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Nims' Second Massachusetts Battery

Few batteries during the Civil War saw more actual service than that known officially as the 2d Massachusetts Light Artillery, but more generally called Nims' Battery. Its career is well worth recording and the part it played in the campaigns of the Department of the Mississippi and the Gulf was by no means inconsiderable in the history of the war.

Previous to 1861, there existed in Boston a military organization called the Boston Light Artillery or Cook's Battery. When the news came from Baltimore that the Sixth Regiment had been fired on and the city was in the hands of rioters, General Butler who was then in Philadelphia, asked that this organization be sent forward immediately to the scene.

It was midnight of April 19, 1861, when the telegraph brought the request: before the night of the 20th everything was in readiness and in the early morning of the 21st the first battery from Massachusetts was on its way to Baltimore for a period of three months service.

It had not left Boston, however, before Governor Andrews gave orders for the formation of a second battery and designated Major Moses Cobb as its commander. Recruiting headquarters were opened on the 20th of April at the Boston Light Artillery Armory under Major O. F. Nims, and in less than two days two hundred men applied for enlistment. ‘Every member, officers and men, was the greenest of raw material, but they were an intelligent set of fellows and took to drilling as a duck to water.’ Colonel Nims.

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