Benjamin Willis’ Infantry


Civil War history is everywhere in Roslyn. The village’s most famous landmark, the Ellen E. Ward Clock Tower, is named for a family whose sons saw service in the four-year conflict. In addition, there are monuments to veterans who served in the war at the Roslyn Cemetery, while the village’s most famous resident, William Cullen Bryant played an important journalistic and political role in the years leading up to the war.

On Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 13 and 14, the New York Volunteer Historical Association hosts a Civil War Weekend at the Old Bethpage Village Restoration from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day.

Once again, Roslyn’s contribution to the war will be a highlight of the weekend. In fact,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

the event will be an interactive weekend focused on the lives of the Civil War era soldier. The weekend’s activities will encapsulate the entire Civil War in a camp environment and will do so by weaving the history of the Company H of the 119th New York Infantry, a volunteer corp organized and recruited by Roslyn native, Captain Benjamin A. Willis and its link to Long Island history.

Presentations will include several visiting stations including a quartermaster’s tent, the officers’ quarters, an early war Sibley tent and military drills. The quartermaster tent will focus on the uniforms and equipment of the soldiers. The officers’ quarters will focus on military strategy and tactics, while the Sibley tent will be used to illustrate early war camp life. There will also be a standard regulation Union Army camp, set in the year 1864 that will focus on daily life of the enlisted men of the Civil War. There will also be additional visiting stations illustrating the history of the War and the soldiers that fought it.

Willis organized Company H of the 119th New York Volunteer Infantry in the summer of 1862. It was comprised entirely of 100 Long Island men from communities in the Towns of Hempstead, North Hempstead and Oyster Bay. The infantry endured all the hardships and boredom of camp life and fought in the defense of Washington DC, and at the epic Battles of Chancellorsville, Gettysburg and Chattanooga through the fall of Atlanta. As part of General William Tecumseh Sherman’s Army, the men of Company H participated in the March to the Sea and the capture of Savannah, Ga. Battle worn, the men of the 119th New York were mustered out of service in June of 1865, two months after the Confederate surrender at Appomattox.

Old Bethpage Village Restoration provides a unique opportunity to step back in time and experience life in a recreated mid-19th-century American village set on more than 200 acres. The museum is open from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.  Entrance fees are $7 for children ages five to 12 (those under 5 are free), seniors and volunteer firefighters; and $10 for adults. It is located at 1303 Round Swamp Rd. in Old Bethpage. For more information regarding the village, call 516-572-8400.

Previous articleStudents Play Carnegie Hall
Next articleJodi Golden: Role Model Of The Year
Since 1877, Roslyn News has served the communities of Roslyn, Roslyn Harbor, Roslyn Heights, Roslyn Estates, Flower Hill, East Hills, Greenvale and Albertson with diligent coverage of local news and community events,


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here