The 176th New York Infantry was recruited in the fall of 1862 with the intent of forming a three years regiment. However, failing to get enough soldiers willing to serve three years, they opted to fill out the regiment with men who would sign on for 9 months. It was finally placed into service early in 1863 and was mustered out in November 1863. The regiment spent their term of enlistment in Louisiana where, in June, various detachments participated in skirmishes at Pattersonville, La Fourche crossing, Thibodeaux, Fort Buchanan, Bayou Boeuff and Brashier City. In the action at La Fourche crossing, the regiment was commanded by Maj. Morgan and behaved most gallantly; in the actions at Fort Buchanan, on the Atchafalaya, and at Brashear City, the regiment met with serious disaster, over 400 men being captured. This disaster was not due to lack of bravery on the part of the men. There was no one in command, but the men fought with all the bravery that could be expected. The loss of the regiment in the above actions amounted to 464 killed, wounded and captured or missing.
Given the number of Union soldiers captured and paroled by the Confederates at Brashear City, there were undoubtedly a considerable number of these “Parole of Honor” certificates that were issued but this is the only one that I have seen. It appears to have been folded and carried in the soldier’s wallet for quite some time. The soldier’s name was given as Private James Chambers of Co. C, 176th New York Volunteers—apparently illiterate as he signed it with his mark on 25 June 1863—two days after his capture. By signing the paper, the soldier was released from captivity but pledged not to fight against the Confederacy until “regularly and duly exchanged.” In the regimental roster, James is described:
CHAMBERS, JAMES H.—Age, 43 years. Enlisted, October 30, 1862, at Wallkill, to serve nine months; mustered in as private, One Hundred and Sixty-sixth Infantry, October 31, 1862; transferred to Co. C, this regiment, November 13, 1862; captured in action, June 23, 1863, at Brashear City, La.; paroled and returned to duty, August 17, 1863; mustered out with company, November 16, 1863, at New York City.
The Parole of Honor was attested by Capt. J. B. Whittington, 2nd Louisiana Cavalry—a regiment of mounted volunteers who served for the entire war west of the Mississippi River in the Trans-Mississippi Department. The regiment fought at Georgia Landing, Fort Bisland, Irish Bend, and Brashear City in 1863 and Henderson’s Hill and Mansfield in 1864. Afterward, the regiment fought in minor skirmishes before the Trans-Mississippi’s final surrender on 26 May 1865.