A 134th New York Gettysburg Veteran's Group
Outfitted with the M1842 Springfield musket and issued the distinctive New York State shell jacket, the 134th New York Volunteer Infantry was a well trained and well-equipped regiment when it went to war.
The men of the 134th marched from New York on the 25th of September 1862 attached to the Federal 11th Corps. In that long march was Private William B. Alverson. Born in 1832, he was 30 when he enlisted from Middleburgh, New York on August 5th of 1862 and served in "D" Company of the 134th.
Marching to Fredericksburg, they engaged at Chancellorsville, suffering minor losses of 8 wounded. But the future would hold more when the regiment was to be heavily engaged in the Battle of Gettysburg on the first day of combat. The second day would see the 134th New York embroiled in the defense of Cemetery Hill.
The 134th New York, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Allan H. Jackson and brigaded under General O.O. Howard's 11th Corps, arrived at Gettysburg on July 1st, 1863 with 488 men. By the end of day three, 42 had been killed, 151 were wounded and 59 missing.
Arriving on July 1st, the regiment was positioned on Cemetery Hill with the reserves as the battle was beginning to wage heavily to the north of town. When the Union line began to collapse in the afternoon of the 1st, the brigade was ordered north through Gettysburg to cover the retreat. With the Union line in a shambles, the 134th New York held the right flank and lost many killed and wounded under the assault by Confederate Brigades of Hoke’s and Hays’. The Yankee retreat halted and reformed on Cemetery Hill and they held the ground through the night of July 2nd and the following day's artillery barrage which signaled Pickett’s Charge.
The 134th served in several later engagements culminating in the Battle for Atlanta and Sherman's March to the Sea. The 134th fought in the battles of Resaca, Kennesaw Mountain, Pine Mountain, Golgotha, Kolb's Farm, Marietta, Chattahoochee River, Peachtree Creek and Atlanta. They finished their service participating in the campaign through the Carolina's, ending in the defeat of Confederate troops under General Johnson. Marching to Washington, the gallant 134th took part in the grand review before mustering out on 1865.
In 1893, on the 30th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, the State of New York aided surviving New York veterans to attend the dedication of the states' Monument at Gettysburg. It was an invitation was open to all New York State veterans, not just those who fought at Gettysburg. The veterans encamped on the battlefield from July 1-3. The New York State monument was dedicated on July 2nd. It is inscribed with the names of New Yorkers lost at Gettysburg and the names of Lieutenants Henry Palmer and Lucius Meade of the 134th Infantry are found there. The 134th would soon have its own marker in East Cemetery Hill. New York State commissioned the jeweler Tiffany to produce an estimated 11,000 Gettysburg Veterans' medals for those who attended. This Tiffany produced medal, over 3 inches in width, was struck in bronze with the top bar inscribed “Gettysburg/ 1863/ Veteran”. The medals obverse reads "Dedication of State Monuments at Gettysburg, July 1, 2, 3, 1893,” over the New York “Excelsior” emblem. The reverse depicts the monument and "1863/1893.” The award was issued with a red, white, and blue ribbon, which is often absent.
William Alverson survived the Civil War to attend the 1893 Reunion. He died in 1912, just short of the 1913 50th Gettysburg Reunion. He is buried in Prospect Hill Cemetery, Gloversville, NY.