Duryea honors the 5th New York
in a Memorial Day tribute that recalls
Day three of
the Battle of Second Manassas (Bull Run)
August 28, 1862, General Robert E. Lee's Confederate Army
of Northern Virginia clashed with Major General John
Pope's Union Army of Virginia on the plains of Manassas,
resulting in a three-day fight called the Battle of
Second Manassas (Bull Run). On the first day, Union
General John Gibbon's "Black Hats" (later to be
known as the Iron Brigade) experienced their baptism of
fire at Groveton, losing one third of their men, in what
would end as a draw. Day two of the battle found General
Philip Kearny's division pressing deeply into the lines
of General Maxcy Gregg's South Carolinians then
retreating, for lack of reinforcements. On the final day,
a thin line of Federal troops, unable to withstand the
blow by General James Longstreet's men, collapsed in
bloody defeat. As a result of this battleone of the
greatest victories for the ConfederacyGeneral Lee
would cross the Potomac and advance his army north for
the first time, thus opening the Maryland Campaign.
On the afternoon of August 30, the third day of the
Second Battle of Manassas, General Longstreet launched a
massive attack on General Pope's weakened left flank.
Among the few Union troops to meet the onslaught of John
Bell Hood's famed "Texas Brigade" (commanded by
Jerome Robertson, and comprised of the 1st, 4th, and 5th
Texas, 18th Georgia, and Hampton's Legion of South
Carolina) were two Zouave regiments: Gouverneur Warren's
5th and 10th New York, respectively known as Duryée's
and National Zouaves. The former was fully attired in
Zouave regalia, the latter was clad in partial Zouave
dress as they had not yet received their new uniforms.
Texas Brigade struck the skirmish line of the 10th New
York with relentless force and swept around both flanks
of the 5th New York, raking the Zouaves in a deadly
crossfire. In less than 10 minutes, 85 lives of
approximately 525 men of the 5th New York were lost, and
subsequent to the battle, 34 additional lives of wounded
men were lostthe greatest fatality of any Federal
Infantry Regiment, excluding Heavy Artillery units.
Hiram Duryea, former commander of the 5th New York, would
later comment on that fateful day in a Memorial Day
tribute at Manassas in 1907, on land he had purchased for
the erection of a monument to his beloved Zouaves.
Showing reverence for his brave men, Brevet Brigadier
General Duryea remarked that at Second Manassas:
"Our comrades were dear to us; we were mutually
bound by ties of love, wrought in the arduous toils,
deprivations and hazards of war, and by our mutual
baptism of fire and strife of battle. We know them as we
can never know other men, for they were tried before us
in all the great qualities which challenge the admiration
and commendation of men and brings one nearer to God, in
a self-devotion to righteous duty. We stand on holy
ground! for this field was the altar of God. The Master
said, 'Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay
down his life for his friends.' Here, our comrades laid
down their lives for love of country, for human right,
for the love and service of man. We sorrow at their loss,
but we rejoice at their glorious death and achievements.
God grant that the fruits of their sacrifice be preserved
to our country, that fraternity may be its spirit; that
moderation and justice may animate our people and guide
those chosen to administer the laws and govern the
welfare of the Nation. Here our comrades were immolated
and we have come to set this land apart forever to their
memory, conscious as we are that their heroism and
sacrifice can never perish from the memory of man, and
the history of our country; conscious as we are that
their heroic deeds and glorious death wrought a more
enduring monument to their fame and glory than any words
or acts of ours, yet it is fitting, and our duty to be
here, to have possessed ourselves of legal right to this
land, and to proclaim its devotion to the honor of our
to Duryée's Zouaves, dedicated at Manassas in 1906,
stands between two streams, Young's Branch and Dogan
Branch, near the 10th New York Infantry
and the monument
to the 14th Brooklyn (84th New Yorkanother
colorfully uniformed regiment that donned red and blue
uniforms styled after the attire of the French Chasseurs).
For more information about the 5th New York, please visit
the Web site for Co.
A, 5th New York Volunteer Infantry, "Duryée's
at the top of this page: "Warren's Brigade
Overpowered by Longstreet's Advance," by Alfred R.
Waud. The 5th New York (Duryée's Zouaves) are depicted
in this sketch of the Battle of Second Manassas on August
30, 1862. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress.
Illustration of 5th New York infantryman by DLO.
Special thanks to Brian Pohanka for the quotation by
Hiram Duryea, and for his significant contributions
toand assistance withthis article.
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