• Miles of uncrowded white sandy beaches extend to the horizon, separating the clear blue ocean and undulating grass-covered dunes.

    Fire Island

    National Seashore New York

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  • Pet Restrictions in Effect March 15 through Labor Day

    Dogs/other pets (except for service animals) are not allowed in the wilderness or on any of Fire Island's federally owned oceanfront beaches from March 15 through Labor Day to help protect threatened and endangered beach-nesting shorebirds. More »

  • Backcountry Camping Permit and Access Procedures

    Reservations for required permits must be obtained through www.recreation.gov. Due to the breach at Old Inlet, access to both east and west wilderness camping zones must now be from Watch Hill or points west, and involve a 1½ to 8 mile hike. More »

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    Due to channel conditions, delay or cancellation of ferry service between Patchogue and Watch Hill may occur. For updated ferry schedule information, please call 631-475-1665.

Fire Island During the Civil War

John G Floyd Jr in Civil War uniform about 1863.

John Gelston Floyd, Jr. in September 1862, shortly after Floyd had enlisted at New Dorp, Staten Island, New York. 

John Gelston Floyd, Jr. (May 10, 1841 - Nov. 27, 1903)
On April 12, 1861, the opening shots on Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina changed the world and lives of almost everyone. For the next four years, the bloodiest war in United States history was fought. In September of 1862, the war reached the William Floyd Estate. At that time the Old Mastic House was the home of William Floyd's great-grandson, John Gelston Floyd, Sr., and his wife Sarah. Their fourth child, John G. Floyd, Jr., enlisted and joined the Union army at Staten Island along with 27 other Long Island men, some from the Town of Brookhaven that John himself had recruited.

John G. Floyd, Jr. served as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 145th New York Volunteer Regiment, Company G, which was organized at Staten Island, New York, and mustered in September 11, 1862.

 

After a period of outfitting and training, the 145th New York Regiment was prepared to deploy into battle. (See more 145th Regiment details.)

John G. Floyd, Jr. wrote home to his mother:

Frederick, Maryland
Oct. 1, 1862

Dear Mother

We have arrived here at last- all right. The regiment left Staten Island on Saturday. We went through Philadelphia that night and reached Baltimore on Tuesday, Washington Sunday night and stayed there until Monday night. We marched up to see Stantons departure and were received by the president in person, a rare honor. President Lincoln has a ... look, rather care worn.

By November, Floyd had news to share from West Virginia.

Harpers Ferry
Nov. 19, 1862

Dear Mother

I write to you reposing on a real frame bedstand with bed clothes & sheets, or at least one sheet on it, & if you would know the reason for this ... luxury, it is that I have been detailed by the Major General Slocum, to the hazardous and responsible duty of commanding a party of carpenters at work on the hospital at Harpers Ferry...

In March 1863, John was detailed into Battery F of the 4th U. S. Artillery, where his commanding officer, Captain Franklin B. Cosby, was also his 2nd cousin.

You can follow the experiences of John G. Floyd, Jr. during these troubling times through his correspondence with family back home at Old Mastic. Check back as additional letters are posted throughout the year in 2013:

June 4th, 1863

Dear Mother

I did not forget last night that Sade was being married and I ate the cake you gave me, with my comrades, ....

This morning an order came to have the Battery hitched up at day break and remain in readiness to move, and also to have three days rations issued to the new; we can not tell the meaning of these new orders, but they show that there is a possibility of moving soon; ....

Fairfax
June 15th (1863)

Dear Mother,

We have just arrived here after a tiresome march from our last camp which we left on Saturday afternoon the 13th. after starting we were twenty four hours in the saddle, without sleep or much to eat, to night we will have a good sleep probably. Much of the army is here and it is reported that the whole army is coming now.

Near Anderson Tenn.
November 8 (1863)

On January 6, 1864 Floyd was mustered out with an honorable discharge from the service, thus ending his military career.

 
145th Regiment, New York Infantry
  • September 11, 1862 - Organized at Staten Island, New York; mustered in
  • September 27, 1862 - Left for Washington, D. C., and Harper's Ferry, West Virginia
  • through October 1862 - Attached to 2nd Brigade, 1st Division, 12th Army Corps, Army of the Potomac
  • October 1862 to May 1863 - Attached to 2nd Brigade, 2nd Division, 12th Army Corps, Army of the Potomac
    • Duty at Bolivar Heights, Md., until December, 1862
    • Expedition to Winchester and skirmishes at Charlestown and Berryville, December 2-6
    • March to Fairfax Station, Va., December 10-14; duty there until January 19, 1863
    • Burnside's 2nd Campaign, "Mud March," January 20-24
      • In March 1863, John G. Floyd was detailed into Battery F, 4th U. S. Artillery

 
A Fire Island Connection
During the raid of the CSS Tallahasse in August 1864, a pleasure boat from Fire Island's Surf Hotel took on passengers from a schooner that had escaped destruction. Learn more.
 
NPS website: The Civil War

Learn More about the Civil War sites and stories preserved and interpreted in the National Park Service.

Did You Know?

Redwing blackbird

Located on the Atlantic migratory flyway, Fire Island National Seashore is recognized as a globally important bird area. More...