The Union Soldier Most of the Union Army was made up of young men. Soldiers generally ranged in age from 18 to 45, sometimes with musicians as young as 12. Some men in their fifties and sixties enlisted.
Almost half of the Union soldiers had been farmers before joining the Army, but others represented a wide variety of occupations. From the cities of the North they comprised laborers, engineers, mechanics, college students and professors. Their education and schooling was diverse. Soldiers with university education marched beside men who could neither read nor write. In general, however, most of the Union forces had had at least some schooling.
Perhaps a quarter of the Union Army was comprised of foreigners – men not born in America. The largest group was Germans, followed by Irish, Canadians, and English. Other nationalities represented in the army included Scandinavians, Swiss, French, Italians, Mexicans, and Poles. Often, regiments would be formed consisting entirely of men from one of these countries. Officers sometimes gave orders in several languages.
Why they Fought Patriotism inspired men on both sides. Pride in their state, a search for adventure, the pay and enlistment bounties brought men into the ranks. Union soldiers fought for the preservation of the Union and, later in the war, to abolish slavery.
Authenticity The 140th NY, Co. B strives to be as accurate as possible in their uniforms and accouterments, and in the field – in camp, on the march and in line of battle. Members learn through military drill and in the field how the soldier performed and was expected to act. We read and research, and share that knowledge with one another.
Education We strive to show some of the aspects of Union military life in the American Civil War by learning about and portraying, as well as we may, the lives of those men who answered their country's call. We work to educate the public through reenactments and Living History demonstrations throughout Western New York and the Northeast. Our goal is help others remember, that the Boys in Blue never be forgotten.
Let no vandalism of avarice or neglect, no ravages of time, testify to the present or to the coming generations, that we have forgotten, as a people, the cost of a free and undivided Republic. · John A. Logan, Commander in Chief, Grand Army of the Republic 1868-1871
140th NY VI
1335 Jefferson Road Box 92494 Rochester, NY 14692