123rd New York Volunteer Infantry

1862 - 1865

Meet some of our contributors

At our request, several of our contributors have sent us their photo and background information. The Company sends a huge THANK YOU to these folks and to ALL OF THE MANY OTHERS who have spent much time and effort in sending us photos and information on the 28th Georgia and the 123rd New York. Our website would not be what it is today without the help of these special historians. Thank you!

Bob Farrell and Ed Bearss at the exploded magazine at Fort Fisher where
the 169th NYSV met disaster on the morning of January 16, 1865.

Bob Farrell

"My interest in the American Civil War began about twenty years ago and very shortly after that I began to take an interest in the 123d and the 169th New York Volunteers. The 169th, the Troy Regiment with eight Companies from Rensselaer County, and Company D & F recruited from Washington County. My great-great Uncle, Robert Taggart was a private in Company F, 169th and a recently identified great-great Uncle, Sergeant Richard W. Farrell, was a member of Company C. Both served honorably throughout the war. As you know, the 123rd NYV, the Washington County Regiment, was assembled from the environs of the county. The 123rd Company C and the 169th's Co. F were principally from Whitehall. This small railroad and canal town at the southern tip of Lake Champlain is famous for the birthplace of the American Navy and Bob Farrell. Thus, it becomes apparent for my interest in the 123rd NYV. My research began in earnest when I moved to Kennesaw, Georgia, and was on the actual ground trod by and described by Rice Bull in Soldering. I could take quick day trips to beautiful North Georgia or into the ravaged Atlanta and be where the 123rd had lived day to day. From there it accelerated down hill to the point that each day of my life now, hours are spent working on the Washington County Regiment. My fascination with the grave markers of the War dead began at the Marietta National Cemetery. As a salesman, I found a bit of free time to drop by the office and search the more than ten thousand 3x5 index cards (pre-database) listing the burials and discover the dead of the 123d interred there. Knowing my knack to allow my mind to wander while doing a tedious job, I had to review all ten thousand cards again for fear of having missed a name. This was so satisfying, that I then began to search the "Roll of Honor." Again, pre-database or CDs, I searched the pages for 123d names buried in National Cemeteries along their route of march. What I can do with a CD at my computer today required a search of over 300,000 names one line at a time. However, the benefit was that I was also searching for my 169th personnel. The search was a success as I have accumulated about 53% of the war deaths and that is above the average for recorded deaths. A natural progression of this morbid quest has caused me to search for the final resting place of the veterans of the 123rd. As you would expect, the majority mustered out and returned to their native Washington County. However, many went west to the newer territories, south to Texas, and the most recent discovery finds a 123d vet, Robert D. Nelson, Co. H, buried in the volcanic sands of Hawaii. I have and continue to search every written document, letter, diary and publication and record the mention of each of the 1190 individual soldiers who passed through the ranks of the 123d so that their names will have a face and character for future generations. My great-great uncle, Robert Taggart, was a private in Company F, 169th and a recently identified great-great uncle, Sergeant Richard W. Farrell, was a proud member of Company C, 123rd New York. Both served honorably throughout the war. As the Sons of Confederate Veterans motto so aptly states: Honoring our Veterans, Never more, Nothing less."

    Bob Farrell

Col. Ed Robinson

Capt. Ed Robinson at LZ Falcon, Ia Drang Valley, Vietnam, 1965.

Edward C. Robinson,
Col., US Army, Ret.

"Per your request, here are a couple of old photos from my files. I have been interested in the 123rd for a long time. I was born in Greenwich, New York, and frequently visited the Greenwich Cemetery with my grandfather as a young boy. The cemetery had a Civil War cannon display and CW veteran's gravesite area with prominent 123rd gravesites that intrigued me. I grew up in Troy, New York, and graduated from the US Military Academy at West Point, with the Class of 1959, and attended the USACGS, US Army War College, Defense Systems Management College, et al. Tours in Germany (3rd Inf Div), VietNam (1st Cav & 1st Avn Bde), Republic of China (MAAG Sr. Army Advisor), 11th Air Assault Division (Test), Department of the Army Staff, OSD, Army Program Manager, etc. I've always had a strong interest in history, particularly military history. Degrees include, BS in engineering; MS in Aerospace Engineering; MS in Engineering Management. After retirement I worked as a principal engineer & consultant to the Office of the Asst. Sec. Air Force, Research & Development."

    Ed Robinson

Photo #1: This is a photo of Col. Ed Robinson while assigned to the Office of the Secretary of Defense, in the Pentagon, in 1981. At that time he was Military Assistant for Test and Evaluation of Aviation Systems for the Department of Defense.

Photo #2: Captain Ed Robinson - This photo of North Vietnamese Army prisoners on Capt Ed Robinson's helicopter was taken at LZ Falcon, 14 November 1965. The NVA were wounded and captured around Landing Zone XRay in the Ia Drang Valley of the Vietnam central highlands, 14 November 1965, and were taken by Ed from LZ XRay to LZ Falcon. This landmark first major battle of elements of the First Air Cavalry Division with major elements of the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) was the subject of the best selling book, We Were Soldiers Once...and Young, by LTG Hal Moore and Joe Galloway, combat reporter. The Paramount motion picture production of the book was released on 4 March 2002, starring Mel Gibson. Subsequent to the battle, Ed was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for Heroism, for action in LZ XRay on 14 November 1965, as a flight section leader with B Company, 229th Assault Helicopter Bn, First Air Cavalry Division. The photo shows Ed by his helicopter.

Charles Willis

Charles and wife Linda at the
123rd NYSV monument.

Charles R. Willis

"I take the pictures around here so finding one of myself was almost impossible. Well, I am 60 years old. I have been married 3 times and the third time was on Nov. 2, 2002. I have had 8 children and 5 are still alive. I was a New York State Corrections Officer for 28 years and retired at 53 years old in 1996 (this was so I could take care of my 2nd wife who was dying of cancer). In 1975, I became interested in my family's genealogy. At first, all I wanted was to have names and dates. But then someone asked what they did, so I began retracing my steps. I tried to find out a little something on every person in my genealogy. By the time of the Civil War, all of my ancestors were living in the Washington County, New York area. About 50% of the men who were eligible to enlist did. When I got to those men it seemed an honor to put down what they did and where they fought. Most of them came home but in doing their families I realized that other brothers of those who fought did not come home, so I put them into my genealogy also. I then bought the book on the 123rd and was able to get another mind picture of what went on. My second wife's great grandfather had sent letters home, as did his brother, and I was able to get to see the original letters. This again gave me another more personal picture of how it must have been. We have been to Gettysburg and enjoyed the museum and traveled around the battlefield. I had my picture taken next to the 123rd monument and around the village of Gettysburg. I must admit that it gave me a cold and eerie feeling along with a self gratifying feeling by standing where my ancestors had fought 135 years prior. But most gratifying is your site that still remembers these people and I am proud to have been able to be a small part of it."

    Charles R. Willis


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