettysburg campaign. Where it was placed in the third brigade (Willard’s), third division, second corps. Hancock’s veterans greeted Willard’s men with contempt. Which no doubt further motivated the 125th as they arrived at Gettysburg.

The 125th and the rest of Willard’s brigade arrived on the field on the morning of the 2nd Day. Rushing to support Third Corps Willard’s Brigade was ordered by General Hancock to “knock the hell out of [the rebels] and they delivered, charging Barksdale’s Mississippian’s, throwing them back and washing away the stain of their surrender. Where Corporal Harrison Clark of Company E was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions on July 2nd at Gettysburg when he “seized the colors and advanced with them after the color bearer had been shot.” It was during this charge that Colonel Willard was fatally wounded.

On the third day the 125th were engaged in repulsing Longstreet’s assault. By the time the sun had set on July 3 the 125th and its sister regiments had established themselves as some of the bravest men in the AotP. A reputation they would continue to burnish for the rest of the war, where they participated in the remained of the AotP’s great battles, all the way to Appomattox. At Gettysburg the 125th suffered killed, 26; wounded, 104; missing, 9; total, 139. In their entire term of service the 125th suffered lost 15 officers and 112 enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and 1 officer and 112 enlisted men.

The Vet’s badge is attractively designed. With the trefoil of 2nd Corps in the center and a backpack and crossed rifles atop.



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