This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
 the facilities given by their being mounted; and most of all to the fact that many of their recruits were received in the later period of the war, when bounty jumping had become almost a profession. The 13th Light Battery appears to have lost by desertion more than one-quarter of its whole membership. It is probable that comparatively few of these deserters actually went over to the enemy, although a former member of the 2d Mass. Cavalry was caught and shot by courtmartial for leading a party against his former associates. An officer in the 12th Mass. was cashiered for treason. As to colored regiments, Emilio reports but 36 desertions in the 54th Mass., out of a total membership of 1,354, and nearly half of these were from camp at Readville, before departure to the front.1 When we come to the casualties of the war, and follow Fox's computations, which are recognized as the most careful yet made, there are in all 45 infantry regiments which lost over 200 men each, killed or mortally wounded during the Civil War. Six of these were Massachusetts regiments. At the head of all regiments stands the 5th New Hampshire, with a loss of 295;2 then follow in succession the 83d Pennsylvania, the 7th Wisconsin, the 5th Michigan and the 20th Mass., the latter thus ranking fifth on the list, with a loss of 260.3 There follow later the 28th (loss 250), the 15th (loss 241), the 22d (loss 216), the 9th (loss 209), the 57th (loss 201). It will be noticed that two of these six (the 9th and 28th) were the only distinctively Irish-American regiments. Of heavy artillery regiments, losing each 200 killed or died of wounds, there were nine, the 1st Mass. (Colonel Greene) ranking fifth among these, with a loss of 241. Nine cavalry regiments had the same record, neither of which was from Massachusetts, although the 1st Cavalry ranked high. The batteries were much smaller organizations; there
1 For facts as to desertion, see Mass. Adjutant-General's Report (January, 1864), p. 928, (January, 1865), pp. 195, 953; Bowen's Massachusetts in the Civil War, pp 131, 760, 848, 851; Official War Records, 65, 725; Crowninshield's 1st Mass. Cavalry, p. 447; Cook's 12th Mass. Infantry, pp. 12, 142; Walcott's 21st Mass Infantry, p. 222; Emilio's 54th Mass. Infantry, p. 391; Billings's Hard Tack and Coffee, pp. 157, 161. The whole number of military executions during the war was 121. （Billings, p. 163.)
3 It is not strange, in view of this pre-eminence, that the 20th should be one of the two regiments especially commemorated on the stairway of the Boston Public Library. In regard to the other (the 2d), it must be remembered that, on Hooker's reorganization of the Army of the Potomac, he selected on inspection, out of one hundred and fifty regiments, only eleven from the whole army as worthy of commendation, the 1st, 2d and 20th Mass. being three of these. As a matter of fact, however, the 2d and 20th were commemorated in the Public Library simply because they were the only ones whose friends provided the means for such distinction. It was not done at the city's expense.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.