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[52] Regiments from this State took a leading part, including the 1st, 7th and 11th, besides the 10th, which sustained no loss. The 1st was on the skirmish line and sustained its previously good character; the 7th, a Bristol County regiment, under command of Col. Nelson H. Davis (succeeding Col. Darius N. Couch, now promoted brigadier-general), was brought forward most successfully at a critical juncture, and rendered much service at small loss, while the 11th, a regiment known as the ‘Boston Volunteers,’ under Colonel Blaisdell, was especially complimented by Governor Andrew for its good conduct, and the regiment received a new regimental color. Michael A. Dillon, of the 2d New Hampshire Infantry (Co. G.), a native of Massachusetts, won a medal of honor in this battle. Massachusetts had a right also to share the laurels of the 70th New York, or 1st Excelsior Regiment, since this was commanded by a Massachusetts officer—Col. William Dwight, Jr., one of four brothers who distinguished themselves in the service—and included companies from this State. After the battle of Williamsburg, Lieutenant-Colonel Farnum wrote to the mayor of New York, ‘under the precious rags which were once so proudly borne by. the 1st Excelsior Regiment more men have fallen in a single fight than ever fell under any other flag in the service of the United States. The regiment went into the field with six hundred privates and twenty-seven officers, and more than half of the privates were killed or wounded, as were also twenty-three out of the twenty-seven officers.’1

Brig.-Gen. Rufus Saxton, United States Volunteers (a Massachusetts officer), commanded about this time the defence of Harper's Ferry (May 26-30) in a manner that subsequently won him a medal of honor. In the battle at Hanover Court House May 27, the 9th and 22d Mass., with a section of the 3d Battery, were in action, the 5th Battery being also present but not active. The 9th Mass. distinguished itself by a charge, showing in advance the qualities so signally tested later. The losses in this engagement were not, however, heavy.

The battle of Fair Oaks or Seven Pines2 (May 31–June 1) was the

1 Townsend's Honors of the Empire State, p. 317. Phisterer, in his New York in the War of the Rebellion, puts the number of officers killed or wounded at twenty, and the number of privates at two hundred and thirteen, but reports also ninety-seven privates as missing, thus confirming the original statement (p. 429).

2 ‘That battle ought really never to have been fought, for it had no purpose, no plan of action, no place in any scheme of operations. It is a question to this day which was the attacking party.’ (Walker's 2d Army Corps, p. 51.)

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