Ninth Infantry. — Cols., Joseph W. Allen, Charles A. Heckman, Abram Zabriskie, James Stewart, Jr.; Lieut.-Cols., James Wilson, William B. Curlis, Samuel Hufty; Maj., Thomas B. Appleget.
This regiment was raised under an authorization from the war department to recruit a regiment of riflemen in the state. It was commenced in Sept., 1861, the first muster being made at Camp Olden, Trenton, on Oct. 8. It remained at that camp, engaged in continuous drill, until Dec. 4, when it proceeded to Washington, its rolls showing an aggregate of 1,152 men and officers.
It received its baptism of fire at the battle of Roanoke island, N. C., where from first to last the conduct of the 9th was in the highest degree courageous. It lost in that battle 9 killed and 25 wounded. In the battle of New Berne, N. C., where it did gallant service, the regiment lost 4 killed and 58 wounded, one-sixth of the entire Union loss.
The headquarters of the regiment remained at Newport barracks during the siege of Fort Macon, while various companies were engaged in picket duty guarding all approaches from the direction of Wilmington, and losing during the operations 9 enlisted men captured. The regiment also participated in the affair at Young's cross-roads, suffering small loss. Few achievements of the North Carolina campaign were more gallant than that of the 9th at Rawle's mill, where it crossed a burning bridge and routed the enemy strongly posted beyond. The regiment participated in the affair at Deep creek, and the engagement at Southwest creek, a preliminary to the battle of Kinston. After a combat of some two hours at Whitehall, the Confederates retired and the object being accomplished the command to which the regiment belonged resumed its march toward Goldsboro, where the 9th was one of two regiments that were engaged, and after burning a bridge at Goldsboro — the desideratum of the march to the place — the regiment resumed its march toward New Berne.
In July, 1863, the 3d N. Y. cavalry, and a portion of the 1st N. C. cavalry, having started from New Berne for the purpose of destroying the railroad at Keenansville, some 45 miles distant, Gen. Heckman, with the 9th N. J., 17th, 23d and 27th Mass., 81st and 158th N. Y., and Belger's and Angel's batteries, marched as a support, proceeding by way of Pollocksville and Trenton to the free bridge on the river Trent, where the Confederates were encountered in some force and after a sharp fight, compelled to retreat, leaving the Federals in possession of the road and bridge, thus enabling the cavalry to cross and rejoin the infantry on their return from the point against which they were operating. Only 3 men of the 9th were wounded in that affair. The regiment also participated in the affair near Winton in the same month.
The term for which the 9th had volunteered was nearing its close when, on Jan. 21, 1864, two-thirds of the entire number reenlisted for "three years or the war," and on Jan. 31, the men went home on a veteran furlough. During their absence those who did not reenlist were ordered on a reconnoissance to Deep creek, Va., where the enemy appeared in strong numbers and the little band, under command of Lieut. Thomas Burnett, was compelled to retreat, leaving the bodies of Albert Nutt and Joel Hulse, of Co. D, in the hands of the Confederates.
On April 14, "Heckman's old brigade" embarked at Portsmouth and sailed up the Chuckatuck river, landing on the following day at Cherry Grove, the enemy being met near that point and engaged by several companies of the 9th, with a loss of a number of men wounded.
The regiment participated in the unequal contest at Port Walthall Junction, Va., and after continuing the engagement for about two hours retired, but on the following day the contest was renewed and the regiment lost in these two days of fighting 53 men in killed and wounded. The next day being Sunday, the regiment remained in camp, but on Monday morning both corps of Butler's command moved southward to Swift creek, 3 miles from Petersburg — Heckman's brigade having the advance. The loss of the 9th in the ensuing engagement was 1 man killed and 9 wounded.
On the following day Heckman's brigade was not engaged, but on the 12th the whole army again advanced, encountering the enemy on the Richmond & Petersburg railroad. It being rumored that the Confederates were evacuating Fort Darling at Drewry's bluff, Gen. Heckman despatched Capt. Samuel Hufty with 100 men of the 9th to reconnoiter the enemy's position, which duty was satisfactorily performed, the party returning before daylight of the 14th with a report that the enemy still occupied the fort, their lines being established as during the previous day. Then followed the battle of Drewry's bluff, in which the 9th lost heavily, over 50 per cent. of those engaged. At the commencement of the engagement the regiment had 19 officers, 13 of whom were either killed or wounded, and 3 were taken prisoners. From first to last the men fought with characteristic gallantry.
Reaching the scene of action at Cold Harbor on June 3, the 9th was ordered to the front line and almost immediately became engaged. Grant having determined to pass the Chickahominy far to Lee's right, Gen. Smith's corps gradually withdrew from its position — the 9th covering the withdrawal — and marched directly to White House, where it embarked for Bermuda Hundred. The total loss of the 9th during the operations at Cold Harbor, from June 3 to 12, was 5 killed and 30 wounded.
On the morning of June 16 the brigade moved out from its breastworks, charged and entered the Confederate fortifications, which it held during the day, the 9th participating in several skirmishes, and on retiring burned all the buildings which had been used by Beauregard as headquarters and for other purposes. On June 21 the 9th crossed the Appomattox and took possession of the rifle-pits beyond the
City Point & Petersburg railroad, where on the day following it assisted in repelling a charge of the enemy, losing 1 man killed. It remained in the works some days longer, participating in several sharp conflicts brought on by the enemy, who was in all cases repulsed. There in the front line the regiment remained, with brief intervals of relief in the second line, until July 29, losing several men, but not having any pitched engagement.
On the [July] 29th marching orders were received and the command proceeded to a new position to act as a reserve to the 9th corps in front of which the "Burnside Mine" was exploded on the 30th. A day or two afterward it returned to its position and again went into its intrenchments, remaining for a fortnight exposed to a steady fire from the enemy.
On Aug. 16, Maj. Hufty was wounded in the left arm, and the staff of the regimental state colors was cut down by Confederate sharpshooters — nine bullets passing through the colors.
On Oct. 21, 108 men of the 9th, whose term of service had expired, left the camp for Trenton, where they were mustered out. The regiment having been transferred to North Carolina, on Dec. 9, with detachments of several other regiments and 2 pieces of artillery, advanced from Plymouth in the direction of Gardner's bridge, where the enemy's cavalry was met in some force. The 9th, with the gallant Stewart at its head, charged on a double-quick, speedily dispersing the Confederates, who left several of their wounded behind. The following day a fierce engagement lasting over an hour took place at Foster's bridge, when the enemy again withdrew, destroying the bridge as he retired. In this affair the 9th had 2 men wounded, but took a number of prisoners, including a lieutenant, who took the oath and followed the column for several days.
The regiment also took a prominent part in the engagement at Butler's bridge on the day following. Advancing on the line of the railroad leading to Goldsboro, the command on March 7, 1865, reached a point 5 miles east of Southwest creek, where the enemy was encountered in strong force, and a sharp skirmish ensued, the 9th being engaged during the entire day. That night the regiment fell back half a mile, joining the line of battle, where it remained during the following day behind hastily constructed breastworks.
In the night fighting was renewed, the enemy, late in the afternoon, making seven distinct charges on the Union left, resting on Wise's Forks, but was each time repulsed. The 9th on this day was ubiquitous, moving rapidly from one point to another — at one time repulsing a charge on the left, at another returning on the double-quick to the center, charging the foe — being ever in the thickest of the conflict and always at the very front. The following day a force of eleven brigades charged in solid column several times in succession, but their desperate assaults were fruitless, the Federal line standing as immovable as a wall of granite. The loss of the regiment amounted to 1 officer and 9 men wounded.
At Goldsboro the enemy had a force of 1,500 cavalry and 225 infantry. Brisk skirmishing was commenced, but the Confederates were steadily driven, the 9th pushing forward with resistless velocity in its eager desire to enter the city, and its was the first Federal flag raised over Goldsboro.
The war soon closed and the regiment was mustered out of service at Greensboro, N. C., July 12, 1865. The total strength of the regiment was 2,701, and it lost, by resignation 36, by discharge 352, by promotion 48, by transfer 537, by death 254, by desertion 167, by dismissal 1, not accounted for 36, mustered out, 1,270.