6th NY Heavy Artillery

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Captain Wilson Defendorf

These are the Clarkstown soldiers who served in the 6th New York Heavy Artillery:

William Dickey
Enlisted August 15, 1862 -- Killed at the Battle of Cold Harbor May 30, 1864

William Hartwick
Enlisted (Company F) December 26, 1863 -- Killed at the Battle of Alexandria September 9, 1864

James Lock
Enlisted (Company K) September 10, 1864 -- Discharged June 28, 1865

Charles Meissener Jr.
Enlisted August, 1862

J.W. Moore
Enlisted August 22, 1862

Andrew Neilor
Enlisted August 1, 1862 -- Discharged at close of the War

George H. Phillips
Enlisted (Company R) August 26, 1862 -- Discharged June, 28, 1865

George B. Sutherland
Enlisted September 2, 1862 -- Discharged at close of the War

Jacob E. Youmans
Enlisted August 15, 1862 -- Died in service December 27, 1862

 

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Rockland County Journal
May 21, 1864 

6th New York Heavy Artillery
In the summer of 1862, developments that would lead to the formation of the 6th New York Volunteer Artillery began with Abraham Lincoln's call for 300,000 three-year volunteers to continue the fight against the Confederacy. In New York, to encourage volunteering, Governor E. D. Morgan created Union Defense Committees for the state senatorial districts.

    In the eight district, consisting of Westchester, Putnam, and Rockland counties, the Defense Committee organized the 135th Volunteer Infantry regiment and named it the Anthony Wayne Guard in honor of the Revolutionary War hero and Indian fighter.
    Rockland County contributed about sixty men to the new regiment. Company K, organized in Nyack, attracted Cornelius and Irving Tenure and several of their neighbors. The Rockland soldiers elected Wilson Defendorf Captain and John Davidson and Frederic Shonnard lieutenants. This company along with the others was mustered into service on September 2, 1862.
    Experienced officers led the regiment. William Hopkins Morris, a West Point graduate and former officer in the Army of the Potomac, became the colonel, and J. Howard Kitching, who had already served in the Peninsula campaign, was appointed lieutenant colonel. In April of 1863, after Morris was promoted to brigadier general, Kitching assumed regimental command as a full colonel.
    With all muster formalities completed, the regiment traveled by barge to Perth Amboy, New Jersey, where it boarded a train for Baltimore. At Fort McHenry, as a part of the 8th Army Corps, the men entered an instruction camp. Progress was so rapid that on October 3 they were chosen for the elite artillery service and were renamed the 6th New York Volunteer Artillery (sometimes called the 6th New York Heavy Artillery).
    Despite the new name and some additional training with artillery pieces, the regiment continued to served as infantry. At first it did duty as a part of the Baltimore defenses, but after the threat to Maryland by Robert E. Lee's invasion force had passed the regiment received orders in December to proceed to Harper's Ferry. There the men guarded the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad and skirmished occasionally with Confederate sympathizers in the surrounding area.
    The next duty assignment came in the Gettysburg campaign of 1863. In July the regiment became part of the 1st Brigade, 3rd Division, 3rd Army Corps of the Army of the Potomac and comprised part of the reserves during the Gettysburg battle. In the aftermath, some of the New Yorkers, including Cornelius Tenure, helped to bury the dead.
    After Lee's Confederate's withdrew to Virginia, the 6th New York became part of the Union pursuit forces and engaged the Confederate rear guard at Wapping Heights, Virginia, on July 23. In August the regiment assumed duty as the ammunition train guard for the Army of the Potomac and served in that capacity in the Bristoe campaign (October 9 – 22), the battle at the Rappahannock (November 7 – 8), and the Mine Run campaign (November 26 – December 2).
    In April of 1864, the 6th New York moved toward a more active role in the fighting when it became part of the 1st Brigade, Artillery Reserve of the Army of the Potomac. The regiment's first heavy engagement came with the battles of the Wilderness (May 5 – 7), in the which Cornelius Tenure was wounded, and Spotsylvania (May 8 – 12). On May 13 the regiment joined Kitching's Heavy Artillery Brigade, 5th Army Corps.
    As the Rapidan campaign continued, the men experienced heavy fighting at Harris Farm (May 19), where they drew praise for their stand against a Confederate assault. In the battles of North Anna River (May 23 – 27) the 6th New York lost more men killed and wounded than any other Union regiment engaged.
    In June the New Yorkers participated in the Cold Harbor battle but managed to escaped most f the carnage wrought upon other parts of the Union forces. The regiment continued as part of the 5th Army Corps, Department of Washington, and began guarding the capital. After a short time, the regiment received orders to join General Philip Sheridan's Shenandoah Valley campaign.
    The regiment's most significant action in the Shenandoah Valley came at the battle of Cedar Creek (October 19). Here Union forces were almost routed by a surprise Confederate attack but rallied under General Sheridan's leadership and won the battle. This victory, though, cost the 6th New York its colonel, as J. Howard Kitching received the wound which would cause his death on January 10, 1865. Lieutenant Colonel George c. Kibbe became the acting colonel and in March of 1865 assumed formal command of the regiment.
    The men ended their Shenandoah Valley duty in December of 1864 and took up defensive positions at Bermuda Hundred, Virginia. Brief engagements with Confederate forces occurred on January 22 and 24 and February 13, but by this time the war almost over and the 6t New York's heavy fighting had ended. In a supporting role, the regiment aided the Appomattox campaign (March 28 – April 9), and the assumed garrison duty until it was mustered out near Washington on August 24, 1865.
    The regiment lost 5 officers and 130 enlistees, killed or mortally wounded, and 6 officers and 275 enlistees, who died from various illnesses and accidents.

Whiteaker, Larry H. and W. Calvin Dickinson, eds. Civil War letters of the Tenure family : Rockland County, N.Y., 1862-1865. New City, N.Y.: Historical Society of Rockland County, c1990. (make an active link to rcls record)