On a blustery Saturday among the quiet greenery of Washingtonville’s historic cemetery, two of Orange County’s infamous Revolutionary War personalities were remembered. One for a murderous deed, and the other for his service for his country. Meet Claudius Smith and Major Nathaniel Strong.
Mention the words “The Soldiers of the Civil War” in the Town of Montgomery and most will automatically think about the 124th NYS Volunteers, the “Orange Blossoms.” How many, I wonder will recollect the twenty-eight men from the Town of Montgomery who served the cause of the Union in the USCT?
According to “New York in the War of the Rebellion” colored men had been formed into military organizations under State designations as early as May 1862; but such recruitment was not officially commenced by the US War Department until May 1863. The regiments formed were designated the United States Colored Troops (USCT). It is estimated that 4,125 New York men of color served the Union and three regiments in particular, the 20th Infantry, the 26th Infantry and the 31st Infantry were considered the New York Regiments composed almost entirely of men from this state.