Civil War Professional Soldiers, Citizen Soldiers, and Native American Soldiers of Genesee County, New York

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There are probably more books published on the Civil War than any other event in American history. Many volumes focus on the heroic efforts of a single individual or a single unit. The authors portray the individual or unit in Homeric prose as they explain how these extraordinary men preserved the Republic. The truth is, however, that over 2,100,000 ordinary individuals in thousands of ordinary regiments from hundreds of ordinary counties accomplished the extraordinary task of preserving the United States and liberating millions of enslaved persons. This work captures the trials, tribulations and triumphs of these ordinary soldiers by examining the role played by the citizen-soldiers of Genesee County, New York. The citizen-soldiers from Genesee County were ordinary individuals. They were farmers, mechanics, merchants and workers who were moved by their civic responsibility and faithfully performed their duty. This is the first work that examines the contribution of soldiers of Genesee County to the preservation of the union. The work examines the roles played by two Genesee County residents (Emory Upton and Ely Parker) along with three regiments with large contingents of Genesee County residents (12th NY Infantry, 15th NY Cavalry and 8th NY Heavy Artillery) in the Civil War. The well being and security of any republic depends on the commitment of its citizen-soldiers to both cause and comrade. The men of Genesee County exemplified this commitment.


“Dr. James Hedtke’s book is an important contribution to the scholarship of Civil War history and Genesee County history. History is about biography and Dr. Hedtke tells the important story of the professional soldier and the citizen-soldier using people from his hometown as an example ... Genesee County is not unique. Throughout the United States during the Civil War, farmers, craftsmen, laborers and professionals left their jobs, their homes and their families to fight for what they believed in. The story of Genesee County’s citizen-soldiers is a microcosm of what was going on all over the country. Citizens had different reasons for enlisting. Some joined for the adventure, others for the glory and some for the money. Whatever their reasons, the men of Genesee County distinguished themselves. Future generations should be proud of their actions in preserving the Union.” – (from the Preface) Mr. Patrick Weissend, Director, Holland Land Office Museum, Batavia, New York

T“Histories about the Civil War abound in the academic and general reading community. Professor James R. Hedtke, however, has written a special work indeed. He focuses on the men and units of Genesee County, New York who fought in the war. This is the first volume that attempts to chronicle their contributions as citizen-soldiers in this epic struggle in any systematic fashion. Dr. Hedtke does so with insight and clarity reminiscent of the great historians Shelby Foote and Stephen Ambrose ... The book is quality history and good writing. It allows the reader to become acquainted with unfamiliar individuals and units who faithfully performed their duty during this ‘fiery ordeal.’ I recommend this work to scholars and Civil War buffs alike. Neither will be disappointed in this fine book.” – Professor Jolyon Girard, Cabrini College

Table of Contents

Preface by Patrick Weissend
1. Genesee County: Beautiful Valley
2. Emory Upton: The Pure Warrior
3. Ely Parker: One Real American
4. The 12th NY Volunteer Infantry Regiment: Duty Faithfully Performed
5. The 15th NY Cavalry: The Red Neckties
6. The 8th NY Heavy Artillery: The Bloody Eighth

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