"He became not a man but a member. He felt that something of which he was a part -a regiment, an army, a cause, or a country -was in a crisis. He was welded into a common personality which was dominated by a single desire."

-Red Badge of Courage


The 105th NY Regiment was mustered in from November 1861 to March 1862 in Rochester, NY. The Regiment was under the command of Colonel James M. Fuller and was placed under the command of theVirginia Army in 1862 (do not confuse with the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia). 


The year 1862 was an intense time for the Army of Virginia. The Army of Virginia was involved in three campaigns, first Jackson's Valley Campaign, then the Northern Virginia Campaign, and finally the Maryland Campaign. During this time the 105th along with other NY regiments engaged in battles such as Cedar Mountain, Second Bull Run, Antietam, and Fredericksburg. During this time the 105th will suffer heavy casualties, which would eventually lead to the combination of the NY 105th and the NY 94th regiments, forming one regiment under the 94thIn the same year the Army of Virginia would merge with the Army of the Potomac for the rest of the war.  
1863 In the year of 1863 the 94th Regiment would be involved in the Chancellorsville Campaign, the Battle of Gettysburg, and two more minor campaigns in Northern Virginia. Throughout the year and the war, the 94th Regiment was reorganized again and again within the Army of the Potomac.   
1864 In 1864, the Army of the Potomac, now under the command of Ulysses S. Grant pushed into the interior of Virginia during Grant's Overland Campaign. The 94th was involved in crucial battles such as the Battle of Cold Harbor, Battle of Globe Tavern and Battle of Hatcher's Run which slowly and surely led to the fall of Petersburg, Virginia.
Prisoner of War At the skirmish of Weldon Road, during the Battle of Cold Harbor, 165 men of the 94th Regiment was captued by the enemy, including Corporal Adrian Fay. Fay does not write letters from the prison camps, but the letters after his internment reflect on his experience. Fay's family recieved letters from Colonel Adrian Root the commander of the regiement and Chaplain Cook informing the family of Fay's capture.

In 1865, with Robert E. Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia on their last legs, Grant relentlessly pursues Lee. Grant began the Appomattox Campaign and the 94th was in the heat of the fighting. The 94th was involved in the Battle of Five Forks that cut off Lee's supply line. The Regiment was involved in another skirmishes such as Sailor's Creek. NY 94th Regiment finally engaged in their last battle of the war, the Battle of Appomattox Courthouse, which would eventually lead to the surrender of General Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia. 

NY 94th Regiment was mustered out on July, 18, 1865 near Ball's Cross Roads, VA. During its service the regiment lost 116 killed and mortally wounded, 352 wounded, 103 who died of disease or from exposure, and 449 missing or captured; a total of 1,020 men. Its last act was to contribute a liberal sum of money towards the erection of a monument to the memory of the late commander of the First Corps, Maj. Gen. John F. Reynolds. At the close there were present 336 officers and men. 

Miscellaneous Letters These letters contain information throughout the war written by Adrian Fay. However, we do not know the exact date it was written or the exact place where it was written from. Mr. Phil Palen, who donated the collection, had made educated guess on where and when the letters were written. There are nine miscellaneous letters in the collection and all but two were written to Sarah (Flint) Fay.
Phil Palen

Phil Palen acquired the Adrian Fay letters in two separate purchases about 22 years ago.  Most came from a book dealer in Cattaraugus, NY and a dozen or so from a dealer in Westfield, NY.  Circumstantial evidence points to Adrian Fay's daughter, Hollis Burroughs, who lived in Dunkirk and died around 1959. The letters made their way to an antique shop in Maple Springs on Chautauqua Lake, then to Westfield and Cattaraugus.

About half the collection came from Patrick Gallagher in California, a great-grandson of Adrian.  Phil first made contact with him about 20 years ago while looking for Fay descendants in Great Valley.  Pat's maternal grandfather was Carl Fay, Adrian's youngest son.  Pat grew up in Ridgway, PA and is now in his early 80's.  The Xerox copies came from another great-grandchild, the late Hollis Harvey Reed from the western suburbs of Philadelphia.

Corporal Adrian Fay The Collection

Adrian Fay was born on May 19, 1840 in the town of Little Valley, New York. His parents were Alexander and Electa (Clement) Fay and was the eldest of four children. Adrain married Sarah Flint on April 12, 1865 and had five children. Adrian Fay and his family moved to Bradford, Pennsylvania in 1890 and lived there until his death on December 28, 1915. Adrian Fay is buried, next to his wife, at Willoughby Cemetery in Great Valley, NY.

Adrian Fay enlisted on January 3, 1862 with the 105th Regiment in Rochester, NY (eventually he was transferred into the 94th NY Regiment). He served throughout the war, re-enlisted, was wounded twice and was captured in 1864 and was placed in several P.O.W. camps in the south before being paroled March 3, 1865 in Wilmington, North Carolina. Fay was transported back to the Washinton D.C. area and was mustered out on June 12, 1865. During his time served, Fay was in the thick of the fighting at the Battle of Cedar Mountain, Second Bull Run, Antietam, Cold Harbor and many other skirmishes. During his time as a prisoner of war he was initially sent to the infamous camp in Andersonville, Georgia. However, he was eventually transferred to other prison camps in the Confederacy. After Fay's internment, he did not rejoin his regiment, which was now participating in the Appomattox Campaign. The end of the war was near and Fay received furlough and went home to marry his wife Sarah Flint and returned to the Washington D.C. area and waited out the rest of the war.

The Adrian Fay Civil War Collecetion includes 175 war time letters that contain Adrian's first hand experience of battles such as Antietam and Cold Harbor, his experiences in hospitals, and his experiences of being a prisoner of war. The collection also includes letters from Adrian's family and future wife Sarah (Flint) Fay. In the collection includes diary extracts from Sarah Fay, pictures of Adrian and his family, and other information relating to Adrian.

Eventually, transripts will be added to the collection. Overall the letters are in moderate condition, but 150 years can take a toll.


New York State Military Museum:

https://dmna.ny.gov/historic/reghist/civil/infantry/94thInf/94thInfMain.htm & https://dmna.ny.gov/historic/reghist/civil/infantry/105thInf/105thInfMain.htm

Historical Data Systems Inc:


Return to SBU Civil War Collections home page

Return to SBU Archives guide page