Private Alfred Ralph, Company C.


Originally from Malling, England, Ralph, his parents and six brothers and sisters sailed on the sloop Adison on July 3, 1831 and arrived in New York on September 3rd that same year. Ralph was seven at the time. The 1850 City Directory showed the entire family still living together in New York and that Ralph was a carman (a carman at this time was a delivery person usually working for a freight service or department store). According to the 1860 census, Ralph had married Mary E. Rogers in 1857. With Lincoln’s call to arms, Alfred enlisted with Company C of the 62nd in New York at the age of 37 as a Private on May 1, 1861. He was promoted to Corporal and then was returned to the ranks in September of 1862. He participated in all the battles that the 62nd was assigned, but on July 3, 1863 he was killed plugging the gap at Gettysburg.

He would later be laid to rest along with all the other New York troops who died there. When it was decided to make a portion of the battlefield a National Cemetery, the various governors of the Northern States requested that their dead be buried in individual areas of the Cemetery, reflecting the sacrifice made by each state.

Excerpt from US based Anderson Zouaves researcher Joe Basso’s article about Pvt. Ralph.

Find Joe’s complete article at:

Click to access 1205zo.pdf

Photo note: This photo found by a research colleague on eBay. At the time of writing it was up for auction with a bidding price of $US199.

Find the photo at eBay:

Click to access 1205zo.pdf

Poor Old Virginia (May 11, 1862)

unioneagleIn Camp 25 miles from Williamsburg on the Road to Richmond. May 11th 1862. 

Dear Ma, your kind and allways welcome letter of the 6th was received by me last night and I having time I take this opportunity of answering it. I am rejoyced to hear that you are regaining your health and hope by the time you receive this you will be intirely restored to good health. I wrote a letter to John write after the Battle of the 5th at Williamsburg in which our Regiment bore a very active part and although we were in the thickest of the Fight we came out of it with the loss of 3 killed and 5 wounded. Dear Ma it is nothing to go into battle but after the battle it is orfull to look around and see so many dead lying in all shapes ho a few hours before was full of life and as active as I am but such is War. I passed over the Battle field on the morning of the 6th. I volunteered to go and look up the dead and wounded if thear was eny and such a site me my eyes I hope and pray I may never see again. We wiped the Enemy but we had know cowardly fose to deal with and many a man was made to bite the dust before they gave way it was night when we silenced thear fire but we had no idea we had wiped them and we made big calculations to go into it early next morning but when morning came the Enemy had retreated leaving thear dead & wounded on the field we captured a quite a number of priserners ho was unable to git a way. I saw about 350 of them they are dressed in all kind of Clothing and all of them says they calculate to be murdered before they reach thear desternation. I saw a Capt. Lee* of the 5th North Carolina Regiment he says all he has left out of 89 men is 5 and they are wounded with himself Our Regiment cutting them down like Grass. The fight took place two miles from Williamsburg the Enemy having strong fortification there which they had to abandon. Williamsburg is quite a place containing I suppose about 5 to 6 thousand people the Enemy tried hard to burn it but they was followed so close they had no chance they left the Town full of wounded and dead the Dead was berried by our men and the wounded will be taking care of. we are about 25 miles apast Williamsburg and only 35 miles from Richmond the Southern army is so broke up I hardly think they will make much of a stand. Although it is hard to tell what they calculate to do this thing I do know that those that was in the fight of the 5th is compleatly demoralized and will take a long time to make them fight again and by all accounts General McClellan will not give them time to recrute thear army as he has said he would push them to the wall and eather make them fight or serrender but inuff you nead not feal uneasey about one for so far I am well and in good spearits. You say you have heard that the Union Army is but half fed such is not the case as far as we are consurned tis true sometimes we haff to go hungry but it is seldom the case as for our Clothing they are good and if we had more we would have to through them away So dear Ma you need not wory your self about me in regards to Clothing or what kind of fare I have but yet I thank you a thousand times for offering to give  me whatever I want. I wish this war was over for thear has been blud enuff shed and homes enuff left desertate Oh dear Ma iff you could only see the Country I have traveled over in poor old Virginia see the houses burned the land with no one left to till it it is all most to hard to think of but such is Scecesion and I believe Scecesion means deserlation & distruction. We are encamped on a Union mans farm he left every thing behind him and went and joyned our army I suppose the Rebels has confiscated his property but now he has got it back again and I do not believe all the Rebels in the Seceeding States can rench it from us. thear is no backwood movements know and if nothing happens to us we will be in Richmond before next week thear is a Rumer that Norfolk is in our possession but I do not poot much relience in the Report as New Papers is very scarce we can tell very little what is going on. We have not got our money yet and I do not believe we will git it in some time I will then give you some mony not to keep for me but you can youse it for yourself As for the mony that John has got of mine I suppose he has spend it  and that is the last of it. So  I will not say eny thing about it untill I return I will say more about this in my next. Give my love to Pa Edmund Ann Louisa Henry & Clarra not forgetting to retain a share for yourself tell Anna Louisa I thank her for her letter and them papers in them. I will try and answer as soon as I can do so. I hope this will find you all well I will close


Wm Allcot

P.S. thanks for the stamps

Write soon as you git this 

Papers, 1861-1864. Earl Gregg Swem Library, College of William and Mary

Letters of William Peck Allcot, Company “D”, Anderson Zouaves.

J Teirney notes: * John Willis Lea was the captain of Company “I” of the 5th North Carolina Regiment. He resided in Caswell County NC at the time he enlisted at the age of 23. Lea enlisted on May 16, 1861 at Caswell County, NC as a Captain. He received his commission the same day. The 5th NC were engaged with Hancock on the extreme left of the Confederate line and yet it appears that Captain Lea was actually captured by members of the 62nd NY. A similar conversation with Lea is recorded by the Anderson Zouaves regimental chaplain, John Harvey, in his letter of May 7, 1862. Despite his capture, Lea was paroled and went on to eventually become the Colonel of the 5th North Carolina.

Contributed by J. Tierney

Col. J. L. Riker’s Grandchildren in Uniform World War 1

The tradition of service is reflected in these photographs, courtesy of Col. Riker’s great-granddaughter, Patty Hoenigman.

Patty comments;

“The first is Elizabeth Crump Enders in her American Red Cross uniform during WWI. The second is Sam Crump (her younger brother) in his WWI uniform.”

Sam would make the ultimate sacrifice, killed in action on the Western Front.


I Dropped a Bitter Tear (May 8, 1862)

unioneagleExtract from the Letter of Adjutant Titus. HEADQUARTERS PECK’S BRIGADE. Battlefield near Williamsburgh. Va., May 8th. 

During the battle, the General and all his staff were much exposed on their horses, back and forward along the lines, in full view. At one time I found myself the mark of a sharpshooter. Lieut.-Col. Nevin, of the 62d N. Y. V., had just come up, and had a rifle in his hand. He handed it to me, and I fired. In the morning I went to the spot; he had waked up the wrong man; but he sleeps the last sleep. I confess I dropped a bitter tear over the poor fellow, and rode over the field to conduct our brigade up to the Fort.

Letters of Silas Titus, Brigade Quartermaster at Tennallytown and Adjutant of Peck’s Brigade Staff on the Peninsula.

Contributed by J. Tierney

Drawing of James Riker Jr. (1822-1889)

jamesr_1This photo is a drawing of James Riker Jr. (1822-1889), the older brother of John Lafayette Riker (1825-1862).  I wish I could recall exactly where I got it; possibly the New York Historical Society. As I recall, they told me it had been drawn posthumously.

James Riker is well known as the author of several genealogy books including The Annals of Newtown, a book about the earliest families of New York. He dedicated The Annals of Newtown to his brother. It reads:

To John L. Riker, Esq., Counsellor at Law, esteemed by his fellow-citizens for professional and private worth, exhibited through many years of an unblemished life;     This Volume is, with the author’s compliments, respectfully inscribed.

The Annals of Newtown was published in 1852 when James was just 30 years old. It is accepted as an authoritative source of genealogy information by the Daughters of the American Revolution.”

Submitted by Patty Hoenigman (Great-great granddaughter of John L. Riker)


Anna Crump (Riker) & Her Children c. 1891

crump family 1892 helen far left elizabeth far right

“This photograph is one of my favorites, showing Col. Riker’s daughter, Anna Crump (Riker) with her children. These just happen to be all the children who would wind up growing up to be adults. She had a total of 15 children, but the others all died as children of such dread diseases as diphtheria and scarlet fever. My grandmother is sitting on Anna’s lap, she is the baby in the photo. She was Julia Elder Crump (Darling) who was born in 1890. The oldest son is standing. He’s George Riker Crump, born in 1870. Standing next to him is Adah. Anna’s husband, Sam Crump, was in Japan when this photo was taken, about 1891. There is a photo of him sitting on the table next to where Elizabeth is sitting. On the far left standing next to mother is Helen. Sam Jr. is in the middle, wearing a dress which was typical of the times for children that age; he’s holding Elizabeth’s hand. Sam wound up going to France to serve in the Army in WWI; he was killed defending the Hindenberg line. This photograph was undoubtedly taken in a setting at a photographer’s studio, which was done during Victorian times.”

Submitted by Patty Hoenigman (Great-great granddaughter of John L. Riker)





Anna Crump (Riker) & Alan G. Darling Jnr. (1917)


“This photo is of Anna holding my father, Alan G. Darling Jr. He was born Sept 1, 1916, and looks to be about a year old, so this may have been taken in 1917, about the same time as the other photo (see post “Anna Crump Riker and Sam Crump Jnr” – Ed.). I’ve never been able to find out where the picture of her with Sam was taken, though I’ve asked people at various historical societies in New York and New Jersey. One of those questions I don’t have an answer to yet! My father was born in Duluth, Minnesota, so I guess it’s possible that Sam (Sam Crump Snr. – Ed.) and Anna went to visit their daughter Julia, Dad’s mother, in Minnesota and these pictures were taken during that trip. Just a wild guess, but there may be some foundation to it.”

Submitted by Patty Hoenigman (Great-great granddaughter of John L. Riker)


George Elder


“The man in the oval picture is George Elder… after John Lafayette Riker died, his other brother, Charles Bodle Riker, took in John’s daughter, Anna E. Riker. (Anna is my great grandmother.) It was her grandparents who were George and Hannah Elder, of Stamford, Connecticut. They also played a part in looking after Anna. When she married Samuel Crump, it was the Elders who issued the invitation to the wedding, which was in Stamford…not to be confused with Stanford. Stamford is very close to NYC.”

Submitted by Patty Hoenigman (Great-great granddaughter of John L. Riker)