Spectacular Archive of Robert P. York, 114th New York, Wounded at Third Winchester: Inventory Number: GRO 035
Exceptional and large grouping of personal effects, documents, and photographs from Robert P. York of DeRuyter, New York. York enlisted and was commissioned Captain of Company H. 114th New York Infantry on August 14, 1862. He saw action at Port Hudson, Sabine Crossroads, and Pleasant Hill, before the regiment was transferred to the Shenandoah Valley. He was wounded at the Third Battle of Winchester, where the 114th lost 188 killed and wounded out of fewer than 350 men. On December 31, 1864 he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel of the 75th New York Infantry and served as the District Provost Marshal of occupied Savannah. He mustered out on August 31, 1865 as Colonel.
One of the highlights of the archive is the paper collar worn by York when he was wounded at Third Winchester. It measures 16” and shows clear blood staining from his wound. The collar was originally housed in an old paper envelope that is included in the grouping, with the inscription “Collar Col. Robert R. York wore when he was wounded Oct 19 1863 at Cedar Creek.” The inscription is likely from a family member that mistook the date and place of his wounding.
York’s homemade sewing kit or “housewife” is made from red Moroccan leather with an interior of iridescent purple/green and plaid silk. The housewife contained the old note that is included. “This was made for Robert P. York when he went to war in 1862 by his wife. The lining was her wedding dress.” It measures 11” with 6” cotton ties.
The pair of officer’s pattern brass spurs is complete with leather straps and buckles and is likely the set he wore after his promotion to Lieutenant Colonel of the 75th New York.
York’s custom engraved trunk plate is constructed of a shield shaped piece of wood faced with silver and engraved “York.” It was fastened to an officer’s trunk with a bolt that screwed into the back, which is still included. The shield is 6” by 3.”
York’s percussion cap box is in good condition with some crazing and a partially visible New York manufacturers marking and contained several percussion caps and a brass hat letter “H,” which are now displayed separately in a Riker case.
A separate Riker case contains York’s captain shoulder straps, which are woven with alternating dead and bright bullion over a dark blue velvet background. The backings are a waxed black paper. The single colonel’s shoulder strap is in wonderful condition with a rich, blue velvet background and unfinished backing, and would have been worn by York at the end of the war with the 75th New York.
The grouping comes with a large collection of hard images, CDVs, and albumen prints. A very scarce full plate tintype measuring 8 ¼” by 6 ¼” shows Robert York and a dozen family and friends sitting for a group portrait. It comes housed in a wooded Victorian era frame. Other photographs in the collection include portraits of York with his wife, a tintype of two older relatives (possibly his parents), and another wonderful quarter plate tintype of a group of 8 youthful friends or relatives. An 1869 dated CDV album contains 20 images with inscriptions on each page. There is a large oval albumen photograph of York in his double-breasted colonel’s uniform, mounted in a period oval frame measuring 12 ½” by 14 1/2.”
Four exceptional outdoor CDVs document Robert York’s service in Savannah, Georgia with the 75th New York. The first shows a group of 75th officers seated around a military hut with a sentry patrolling in the foreground. York numbered each soldier at the bottom and identified each man on the reverse. The second CDV shows the camp of the 75th New York, with soldiers mulling about in the foreground and a company of armed soldiers on parade in the background. The next image depicts the customs house and the Central Railroad Bank, which are both labeled by York. The final CDV shows a building flying the US Flag, with soldiers and civilians posing along the sidewalk and looking out the windows. The bottom of the image has the inscription “office of Lt. Col. R. P. York Savannah Geo.” All CDVs have the backmark “J.T. Reading & Co. Photographers, Cor. St. Julien & Whitaker Sts., Savannah, Georgia.”
Robert York’s heavily used bible is bound in brown leather with the front cover separated. The front page has an old ink inscription “Robert P. York carried this book 3 ½ years during the Civil War.” The leather wallet used by York is supple and embossed with a floral and eagle pattern. It opens to reveal two pockets and measures 7” by 3 ¾” when folded.
The archive includes an extensive collection of nearly 400 documents related to York, including family letters and assorted ephemera from the 1860s to the early 20th century. One notable piece is a letter to Yancey B. Washburn of the 28th Louisiana from his wife, captured by York near Brashear City, Louisiana in April 1863. Many items relate to York’s future dry goods business. There is also a binder with a collection of letters from Charles York, Robert’s younger brother that enlisted in the 114th New York at age 16.
This is a fantastic and extensive archive from an accomplished Civil War officer.
Robert P. York
Residence was not listed; 26 years old.
Enlisted on 8/14/1862 at DeRuyter, NY as a Captain.
On 8/14/1862 he was commissioned into "H" Co. NY 114th Infantry
He was discharged for promotion on 12/31/1864
On 12/31/1864 he was commissioned into Field & Staff NY 75th Infantry
He was Mustered Out on 8/31/1865 at Savannah, GA
He was listed as:
* Wounded 9/19/1864 Winchester, VA
* Lt Colonel 12/31/1864 (As of 75th NY Infantry)
* Colonel 10/31/1865 (Not Mustered)
Intra Regimental Company Transfers:
* 12/31/1864 from company H to Field & Staff
Inventory Number: GRO 035