The New York 126th Volunteer Regiment was one of many area regiments formed during the Civil War. Made up of recruits from Ontario, Seneca, and Yates Counties, the 126th ended its first confrontation as prisoners of war, but went on to distinguish itself in many engagements, including Gettysburg, the Wilderness, Spotssylvania, and Petersburg. The regiment's story will be the subject of a lecture at the Geneva Historical Society at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 21, by Dr. Wayne Mahood, author of the book Written in Blood: A History of the 126th New York Infantry in the Civil War. Admission to the lecture is free.
The 126th NY Volunteers' history was, as General Alex Hays wrote in his report on the battle of Gettysburg, “written in blood.” In 1862, less than a month after mustering in Geneva, the 126th was captured at the Battle of Harpers Ferry and sent to a prison camp, where, derided as the “Cowards of Harpers Ferry,” they remained for roughly two months. After their release, they proved themselves at Gettysburg, but paid a price, suffering a total of 231 casualties, including Geneva's Colonel Eliakim Sherrill. The men of the 26th attained greater recognition in October that year and throughout the brutal verland Campaign in 1864.
Wayne Mahood, who taught at SUNY-Geneseo from 1969-1994, received his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees at Hamilton College, the University of Illinois, and Syracuse University respectively. He taught in Illinois, chaired the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education at SUNY-Geneseo, and served as President of the Geneseo Central School Board and President of the New York State Council for the Social Studies. He has authored or co-authored six books and published more than fifty articles in various journals.
Funding for this program comes from the Samuel B. Williams Fund for Programs in the Humanities. Parking is available on the street and in the lot of Trinity Episcopal Church on South Main Street. For more information about this program, please call the Society at 315-789-5151.
The Geneva Historical Society Museum is located in the Prouty-Chew House at 543 South Main Street and is open Tuesday through Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Saturday 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Admission is free.
The Geneva Historical Society receives major funding from the New York State Council on the Arts, the Institute for Museum and Library Services, the New York Council for the Humanities and the Town and City of Geneva.