The 85th New York State Legislature, consisting of the New York State Senate and the New York State Assembly, met from January 7 to April 23, 1862, during the fourth year of Edwin D. Morgan's governorship, in Albany.
Under the provisions of the New York Constitution of 1846, 32 Senators and 128 assemblymen were elected in single-seat districts; senators for a two-year term, assemblymen for a one-year term. The senatorial districts were made up of entire counties, except New York County (four districts) and Kings County (two districts). The Assembly districts were made up of entire towns, or city wards, forming a contiguous area, all within the same county.
At this time there were two major political parties: the Republican Party and the Democratic Party. The Democrats split over the civil war issue. The War Democrats nominated an "Independent People's" ticket which was almost completely endorsed by the Republicans, and became known as the Union ticket; the rump Democratic Party, favoring a compromise with the South and later known as Copperheads, nominated an opposing ticket. In New York City the Democrats were split into two factions: Tammany Hall and Mozart Hall.
The New York state election, 1861 was held on November 5. Of the nine statewide elective offices up for election, eight were carried by Union men, and one by a Democrat. The approximate party strength at this election, as gathered from the vote for Secretary of State and the short-term Canal Commissioner was: Democrats 190,000; Republicans 180,000; and War Democrats 117,000.
The Legislature met for the regular session at the Old State Capitol in Albany on January 7, 1862; and adjourned on April 23.
Henry J. Raymond (U) was elected again Speaker with 88 votes against 36 for Horatio Seymour (D).
On January 30, the Legislature elected Victor M. Rice to succeed Henry H. Van Dyck as Superintendent of Public Instruction.
On February 11, James A. Bell was elected President pro tempore of the State Senate.
The asterisk (*) denotes members of the previous Legislature who continued in office as members of this Legislature. Richard B. Connolly, Hezekiah D. Robertson, Joseph H. Ramsey, Charles C. Montgomery, James A. Bell, Allen Munroe and Lyman Truman were re-elected. Christian B. Woodruff, Richard K. Sanford and Wilkes Angel changed from the Assembly to the Senate.
Party affiliations as published by the New York Tribune; those marked "Republican" were elected in opposition to "Union" candidates. Senate officers and a Regent of USNY were elected without opposition.Clerk: James Terwilliger
Sergeant-at-Arms: Richard U. Owens
Assistant Sergeant-at-Arms: Caleb S. Babcock
Doorkeeper: Orville Griffin
First Assistant Doorkeeper: Charles Johnson
Second Assistant Doorkeeper: Sanders Wilson
Third Assistant Doorkeeper: Giles H. Holden
The asterisk (*) denotes members of the previous Legislature who continued as members of this Legislature.
Party affiliations follow the vote for Speaker.Clerk: Joseph B. Cushman
Sergeant-at-Arms: Levi M. Gano
Doorkeeper: Norman B. Sprague
First Assistant Doorkeeper: William H. Creed
Second Assistant Doorkeeper: Thomas Miller