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Original Civil War sergeant's warrant made our for Menagh Van Lieu, Company C, 126th New York and signed by the regiment's acting Adjutant and Lt. Col. Bull, who commanded the regiment after the death of Col. Sherrill at Gettysburg. The 126th New York was one of the regiments who were captured at the surrender of Harpers Ferry and after exchange returned to the Army of the Potomac and redeemed themselves on many battlefields. Van Lieu, sometimes spelled Menaugh and Van Lew in the records, was from Lodi, NY, and enlisted at age 21 on 8/8/62 and mustered in a private in Co. C of the 126th NY on 8/22/62. He was captured with the rest of the regiment when it was surrendered as part of the garrison of Harpers Ferry and paroled. The regiment was sent to Chicago to await exchange and then returned to field service as part of the 3rd Brigade, 3rd Division, 2nd Army Corps. At Gettysburg they were involved in fighting on both the second and third day as part of Hays's Division of Hancock's Second Corps. On July 2 they took part in the charge that halted Barksdale's advance. In that fighting Willard, commanding the brigade was killed. Col. Sherrill of the 126th NY then took over the brigade, and Lt. Col. Bull took command of the regiment. On July 3, Sherrill was mortally wounded commanding the brigade in the repulse of Pickett's Charge in which the regiment was credited with the capture of three enemy flags. In the course of the battle they lost over half their men.

The reverse of their monument at Gettysburg lists their casualties as,

Number engaged, Killed, Wounded, Missing

Officers 30, 5, 9.
Enlisted men 425, 35, 172, 10.
Total engaged 455. Total losses, 231.
Van Lieu's promotion to sergeant is dated September 10, 1863 at Elk Run, Va. Signed by the regiment's acting Adjutant and by Lt. Col. James M. Bull, who took command at Gettysburg after Col. Sherrill was killed, it promotes Van Lieu not just to sergeant as of July 2, 1863, but specifically notes the promotion is, "Given for Gallant Conduct at the Battle at Gettysburg, Penn. 2nd, 3rd & 4th July 1863," the last day being noted because there was still skirmishing going on as Confederates masked their preparations for withdrawal.

Appointment to noncommissioned rank is made by the regimental commander and these warrants were given to sergeants and corporals as part of their official appointment. They are not uncommon documents, but it is exceedingly rare for one to be marked as awarded for gallantry in action, let alone for gallantry at Gettysburg. Van Lieu must have been very well thought of- he was subsequently discharged for promotion on 2/11/64 and given a commission as a lieutenant in the 2nd USCT Cavalry. Tragically, just one month after taking on that role, he was mortally wounded in a skirmish at Suffolk, Va. on 3/9/64 and died two days later. A newspaper reference in the Fall of 1863 also indicates he had been slightly wounded in the fighting at Auburn and Bristoe Station- I show a transcript from an on-line source.

The warrant is in very good shape, with no separations, just fold lines, minor stains and one small edge chip at top left center. It follows the usual preprinted format with personal details filled in by hand, along with the number and designation of the regiment filled in along the top.

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