dangers of active service, others were continually at the front.
While some were seldom called upon to face the enemy's fire, others were repeatedly ordered into the thickest of the fight.
While in some regiments the number of killed was small, in others the Roll of Honor was unequaled in the records of modern wars.
Who were these men who fought so well in defense of their flag?
What were the names and numbers of their regiments?
What were the losses in these regiments?
What limit is there to the toll of blood exacted from a regimental thousand during a long and bloody war?
The one regiment, in all the Union Armies
, which sustained the greatest loss in battle, during the American Civil War
, was the Fifth New Hampshire Infantry.1
It lost 295 men, killed or mortally wounded in action, during its four years of service, from 1861 to 1865.
It served in the First Division, Second Corps.
This division was commanded, successively, by Generals Richardson
, and Miles
; and any regiment that followed the fortunes of these men was sure to find plenty of bloody work cut out for it. The losses of the Fifth New Hampshire occurred entirely in aggressive, hard, stand — up fighting; none of it happened in routs or through blunders.
Its loss includes eighteen officers killed, a number far in excess of the usual proportion, and indicates that the men were bravely led. Its percentage of killed is also very large, especially as based on the original enrollment.
The exact percentage of the total enrollment cannot be definitely ascertained, as the rolls were loaded down in 1864 with the names of a large number of conscripts and bounty men who never joined the regiment.
The second highest in the list of infantry regiments having the greatest number killed in battle, is the Eighty-third Pennsylvania, which lost 282 officers and men who died while fighting for the Union
This was a Fifth Corps regiment, serving in Morell
's — afterwards Griffin
's--First Division. Two of its Colonels
were killed, and a third was badly wounded and crippled for life.
It was a splendid regiment, well officered and well drilled.
It suffered a severe loss in killed, by percentage, as well as in numbers.
The next regiment on the list is the Seventh Wisconsin Infantry, of the famous Iron Brigade, Wadsworth
's (First) Division, First Corps.
This gallant regiment stands high in the list, because of its many battles and the persistency with which it would hold its ground in the face of the deadliest musketry.
By glancing at the table of percentages, it will be seen that the Seventh occupies an honorable place in that list also.
Next, among the regiments sustaining the greatest loss in action, stands the Fifth Michigan, of the Third Corps, in which 263 were killed; and next, comes the Twentieth Massachusetts, of the Second Corps, with a credit of 260 killed in battle.
The following table will show clearly the relative position of the leading infantry regiments in point of numerical loss.
It embraces every infantry regiment in the Union Armies
which lost over 200 men, killed or mortally wounded in action, during the war. In all, there are forty-five: