next
[3]

Preliminary narrative.


I. The outbreak of the war.

The outbreak of the Civil War found Massachusetts, and the Eastern States generally, not only in an unarmed but in a very unwarlike condition. The old outdoor habits of a rural community—riding, hunting and outdoor adventure—had almost passed away, while the modern substitutes in the way of physical exercise were only just being introduced. The intercollegiate athletic contests had just begun, there had been two or three rowing matches, no football games; it was rarely that villages met to compete at base ball. The militia had been until within a few years at a low ebb; it had indeed been lately organized into regiments, but these larger organizations were still almost nominal. As a rule, the higher an officer, the less his military knowledge,—the major usually knew less than the captain, the colonel less than the major, the brigadier-general still less, and the major-general sometimes less than any of them. The higher officers were often appointed on merely political grounds, or because they would entertain the others at their houses. Stories were rife as to the blunders of these officers, of their marching the regiment up a high wall before they could remember how to stop them, or of their bewildering their command by the order (suggested by a mischievous adjutant) ‘Two or three paces backward, march!’ Even such as it was, the militia furnished the nucleus of the Massachusetts contingent, largely filled the roster of its early officers, and, by the promptness of its three months service, did much for the actual saving of the nation. Some of the regiments were ordered out three successive times and responded promptly every time. But it must not be for a moment supposed that the State militia of 1861 resembled at all in order and efficiency the highly organized militia of to-day; and the more flattering the titles of its officers the less prepared they usually were to assume any responsibility requiring military knowledge. Without the line officers of the Massachusetts militia [4] the State could not have met as it did the summons to the three months service; but its general officers were often an embarrassment.

It must also be remembered that the Northern mind, generally shrinking from all belief in a coming war, had delayed serious action long after active preparations had begun at the South. Young men coming from that region were amazed, during the winter of 1860-61, to find their Northern acquaintances employing or amusing themselves as usual, while at the South everybody was drilling. All the events in Kansas had not really opened men's eyes. Both sides, moreover, strangely underrated their opponents. At the South, relying on their own more active outdoor habits, men believed that one Southerner was a match for three Yankees; while at the North the reasoning, though proceeding from a different point, reached the same conclusion. ‘Modern war,’ we reasoned, ‘is a matter not of individual hand-to-hand contest, but of machinery, of organization, of inventive skill, of capital, of material resources.’ In all these things we felt that we had the advantage. We did not allow for the effect of necessity in creating these very resources, nor for the fact that adversity was to call out in the South more important inventions and more triumphs of organizing skill than its years of prosperity had ever claimed. The institution of slavery itself, by giving immense supplies of crude labor for fortifications, by supporting families and by educating the habit of command, was doubtless a power in the hands of the South, until we turned it against them by arming the blacks. And, again, Northern men overlooked the enormous difference between offensive and defensive war, especially in a contest spreading over so vast an extent of rough and sparsely settled country.

There was thus a general impulse, born partly of desire, to make light of the extent and difficulty of the contest.1 It is remembered that a very able man in Boston, Dr. Samuel Cabot, who had aided largely in sending rifles to Kansas, said once, in speaking of a possible war between the Northern and [5] Southern States, ‘It would not last six months;’ while, on the other hand, one of the best of the Massachusetts militia officers, who went out as adjutant of General Devens's battalion at the very beginning, and afterwards entered the regular army, said, after the attack on Sumter, ‘I would rather have England and France together upon us than this.’ Captain Goodhue was right; war with England and France might have led to the capture or burning of a few cities, but the pressure of the civilized world would have soon settled it by diplomacy, at a cost of money and life incomparably less than that of the contest which was now impending. As it was, the material cost of the war was best summed up by Gen. W. T. Sherman, who said, at Portland, Oregon (July 3, 1890), ‘I do believe, as I believe in Him who rules above us all, that this country spent one thousand million dollars and one hundred thousand lives to teach you the art of war.’2


Ii. The war governor.

On Jan. 5, 1861, John Albion Andrew was inaugurated as governor of Massachusetts, having been chosen to that office during the previous autumn, rather through a popular impulse than by any plans of political managers; and having received the largest popular vote given up to that time to any Massachusetts governor. He stood before the people a figure of unique appearance and bearing,—short, stout, blue-eyed, with closely curling brown hair, smooth cheeks, and a general effect that was feminine, though very sturdily so. He entered on his duties with universal popular confidence as to his intentions, but absolutely untried as to large executive duties. His personal habits were pacific and even sedentary; he had no taste for any pageantry, least of all for that of war; yet in his very inaugural address he showed that he had grasped the situation of the country, and from that day he was, emphatically and thoroughly, the war governor.

Governor Andrew was frank, outspoken, with no concealments and little solicitude for any reserve in others. It was said at the State House that his predecessors had been much given to private and confidential interviews; but that he went to the other extreme. Everything was aboveboard; he talked as freely among his clerks and visitors as in the most secluded privacy. In preliminary negotiations, sometimes delicate and difficult, about the forming [6] of regiments, the selection of officers, the distribution of supplies, it was almost impossible to have a word of confidential intercourse with him. It was also difficult to hold him to a point; he liked to talk over his own plans and to read aloud the letters he had just written; and, as his style was rather florid and he amplified a good deal, these digressions took much precious time. Moreover, he was thin-skinned, and felt keenly any personal attack; and when he met with a thoroughly unscrupulous and tormenting opponent it was not hard to keep him vexed and irritated, in spite of the unselfish nobleness of his aims.

The selection of officers was of course the most perplexing part of his military work, and was that in which he made most mistakes, these arising almost wholly from his virtues. He said truly of himself that he had never despised any man because he was poor, because he was ignorant or because he was black; but there was always a chance that he might overrate a man for one or the other of these reasons. He began, as all war governors did, with a natural prejudice in favor of regular army men and those who had served in foreign armies; and where men had these recommendations, the fact that they had been the object of attack or criticism on other grounds told rather in their favor; unless they had taken positively pro-slavery positions or led mobs against abolitionists or negroes,—he drew the line there.

No one can now appreciate how difficult it was, after a prolonged period of peace, to look around upon the community and say of this man or that ‘He would make a good military officer.’ Men did not know this in regard to themselves. No man could feel humbler about this process of selection than Governor Andrew. He said once, ‘It seems very absurd that I, who am a man of peace and always hated soldiering, should be the man to choose. these officers; but Providence has put this duty upon me, and I shall do it as best I can.’ He was liable, as are most of us, to be misled by an imposing appearance, a commanding manner, and to underrate the obscurer virtues. He was over-influenced at times by trivial or temporary considerations, as when he once gave it as his reason for proposing to give one civilian a colonelcy, that this person had wished for one before, and had behaved very well under disappointment. It is now known, on the other hand, that the present head of the American army, Major-General Miles, was set aside by Governor Andrew at the last moment as too young for the command of [7] a company which he had raised at his own expense; although the governor of New York had afterwards the discernment, after one or two battles, to take this young officer from his lieutenancy and make him colonel of a regiment.3 He had also the tendency, common to strong-willed men, to stick to an appointment, even when an obvious mistake. He once said of an officer of foreign birth, ‘He is the best field officer who ever went from Massachusetts.’ There being rumors of insubordination and inefficiency in regard to this officer, Governor Andrew was asked, a month or so later, if he still held to the same opinion. ‘I will go further now,’ he said, striking the table with his hand; ‘I will say that he is worth all the other field officers who have left Massachusetts, put together.’ Yet the career of this particular person was by no means a success, and he left the service early.4 On the other hand, his dislikes were as warm and impetuous as his likings, and he could not always be trusted to exercise patience or justice in dealing with any one who had forfeited his good opinion.5

On the evening of the very day on which Governor Andrew's inaugural address was delivered (Jan. 5, 1861) he sent confidential messengers to the governors of the New England States, urging military preparation on the part of all. Col. Albert G. Browne, afterwards the governor's military secretary, was sent to the governors of Maine and New Hampshire; Colonel Wardrop, commander of the 3d Mass. Volunteer Militia, was sent to Vermont, and others to Rhode Island and Connecticut. The military historians of Maine and New Hampshire make no reference to this communication; and it is evident that in Vermont it led only to some correspondence but to ‘little open or actual preparation for fighting.’6

The first direct and overt step taken by Governor Andrew was the apparently mild one of causing a salute to be fired on Jan. 8, 1861,7 in commemoration of the battle of New Orleans, this being at the suggestion of the Hon. Charles Francis Adams. The next step took place on January 16,8 when an order was issued requiring each company commander in a militia regiment to revise his muster roll, to ascertain whether any of the members [8] would be, ‘from age, physical defect, business or family cares, unable or indisposed to respond at once to the orders of the commander-in-chief,’ in order that they might be ‘forthwith discharged, so that their places may be filled by men ready for any public emergency which may arise, whenever called upon. This once done, no discharge could be granted unless for cause satisfactory to the commander-in-chief.’ From the moment when this order was issued Massachusetts had begun to be placed on a war footing.

The time for actual fighting, however, soon came. It is said that on April 12, 1861, the Senate of Ohio was in session and was vainly trying, amid suppressed excitement, to settle down to its ordinary routine. Suddenly a senator came hastily in from the lobby, and, catching the chairman's eye, exclaimed, ‘Mr. President, the telegraph announces that the secessionists are bombarding Fort Sumter.’ There was a moment's hush, which was broken by a woman's shrill voice from the spectators' seats, crying ‘Glory to God.’ ‘It startled every one,’ says a spectator, ‘almost as if the enemy were in the midst.’9 The scene was Ohio, but the voice was a voice from Massachusetts, for the speaker was Abby Kelly Foster of Worcester, one of the most daring and self-devoted of the early abolitionists, a woman whose tones had always a peculiar and thrilling quality, as of one crying in the wilderness. She now uttered the impulse of many who saw at a glance that the death struggle between freedom and slavery had come. The next day the Union flag fluttered over myriads of roofs in the great Northern cities, and political differences appeared annihilated. In Massachusetts, whatever had looked like pro-slavery sympathy in the great Democratic party seemed for the moment to vanish, as by magic, and appeared afterwards, if at all, in the form of too suspicious a criticism.


Iii. The first volunteer company.

The first company newly organized for the Civil War in Massachusetts and probably in the Northern States was that formed in Cambridge, Mass., by Capt. (afterwards colonel) James P. Richardson, the call for which company appeared in the Cambridge Chronicle, Jan. 5, 1861 (the very day of the new governor's inauguration), and in posters of the same date. The call [9] was as follows, and is given here as the first,10 and as forming the precursor for many others in other places; and for the same reason the subsequent proceedings are given more fully than in the case of any later company.

The undersigned proposes to organize a company of volunteers to tender their services to our common country, and to do what they can to maintain the integrity of the Union and the glory of our flag. Any citizen of good moral character and sound in body, who wishes to join the corps, will please call at my office, Main Street, Cambridgeport.


The signer of this call was a lawyer in Cambridge and captain of the ‘Wide Awakes,’ a political organization. It is one of the many ties connecting this new contest with the Revolutionary traditions that his great-grandfather, Moses Richardson, was killed in one of the opening battles of the American Revolution.

‘At the same time,’ writes he, ‘I hung a flag from my office window and opened a book for the signatures of recruits. In a few days I had a roll of over sixty names, most of them young men belonging to the Cambridge fire department.’ He then hired a hall and devoted his evenings to the drilling of recruits. But it illustrates the curious conditions of mind at that time that the project met with derision instead of encouragement. ‘In the [10] mean time,’ he writes, ‘I had to endure a fire of raillery and sarcasm from nearly every one I met as I walked the streets between my house and my office. Squibs were published in the local paper, making fun of my warlike preparations, and every would-be wit seemed to think it the best joke of the season. I went to Gov. John A. Andrew, however, and told him what I was doing, and tendered him our services as soon as they should be needed. The governor approved my action, and promised to call upon me when the time came for action.’

When the President's call for seventy-five thousand men was issued, and six militia regiments were ordered out from Massachusetts, it was the hope of Captain Richardson and his company that they would be added to one of these regiments. The following is the description given by Captain Richardson: ‘It was on the 16th of April, 1861. I had been in court all day. It was a cold, drizzling day, and at night it rained hard. As I sat in my office, nearly all the members of my company came in, full of excitement, to inquire if I had received orders to march, and were bitterly disappointed when I told them I had not. They hung around, grumbling, until near ten o'clock, gradually dropping off till there were only some half dozen left. I was telling them that the governor had promised that we should have the first chance, when a tall man, in a rubber overcoat and a sou'wester hat, dripping with rain, came in and inquired for Captain Richardson. Every face turned to me, every hand pointed, and every voice shouted, “ There he is.” He took a large, official-looking paper from his pocket, and handed it to me. I opened and read it. It was an order from the governor to appear forthwith at the State House in Boston, with my company for service. Holding it above my head, I shouted, “Here it is, boys! Go down to Pike's stable and get a horse apiece, and notify every member of the company to be here at my office by daylight to-morrow morning.”’

The company marched from its temporary quarters to Boston early in the morning of April 17,12 and was there organized as a company of State militia belonging to the 5th Regiment, Col. S. C. Lawrence (a Middlesex County regiment), but temporarily to be assigned to the 3d Regiment (Col. [11] D. W. Wardrop), which was mainly from Plymouth County.13 It had ninety-seven members, no other company in the regiment having more than seventy-eight, and one having but twenty-four members. Officers were selected in the manner usual for militia companies, Colonel Lawrence presiding at the election. James P. Richardson was chosen captain, Samuel E. Chamberlain first lieutenant, Edwin F. Richardson second, John Kinnear third and Francis M. Doble fourth lieutenant. This was according to the old ‘Scott’ system, but it is a satisfaction to know that when, under the new (Hardee) system, the number of lieutenants was cut down to two, both Messrs. Kinnear and Doble continued with the company as sergeants, and served during the three months. It was especially manly in Mr. Kinnear, whose name had stood first on the enlistment paper. First Lieutenant (afterwards general) Chamberlain was the only member of the company who had seen military service,—in the Mexican war,—and he was naturally placed next to the highest in command. He had been a member both of the police force and the fire department of Cambridge,14 and had much influence and authority among his fellow-recruits. Of the whole number of members in this pioneer company (ninety-seven) all but two re-enlisted at the end of the three months service, twenty-seven received commissions in other regiments and twenty-one died in the service.15

These facts have been given thus at length, because this process of company formation represented that which was soon going on all over the State, in some cases for three months service, in others for three years. Even the regularly summoned militia companies had often more new recruits than old members; but this company of Captain Richardson's appears to have been the only essentially new company among the Massachusetts three months troops. The circumstances under which these were collectively called out will be presently stated.

In the resolutions of the Massachusetts Legislature on the death of Gen. William Cogswell, it was assumed for him that he recruited the first company in this State for the Civil War.16 The facts in regard to the Cambridge [12] company seem to disprove this statement; but, since that company did not serve three years, it may perhaps be true that General (then captain) Cogswell's company was the first enlisted and serving for that whole period. It appears that this officer was one of twenty privates of the Salem Cadets who volunteered to escort Captain Devereux's company (‘A’ of 7th M. V. M.) to Boston on April 18, 1861, this company having been known both as the Salem Light Infantry and the Salem Zouaves; and on his returning to Salem that night he determined to raise a company for himself, and began recruiting on April 20.17 The company was named the Andrew Light Guard; it went into camp at Camp Webb on Winter Island, Salem harbor, April 22;18 on May 8 Governor Andrew requested Colonel (afterwards general) Gordon to receive it into the 2d Regiment, then forming;19 and it reported May 14 with seventy-five men, Captain Abbott having, however, previously reported with a full company.20 Supposing Captain Cogswell's to be the first company formed for the 2d Regiment, it could only have priority over Captain Richardson's by claiming that it was a ‘volunteer’ company, and that of Richardson only a ‘volunteer militia’ company. But the language of the original call shows clearly that this company was gathered expressly for the war for the Union and not for militia service within the State; and if it called itself in the enlistment roll a militia company, it was because there was as yet no other way of getting into the service. It was certainly an added merit, if it enlisted actually in advance of any public national call.


IV. the three months regiments.

The first call made on Massachusetts for troops was by a telegraphic despatch from Senator Wilson, dated at Washington, April 15, requesting twenty companies to be sent to Washington and there mustered into service. During that day similar despatches were received by telegraph from the Secretary of War and the Adjutant-General, with formal requisitions for two militia regiments. Four regiments were accordingly called out, that, if necessary, strong companies might be detached from the weaker regiments, and so the maximum might be obtained.21 Orders were accordingly issued to [13] Colonel Jones of the 6th Regiment (at Lowell), Colonel Packard of the 4th (at Quincy), Colonel Wardrop of the 3d (at New Bedford) and Colonel Munroe of the 8th (at Lynn), requiring them to muster their commands on Boston Common forthwith.

The question which militia company arrived first in Boston is not wholly easy to settle. In the annual report of Adjutant-General Schouler (January, 1862) it was expressly stated that the first to arrive were three from Marblehead (Cos. B, C, H, 8th Regiment), and that ‘they arrived at the Eastern depot at 9 A. M.’22 Six years later, in his History of Massachusetts in the Civil War, he modified the statement, saying that he was at the Eastern railway station when these companies arrived, and that the hour was ‘shortly after eight.’23 It is obvious that a considerable range of time is thus opened by this discrepancy as to hours; and it is also noticeable that his testimony in 1862 was given a good deal nearer to the actual occurrences than that made in 1868. On the other hand, there is ample evidence that Co. E, 4th Regiment Mass. Volunteer Militia, took the train at South Abington at 7.13 A. M., April 16, 1861, due to arrive in Boston at 8.13 A. M., and, as there was no delay or accident, it is fair to suppose that the train arrived on time.24 If, therefore, the first statement of Adjutant-General Schouler was correct, Captain Allen's Abington company had distinct precedence over the three Marblehead companies; whereas, if the Adjutant-General's modified statement of 1868 is to be accepted, the matter is left more indefinite. As a matter of fact, the controversy is not of great importance, because many companies took the first trains on their respective railways, and were after that at the mercy of the time tables, over which they had no control.

The essential point is that all the regiments responded ‘forthwith’ as required, on April 16, though in consequence of a severe storm the place of assemblage was changed to Faneuil Hall. In spite of the storm, crowds of men and women were gathered to receive the various troops, and followed them with zeal through the city. Some detached companies were also ordered out and were assigned to different regiments. A messenger sent to Captain Dike of Stoneham, whose company was to be transferred from the [14] 7th Regiment to the 6th, reached him at 2 A. M. He said to the messenger, ‘Tell His Excellency that I shall be at the State House with my full company by 11 o'clock to-day,’ and he was there. Captain Pratt of the 3d Battalion of Rifles was also assigned to the 6th, as was the company of Captain Sampson of Boston. Captain Pratt received his order late in the afternoon of the 16th, and was in Boston with his company early on the 17th. These were but examples of the promptness to be seen almost everywhere.

The first regiment to leave the State was the 4th M. V. M. (Colonel Packard), which went by afternoon train (April 17) to Fall River, to take the steamer for New York and thence to Fortress Monroe. The 6th (Colonel Jones) left for Washington by rail, but at a later hour. The 3d (Colonel Wardrop) was embarked on the steamer Spalding for Fortress Monroe, but remained in the harbor till morning. The 8th25 (Colonel Munroe) was delayed by the desire to attach to it other companies; it was not ordered to proceed until April 18, and was then accompanied by Brig.-Gen. (afterwards major-general) B. F. Butler, the instructions from Washington having now been modified to include four regiments and a brigadier-general. This regiment went through Philadelphia, after being, like the 6th, warmly received in New York, it being the second regiment that had marched through that city in advance of all others, while two other regiments were on the sea for Fortress Monroe.26 In addition, on April 19, Col. S. C. Lawrence of the 5th M. V. M. was ordered to report for duty, and five companies of the 7th M. V. M. were added to his command (B, E, F, G, H), one of which, however (E), was disbanded for insubordination, and a new company (Captain Wardwell) substituted. Maj. A. F. Cook's company of light artillery was also attached to Colonel Lawrence's command. The 3d Battalion of Rifles of Worcester, Major (afterwards general) Devens, received its orders on April 20, and was in line on the afternoon of that day; and was joined later (May 1) by Capt. Albert Dodd's company from Boston. This completed the list of the three months volunteers, whose statistics were as follows:— [15]

Statistics of the Three Months Volunteers.

Commissioned Officers.Enlisted Men.Total.
Barnstable County,-66
Berkshire County37376
Bristol County21192213
Essex County71857928
Franklin County-11
Hampden County-33
Hampshire County-22
Middlesex County57882939
Norfolk County21391412
Plymouth County19333352
Suffolk County27325352
Worcester County24339363
Other States,15657
Residence not given,-3232
Totals,2443,4923,736

When we stop to consider what an utterly peaceful community had been, until within a week or two, that which these regiments represented, it is impossible not to admire the promptness with which they took up arms. In the later fatigues of the war we looked back almost with wonder on the enthusiasm which had welcomed these early regiments. They had encountered little danger, and some of them had scarcely heard a shot fired in anger; yet Napoleon's veterans could hardly have been received with more reverence and gratitude. The instinct was just, for it was really these militia regiments, and such as these, which had saved the nation during that first period of peril.

While the early recruiting was going hastily on in Massachusetts, there occurred striking cases of persons whose zeal urged them to the front, to give their aid at Washington. One of the most noticeable of these instances [16] was that of Charles Russell Lowell, Jr., afterwards well known as a general of cavalry, who, on hearing of the occurrences of April 19 in Baltimore, set forth alone by rail, made his way from Baltimore to Washington on foot, by circuitous routes and under various disguises, and in Washington aided in the preparations for defence, having filed his application for a commission as lieutenant in the regular army. He was also employed as a scout and as a semi-official agent for Massachusetts. Later in the war he died of wounds received at Cedar Creek, Va.27 Another and an earlier instance was that of Dexter F. Parker of Worcester, a young mechanic of marked literary tastes, who had already at thirty years of age represented Worcester in both branches of the State Legislature, and who, when the call for troops was issued, enlisted in the Worcester Light Infantry, but went alone to Washington in advance, and was one of the few who aided in measures for its defence until his regiment, the 6th, arrived from its bloody march through Baltimore. He afterwards rose to be major of the 10th Mass. Infantry, and died after the amputation of an arm, which was rendered necessary by wounds received at Spotsylvania.28 Such instances as these showed the spirit which then pervaded multitudes of young men in all occupations.

If it be asked what circumstances enabled the State of Massachusetts to respond thus promptly in time of need, it must be attributed in part to the old revolutionary traditions of her people and in part also to the foresight of two successive governors; that of Governor Banks, in developing the regimental organization of the militia, before regarded merely as a series of detached companies; and that of Governor Andrew, in ordering first an accurate levy of the militia29 and then recommending (against disapproval and even derision) that the State should contract for overcoats, blankets, knapsacks and ball cartridges for two thousand troops. There were already in the armory of the State when the war broke out three thousand Springfield rifled muskets of the best pattern. Trivial as this [17] provision now seems, it enabled Massachusetts to be first in the breach, and perhaps to save Washington.

But the actual enlistment of soldiers was only one of the many ways in which the aroused public sentiment showed itself. Cheques and other gifts were received from individuals, for sums from ten thousand dollars downward, William Gray and Gardner Brewer each giving the former sum. The Boston banks offered to loan the State, without security, the sum of three million, six hundred thousand dollars for war purposes, and offered to the secretary of the treasury to take, with the banks of New York and Philadelphia, their share of one hundred and fifty million dollars in treasury notes. Secretary Chase said that when the credit of the government needed the support of some great financial leader, he found it in Mr. Samuel Hooper of Boston, ‘to whom I am indebted,’ he said, ‘for more assistance than any other man in the country.’ He also said, ‘I sent the first treasury note that was ever signed to Mr. Edward Wallace of Salisbury, Mass., in recognition of his having been the first man in the country to offer a loan to the government without interest.’

Drs. George H. Lyman and Wm. J. Dale at once organized a medical department, which maintained its efficiency to the very end of the war.30 The former had for some time been studying for just such service, in anticipation of war; and the latter wrote thus: ‘On the sixteenth day of April, 1861, I was called from my professional pursuits by Governor Andrew to assist Dr. George H. Lyman in furnishing medical supplies for the 6th Regiment, and I continued under direction of the governor to perform conjointly with Dr. Lyman such duties as were incidental to a medical bureau until the 13th of June, 1861, when I was commissioned surgeon-general of Massachusetts, with the rank of colonel.’31 Many of the first physicians of Boston at the same time offered their services to attend gratuitously the families of soldiers. Lawyers agreed to take charge of the legal business of young lawyers who might enlist. The Rev. W. H. Cudworth of East Boston, not content with offering his services as chaplain for the first three years regiment, announced to his congregation that, if his services were not needed, he should devote his usual salary to the common cause, and that his organist and sexton would do the same; he, moreover, advised that the money which had been raised for a new church should be devoted [18] to the soldiers, and that they should be content with the old building until the war should be over. These things but feebly illustrate the outburst of patriotism inspired by the war. And when it is remembered that Massachusetts was represented, at this time, by Charles Sumner and Henry Wilson in the United States Senate, and by Charles Francis Adams at the Court of St. James, it may fairly be claimed that she began the period of the great civil war in a becoming manner.

The 6th Mass. Infantry, which has been called with propriety the State's one historic regiment, now demands a special consideration. This organization had the undying honor of being the first regiment to reach Washington, fully organized and equipped, at the call of the President. It was brought together at Lowell on the 16th of April, the morning after the proclamation was issued, the officers of the regiment having previously held a meeting on Jan. 21, 1861, at the suggestion of Gen. B. F. Butler, and offered its services to the government. As gathered, the regiment included four companies from Lowell, two from Lawrence, one from Groton, one from Acton and one from Worcester. In Boston, which was reached at 1 P. M., there were added a Boston company and a Stoneham company, making eleven in all, or about seven hundred men. These men were among the very first fruits of the enlistment, entering the service without a bounty; in many cases wholly new to drill and discipline, untried even in the musterfield. Their heterogeneous uniform was characteristic of the period. Seven of the companies wore blue uniform coats, dark or light, sometimes with red trousers; four companies wore gray, with buff or yellow trimmings.32 Some companies had two lieutenants, some had four; some had learned the old ‘Scott’ drill,33 others the ‘Hardee’ tactics, then a novelty, afterwards universal.

Passing through Boston, New York and Philadelphia, the regiment was received with enthusiasm, but in the last-named city, or just after leaving it, Col. Edward F. Jones, the commander, received intimation that the passage through Baltimore would be disputed. He accordingly went through the cars and personally issued an order saying that the regiment would march through Baltimore in column of sections, arms at will; that [19] they would probably be insulted and perhaps attacked, but were not to fire unless at the order of their officers.

The train of thirty-five cars reached the President Street station in Baltimore at ‘about 10 A. M.,’ according to Captain Follansbee, but according to Mayor Brown of that city, at 11 A. M.34 This gentleman has always maintained that if the regiment had marched in a body through the city—which had been done the day before by an unarmed force from Pennsylvania, with a few regular troops—there would have been no serious trouble. It had been the intention of Colonel Jones to do this; and twenty rounds of ball cartridges had been issued to the regiment and rifles had been loaded and capped. But it was the practice at the President Street station to detach the through cars, on arrival, and have each drawn by four horses through the city to the Camden Street station, a distance of more than a mile; and this practice, previously unknown to Colonel Jones, was followed at this time. The effect was of course hopelessly to disintegrate the raw and untried regiment. About nine cars, containing seven companies, with which was Colonel Jones, went through in safety, except that the last car, containing Co. K, was delayed by obstructions on the track and had some windows broken. These, with other obstacles, including, for instance, a heavy anchor, soon made the track absolutely impassable, and the gathering mob saw the four remaining companies, without their colonel, in a manner delivered into its hands. These companies were C, D, I, L, under Captains Follansbee, Hart, Pickering and Dike; also the band, and an unarmed force from Pennsylvania, neither of which two bodies left the station. The four companies formed on President Street, numbering about two hundred and twenty men in all, under Captain Follansbee, and set out on their march. The mob crowded in upon them, throwing paving stones and other missiles. The troops increased their pace to double-quick; pistol shots were fired, and one soldier fell dead. Mayor Brown arrived on the scene, asked Captain Follansbee to discontinue the double-quick, and said to him, ‘You must defend yourselves.’ He then placed himself by the captain's side and marched about a third of a mile, as he states, with the troops, which occasionally fired irregularly. After a time, Marshal Kane with a body of policemen (less than fifty) came up on the run and placed [20] themselves in the rear of the troops, after which there was little disorder. The four companies on reaching the Camden Street station were placed in the cars, the blinds were closed by order of Colonel Jones, and the regiment about 1 P. M. went on to Washington, being delayed, while still near Baltimore, by obstructions on the track.

As a result of the day, four Massachusetts soldiers were killed by the mob: Addison O. Whitney of Lowell (born in Waldo, Me.), Luther C. Ladd of Lowell (born in Alexandria, N. H.), Charles A. Taylor (of unknown residence but enlisted in Boston), all belonging to Co. D, and Sumner H. Needham of Lawrence (born in Bethel, Me.), a member of Co. C. It is a curious fact that, while the bodies of the three other soldiers were brought home with honor and buried with municipal services in Lowell and Lawrence, that of Taylor was buried in an unknown grave in Baltimore, he being taken for a civilian, because of the absence of uniform. His loss was not even known until his overcoat was forwarded to the captain of his company by one who saw him fall. ‘No trace of his family or friends has ever been discovered . . . though a box was received from Boston a short time after the regiment left Baltimore.’35 So lately as July 21, 1894, the usually accurate Boston Transcript stated that only three Massachusetts men fell at Baltimore. Thirty-six were wounded, including Captain Dike of Stoneham, who was severely wounded in the thigh, was taken in and secreted in a hotel and was supposed to have been killed, and Lieutenants Lynde and Rowe, all of Co. L. The band was sent back to Boston and the unarmed Pennsylvania force to Philadelphia. Twelve of the Baltimore men were killed. War was fairly inaugurated by the shedding of blood, a thing which had not occurred during the contest at Fort Sumter.36

The 6th Mass. was unquestionably the first Union regiment to reach Washington, armed and equipped. It had, however, been preceded by a force from Pennsylvania, comprising five militia companies, mustering four [21] or five hundred men, only thirty-four of whom were furnished with firearms. ‘Apart from these, there was not a charge of powder in the five companies,’ says the official historian of the Pennsylvania soldiers, adding that ‘great solicitude was felt by the State officials at Harrisburg for the safety of these unarmed and defenceless men.’37

The Philadelphia men reached Washington at 7 P. M., April 18, and the Logan Guards sent in its morning report to the Adjutant-General on the next day. On the same day (April 19) the 6th Mass. Infantry arrived at 9 P. M.

Governor Andrew had sent to Washington, in advance of the 6th Mass. Infantry, Phineas S. Davis (afterwards killed, in 1864, as colonel of the 39th Mass. Infantry); and under arrangements perfected by him, the regiment was quartered in the Senate Chamber, and was the main reliance for the defence of the city until the arrival of the later regiments, the 8th and 5th, with the 7th New York, by way of Annapolis. It is well to record here that in the following July, after the battle of Bull Run, when the term of the 6th had expired, it remained in service at the governor's request, on his assurance that the Capitol was still in danger and not a regiment could be spared. A vote of thanks for this service was passed by the National House of Representatives. But it was a finer compliment when the anxious Lincoln said to the wounded soldiers of the 6th Mass. at Washington: ‘I begin to believe that there is no North. The 7th Regiment is a myth. Rhode Island is a myth. You are the only reality.’38


V. The route through Annapolis.

Next to the early service of the 6th M. V. M., the most conspicuous was that of the 8th M. V. M. in its march to Washington via Annapolis.

The circumstances of this advance were at first greatly misapprehended, [22] but have now been put in a clear light, like so many other things, by the publication in Official War Records of the original letters and telegraphic despatches which preceded. The 6th Mass. was attacked in Baltimore, as has been said, on April 19. On that same day Messrs. John Edgar Thomson and Samuel M. Felton, presidents respectively of the Pennsylvania Central and the Philadelphia & Baltimore railroads, telegraphed to the Secretary of War from Philadelphia, saying that they were informed that it was impracticable to send more troops through Baltimore, and adding, ‘Shall we send them through Annapolis?’39

No reply was received that day; but that night a consultation was held in Philadelphia at the house of Major-General Patterson, commanding the department of Washington, and then second in command to General Scott only. Mr. Felton, Mr. Thomson, Governor Curtin and the mayor of Philadelphia were present. They agreed on the desirableness of the plan; and, as no answer had yet come from Washington, and General Butler had meantime arrived in Philadelphia with the 8th Mass., it was decided to call his attention to the matter. General Patterson sent a message by Mr. Felton to General Butler to the effect that ‘he most urgently advised that he should go to Annapolis,’ and Captain (afterwards admiral) Dupont called with Mr. Felton on General Butler, strongly advising him to take this action. After some opposition, he yielded; and Colonel Lefferts, who arrived with the 7th New York Regiment, after some similar opposition, finally yielded also, first telegraphing to the War Department for authority, as was proper.40

All the events of the period were confused by the inflated atmosphere that prevailed, and this extended to the author of Massachusetts in the Rebellion (P. C. Headley), who thus sums up the events: ‘At dead of night, with the rapidity of a strong mind, stimulated to its quickest thought by the rush of events, he [General Butler] made out in writing his plan of operations;’ this plan being one in reality thought out two months before by a modest railway president, foreseeing the impending troubles.41 [23]

It is a curious fact, but characteristic of the crude enthusiasm of those early days of preparation, that the railway president was not more completely ignored by the Massachusetts soldiers than by their comrades from New York, although the transfer of the honor was in a different direction. All the glory of the enterprise heaped by Massachusetts on General Butler was with equal unanimity and with quite as much reason attributed to Colonel Lefferts. In the spirited narrative of the 7th Regiment's march, written by Fitz James O'Brien for the New York Times, he says: ‘The secret of this forced march, as well as an unexpected descent on Annapolis, was the result of Colonel Lefferts' judgment, which has since been sustained by events. . . . The fact that since then all the Northern troops have passed through the line that we thus opened is a sufficient comment on the admirable judgment that decided the movement.’42 O'Brien was not correct in attributing the action to the ‘judgment of Colonel Lefferts;’ for it had been virtually decided upon by General Patterson, General Cadwallader, Admiral Dupont, the mayor of Philadelphia and the two railroad presidents; but the prompt and soldierly action of Colonel Lefferts in telegraphing a recommendation of the plan to the War Department—a thing which General Butler should have done, but omitted—doubtless had its part in determining the action of that department.

Be this as it may, the next morning (April 20) brought a positive order from Major-General Scott, in the name of the President, to send all troops by way of Annapolis,43 and brought also a despatch from Adjutant-General Thomas to General Patterson to the same effect, this being in answer to the request of Colonel Lefferts for orders.44 General Patterson at once communicated the instructions to General Butler, and ‘gave directions,’ as he expressly says, ‘for the 8th Mass. and 7th New York infantries to go via Annapolis to Washington.’45 After this there was, of course, no alternative, and either Butler or Lefferts would have been liable to court martial had he gone in any other way. The only reason why this [24] was not clearly understood at the time was that these successive steps were not made public, and that General Butler wrote at the time a letter to Governor Andrew46 in which he omitted all reference either to Mr. Felton as the originator of the plan or to the express orders finally received.

Leaving Philadelphia about 3 P. M. on April 20, the 8th Mass. reached Perryville about 6 P. M., and found a steamer quietly awaiting it, as arranged by Mr. Felton. The same glamour and melodramatic character were thrown in the newspapers of the time about the supposed ‘seizure’ of this ferry boat. General Butler in his letter to Governor Andrew describes himself as detailing officers to ‘take possession of the boat at Havre-de-Grace’ (meaning Perryville);47 and Capt. F. T. Newhall says ‘the steamer was instantly taken without firing a shot.’48

But Greeley, in his American Conflict, goes far beyond this. After describing the burnt bridges and the lack of cars, he proceeds: ‘But General Butler was not a man to be stopped by such impediments. Seizing the spacious and commodious ferry steamer Maryland, he embarked his men thereon.’49 Nobody took the pains to point out that the steamer had on the preceding day (April 19) been retained for that precise purpose by the president of the road, Mr. Felton, who had also provided it with coal and a pilot for Annapolis;50 so that it was simply awaiting the arrival of the Massachusetts troops to get up steam and proceed. It is very probable that this fact was not generally known among the soldiers, though it must have been known to General Butler. It is true also that the whole region was in confusion, and that the Salem Zouaves (Captain Devereux), attached temporarily to the 8th Mass., were quite right in advancing upon the boat as guardedly and skilfully as if they were in an enemy's country and the boat were in alien hands; but there is now no doubt in regard to the previous intention and premeditation by which the vessel had been placed there, or the peacefulness of its final occupation. [25] The words ‘seized’ and ‘taken without firing a shot’ simply belonged to what may be called the mythical period of our early war history. The ferry boat was anchored, on arrival, near the schoolship, the frigate Constitution; and two companies were placed on board of the vessel for her security, until she could sail for New York. The mechanical training of the regiment showed itself in the promptness with which the railway and locomotives were repaired; and the regiment with the 7th New York set forth on the 24th upon a toilsome march to Washington,51 where they arrived the 26th, General Butler remaining at Annapolis.

On their arrival at Washington, Colonel Monroe asked to be relieved from command and Lieut.-Col. Edward W. Hincks was promoted to his place. Governor Andrew once said publicly that Colonel (afterwards major-general) Hincks was the first man to offer him his individual services for the war. When the regiment was mustered out after three months service, it received special thanks from Congress for the energy and patriotism displayed by it in overcoming obstacles, both by sea and land.


Vi. The occupation of Baltimore.

On May 12, 1861, took place another of those events which, having been surrounded with the excited and melodramatic aspect of that period, remained in this confused shape until the official records were published. On the day already named General Butler ordered a force from the Relay House to march into Baltimore and take possession of Federal Hill. It was practically an attempt of little or no danger, inasmuch as what was then called the ‘blockade’ of Baltimore was ended, and a force of Pennsylvania troops under Colonel Patterson had marched through on May 9, without any excitement, under orders of General Patterson, commanding the Department of Washington.52 But, such as it was, this occupation [26] of Baltimore was attributed by Parton and other writers of that period to General Butler's own initiative; yet it now appears from his own report to General Scott, dated May 15, 1861, that this act was performed ‘in obedience to verbal directions received from the War Department through Mr. Harriman.’53

General Scott had, however, written, the day previous, that it was taken without his knowledge and of course without his approbation. It was not till two days after it had happened that General Butler thought it necessary to inform General Scott, and then only in answer to a peremptory telegram.54 The removal of General Butler from the command of Annapolis was undoubtedly due as much to this neglect as to any disapproval of his action. This was more than five months, it must be remembered, before the time when General Scott retired from the command of the Union armies.

The narratives of the day added something of the same melodramatic character to all the details of this occupation. In Mr. Parton's description: ‘A thunderstorm of irregular character, extraordinary both for its violence and extent, hung over the city, black as midnight. . . . The depot was almost deserted and scarcely any one was in the streets. . . . The orders were for no man to speak a needless word; no drums to beat. . . . When the line had cleared the depot the storm burst. Such torrents of rain! Such a ceaseless blaze of lightning! Such crashes and volleys of thunder! . . . Not a countenance appeared in any window; for so incessant was the thunder that the tramp of horses, the tread of the men, the rumble of the cannon were not heard.’55 Such is the melodramatic scene conjured up by the skilled imagination of Mr. Parton,—one of the most amiable of men, but one of the least reliable of historians,—a picture annihilated in a moment by the testimony of his own subject of biography, who writes to General Scott that he ‘took possession of Federal Hill amid the plaudits of many of the people.’56 The Baltimore Clipper of the day after the entry was still more explicit: ‘On the route to the Hill the streets were thronged with people, who greeted the military with cheers at every stop, the ladies at the windows and the doors joining in the applause by waving their handkerchiefs.’ It then describes how, when the troops [27] had reached their destination, and not till then, ‘their operations were seriously interrupted by a soaking shower.’57 Thus curiously exaggerated and distorted, in those days, was every step of our novel military experience.

The troops which accompanied General Butler on this expedition were the 6th Mass. V. M., Colonel Jones (five hundred), the 8th N. Y. Infantry, Lieutenant-Colonel Waterbury (four hundred and fifty), and a section of Cook's Battery, under Major Cook. No lives were lost or even endangered; yet at that period of inexperience it seemed an important military movement, and it doubtless did much to confirm that sway of the more loyal elements in Baltimore, which soon became unquestionable. But it also contributed to that rather impulsive and undisciplined way of action, on the part of energetic officers, which cost so many lives before it had given place to military discipline.


Vii. The three years regiments.

The three months levy was now in the field. But those who already saw that a long and difficult war was upon us—nobody yet deemed how formidable—felt the absolute necessity of longer enlistments. On May 3 Governor Andrew wrote to President Lincoln: ‘I beg leave to add that immediately on receiving your proclamation we took up the war and have carried on our part of it in the spirit in which we believe the administration and the American people intend to act; namely, as if there were not an inch of red tape in the world. We have now enough additional men to furnish you with six more regiments to serve for the war, unless sooner discharged.’58 This meant a three years enlistment,—a term which covered all the time that any one then deemed necessary.59 On May 3, 1861, the President called for thirty-nine regiments of infantry and one of cavalry, to serve for three years or during the war; but it was not until May 19 that the quota of Massachusetts was assigned. Companies were meanwhile [28] organized and drilled, and paraded the streets; the governor telegraphed again and again for orders to enlist them in regiments; for more than a fortnight no reply came from Washington. At last on May 22 a letter was received from Secretary S. Cameron (dated May 15), authorizing the State, almost as a favor, to furnish six regiments, and adding: ‘It is important to reduce rather than enlarge this number, and in no event to exceed it. Let me earnestly recommend you, therefore, to call for no more than eight regiments, of which six only are to serve for three years or during the war, and if more are already called for to reduce the number by discharge.’60 It is plain from this that the loyal governors had to raise troops at the outset under the direct discouragement of the War Department itself; and that they were expected to repress, not stimulate, the patriotic zeal of the citizens. No one can read the reports of the early town meetings of Massachusetts, to which the second volume of Schouler's history is devoted, without recognizing that there was in these self-governing communities far more comprehension of the real greatness of the struggle then before us than was to be found among the so-called statesmen at Washington. Most wars in other nations have been the work of rulers or public men, who have drawn unwilling nations after them; but the American Civil War was at first, and remained for a long time, at the North, a war whose full importance was first recognized by the people, urging on a slow and reluctant government.61

The six regiments thus called for ‘were organized, armed, equipped, clothed and sent forward within four weeks after orders were received that they would be accepted.’62 The 1st (Colonel Cowdin) left the State on June 15 for Washington, and was the first three years regiment that arrived there; the 2d (Colonel Gordon) left the State July 8 for the front; the 7th left for Washington July 11; the 9th and 11th on June 24 and the 10th on June 25,—all for Washington. All these were three years regiments; [29] and when, on June 17, the consent of the government was obtained for raising ten more regiments, they were organized with the same energy which had already given Massachusetts an unquestioned superiority in promptness of organization at the outbreak of the war.


Viii. The early major-generals.

On May 16, 1861, before any battle had taken place, the United States government began its appointment of major-generals of volunteers; and as all three of the appointments of that date were from civil life,63 and as two of these were from Massachusetts, the seniority thus established had an important and not always a favorable bearing on the position of Massachusetts in the war. The senior officer of the three, Gen. John A. Dix, had in early life served for sixteen years in the regular army and had risen to the rank of captain, but General Banks and General Butler had had only the slight experience of the muster field, such as that then was, and had wholly missed the valuable discipline of the lower grades of command. The mistake—as was pointed out freely by such acute foreign observers as Count Gurowski and Comte de Paris64—was not in making them officers, but in putting them at once at the top of the ladder. Intended as a compliment, it was in reality a doubtful advantage. One must have been in military service, perhaps, to know how new a sphere of life it is for a civilian, even for a militia man, and how formidable is the difficulty of being placed at one stroke where one must give orders as a master, instead of learning as an apprentice. For it is to be observed that if a man placed suddenly in high command does not know the rudiments of his trade at first, he has a very difficult task in learning them; he cannot easily ask questions of his subordinates, and, if he does, cannot get them impartially answered; he must often hold his tongue, accept the attitude of omniscience and remain ignorant. Unfortunately, his ignorance may have to be measured at last by the human lives it costs to teach him. A civilian, when placed in the ranks, or even made a line or field officer, can at least ask [30] instruction from those who know more than he does; but the senior major-generals of an army cannot easily do this, and are hence greatly to be pitied, as are also, sometimes, those who are to serve under them.

No delusion is more common in the heart of an American citizen than to believe that a man who has shown ability in any sphere can, at the shortest possible notice, exhibit it in the highest grade of any other sphere. It was common, too, at the beginning of the war, to cite historical instances of civilians who had, by merely buckling on uniform, become great commanders. Cromwell, Hampden, Andrew Jackson were quoted as examples; but Cromwell began military service as captain of a troop of horse, and was not commissioned even as colonel until he had gone through the battle of Edgehill. Hampden began his career as captain of a local regiment, and rose no higher than colonel. Jackson had fought through six months of Indian warfare, with three thousand men under him, before he defended New Orleans with barely twice that number. These modest precedents certainly gave no ground for entrusting the command of great army corps to men who had never before heard a shot fired in anger. There were volunteer generals who did Massachusetts peculiar honor, and who had the inestimable advantage of beginning near the foot of the ladder. Such men were Hincks, Devens, Lowell, Bartlett, Miles. With these and such as these in mind, it seems too strong an expression to say, with a recent historical writer, ‘Not one New England soldier achieved renown.’65 Bartlett left on record, in the most instructive way, not merely his own modesty but his common-sense view of high military position. He was probably, out of all those whom Massachusetts sent forth, the man who had the most precocious and innate gift for war. After he had been appointed brigadier-general of volunteers (June 20, 1864) and had been assigned to Major-General Ledlie's division of the 9th Corps, there was, it seems, some talk of giving him command of the division; but he writes to his mother, ‘I think I had rather try a brigade, before I venture any higher, although the whole division does not muster so many as a full brigade of four regiments should.’66 Yet the man who made this modest remark had seen three years of the most active service, had been in action repeatedly, had lost a leg and just escaped losing an arm, had drilled and organized two raw regiments, and had twice commanded, [31] for short intervals, eight thousand men. This is the spirit of a true officer; this the training of a real soldier.

The absence of this training was the great obstacle against which Dix, Banks and Butler had to contend; Dix less than the others, because he had gone through an early military education, though with more than thirty years of civil life intervening, and also because he was not called upon to command an army corps. All three were men of distinguished ability; all showed this quality wherever mere personal energy and organizing talent were needed. All were, for instance, successful rulers of cities, even in war time,—Dix at New York, Banks at Washington and Butler at New Orleans; and it can never be quite known, of course, what purely military eminence they might have obtained had they begun lower down in the school.

The gradual publication of the official records of the war has had a marked effect upon the military reputation of these two conspicuous Massachusetts officers. In the case of General Banks this influence has been rather favorable, as showing him to have been acting under positive orders at some periods when his action was most criticised. In the case of General Butler the effect has been the other way, because, as has been already seen, the inexorable light of the actual letters and telegrams has dispelled much of the glamor thrown by enthusiastic war correspondents— not wholly discouraged, it must be owned, by himself—over a somewhat sensational career.

He had indeed in many respects the temperament most sure to suffer from the sudden uplifting to high influence and command. He had some positive traits of the greatest value: great promptness of action and fertility of resources; readiness in adopting the suggestions of others, even to the extent of sometimes forgetting that they were not his own; and a boundless ambition, often showing itself in trivial ostentation, but often in the desire to identify himself with real public service. His strokes of wit —as in his introduction of the word ‘contraband’—were sometimes half battles.67 But he had a quick, imperious and jealous temper; great vindictiveness, joined with much ingenuity in inflicting pain; an acuteness of mind which readily availed itself of all the resources of military [32] authority, and an utter disregard of all the defences carefully thrown by wise army rules about the rights of subordinates;68 an impetuous recklessness of statement and a lawyer's ingenuity in special pleading. If ever a man entered military service who needed the rigid preliminary repression of discipline, he was that man; instead of which he was taken and placed very nearly at the head of the volunteer service of the country, and had under his power the life, liberty and honor of many thousand men.


Ix. The battles of 1861.

The first regiment of Massachusetts to engage in battle in the war was the 4th Mass. Infantry (Colonel Packard), the occasion being that of Big Bethel, June 10, 1861, an aimless contest, of which it can only be said that the 4th Mass. behaved well. The real disaster was the first-fruit of that unfortunate jealousy of the regular army with which so many volunteer officers began their careers and which the wisest of them soon outgrew.69 General Butler, upon whom it devolved to select a commander for this night expedition, had at his command, in the colonel of the 1st Vermont, John W. Phelps, an officer of West Point training, Mexican war experience and proved courage; but, passing by him, he designated to command the night attack a militia brigadier from Massachusetts, Gen. (afterwards colonel) E. W. Peirce, who was doubtless personally brave but was utterly inexperienced. The whole plan of the expedition was so impracticable that Colonel (afterwards major-general) Phelps predicted in advance precisely what occurred,—that the troops, coming together by different routes in the darkness of the night, would fire on each other. Nothing was gained nor could anything important have been gained by the attempt;70 one member of the 4th Regiment was killed and two wounded, while two very valuable lives, those of Lieutenant Greble, U. S. A., and [33] Maj. T. Winthrop, were sacrificed; and the discouragement of a first defeat formed the beginning of the war.71

When, on July 18, 1861, the Army of the Potomac made its first reconnaissance at Blackburn's Ford, the duty was chiefly performed by the 1st Mass. Infantry (Col. Robert Cowdin), the first three years regiment to leave the State, and the first in the service of the United States to report at Washington. In this engagement died Lieut. W. H. B. Smith of Cambridge, the first of two hundred and eight volunteer lieutenants from Massachusetts who fell in the war; and the manner of his death was curiously illustrative of that early period of playing with edge-tools. The uniforms of the two armies were as yet so much alike that, as in the early days of the English civil war, it was almost impossible to tell friend from foe when a few hundred yards distant; and it was only when Lieutenant Smith had announced to the Confederate skirmishers that he was from Massachusetts that he was killed by an immediate volley. In another part of the same field the same explanation, given by Captain Carruth, was all that prevented a Michigan regiment from firing on the 1st Mass.72

Three Massachusetts regiments only took part in the battle of Bull Run or Manassas (July 21, 1861), these being the 1st Infantry (Colonel Cowdin), the 5th (Colonel Lawrence) and the 11th (Col. George Clark, Jr.). It is something to say that neither of the three did itself discredit in the way of cowardice on a day where so many failed. The 5th remained a day beyond its term of service to take part in the affair, and its colonel was wounded, his life being saved through the prompt action of a friend and [34] classmate, Private George F. Hodges,73 who himself died later in the service, as adjutant of the 18th Mass. Infantry. Twenty-two prisoners were taken from the 5th Mass., and were held for ten months before they could be exchanged. Of the 11th, two captains, a lieutenant and many wounded men were also taken prisoners, besides fifteen killed. The 1st Regiment took but little part in the battle, but lost Lieut. E. B. Gill, who was killed in the retreat. Its brigade commander, Col. I. B. Richardson of the 2d Michigan, reported of his brigade: ‘My brigade in general behaved itself nobly and always stood firm.’ Col. (afterwards major-general) W. B. Franklin criticised the 5th and 11th as firing badly and as making their movements somewhat unsteadily while under fire; but he ends by extending these criticisms over the whole of the raw troops on that day. ‘The firing of the rebels,’ he says, ‘was better than ours.’74

The battle of Ball's Bluff or Edwards' Ferry (Oct. 21, 1861) was the last of the early amateur battles, as they might be called, in which the Massachusetts troops were engaged in 1861. The commanding officer, Gen. C. P. Stone, under whose orders75 troops were sent across a rapid stream and exposed to a greater force, without intrenchments and with the stream behind them, was a Massachusetts man and a regular army officer. So was Gen. Frederick W. Lander, who fell in the battle, and was the first of her general officers to die in the service,—as he had also been the first of all men, it was claimed, to offer his services to the general government.76

The 15th Mass. Infantry (Colonel Devens) and the 20th (Col. W. R. Lee) were (with the 71st Pennsylvania) the regiments chiefly engaged, the two companies of the 19th not being in action. Placed in a hopeless position, and hopelessly outnumbered, they did as well, doubtless, as any raw troops could have done; and when they retreated at last, every man for himself, across a river which, as the writer heard Colonel Devens say [35] afterwards, ‘literally boiled with bullets,’ they had the glory of a severe engagement, if not of victory, about half of each regiment being killed, wounded or missing.77

Col. W. R. Lee of the 20th was captured, with the major and surgeon, four captains (three wounded), the adjutant and two other lieutenants. The major and surgeon were both grandsons of the revolutionary hero, Paul Revere.78 A captain and two lieutenants of the 20th were killed, one of the latter being young William Lowell Putnam, whose great grandfather, Judge Lowell, inserted the anti-slavery clause in the Bill of Rights of Massachusetts. Putnam, when the surgeon came to dress his wound in the hospital, said, ‘Go to some one else; you cannot save me.’ The boy-lieutenant of the 15th, John William Grout of Worcester, barely eighteen and fresh from a military school, took a load of wounded across the stream, under fire, returned for another, sent it off while he remained, then went to his colonel and asked, ‘Is there anything more that I can do?’ and, on being told that there was nothing, swam the stream himself and was shot and killed when half-way across. Dr. Haven of the same regiment and Dr. Hayward of the 20th decided, as the former wrote afterwards, ‘to remain and be taken, and get off what men we could.’79 Capt. Moses W. Gatchell (15th Mass.) was also killed.

Major-General Stone, in his official report, pays the highest tribute to the behavior of Colonel Devens and his command, as ‘exhibiting every proof of high courage and good discipline,’ and attributes the entire calamity to the fact that the cavalry scouts, upon whom Devens had relied to give him information as to the approach of the enemy, had been withdrawn without his knowledge.80


X. Filling up the regiments.

After the battle of Ball's Bluff, the mayor of Worcester sent a messenger to enquire of Colonel Devens what the city could do for the 15th Mass., which had been recruited there. The answer was: ‘Send us three hundred and ten men to fill our gaps; also a blanket and a pair of mittens [36] for each of us. That will do for the present.’81 Doubtless the clothing was supplied, but the need of recruits for any particular regiment brought up some new problems not quite so easy to solve.

There is no subject on which criticism has been more constant than on the mistaken policy pursued in some of the States, and especially in Massachusetts, in respect to recruiting. Mr. J. C. Ropes, who is undoubtedly our ablest military critic, thinks that the greater part of the Northern States ‘blindly and recklessly threw away’ the ‘army's capital,’ as he calls it, of long service and experience, by forming new regiments instead of filling up the old ones. ‘It is difficult to speak with patience,’ he says, ‘of this wretched business.’ In this respect he thinks that ‘the Federal army of the West,’ under Sherman, had immensely the advantage, through ‘the wiser and more military policy which the Western States generally adopted in the matter of recruiting their contingents.’82 ‘The Union army,’ says an able Massachusetts colonel, ‘was probably the only army in modern civilized warfare which as a rule was recruited by the addition of new regiments instead of by filling up the old organizations.’83

So the Comte de Paris says: ‘In order to procure a rapid supply of men it was necessary constantly to create new regiments. These regiments brought with them all the inexperience which had cost so dear to their predecessors, without deriving any profit from the experience acquired by the latter.’84

Granting all that is said by these critics, there is a point which they rarely recognize, namely, that this mode of procedure was not mainly matter of choice but of necessity. There were occasions when the army must be filled up in this way or not at all. Brevet Brigadier-General Walcott himself, who was for a time Governor Andrew's military secretary, describes vividly a scene between the governor and a local selectman, who in 1864 offered a company from his town for a new regiment if the officers called for by the men could be commissioned. The governor vehemently opposed this, but was met by the selectman with the simple statement that not a man could be raised in his town for an old regiment. ‘Since new regiments were better than none, and quotas must be filled, Governor Andrew had to [37] yield; and wound up with this vehement commentary, “Julius Caesar himself couldn't raise a company for an old regiment in Massachusetts, as long as there is a shoemaker left to make a captain of.” ’85

This sufficiently refutes the claim sometimes made that this substitution of new regiments for old was Governor Andrew's own policy,86 but it leaves the question still open why this policy was necessary in Massachusetts and not in Vermont or in the Western States. As regards Vermont, the case is very simple. It was the only Northern State in which the State regiments were regularly brigaded together, so that the local esprit de corps was thus retained. The officers of the brigade were well known, the State was a small one, and every recruit felt that he should in any case be practically among his neighbors. It was this very strength of local feeling which made the demand for new regiments in Massachusetts. As to the West, a vivid sense of the difference in this respect between an older State and a newer one will be found by simply comparing the published rosters and noting a single point. Every catalogue of Massachusetts soldiers designates the town where each one lived, while in corresponding catalogues of Western soldiers, as of those from Minnesota, for instance, not a town is mentioned, —every man belonged to the State only. It is perhaps the price that Massachusetts pays for that township system which Jefferson thought so powerful. If a Minnesota man wished to go to the war, he went; if it were among strangers, no matter; he had spent his life among strangers, or at least among recent acquaintances. Even in Minnesota it was easier to create new regiments than to fill up old ones. ‘To fill the existing regiments required only individual enlistments; but they had ceased to be spontaneous, as they had been in the beginning, and it was much easier to raise a new regiment, with the aid of those who expected to be commissioned in it, than to enlist the same number of men for regiments already at the front.’87 [38] And much more the Massachusetts man with two hundred years of tradition behind him wished to go with his neighbors, to be commanded by men whom he knew,—by a local shoemaker rather than by Julius Caesar.

It is to be noticed that much the same conditions of local organization are carefully preserved in the model army of the world, that of Germany. General Sheridan tells us that ‘a local or territorial system of recruiting’ is ‘the very foundation of the German army.’88

Joined with this, there were no doubt minor considerations. In entering a new regiment a man took his chance with the rest for speedy promotion; in an old regiment he took his place at the foot, and could count pretty surely on remaining forever in the ranks. The natural American instinct of rising was in the way of this self-sacrifice. Again, by an impulse possibly natural but most ungracious, the new recruit in an old regiment was apt to be received not kindly or even gratefully, as one who brought aid to the whole, but with a foolish contempt and derision, amounting to actual severity and hardship.

‘The lot of the recruit in an old company was at the best not an enviable one, and sometimes was made very disagreeable to him. He stood in much the same relation to the veterans of his company that the freshman in college does to the sophomores, or did when hazing was the rule and not the exception. . . . He easily became the butt of his company. . . . Many of the veterans seemed to forget how they themselves obtained their education, little by little, and so ofttimes bore down upon recruits with great severity.’89

After July 21, 1862, when an order was obtained from the Secretary of War, promising that new recruits assigned to any regiment should be mustered out with the regiment, it became much easier to secure recruits for old regiments. ‘Most of our regiments in the field had two years yet to serve, and there was a general belief that before the expiration of the regiments' terms the war would be at an end. The effect of the order was to send nearly five thousand men to fill up the depleted ranks.’90 [39]

Another problem early presented to Governor Andrew was that of promotion from the ranks. It seems now incredible that this should ever have presented itself as a problem, or that there should have been any hesitation in such promotions; but those who recall that period will well remember to have heard the view expressed that the English army, not the French, should be in this respect our model, and that a little antecedent superiority of social position was essential, at least in the city regiments. After the fearful losses in battle of one of the best Massachusetts regiments, General (then colonel) Devens said to its commander, ‘Colonel, the sooner you get this blue-blood notion out of your head the better for yourself and your regiment.’91 Many letters were received in Boston from sergeants in various regiments, complaining of the appointment over their heads—or the threatened appointment—of inexperienced civilians;92 and it was fortunate that the strongly democratic spirit of Governor Andrew settled so promptly the policy of the State for all but the colored regiments, where the reluctance of the general government itself limited the promotions to a very few.93 As a matter of fact, during 1861 and 1862 there were four hundred and sixty-three second lieutenants taken from enlisted men to supply vacancies in regiments, while the officers taken from civil life for that purpose were four captains, nine first lieutenants and thirty-five second lieutenants. It is claimed by Adjutant-General Schouler that ‘in a majority of these cases the appointments have been made at the earnest request of the field officers of the regiments in which they were commissioned, and in all cases for the good of the service.’94 It is possible that this last assertion may have been premature; the principle was a bad one, and the practice soon disappeared almost wholly except among the colored regiments.95 [40]

Over brevet appointments Governor Andrew had of course no control, though he sometimes gave suggestions. These brevets were showered from the beginning of the war until long after its close, with a profusion that became an undoubted evil, and, being often the result of personal solicitation or lobbying, had much to do with that constant presence of military officers in Washington, which afforded much amusement to foreign visitors. There were of course many instances where brevets were the direct recognition of brave deeds, but there was a large number of cases where they came simply from political influence and sometimes from the direct neglect of duty, as evidenced by men's hanging round the Capitol at Washington instead of being at their places in the field.96


Xi. The Naval service.

Massachusetts, being a seaside State and long the nursery of the merchant service, was naturally among the leading States for the supply of seamen. At the outset of the war the legal maximum of the navy was 7,600 men. Of these there were on March 10, 1861, only 207 in all the ports and receiving ships on the Atlantic coast.97 In July, 1863, there were 34,000 men in the service, and when the war ended, 51,500. In the last months of the war a bounty of $1,010 was sometimes paid for a single seaman.98 The official statistics show that of this vast addition to the numbers of the navy Massachusetts contributed a larger share than any State except New York; indeed, nearly 20,000, or nearly one-fifth of the whole number.99 [41]

A body of volunteer naval officers had also to be created, and of these at least 1,757 out of 7,500 were furnished by Massachusetts, and especially for the Atlantic Ocean service, those employed on the Mississippi being mostly steamboat men and pilots. The regular officers formed about one-seventh of the whole number employed.100

In addition, Massachusetts furnished, in connection with the expedition for the relief of Fort Sumter, the man who was destined above all men to bring order out of chaos and organize our early navy. This was Capt. Gustavus Vasa Fox, assistant secretary of the navy. He had spent eighteen years of his life in the navy, but had resigned five years before the war, and had engaged in business. Nominally an assistant secretary, he was practically, as has been said by others, a chief of staff, and the rapidity with which our young navy was organized was largely due to his efforts. Commander (afterwards admiral) Charles Henry Davis, another Massachusetts man, before best known as the captor, in 1857, of William Walker the filibuster, also worked most efficiently, under the direction of the navy department, in boards to report on iron-clads and also on the enemy's coast. In that momentous early success of the war, the capture of Port Royal (Nov. 7, 1861), he was fleet captain, and his promptness in surveying immediately the channel for the larger vessels had much to do with the ultimate success. Flag-Officer Dupont says: ‘By the skill of Commander Davis, the fleet captain, and Mr. Boutelle, the able assistant of the coast survey, in charge of the steamer Vixen, the channel was immediately found, sounded out and buoyed.’101 The admirable plan of the attack is also understood to have been due largely to him.

He was in charge of a project which finally proved rather abortive, of sinking what was called ‘a stone fleet’ in the main ship channel of Charleston harbor (Dec. 20, 1861), and afterwards in Sullivan's Island channel. The project occasioned much discussion and denunciation, both here and in Europe, although the Confederates had not hesitated to obstruct channels wherever they found it desirable.102 In this case it is doubtful whether any positive result followed, a better channel being at once formed south-east of Lighthouse Inlet. So far as the wooden obstructions were [42] concerned, the teredo or ship-worm soon disposed of them. All this must have been foreseen by so able an officer as Commander Davis, and it seems probable that the whole enterprise was mainly designed for intimidation.

As flag-officer, Commander Davis succeeded Commodore Foote in command of the newly improvised flotilla on the Mississippi River, this consisting partly of army rams devised and commanded by Colonel Ellet, and placed under the temporary command of the flag-officer. Commodore Foote had relinquished command, because of wounds, on May 9, 1861. The first naval engagement of the war, in the sense of a squadron fight, thus took place under a Massachusetts officer. It occurred before Fort Pillow, on May 10, and resulted in a partial victory for the Union flotilla, the Confederate rams having, however, done great damage, and the Union rams being not yet employed. Later, Fort Pillow was bombarded by Davis up to June 4, when it was abandoned, leaving forty heavy guns and much military material. On June 6 Davis commanded in a second fight with the Confederate flotilla, he being now fully reinforced by Colonel Ellet and his rams. The eight Confederate boats had from two to four guns each, and the five Union boats from thirteen to eighteen guns each.103 An hour's fight decided the fate of Memphis, which was surrendered to Davis without delay. His summons for its surrender is a document which ought, it has been said, to find a place in every future ‘polite letter writer.’ It runs thus: ‘Sir, I have the honor to request that you will surrender. I am, Mr. Mayor, with high respect, your obedient servant.’

The prophecy of Captain Montgomery, commanding the Confederate ‘river defence fleet,’ that ‘the enemy . . . will never penetrate farther down the Mississippi River,’104 was not fulfilled. Davis descended the river, and on July 1 joined Farragut's fleet from New Orleans. On October 15 following he was relieved from command of the flotilla on arrival of Commander (afterwards admiral) Porter, who thus testifies to his services: ‘For the second time (i. e., at Memphis) Rear-Admiral Davis won a strictly naval victory, and won it without a single mistake. . . . Take the battle, together with its results, it was one of the handsomest achievements of the war, but it did not receive that general notice which it deserved. . . . If Mr. Secretary Welles, who was liberal with his eulogistic letters to those [43] whom he approved of, ever congratulated Rear-Admiral Davis and his officers for their brilliant success, it nowhere appears in the secretary's report for 1862. But history will eventually give the credit to the brave men who served their country faithfully at the time of her greatest need.’105

The plan of the light-draught Mississippi gunboats, called ‘tin-clads,’ from their armor, originated with Davis, and proved a device of great value.106 They were stern-wheel steamers, carrying iron plating from one-half to three-quarters inch thick, covering them to a height of eleven feet, making them proof against musketry and light field artillery; they could carry, if needful, two hundred men, and had six or eight twenty-four-pound brass howitzers; their draught ranged from eighteen inches to three feet, and they were of the greatest use for raids and skirmishing, as subsidiary to larger vessels.

In the naval battle of March 8, 1862, in which for the first and last time the comparative strength of wooden and iron ships was tested, a prominent and most honorable, though most disastrous, part was taken by Massachusetts officers. The Roanoke, a fifty-gun steamer, whose machinery was, however, in a disabled condition, was commanded by Capt. John Marston, a Massachusetts man, and the Cumberland, a sloop of war of twenty-four guns, in the absence of the captain by Lieut. George W. Morris, aided by Lieut. (now admiral) Thomas O. Selfridge, Jr., both from this State, as were Acting Masters Randall and Kennison. The Cumberland, having been both rammed and fired into, sank with her flag still flying, carrying down with her more than one hundred men;107 and her guns were fired to the last, the final shot, discharged by Lieutenant Morris, fatally wounding the Confederate Commander, Captain Buchanan. The final triumph of the Monitor need not be described.

In September, 1862, Acting Master Crocker, a Massachusetts officer, was sent up the Sabine River to destroy a railroad bridge, which he did without injury.108

Commander Downes, a Massachusetts officer, commanded the monitor Nahant in the attack on Fort McAllister, March 3, 1863, and in the attack on Charleston, April 7; the Nahant being in this last attack ‘seriously [44] damaged; her turret so jammed as to prevent its turning, many of the bolts of both turret and pilot-house broken, and the latter rendered nearly untenable by flying bolts and nuts.’109 His vessel assisted, as a reserve, in the capture of the Atlanta in Wassaw Sound, on June 17, and assisted in covering General Gillmore's batteries on Folly Island, July 10, an engagement in which the Nahant was hit six times. He joined with the other commanders of iron-clads in a letter in May, vindicating the cause of Admiral Dahlgren in declining to attack Charleston harbor with the monitors.110

A Massachusetts officer, Capt. (afterwards admiral) John A. Winslow, commanded the Kearsarge when it finally destroyed the Alabama, and put an end to its destructive career on June 19, 1863. His brief and modest despatch to the War Department on this occasion is one of the classics of the Civil War, and is in curious contrast with the burst of enthusiasm which hailed his victory. ‘There was no occurrence during the war,’ says Admiral Porter, ‘more grateful to the Northern people. . . . Winslow became the hero of the hour, for he had not only disposed of a most troublesome enemy, but he had demonstrated the superiority of a United States ship, crew and guns over an English built, English armed and English manned vessel of equal if not superior force.’111

In the attack on Fort Pulaski, and again in that on Charleston, Ensign M. L. Johnson was commended in orders. In the latter attack Lieut.-Com. W. D. Whiting commanded the gunboat Ottawa. Acting Master's Mate E. Boomer commanded the Granite in the Burnside expedition against Roanoke Island, Acting Master Peter Hayes the Morse, and Acting Master's Mate G. W. Graves the Lockwood. The latter also took part in the reduction of New Berne. All these were Massachusetts officers.

In the daring though ineffectual boat attack on Fort Sumter, Sept. 8, 1863, one of the five divisions of boats was commanded by Lieut. (now captain) F. J. Higginson. He was ordered to move up to the north-west front of the fort, to make a diversion, the other divisions being held back; but, mistaking the movement, the other boats dashed on, and, as it seemed impossible to stop them, all were ordered to advance.112 Acting Master's Mate J. E. Jones of the Monticello accompanied Lieut. Wm. B. Cushing in one of his daring expeditions up the Wilmington River, June 23, 1864. In [45] the attack on Fort Fisher under General Terry, Jan. 15, 1865, Lieutenant-Commander Selfridge had charge of one of the three divisions of seamen. Assistant Surgeon Longshaw was killed in this assault. In the naval attack on Mobile Station, March 27, 1865, Lieut.-Com. W. W. Low commanded the Octarora. All these were Massachusetts officers by birth or appointment; but the whole number of such officers who did their duty can be found only in the lists in the second volume of this work, and the vast multitude of Massachusetts sailors cannot be preserved by name, even there.

There occurred under a Massachusetts officer, on April 11, 1864, one of the most curious contests in war history, the assault of twenty-five hundred infantry upon a gunboat aground. After the repulse of Banks at Sabine Cross Roads, La., April 8, the naval fleet and transports had to be withdrawn, their rear being brought up by a light-draught monitor, the Osage, commanded by Captain (now admiral) Selfridge, a Massachusetts officer. The vessel grounding on a point, with a transport, the Black Hawk, made fast to her, Selfridge presently received a report of a large force of troops issuing from the woods. They were taken at first for Union soldiers, being largely dressed in blue (captured) overcoats. Selfridge at once ordered the crew of the Black Hawk on board the monitor; and there ensued an hour's fight of the most curious description. Regiment after regiment of the enemy would march up, deliver its fire and then yield place to another. On the other hand, Selfridge would load his two eleven-inch guns with canister, and discharge them just as the enemy was about to fire. This fire from the gunboat was most destructive, but the enemy seemed to know no fear. The troops were Texas regiments, commanded by General Green of Texas, who was conspicuous, mounted on a white horse, and seemed to have the absolute confidence of the men. Presently he fell, and soon after the firing suddenly ceased and the troops retired. By this time Captain Selfridge had fired away nearly all his ammunition, and the woodwork of the Black Hawk was so riddled with bullets that the hand could not be placed anywhere without covering a hole. The iron shield of the pilot house of the Osage had sixty marks upon it. No one, however, was killed on the Union side, and only seven were wounded, while the Confederate loss was reported at seven hundred in killed and wounded, many being left on the field. Some of the wounded were taken on board the Osage, and reported that they had been led [46] to believe that the gunboat could easily be captured, and that their confidence in their leaders was so great that they would have followed anywhere.113

In the remarkable naval battle of Mobile Bay, Aug. 5, 1864, which was virtually a contest between the Confederate ram Tennessee, claimed as invulnerable, and the monitors, Admiral Porter attributes the highest merit of all to a Massachusetts officer, Commander (now admiral) Nicholson of the Manhattan, who alone pierced by his shot the formidable armor of the Tennessee. ‘The charge for the fifteen-inch gun, as regulated by the Bureau of Ordnance, was only thirty-five pounds of powder; but Captain Nicholson nearly doubled it, using sixty-five pounds, taking the responsibility of bursting the gun, but proving in fact that it could bear that charge for a limited number of rounds. The result was that he pierced the armor of the ram and dispelled the illusion of Buchanan and his men,—that their ram was invulnerable.’114


Xii. Operations in North Carolina.

The expedition to North Carolina under General Burnside was one of the most important events in the early part of the war, as it afforded a valuable test of the new levies; and its immediate success was striking, although it led to no such great final results as had been looked for. His force, which embarked at Annapolis on Jan. 5, 1862, included five Massachusetts regiments; the 21st (Lieutenant-Colonel Maggi), brigaded under General Reno, and the following, brigaded under General Foster: the 23d (Colonel Kurtz), the 24th or New England Guards Regiment (Col. T. G. Stevenson), the 25th (Colonel Upton) and the 27th (Col. H. C. Lee). The expedition, including about twelve thousand men in all,115 encountered severe storms, arrived at Hatteras Inlet January 14, and met with great difficulty in crossing the bar, so that it was reported in Boston as lost. After landing at Roanoke Island on February 7, an advance was made early on February 8, the 25th Mass. being placed in the front, with Co. A, Capt. (afterwards general) Josiah Pickett in command, and preceding as skirmishers, [47] supported by Co. E (Capt. Thomas O'Neil).116 All the regiments took part in the battle and sustained losses; the 21st especially distinguishing itself by a brilliant charge, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Maggi, driving the Confederates from the fort. General Reno wrote: ‘The honor of entering the fort is divided between the 21st Mass. and the 51st New York, but all charged gallantly.’ This early success caused great enthusiasm at the North and corresponding depression at the South. It was the first large capture of Confederates during the war, including 2,677 prisoners besides 6 forts, 40 guns and 3,000 small arms. The Richmond Examiner said: ‘The loss of an entire army at Roanoke Island is certainly the most fearful event of the war.’ The same regiments were engaged, with heavy losses, at New Berne (March 14). At this battle Lieut.-Col. Henry Merritt of Salem (23d Mass.) was killed, and Acting Adjt. Frazar A. Stearns (21st Mass.), son of the president of Amherst College. Seventeen members or graduates of the college fell in this battle; and in recognition of this a captured cannon, on which Colonel Clark (himself an Amherst professor) had mounted while cheering on his men, was presented by the regiment to the college. At New Berne also fell in battle Lieut. Joseph W. Lawton of the 27th; and a young man of the rarest promise, James Custis Hopkinson, private of the 44th Mass., died by disease. Major-General Foster in his report paid especial compliments to Col. John Kurtz of the 23d Mass. Infantry, Col. Thomas G. Stevenson of the 24th, Col. Edwin Upton of the 25th and Col. H. C. Lee of the 27th, also to Maj. R. H. Stevenson of the 24th and Lieut. William L. Horton, adjutant of the same regiment. Lieutenant-Colonel Sprague of the 25th. with a portion of his regiment and the regimental colors, was the first to enter the city of New Berne. Sergt. John D. Terry of Co. E, 23d Mass., received a medal of honor, five years later, for gallantry in action at this battle.

There was also an engagement at Camden, N. C., April 19, in which the 21st lost seven killed; one at Trenton Bridge May 15 without loss; one at Tranter's Creek June 5, in which the 24th had six killed and six wounded, and one at Washington, N. C., September 6, in which the same regiment had one killed and five wounded. There was also an engagement at Rawles' Mills, N. C., November 2, in which the 24th and 44th lost slightly, [48] as did the 3d (Co. I) at Plymouth, December 10. With these exceptions, the year was a quiet and rather disappointing one, and the whole result of the expedition was not quite what had been expected. It still remains a question whether these posts, secured on the sea-coast, should or should not have been sources of more aggressive activity. Col. T. A. Dodge, U. S. A., a high authority, thinks that they should have been thus utilized. ‘It seems as if they might have annoyed the enemy by frequent excursions on a large scale into the country, thus drawing the troops from the front of . . . their comrades.’117 This was done to some extent in the Department of the South, but the defeat at Olustee hardly vindicated the policy. The Confederates had always the immense advantage of interior lines, and also of keeping their numbers unknown, while those of the Union forces were more difficult to conceal.

Massachusetts was well represented by twelve regiments in the expedition under General Foster, in December, 1862, to Kinston, Whitehall and Goldsborough, N. C., although the actual losses were not heavy. Of this affair, Col. Horace C. Lee, commanding brigade, says in his report: ‘The old regiments in my brigade, the 25th and 27th, sustained their previously well-earned reputation. The new regiments, 3d, 5th and 46th, did nobly, marching up steadily, and finely maintaining their line and position without flinching.’118 The only regiment which incurred any considerable loss at Kinston December 14 was the 45th, or ‘Cadet’ Regiment (Col. C. R. Codman), and it again distinguished itself at Whitehall. The color-bearer, Sergt. Theodore Parkman, being shot down, Colonel Codman himself seized the colors, and advancing about ten feet before the regiment, which was then lying down, he lay down beside the colors. It is worthy of remembrance that the corps of ‘Cadets’ in Boston, whose number is limited to one hundred and ten, sent out, first and last, one hundred and twenty commissioned officers to the war, and had at one time so depleted itself that only six active members remained on its rolls. The 23d and 45th also met with some considerable loss at Whitehall but neither received any at Goldsborough. The 17th, 24th, 43d, 44th and 51st were also in the expedition, making in all about half the force. [49]

On Jan. 19, 1863, five companies of the 51st Mass. Infantry were in action at Young's Cross Roads, N. C., but without loss. There were engagements round New Berne, one at Deep Gully March 14, 1863, when Colonel Pickett (25th Mass.) held an outpost with much risk but small loss,119 and another March 14, when Lieut. Joseph W. Lawton of Ware (27th Mass.) and several others were killed. In an attack on Fort Anderson May 14 Lieut. N. S. Barstow (24th Mass.), acting signal officer, especially compliments his flagman, Timothy S. Marsh of Co. D, 21st Mass., for having behaved with admirable coolness under very severe fire; and the chief signal officer, Capt. D. A. Taylor (3d N. Y. Artillery), says in submitting the report that Lieutenant Barstow is ‘far too modest in describing his own share of the work,’ and proceeds to give ampler details of its perils.120 The Signal Corps of twenty-eight second lieutenants, detailed largely from Massachusetts regiments, was an important element in the North Carolina campaign.

Two companies of the 27th (G and H), being left at Plymouth, N. C., on garrison duty, had an encounter at Winfield or Rocky Hoc March 23, 1863, with slight loss. During the siege of Washington, N. C., March 30– April 16, Major-General Foster reports the 27th and 44th Mass. infantries as having ‘behaved nobly,’ though happily with small loss. He also complimented the 45th for ‘the efficient and soldierly manner’ in which they had served as provost guard at New Berne.121

On May 22, 1863, the 27th Mass. sustained some loss at Gum Swamp, where it had marched fifteen miles, in single file through dense woods, to surprise the enemy; and on. the following day Cos. A and I of the 46th sustained most honorably their position at an outpost under Colonel Jones of the 58th Pennsylvania. After this commander was killed the two companies held an advanced redoubt, under Captain Tifft, when the rest of the force had fallen back several miles; but were finally relieved. Sergt. A. S. Bryant of Co. A was made sergeant-major and received a medal of honor, ten years later, for ‘gallantry in action’ at this engagement.

At Bachelor's (or Batchelder's) Creek, N. C., during the defence of New Berne, Feb. 1-3, 1864, Lieutenant-Colonel Fellows of the 17th Mass. was [50] sent out with one hundred and fifteen men and a section of artillery, in aid of a New York regiment, but was surrounded in a fog and had three of his little band killed, three wounded, and sixty-six taken prisoners. On April 17-20 the 2d Heavy Artillery had a somewhat similar experience at Plymouth, N. C., a large part of Cos. G and H being taken prisoners, many of whom died in prison. Near Washington, N. C., the 17th was again engaged in a skirmish, with a small loss. At the end of the year (December 9-12) the 27th Regiment took part in an expedition to Hamilton, N. C., with slight loss.

In the following year (1865) a somewhat more serious affair occurred at Wilcox's Bridge, N. C., March 8-10, when the 17th, 23d, 25th and 27th Mass. infantries met with losses, as well as the 2d Heavy Artillery (five companies, near Kinston); and the 23d had also an engagement near Kinston March 14, with a small loss; but on the whole the North Carolina service proved less severe than was at first expected, though the loss from disease was considerable.


Xiii. The Peninsular campaign.

On Nov. 27, 1861, Lieutenant-General Scott, being seventy-five years of age, retired from the command of the American army and was succeeded by Maj.-Gen. G. B. McClellan, who, after some delay, submitted to the President the plan of a campaign against Richmond. On Feb. 27, 1862, the Secretary of War issued orders that steamers should be ready on March 18 to transport the newly organized Army of the Potomac to Fortress Monroe, and from March 17 to April 1 the troops embarked. They included the following Massachusetts infantry regiments: the 1st (Col. Robert Cowdin), the 7th (Col. D. N. Couch), the 9th (Col. Thomas Cass), the 10th (Col. H. S. Briggs), the 11th (Col. George Clark, Jr.), the 15th (Col. Charles Devens, Jr.), the 16th (Col. P. T. Wyman), the 18th (Col. James Barnes), the 19th (Col. E. W. Hincks), the 20th (Col. W. R. Lee), and the 22d (Col. J. A. Gove). The 1st Battery (Capt. Josiah Porter), the 3d (Capt. A. P. Martin), and the 5th (Capt. G. D. Allen) were also included in the Army of the Potomac.

The distribution of these forces was as follows:— [51]

Second Army Corps (Sumner).

First Division.—2d Brigade, 29th Mass. Infantry.

Second Division.—1st Brigade, 15th Mass. 3d Brigade, 19th and 20th Mass.

Third Army Corps (Heintzelman).

Second Division.—1st Brigade, 1st, 11th and 16th Mass.

Fourth Army Corps (Keyes).

First Division.—3d Brigade, 7th and 10th Mass.

Fifth Army Corps (Porter).

First Division.—1st Brigade, 18th and 22d Mass.; 2d Mass. Sharpshooters. 2d Brigade, 9th Mass. Artillery.—3d and 5th Mass. batteries.

Sixth Army Corps (Franklin).

Artillery.—1st Mass. Battery.


The whole force of the Army of the Potomac was about 100,000.122

The first important event in the peninsular campaign was the siege of Yorktown. The first assault was made, April 5, 1862, by three companies of the 1st Mass. with two of the 11th, under command of Lieut.-Col. George D. Wells, who was himself the first man to enter the lunette, after it had been taken at the point of the bayonet, without firing a gun. In his report he especially complimented Capts. Edward A. Wild, Sumner Carruth and Charles E. Rand, the two former of whom afterwards rose to be brigadier-generals. The national flag was planted on the works by Col. Jesse A. Gove of the 22d Mass. This regiment, originally recruited by the Hon. Henry Wilson, afterwards vice-president of the United States,123 at once proceeded to occupy and garrison the town.

In the battle of Williamsburg, Va., May 5, 1862, following on the fall of Yorktown, Maj.-Gen. Joseph Hooker, a Massachusetts officer, was in command, and received at this time his epithet of ‘Fighting Joe.’ [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.’124

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 Pines125 (May 31–June 1) was the [53] most important in which the Massachusetts troops had yet taken part. General Sedgwick's division, to which the 19th and 20th Mass. belonged, drove the famous Hampton Legion before it; and the 20th, which had now regained from captivity Colonel Lee, Major Revere and Adjutant Pearson, took an especially prominent part. The 10th and 7th also charged the enemy, the 10th forming four successive times under fire as regularly as if on the parade ground. General Hooker said in his report: ‘The 10th, commanded by Col. Henry S. Briggs of Pittsfield, son of the ex-governor, displayed the greatest bravery and materially checked the progress of the enemy.’ The loss of both officers and soldiers was heavy in this battle. There fell Lieut. J. D. Bullock of Fall River, of the 7th; Lieut. F. P. H. Rogers of Waltham, of the 16th; Lieut. Charles B. Warner of South Danvers, of the 19th; and Capts. Edwin E. Day of Greenfield and Elisha Smart of Adams, with Lieut. Benjamin F. Leland of Shelburne, all of the 10th Mass.

The 16th Mass. Infantry was sent out by General Hooker to feel the strength of the enemy, under instructions from General McClellan, and was engaged at Williamsburg, Va., June 18, with a loss of twenty-nine killed and mortally wounded, General Hooker reporting that the duty was executed ‘in fine style;’ and the 1st, 7th, 11th, 16th and 19th were engaged at Oak Grove June 25 with smaller losses.126

At the battle of Mechanicsville June 26, the 9th and 22d Mass., with the 1st and 3d batteries, were engaged, meeting with only slight loss; but at Gaines's Mill—the first attack made in force on the Army of the Potomac (June 27-28)—these two regiments lost very heavily, more than eighty being killed or mortally wounded from each, while their supports, the 10th, 15th and 29th, with the 1st, 3d and 5th batteries, suffered more slightly. It was at this battle that the 9th (Irish) Regiment, under Lieutenant-Colonel Guiney, fulfilled the prophecy made by the Hon. Edward Everett in regard to this portion of our people. ‘Their cordial sympathy warrants us in believing that if, on some hard-fought field, should the doubtful day be about to turn against us, the Irish brigade (as at Fontenoy) would rush to the rescue; with the terrible war-cry of Faugh-a-Ballagh they would sweep the foes of the Union before them, like chaff before the wind.’ On one [54] occasion, having formed their line upon Lieutenant-Colonel Guiney and his two standard bearers, who advanced before them, the commander calling ‘Men, follow your colors,’ they withstood nine successive charges of the enemy. Eleven officers of the 9th fell in that battle, including Capts. William Madigan, James E. McCafferty of Boston, John Carey of Marlborough, Jeremiah O'Neil of Medford, with Lieuts. R. P. Nugent of Boston and Francis O'Dowd of Medford. The 22d lost its colonel, Jesse A. Gove,—the first of the Massachusetts colonels to fall,—with Capt. J. F. Dunning of Boston and Lieut. T. F. Salter of Haverhill of the 22d and Lieut. C. C. E. Mortimer of the 3d Battery.127 More bayonet wounds are said to have been inflicted in the battle of Gaines's Mill than in any other contest of the war.

Gen. Fitz John Porter, commanding the 5th Army Corps, wrote to Governor Andrew, July 26, 1862: ‘No troops could have behaved better than did the 9th and 22d regiments and Martin's Battery [the 3d] and portions of Allen's [the 5th], or done more to add to our success.’128

During the retreat of McClellan the Massachusetts regiments suffered little at Peach Orchard or at Savage's Station, but at Glendale (June 30) and Malvern Hill (July 1) they were largely engaged, with losses extending through many regiments.

At the battle of Glendale, June 30, which, in the words of the Comte de Paris, ‘was remarkable for its fierceness among all that have drenched the American forests with blood,’ General Hooker attributed the salvation of the army to the constancy and courage of the 16th Mass. Infantry, under Col. Powell T. Wyman, who had come from Europe expressly to offer his services to Governor Andrew, and fell at Glendale, mortally wounded, at the head of his regiment.129 During the seven days battles the flagstaff of the 16th was broken in three places, and was brought away by Color Sergeant Jonas F. Capelle, who was subsequently promoted to be captain. But the 1st, 19th and 20th regiments lost more men at Glendale than the 16th, Majors H. J. How130 of the 19th and C. P. Chandler of [55] the 1st heading the list of some twenty officers of that grade from Massachusetts who fell in the Civil War. General Sedgwick writes, ‘The 19th Mass. (Colonel Hincks) was the first to arrive, and scarcely pausing to draw, gallantly dashed at the enemy.’ Colonel Sully, brigade commander, says that Lieut.-Col. J. W. Kimball commanded his regiment (the 15th) with great coolness and bravery. Gens. S. P. Heintzelman and C. Grover especially compliment the 1st and 16th Mass. Maj. D. S. Lamson, commanding the 16th after the death of Colonel Wyman, compliments Cos. C and H.131 General Walker says, ‘The 20th Mass. showed very high quality in the very trying circumstances under which it went into action.’132 Maj. P. J. Revere (of the 20th) had two horses shot under him, and his services were especially recognized by General Sedgwick. Lieuts. William H. Sutherland of the 1st and David Lee of the 19th also died in this battle.

In the battle of Malvern Hill, July 1, which was mainly a defensive contest and was fought with great courage on both sides from 3 to 6 P. M., the greatest losses fell upon the 9th Mass. Infantry and next to that upon the 15th. Brigade after brigade of Confederates was sent forward upon our line, but each was resisted and decisively defeated, the Union troops, when driven back, sometimes making a counter-charge and establishing a new line in advance of the previous one. Here Col. Thomas Cass of the 9th was mortally wounded, and his lieutenants, John H. Rafferty and Edward McSweeny, were killed. General Devens, who was in this battle, said of Maj. Ozro Miller of Shelburne Falls (10th Mass.), who was killed in this fight, ‘I know of no one among the heroic dead more worthy to be mentioned by name than Major Miller.’ Linked with him was the memory of Lieut. James Jackson Lowell133 (20th Mass.), who fell at Malvern Hill and had been previously wounded at Ball's Bluff, where his cousin, Lieutenant Putnam, had been killed. Brig.-Gen. I. N. Palmer, commanding brigade, says in his report, ‘The 10th Mass., after several hours' hard fighting, reported their ammunition exhausted, but they remained firmly on the field till after dark, and until the enemy was everywhere repulsed.’

Here ended the remarkable campaign of three months, in which the Army of the Potomac had forced its way to a point where it could see the [56] spires of Richmond and hear the clocks of the city striking,134 but had then been driven back with seven days fighting to the James River. Among the general officers from Massachusetts who had distinguished themselves in this prolonged contest were Hooker, Keyes and Sumner; and among men of less experience, Devens.


Xiv. The Department of the Gulf.

When General Butler, on March 20, 1862, took command of the newly organized Department of the Gulf, he had with him about thirteen thousand five hundred men, a considerable proportion of these being Massachusetts soldiers. His three brigades included the 30th Mass. Infantry (Colonel Dudley), the 31st (Colonel Gooding), the 2d, 4th and 6th Mass. batteries (Captains Nims, Manning135 and Everett), Co. A, Ind. Battalion Mass. Cavalry (Captain Read), Co. B of the same (Captain Magee), and Co. C of the same (Captain Durivage).136 Of these, the 2d Mass. Battery was detained at sea and did not actually arrive until May 21.

The expectation was that this land force might be employed to take the forts that commanded the river, should the navy fail to reduce them. As a matter of fact the navy accomplished it; but Major Whittemore of the 30th Mass. occupied Fort St. Philip when surrendered, while Captain Manning, with the 4th Mass. Battery, occupied Fort Jackson. Both forts were afterward held by the 26th Mass. (Colonel Jones). On arrival at New Orleans, May 1, the 31st Mass., with a section of the 6th Mass. Battery, were among the troops that took possession of the city.

The 6th Mass. Battery took part in the occupation of Baton Rouge, and when General Williams left that town on June 20, in the unavailing hope of taking Vicksburg, the 30th Mass. formed a portion of the force, with the 2d Battery (Captain Nims) and part of the 6th Battery (Captain Everett) ; the rest of this last battery and C company of cavalry (2d Battalion) remaining behind.137

During the passage of Vicksburg by the navy, the eight guns of the two [57] Massachusetts batteries were landed and placed behind the levee at Barney's Point, and were used to reply to the heavy guns on the high bluff; this being the only part taken in the affair by the army. Later, in the contest between the Union gunboats and the formidable rebel ram Arkansas, there were on board the Carondelet, when run ashore, twenty men of the 30th Mass., under Lieut. E. A. Fiske. No casualties occurred, but the troops returned, July 26, to Baton Rouge, after having, for more than three months, ‘undergone hardships such as have seldom fallen to the lot of soldiers, in a campaign whose existence is scarcely known and whose name is well-nigh forgotten.’138

In the battle of Baton Rouge, Aug. 5, 1862, the Massachusetts troops in the Department of the Gulf came for the first time under fire. The attacking party comprised about three thousand men with eleven guns under Breckenridge, and the party of defence about two thousand five hundred men with eighteen guns under Williams. Among the Confederates were many who had been under fire at Shiloh or who had defended Vicksburg, thus far successfully; while Weitzel said of the Union forces ‘there were not twelve hundred who could have marched five miles. None of our men had been in battle; very few had been under fire.’139 The Massachusetts troops engaged were the 30th Mass. on the right and rear in column, supporting Nims's (2d) Battery, under Lieutenant Trull; and on the centre and left the 6th Battery, under Lieutenant Carruth, and the 4th Battery, Captain Manning. The battle was short but severe, and there seems to have been confusion, sometimes approaching panic, on both sides. The naval vessels also took part on both sides, and produced some effect on the land forces. General Williams was killed and Colonel Dudley of the 30th Mass. (a regular army officer) took his place. It was a drawn battle, but left the Union forces in such a state that the burning and evacuation of Baton Rouge were afterwards ordered by General Butler, though the first part of the order was countermanded, through the earnest remonstrance of Gen. H. E. Paine of Wisconsin, to whom it was intrusted. Capt. Eugene Kelty of Lawrence (30th Mass. Infantry) was killed in this engagement.

It is unnecessary here to enter on the vexed question of General Butler's government of the conquered city from May to December, 1862. New [58] Orleans itself was practically held by the presence of the navy, which had captured it; for the whole policy of the Confederates throughout the war was to abstain from all serious attempts to retake points within reach of the salt water, where the navy held control, but rather to let go what was lost and confine themselves to interior lines, where they were strong. They were willing to have it understood that they menaced such points, and New Orleans most of all, but there is no reason to suppose that they had any serious purpose of retaking it, any more than of recapturing Port Royal or Fernandina. It appears from the Confederate correspondence in Official War Records that there were from time to time propositions of this kind from hot-headed officers, as Gens. John M. Huger and David Ruggles, but that these were uniformly repressed by General Beauregard on the simple ground that the gunboats made it absolutely impossible. ‘So long as the enemy has command of the river with his gunboats, the recovery of New Orleans must depend upon our taking St. Louis, Louisville, Cincinnati, Washington and Baltimore, which I think could be done before long by a proper combination of our still latent forces and resources.’140 In other words, five large Northern cities must be taken first! ‘Meanwhile,’ he adds, ‘a proper organization of our State forces can keep the enemy within the limits of this desirable end.’141 The correspondence of the Confederate War Department with both Beauregard and Ruggles seems to imply that they kept thoroughly within this last reasonable view.142 On land they had every advantage; within the fire of the gunboats they were powerless. Their recapture of Galveston was not an exception, since the Union forces had merely occupied a wharf. No one doubts the great energy exhibited by General Butler in assuming and exercising his jurisdiction, half civil, half military, over the city of New Orleans, and in the then state of the public mind at the North the more obnoxious he made his rule the better; but it was essentially the government of a civil ruler, though under military and naval protection, and however well or ill accomplished lies apart from the present narrative, while the battles and skirmishes growing out of it find a proper place here.

At the time of the battle of Baton Rouge, Aug. 5, 1862, it is probable that Butler's whole active force did not exceed seven thousand men, having [59] been reduced almost one-half by disease and other losses since he first entered New Orleans. He was promised recruits in the autumn, but knew nothing farther; and it was not until he and General Banks met in New Orleans on December 15 that Butler knew himself superseded.143

President Lincoln had been strongly impressed with the remarkable energy shown by Banks when appointed in command of the defences of Washington, under McClellan, at the close of Pope's campaign. ‘Within forty-eight hours a mob of thirty thousand wounded men and convalescents, who knew not where to go, and of stragglers, who meant not to go where they were wanted, was cleared out of the streets of Washington and pandemonium was at an end. Order was rather created than restored, since none had existed in any direction. . . . Less than two months later, in the closing days of the month of October, President Lincoln sent for Banks and said, “You have let me sleep in peace for the first time since I came here. I want you to go to Louisiana and do the same thing there.” ’144 With thirty-nine regiments of infantry, six batteries of artillery and one battalion of cavalry, Banks sailed from New York, under sealed orders, on December 4, and reached Ship Island on Dec. 13, 1862. Unfortunately, twenty-one of his regiments were enlisted for only nine months, of which time many weeks had in some cases expired. Of these regiments many were from Massachusetts, and of the general officers now ordered to report to him, two, Brig.-Gens. George L. Andrews and William Dwight, Jr., were Massachusetts men, the first of these becoming ultimately chief of staff to General Banks.

General Banks's career in Louisiana began with a success and a failure,— the evacuation of Baton Rouge by the Confederates and their recapture of Galveston, which had been occupied and then retaken under peculiar circumstances. The 42d Infantry (Colonel Burrell) had the curious experience, just after it had reached the front, of having three of its companies besieged and captured on a wharf at Galveston—a point then deserted— by a greatly superior force of Confederates, and of having, for a body of wholly raw soldiers, come out of the affair with honor. They were ordered by General Banks, Dec. 19, 1862, to proceed from New Orleans to Galveston [60] and occupy it, the remainder of the regiment to follow when arrived from the North. Arriving at Galveston Colonel Burrell was advised by the naval officers at the station to take up regimental quarters in an unoccupied building on a wharf, with their assurance that the gunboats could repel any possible attack from a force however large. Early in the morning of Jan. 1, 1863, an attack was made by the enemy and several Confederate gunboats and a ram entered the harbor. A hard fight took place, and meanwhile Colonel Burrell placed his men behind barricades on the wharf, and they defended themselves with courage, but not being adequately sustained by the gunboats they were compelled to surrender, the enemy's force turning out many times larger than their own, and having many pieces of artillery. The 42d had five killed and fifteen wounded. In acknowledgment of the creditable course of the little band, Colonel Burrell was requested to keep his sword, and all private property of officers and enlisted men was respected. Seven officers and two hundred and thirty-seven privates were taken prisoners, but were paroled February 18, at Alexandria, La., whither they had been marched one hundred and twenty-five miles, and were subsequently ordered to form a paroled camp at Bayou Gentilly, where they were detained during the rest of their term of service, except the chaplain, who was immediately released.

The first battle of the 19th Army Corps took place at Bisland, in Louisiana, on April 13, 1863. It consisted of an attack on the line of breastworks thrown up by the Confederates on each side of the Teche, the brigade commanded by Colonel Gooding of the 31st and including his regiment. The 31st carried some rifle-pits in the wood by a spirited charge, in which they took two officers and eighty-four men prisoners. Colonel Gooding's main line was formed by the 38th Mass. deployed as skirmishers, followed by the 53d Mass., the regiments replacing each other when the ammunition was expended. As the fight went on, the 4th Mass. was sent forward to the skirmish line. The announcement of General Grover's arrival led to a cessation of the fire, and a general attack was ordered for the next morning; but during the night the works were evacuated and they were occupied without difficulty in the morning, the 53d Mass. being the first to plant its flag on the left bank.145 The 38th Mass. headed the list of casualties with six killed and thirty-nine wounded, the 31st and 53d [61] infantries and 6th Battery also suffering losses, the list including Capt. Samuel Gault of the 38th and Lieut. G. G. Nutting of the 53d. The corps flag of the 19th Corps—blue with a white star and the figures in red—was carried for the first time in this engagement.

Lieutenant-Colonel Rodman (38th Mass.) mentioned ‘a case of marked coolness and gallantry on the part of Private Patrick Smith (Co. D, 38th Mass.), who, coming suddenly upon three rebels in the wood upon the right, shot one of them and compelled the other two to surrender, and brought them both in as prisoners.’146

About this same time, Lieut. Chas. S. Sargent, volunteer aide-de-camp to General Banks, went to communicate with Admiral Farragut and found Admiral Porter at the mouth of Red River. He brought the report that Porter had captured Grand Gulf and Grant had begun his victorious march on Vicksburg.147 Capt. Howard Dwight, assistant adjutant-general at the headquarters of General Banks, was shot and killed by guerillas at Bayou Boeuf, May 4, 1863, after having surrendered while riding to the front. His brother, Brig.-Gen. Wm. Dwight, Jr., was ordered by General Banks to arrest one hundred white persons in the vicinity and send them to New Orleans, to be confined as hostages for the arrest of the assassins.148 There were not so many white men in that whole region, and the offenders were never brought to justice, though the act was disavowed and condemned by the Confederate officers. Another brother, Maj. Wilder Dwight, had already fallen at Antietam.

In the siege of Port Hudson, Colonel Chickering (41st Mass. Infantry) marched, May 21, from Barreas Landing with a force consisting of his own regiment,—now mounted as cavalry on prairie horses,—the 52d Mass. Infantry, four Maine and New York regiments and a section of the 2d Mass. Battery under Lieutenant Snow. His column was to cover in the march ‘the long train that stretched for eight miles over the prairies, with a motley band of five thousand negroes, two thousand horses and fifteen hundred beeves for a cumbrous accompaniment. With the possible exception of the herd that set out to follow Sherman's march through Georgia, this was perhaps the most curious column ever put into motion [62] since that which defiled after Noah into the ark.’149 It sustained some slight attacks only, and in its last thirty-one hours marched forty-eight miles, reaching Brashear May 28.

On May 21, 1863, an encounter took place, with some loss, at Plains Store, La., in which a brisk artillery fire was interchanged, followed by a charge from the Confederates, of which the 48th Mass. (Col. E. F. Stone) bore the brunt, being sustained by the 49th Mass. (Col. W. F. Bartlett). The loss was not, however, large.

In both the two assaults on Port Hudson (May 27 and June 14, 1863) the regiment suffering most severely was the 38th (Colonel Ingraham), the loss beginning with Lieut.-Col. W. L. Rodman of New Bedford, who commanded on the second day.150 Next to this in losses came the 53d (Colonel Kimball), which suffered heavily on both days, the 31st (Colonel Gooding), the 49th (Colonel Bartlett), the 4th (Colonel Walker), the 48th (Colonel Stone), the 50th (Colonel Messer) and the 52d (Colonel Greenleaf).

When the assault on Port Hudson was ordered for the 27th, a storming party of two hundred volunteers was called for, nearly half that number coming from the 48th Mass. Lieut.-Col. James O'Brien of that regiment (of Charlestown, Mass.) was assigned to the leadership of the party, which contained fifteen line officers and seventy-seven enlisted men of the regiment. Of these, one-half were to carry fascines and cotton bags for filling the ditch, while the 48th and 49th Mass., with other regiments, were to support them. When the order was given for the stormers to advance, O'Brien shook hands with the officer who brought it, and turning to his men, who were sitting or lying about him, said in the coolest and most business-like manner, ‘Pick up your bundles and come on!’ The whole corps was at once put in motion. ‘A truly magnificent sight,’ says the historian of the 19th Army Corps, ‘was the advance of these battalions, with their colors flying and borne sturdily toward the front, yet not for long. Hardly had the movement begun when the whole force —officers, men, colors, stormers and all—found themselves inextricably entangled in the dense abatis under a fierce and continuous discharge of musketry and a withering cross-fire of artillery. Besides the field-pieces bearing directly down the road, two twenty-four pounders poured upon their flank a storm of missiles of all sorts, with fragments of railway bars [63] and broken chain for grape, and rusty nails and the raking of the scrap-heap for canister. No part of the column ever passed beyond the abatis, nor was it even possible to extricate the troops in any order without greatly adding to the list of casualties, already of a fearful length.’151

Lieutenant-Colonel O'Brien was killed in this engagement and the greater part of his little party was killed or wounded. But the most conspicuous figure on the field on May 27 was Colonel Bartlett of the 49th, who, having lost a leg in the Peninsular, insisted upon advancing on horseback for the half-mile before the works, over the roughest possible field, repeatedly floundering to his horse's neck amid the roots and rubbish, and waving his sword to encourage his men. The only mounted figure among so many, he commanded such admiration among his opponents that the sharpshooters forbore to fire upon him, as was afterwards stated by his friend and biographer, General Palfrey.152 After he was wounded, Maj. Charles T. Plunkett took command of the regiment, and being a man of uncommon height, he too offered a good mark for the enemy, but escaped unhurt. Out of eighteen officers of the 49th who went into the fight eleven were wounded.

In the second assault on Port Hudson (June 14), the chief loss fell on the 38th and 53d Mass. infantries, though it was also shared by the 4th, 31st, 48th, 49th and 52d, the 50th being held in reserve. Gen. H. E. Paine of Wisconsin led the assault, deploying the 4th Wisconsin and 8th New Hampshire as skirmishers, placing the 4th Mass. behind them with improvised hand-grenades, made of six-pounder shells. Then the 38th and 53d Mass. were formed in line of battle. At the head of the column the 31st Mass., likewise deployed, carried cotton bags to fill the ditch. At the onset, Paine fell by the first discharge; some of the 38th Mass. (with some of the two New Hampshire and Wisconsin regiments) gained the ditch and a few even climbed the parapet, but of these nearly all [64] were made prisoners. ‘The rear of the column fell back to the cover of the hill, while all those who had gained the crest were forced to lie there, exposed to a pitiless fire of sharpshooters, and the scarcely more endurable rays of the burning sun of Louisiana, until night came and brought relief.’153

On June 15, 1863, after the formidable repulse which had occurred, General Banks issued an order congratulating his troops and calling for a storming party of one thousand volunteers, promising that every one so serving should receive a medal and should have his name placed upon a roll of honor in General Orders. Col. H. W. Birge of the 13th Connecticut at once volunteered to lead the party, and in spite of a good deal of disapproval, the ranks were more than filled in a few days. The surrender of Vicksburg, followed closely by that of Port Hudson, rendered unnecessary the sacrifice demanded of the stormers, but they had the honor of entering the fort in advance of all others,154 and their names are preserved in a roll of honor, including, as given by the historian of the 19th Army Corps, a series of Massachusetts names, which will be found in a note.155 There is [65] some uncertainty about several of these names, but as Irwin's list is the latest, and was obtained by collation of several different lists, I have taken it in preference to that issued by the Forlorn Hope Association (Lieut.-Col. D. P. Muzzey of Cambridge, president) or that in Official War Records.156 [66]

It is to be noted that the storming column had been organized into two battalions, one of ten and one of eight companies, each with captain and lieutenants and about fifty men. The senior and junior majors of the 1st battalion were Massachusetts officers, Capts. E. P. Hollister and S. D. Hovey (both of 31st Mass. Infantry). The commander of the 6th company, 1st battalion, was Lieut. L. C. Howell, adjutant of the 31st Mass. Infantry; while the 10th company was commanded by Capt. E. A. Fiske (30th Mass. Infantry), and had three Massachusetts lieutenants, N. K. Reed and T. B. Johnston (30th Mass.), with James Stewart (31st Mass.). In the 2d battalion, the 7th company was commanded by Capt. Francis E. Boyd; and had for lieutenants, W. T. Hodges, D. P. Muzzey and C. W. C. Rhoades,—all four of the 3d Mass. Cavalry.157 All these, though not actually called into service, are as much entitled to honor as if they had been; and it is to be deeply regretted that we have not an equally complete list of the smaller storming party of the first attack, who fought or fell with the brave O'Brien.

At La Fourche Crossing (June 21, 1863) Lieut.-Col. Albert Stickney (47th Mass.), whom Irwin terms ‘a very intelligent and spirited young officer,’ and who had been for these qualities put in command of the district, met and defeated a Confederate attack with a small force made up of the troops of seven different States, including fragments of the 26th and 42d Mass. Infantry. In the battle of Franklin, during the siege of Vicksburg (July 9, 1863), the 29th, 35th and 36th Mass. were engaged, the 35th making a dash into the town and planting its flag upon the courthouse. In that campaign fell Capt. Ezra Ripley of the 29th, who died of exhaustion and overwork.158 The engineering operations, both at Port Hudson and Vicksburg, were largely under the direction of Massachusetts officers,—Capt. John C. Palfrey in the former case and Maj. Cyrus B. Comstock in the latter.

In the ill-fated and objectless battle of Cox's plantation, or Bayou La Fourche, July 13, 1863, Colonel Dudley (30th Mass.) was sent out with two sections of the 6th Mass. Battery (Carruth's) along the right bank of a bayou, supported by Gen. Charles J. Paine. Col. J. S. Morgan, moving on the other side of the bayou, was surprised and driven back by the Confederate [67] General Green, and fell back on Dudley, both being forced a mile in retreat, until supported by General Paine and ultimately withdrawn by General Grover. Colonel Morgan was ultimately tried and sentenced by court-martial, though this sentence was suspended by General Banks. It was afterwards claimed by the Confederate commander that he lost thirty-three and the Union force one thousand, but Irwin puts this last amount at four hundred and sixty-five, about forty-eight of which fell on the 30th Mass. The 6th Battery had one man wounded and lost one gun, ‘without the least fault on the part of the artillerists,’ says Irwin.159

After General Sherman was wounded at Port Hudson, Gen. Wm. Dwight, Jr., showed great energy in pushing forward the left of the Union line. The troops brigaded under him (1st brigade, 1st division, 19th Army Corps) were not, however, from his own State, nor were many of them engaged in the important twin battles of Sabine Cross Roads and Pleasant Hill, April 8-9, 1864. The Massachusetts troops actually involved were the 3d and 31st Mass. infantries (the latter mounted) and the 2d and 13th batteries, brigaded under Colonel Dudley and assigned to the cavalry division. They lost in all about eighteen killed and about one hundred and fifty wounded, missing or prisoners.

In the battle which took place at the crossing of Cane River, La., April 23, 1864, the 31st and 38th Mass. infantries were again engaged with loss, the 3d Cavalry with some wounded (during several days of skirmishing) and the 13th Battery without loss.160 This was the last pitched battle fought before the transfer of the 19th Army Corps from Louisiana to Virginia, where it was to take part in the Shenandoah campaign.

There were, however, various smaller encounters. In a reconnoissance at the end of April, 1864, the 31st Mass. Infantry formed a part of the advance during the outward march and was the rear guard in returning, having encounters, with slight losses, at Alexandria April 26, at Hudnot's and at Governor Moore's plantations May 1-2, 1864. The 3d Mass. Cavalry, at the same time, was attacked by Quantrell's guerillas near Alexandria and lost four men. Both regiments were also engaged, during the disastrous march down the Red River May 13-18, with losses, by which the 31st especially suffered, at Yellow Bayou having eight killed and [68] twenty-four wounded. The losses on the Confederate side were, however, far greater, thus mitigating the close of a campaign which had been, on the whole, disastrous. On June 24, Grant ordered the transfer of the 19th Army Corps to Virginia; the Massachusetts troops still left in Louisiana being the 3d Mass. Cavalry, the 31st Infantry (mounted), and the 4th, 7th and 15th light batteries. All of these except the 3d Cavalry served under General Canby afterwards at the siege of Mobile, Ala., March 20–April 12, 1865.161


Xv. The Army of Virginia under Pope.

While McClellan was still before Richmond, a new army organization called the Army of Virginia was formed June 26, 1862, out of the three corps of Banks, Fremont and McDowell, which had hitherto acted independently of each other between Washington and the Shenandoah valley.162 The three corps made about thirty-eight thousand men, afterwards increased by additions. They were placed under the command of Maj.-Gen. John Pope, who unfortunately forfeited confidence in advance by a rather bombastic proclamation. One of his first acts was to order a meeting between Banks and Sigel (who had succeeded Fremont), his corps commanders, at Culpepper on Aug. 8, 1862, and as Sigel failed to arrive, Banks attacked, the next day at Cedar Mountain, the army under ‘StonewallJackson, at first successfully then unsuccessfully, meeting at last with heavy loss. Banks was greatly outnumbered, but ‘attacking with much vigor but without much discretion he almost compassed a victory.’163 Though but a single Massachusetts regiment (the 2d, Colonel Andrews) was actively engaged, it was a battle most disastrous to the State. Out of twenty-three commissioned officers, only eight escaped unhurt, while one-half the non-commissioned officers and nearly one-third of the enlisted men were killed or wounded. Maj. James Savage, Jr., Capts. Richard Cary and Edward G. Abbott, W. B. Williams and R. C. Goodwin, with Lieut. Stephen G. Perkins, were all killed,164 and Surgeon Leland was severely wounded; Maj. James Savage, Jr., and Capts. Samuel M. Quincy and [69] Henry S. Russell were made prisoners of war, the first named dying of his wounds.

The 2d Mass. Infantry was the first three years regiment raised in the State, and received from its first commander, Col. (afterwards general) George H. Gordon,—himself a graduate of West Point,—a standard of drill and discipline which it never lost. Colonel (afterwards general) Andrews, its second commander, was also a graduate of the academy. In General Gordon's account of this battle he especially compliments Colonel Andrews, Maj. Wilder Dwight165 and Lieuts. Henry B. Scott and Charles P. Horton.

The 12th Mass. Infantry (Colonel Webster) acted as a support in the battle of Cedar Mountain, and there lost Capts. John Ripley and Nathaniel B. Shurtleff. The company commanded by Captain Shurtleff was peculiarly the company of the Boston Latin School, and his death recalled the dignified and tender way in which he had spoken of its possibility when receiving the standard given to his company by that school.166 At that early period of the war, when the public mind was not yet inured to such calamities, the battle of Cedar Mountain created, especially in Massachusetts, a sense of loss and sorrow surpassing that produced by many larger conflicts later in the war.

The engagements at Kelley's Ford, Rappahannock, Kettle Run and Groveton in August cost little to the few Massachusetts regiments engaged, but the second battle of Bull Run (Manassas), fought by Pope on his retreat Aug. 30, 1862, involved a number of Massachusetts regiments in action and nine in actual losses. The severest occurred in that celebrated charge by Hooker's brigade, which included the 1st, 11th and 16th Mass. infantries. In this charge the 16th lost seven officers and one hundred and twelve men killed and wounded in fifteen minutes, and it was estimated that of the two thousand who took part in the charge, more than one-quarter were disabled. Col. Wm. Blaisdell says of this charge: ‘The 11th Regiment, being the battalion of direction, was the first to reach the railroad, and of course received the heaviest of the enemy's fire. This staggered the men an instant, but recovering they gave a wild hurrah and [70] over they went, mounting the embankment, driving everything before them at the point of the bayonet.’167 Brig.-Gen. C. Grover, commanding brigade, says that the ‘11th and 16th Mass. have under every trial won new distinction.’ Lieut. Hiram B. Banks of the 16th was killed in this charge, as were also Lieut.-Col. George F. Tileston, Capt. Benjamin Stone and Lieut. William R. Porter of the 11th. Capt. Charles W. Carroll and Lieuts. Pardon Almy and J. E. Simmons of the 18th fell also in this battle; Col. Fletcher Webster and Capt. Richard H. Kimball of the 12th; together with three lieutenants, J. M. Mandeville of the 1st, Bartlett Shaw of the 29th and William H. Flynn of the 28th. It was upon the 18th Mass. that the heaviest losses of all fell. Maj. (afterwards general) G. L. Andrews, U. S. A., a Massachusetts officer commanding the 17th U. S. Infantry, especially compliments in his report the services of Lieut. (afterwards captain) W. W. Swan, U. S. A., also of Massachusetts.

At Chantilly, Sept. 1, 1862, fell prematurely a Massachusetts officer, Gen. Isaac I. Stevens, who had left West Point, it is said, with higher honors than had been won by any previous graduate. He led an attack on foot at the head of the 79th New York, a Scotch regiment. The fire was severe and the color-sergeant was wounded, when General Stevens took the colors, calling, ‘We are all Highlanders; follow, my brave Highlanders.’ He was almost instantly struck and killed by a bullet in the right temple, this being, as he had previously said, the death he had most wished to die.

There also died at Chantilly, Lieut.-Col. Joseph P. Rice of the 21st, with Capt. John D. Frazer, and Lieuts. Henry A. Beckwith, Frederick A. Bemis and William B. Hill, also Lieut. Alexander Barrett of the 28th. The losses fell upon these two regiments, especially on the 21st, which lost thirty-eight killed and mortally wounded out of four hundred. The 8th Mass. Battery was also engaged, but without loss.

On the following day, September 2, General Pope was withdrawn; he returned to Washington and his army was merged in the Army of the Potomac. His boastful early proclamations, with their very inadequate result, threw a cloud over his whole campaign; but that accomplished professional critic, Col. T. A. Dodge, says that ‘from Cedar Mountain to [71] Chantilly the conduct of our troops stands out in brilliant relief from the tactics of their commanders.’168

There happened afterwards at the Potomac fords a few small affairs in which the 1st Mass. Cavalry took part, especially at Monocacy Ford, near Poolesville, September 5, where one of its companies was sharply attacked by Longstreet's cavalry and had a few killed or wounded and lost some prisoners;169 but nothing more serious occurred before the opening of the Antietam campaign.


Xvi. The Antietam campaign.

On July 4, 1862, the President had called for three hundred thousand troops, and Governor Andrew, on July 7, for fifteen thousand. Within two months nine new three-years regiments had been filled (from the 33d to the 41st), besides the 9th and 10th batteries, and some four thousand recruits for old regiments. On August 4 the reverses of McClellan and Banks led to a new call for three hundred thousand nine-months troops, to be raised by draft if necessary; and seventeen Massachusetts militia regiments, numbering more than sixteen thousand men, were called out or enlisted for that term of service. These were the 6th, which was again first in the field, the 3d, 4th, 5th and 8th—all these being regiments that had already served—and twelve new nine-months regiments, from the 42d to the 53d inclusive. To these was added the 11th Battery; all this being the work of a single year. As one means of promoting the necessary enlistments, Governor Andrew recommended, August 23, that business should be suspended in the towns and cities of the Commonwealth for one week, in order that the citizens should devote their whole time to filling the required quota. As a result, no draft became necessary until nearly a year later, June, 1863, and not then upon any very large scale.

At the battle of South Mountain, September 14, the prelude to Antietam, the 12th, 13th, 21st, 28th and 35th Mass. infantries were engaged, with the 1st and 8th batteries. General McClellan wrote of this battle, as a whole, ‘The troops behaved magnificently. They never fought better.’170 The 12th and 28th infantries and the 1st Battery lost one killed [72] each, and the 35th Mass. lost five, including one officer, Lieut. Charles F. Williams of Salem. An injury to it, even more serious, was the loss of an arm by its commander, Colonel (afterwards general) Wild, his other arm being also partially disabled,—this permanently withdrawing him from his regiment, though he became afterwards a general officer.

The Massachusetts regiments engaged at Antietam September 16-17 were (actively) the 2d, 12th, 13th, 15th, 19th, 20th, 21st, 28th, 29th and 35th, and in reserve or as supports, the 9th, 18th, 22d and 32d. The 3d and 8th batteries were also engaged, but with no loss of life. All the actively engaged suffered losses, varying from the nine killed, thirty-one wounded of the 29th to the seventy-four killed, one hundred and sixty-five wounded out of the three hundred and thirty-four of the 12th and the one hundred and eight killed of the 15th.

In the important series of events which took place around Burnside's bridge at Antietam, Massachusetts regiments took a foremost place. The 35th and 21st were assigned to Ferrero's brigade, upon which fell largely the charge of carrying the bridge under great difficulties and charging the Confederate rifle pits above. On September 17, when they charged across the bridge and ascended the heights, Lieutenant-Colonel (afterwards brevet brigadier-general) Carruth of the 35th was shot through the neck and had to be carried from the field, as was the case with Captain King (afterwards colonel, 4th Mass. Heavy Artillery), who was wounded in seven places. Capts. A. W. Bartlett of Newburyport, and Horace Niles of Randolph, both of the 35th, were killed or mortally wounded, and when they were withdrawn, only three hundred were left uninjured of a regiment which had quitted home, less than a month previous, with more than one thousand men. Nearly three hours were occupied in successive efforts to carry the bridge; the ammunition of those taking part was nearly exhausted, and the general in command reports that ‘the proportion of casualties to the number engaged was much greater than common.’171

The 21st shared the fortunes of the 35th on that day, but with a loss of only ten killed, including Second Lieut. Henry C. Holbrook of Barre, and thirty-five wounded. [73]

In other parts of that fragmentary battle Massachusetts men had a prominent share. The 2d Mass. Infantry having taken a Confederate flag, Lieut.-Col. Wilder Dwight rode along the line displaying it, amid a storm of bullets.172 Near the end of the battle he fell, mortally wounded. His last act before being wounded was to walk along the line of the regiment, which was drawn up under the shelter of a fence, and to direct the men to keep their heads down out of the reach of the enemy's fire.173

How well this regiment reflected the character of such an officer may be seen in the contemporary testimonials. Brig.-Gen. A. S. Williams, commanding the 1st Division of the 12th Corps, wrote to Governor Andrew, Dec. 5, 1862, of the 2d Mass. Infantry, that ‘in the battles of Cedar Mountain and Antietam its casualties were nearly one-third the number engaged in action,’ and added: ‘In thoroughness of discipline, in perfection of drill, in regularity and promptness in camp and garrison duties, and the intelligence and fidelity of its officers, it may well be questioned if this regiment has its superior in the service.’174

Another brave officer who fell at Antietam was Maj. William D. Sedgwick of Lenox, formerly captain in the 2d Mass. Infantry, but at the time of his death serving on the staff of General Sedgwick, his kinsman. He fell while trying to rally a broken regiment, and while lying fatally wounded on the field, wrote to his family, ‘My country is welcome to every drop of my blood. I love my wife and children as well as any man, but I would engage never to see them again if I could thereby secure the abolition of slavery.’175

The 15th Mass. Infantry sustained the heaviest loss among all the regiments at Antietam, eighty of the killed falling within twenty minutes of time. Among these were Capts. Richard Derby176 of Salem and Clark S. Simonds of Fitchburg, with Lieuts. Thomas J. Spurr of Worcester and Frank S. Corbin of Dudley. Lieutenant Spurr refused, when mortally wounded, to be carried to the rear.177

Among other regiments there fell, of conspicuous officers, Capt. George W. Batchelder of Salem (19th Mass. Infantry), Capt. John Saunders (1st [74] Mass. Sharpshooters), Lieut. Nicholas J. Barrett of Worcester (28th) and Color Sergeant Brown (19th), who, when mortally wounded, refused to give up the colors he bore. Colonel (afterwards general) Hincks was for the second time severely wounded, the first time having been at Glendale.

The 12th Regiment—the Webster regiment—went into battle at Antietam with three hundred and thirty-five officers and men, and withdrew at last with but thirty-five, under command of a captain, the number of killed being seventy-four and of wounded one hundred and sixty-five. As they were moving from the field three successive color-bearers were shot down, when Lieut. Arthur Dehon finally took them himself rather than order any one else into danger. Surgeon Albert A. Kendall of the 12th was killed by a bullet while at the operating table, and Surgeon Edward H. R. Revere (20th Mass.) also fell.178 Lieuts. L. F. Cushing and William G. White (12th Mass.) were killed in this battle, and Sergt. Charles Edward Johnson of the same regiment fell as he was cheering on his men for their last attack. Maj. E. M. Burbank and Lieut. George W. Orne of the 12th were mortally wounded.

The battle of Antietam is guardedly characterized by Ropes as being ‘a moderate success.’ The losses equalled those at Shiloh, and they fell largely on regiments almost wholly new. General McClellan admitted a loss of nearly twelve thousand five hundred, of whom more than two thousand were killed.179 Of the Confederate dead, two thousand seven hundred were counted and buried on the field; and two thousand of their wounded were left there. Without the loss of a gun or a color, McClellan reported the capture of thirteen guns, thirty-nine battle flags and six thousand prisoners. To many Massachusetts regiments this was their first serious experience of war.


Xvii. The Fredericksburg campaign.

On Nov. 5, 1862, General McClellan was relieved from the command of the Army of the Potomac, Maj.-Gen. A. E. Burnside being appointed in his place. The Massachusetts troops under General Burnside during the ensuing Fredericksburg campaign were as follows:180— [75]

Army of the Potomac.

Artillery Reserve.

32d Mass. Infantry, Co. C, Capt. J. C. Fuller.

Right Grand Division (Maj.-Gen. E. V. Sumner, Massachusetts).

Second Army Corps

First Division.—Maj.-Gen. D. N. Couch (Mass.); 2d Brigade, 28th Mass. Infantry, Col. Richard Byrnes.

Second Division.—1st Brigade, 15th Mass. Infantry, Maj. Chase Philbrick; 1st Co. Mass. Sharpshooters, Capt. Wm. Plumer. 3d Brigade, 19th Mass. Infantry, Capt. H. G. O. Weymouth; 20th Mass. Infantry, Capt. G. N. Macy.

Ninth Army Corps.

First Division.—2d Brigade, 29th Mass. Infantry, Lieut.-Col. J. H. Barnes. 3d Brigade, 36th Mass. Infantry, Col. Henry Bowman.

Second Division.—2d Brigade, 21st Mass. Infantry, Col. Wm. S. Clark; 35th Mass. Infantry, Maj. Sidney Willard.

Centre Grand Division (Maj.-Gen. J. Hooker, Massachusetts).

Third Army Corps.

Second Division.—1st Brigade, 1st Mass.. Infantry, Lieut.-Col. Clark B. Baldwin; 11th Mass. Infantry, Col. Wm. Blaisdell; 16th Mass. Infantry, Col. T. R. Tannatt.

Fifth Army Corps.

First Division.—Col. James Barnes (Mass.); 1st Brigade, 2d Mass. Sharpshooters, Capt. L. E. Wentworth; 18th Mass. Infantry, Lieut.-Col. Joseph Hayes; 22d Mass. Infantry, Lieut.-Col. W. S. Tilton. 2d Brigade, 9th Mass. Infantry, Col. P. R. Guiney; 32d Mass. Infantry, Col. F. J. Parker. Artillery, 3d Mass. Light Battery (C), Capt. A. P. Martin; 5th Mass. Light Battery (E), Capt. C. A. Phillips. Cavalry, 1st Mass. Cavalry, Col. H. B. Sargent.

Left Grand Division.

McDowell's Corps.

Second Division.—2d Brigade, 12th Mass. Infantry, Col. J. L. Bates. 3d Brigade, 13th Mass. Infantry, Col. S. H. Leonard.

Sixth Army Corps.

Artillery, 1st Mass. Light Battery (A), Capt. W. H. McCartney. [76]

Third Division.—2d Brigade, Brig.-Gen. Charles Devens, Jr., of Massachusetts; 7th Mass. Infantry, Lieut.-Col. F. P. Harlow; 10th Mass. Infantry, Col. H. L. Eustis; 37th Mass. Infantry, Col. Oliver Edwards.


The first conspicuous service rendered by Massachusetts troops in the attack on Fredericksburg was in crossing the river in boats in face of a severe fire on Dec. 11, 1862. Bridges were being laid across the river, a work so impeded by Confederate sharpshooters that in the afternoon volunteers were called for by Col. N. J. Hall to cross in boats and dislodge the enemy. Three regiments of Colonel Hall's brigade volunteered, the 7th Michigan and the 19th and 20th Mass. In the words of Maj.-Gen. O. O. Howard, commanding the division, ‘The 7th Michigan passed over not far from 3 P. M. The 19th Mass. followed immediately at about 3.30 P. M., it having been necessary for the boats to cross twice with the 7th Michigan. The boats crossed three times to carry over the 19th. The bridge was commenced after the 19th had crossed, and completed at sunset about 4.30. The 20th followed the 19th in boats before the bridge was completed. No other regiments crossed in boats. A company of sharpshooters, Captain Plumer's [1st Mass. Sharpshooters], covered the crossing from this bank.’181 After crossing, the 19th Mass., under Captain Weymouth, advanced up the hill to the town, deployed skirmishers and then fell back, maintaining its line. Colonel Hall, brigade commander, says in his report: ‘The 20th Mass. was formed in column on the street. The guide, a citizen, was killed at the head of the column. . . . I ordered Acting Major Macy, commanding the 20th Mass., to clear the street leading from the bridge at all hazards. . . . I cannot presume to express all that is due the officers and men of this regiment for the unflinching bravery and splendid discipline shown in the execution of the order. Platoon after platoon was swept away, but the head of the column did not falter. Ninety-seven officers and men were killed and wounded in the space of about fifty yards.’182 Among these was Chaplain Arthur B. Fuller of the 16th Mass. Infantry, whose resignation as chaplain had been accepted, and who had joined the force as a volunteer, crossing in the first boat, taking the rifle of a dead soldier and saying to Captain Dunn, who commanded the detachment, ‘Captain, I [77] must do something for my country.’183 This incident was, perhaps, unique in the war in view of all the circumstances. Mr. Fuller had just been cautioned that he would be exposed to especial danger, as still wearing the uniform of a staff officer, and that, as he had his discharge with him, he would not be subject to exchange if captured; nor would his family receive a pension were he killed.184 It is a curious illustration of the uncertainties of earthly fame that since Mr. Fuller was killed, technically, as a civilian, his name does not appear in the large volume of official records devoted to Fredericksburg.

On the following day the Union forces crossed the river, the leading brigade being that commanded by Gen. Charles Devens, Jr., of Worcester, Mass. Brig.-Gen. John Newton, commanding the 3d Division, says in his report: ‘My thanks are due to all, according to their opportunities, but especially to Brig.-Gen. Charles Devens, who commanded the advance and rear guard in the crossing and recrossing of the river.’185 In the main battle of Fredericksburg, December 13, the 18th Mass. Infantry (Col. Joseph Hayes) was conspicuous in a charge, nearly penetrating the enemy's position at Marye's Heights, where its dead and wounded were found lying close to the works. At the third assault upon the enemy's works in the afternoon, when the 19th Mass. was put in front to occupy some freshly made works, which it held until its ammunition was exhausted, seven color-bearers were shot down in succession; and on one occasion, when two were killed at once, and their colors lay on the ground, Lieut. Edgar M. Newcomb of Boston seized both flags and raised them, meeting his own death in so doing. Somewhat similar to this was the experience of Sergeant Plunkett of the 21st, who raised the national flag when it was shot down only to lose both arms and be seriously wounded in the chest. He will be remembered by many, in later life, as having been for many years the armless sergeant-at-arms of the Massachusetts House of Representatives. The details are thus given by his regimental commander, Col. W. S. Clark:186 ‘The 2d Brigade was now ordered to the front, and, forming in double line of battle, most gallantly and steadily moved across the plain, swept by the destructive fire of the enemy. When about sixty rods from the city, Color-Sergeant Collins of Company A [21st [78] Mass.] was shot and fell to the ground, Sergeant Plunkett of Company E instantly seized the colors and carried them proudly forward to the farthest point reached by our troops during the battle. When the regiment had commenced the delivery of its fire about forty rods from the position of the rebel infantry, a shell was thrown, with fatal accuracy, at the colors, which again brought them to the ground wet with the life-blood of the brave Plunkett, both of whose arms were carried away. Color-Corporal Olney of Company H immediately raised the glorious flag and defiantly bore it through the remainder of the day. Color-Corporal Barr of Company C, who carried the State colors, was also shot, and his post of honor and danger quickly taken by Color-Corporal Wheeler of Company I. Color-Corporal Miller was also wounded.’

Of the 28th Mass. Infantry (Col. Richard Byrnes), which had, after the 20th, the largest list of killed and mortally wounded at Fredericksburg (thirty-six), General Meagher, its brigade commander, says in his report: ‘It is a substantial and splendid addition to the Irish Brigade. . . . It has sinew, heart and soul. It is commanded by an officer than whom it would be difficult to find one of superior aptitude for his command. . . . I have not a word, other than that of unqualified commendation, to bestow on this well-regulated and admirably disciplined regiment.’187

The 20th Mass. Infantry lost nearly fifty killed or mortally wounded in the whole battle, including Lieut.-Col. Ferdinand Dreher, Capt. Charles F. Cabot and Lieut. L. F. Alley; and Major-General Hancock personally expressed to Captain Macy, on the following day, his gratitude for the service rendered by the regiment. Col. W. R. Lee resigned the command of this regiment from ill-health after the contest at Fredericksburg, and Col. F. W. Palfrey and Colonel Macy were successively put in his place.

The 18th and 23d Mass. infantries were highly complimented at Fredericksburg by Major-General Martindale;188 and General Hartsuff said that he had commanded more than fifty regiments and had never found a better than the 13th Mass. Infantry (Col. S. H. Leonard). This last was [79] peculiarly a militia regiment in its material, and Governor Andrew had said of it: ‘The 13th could furnish officers for a whole regiment, outside of itself, and be no more weakened than is a bird by laying its eggs.’

In the words of Gen. Edward Ferrero, commanding brigade: ‘The 21st Mass. Volunteers (Colonel Clark) . . . acted with the steadiness and courage that they have always shown on the battlefield, and that have won them their high reputation.189 The 35th Mass. Volunteers also behaved splendidly, and though losing their commanding officer, Maj. Sidney Willard,190 early in the fight, still fought with unflinching firmness. . . . Dr. Calvin Cutter, brigade surgeon (formerly of 21st Mass.), although injured on the 13th by a blow from a horse, was unremitting in his attentions to the wounded and was of invaluable service.’191

Lieut. William Hill of the 35th Mass. fell also, and young Lieut. Arthur Dehon of the 12th, detailed as aide to General Meade, who says of him that his loss ‘is greatly to be deplored as that of a young officer of high promise, endeared to all who knew him for his manly virtues and amiable character.’192

The 12th Mass. Infantry was under fire six hours at Fredericksburg, sustaining almost all its losses in the last two hours.193 Among the other officers of various regiments who fell in this battle were Capts. C. A. Dearborn of the 32d Mass., George C. Ruby and Joseph W. Collingwood of the 18th, Thomas Claffee of the 19th, with Edwin J. Weller and John Sullivan and William Holland of the 28th. The 15th lost an admirable surgeon in Dr. S. Foster Haven of Worcester, and his equally useful classmate, Dr. Robert Ware of the 44th, died not long after him.194195 The 29th lost no commissioned officer in the battle, but its chaplain, Rev. Henry E. Hempstead of Watertown, died a few days after from its fatigues.

With these great losses closed the prolonged battle of Fredericksburg, and with it the campaign of 1862. The loss of the Union troops had been three times that of their opponents, and the whole affair is now regarded by [80] the best military critics as having been, except Cold Harbor, the most wasteful slaughter of the war.196 Yet it was brought about by the deliberate action of one of the most amiable and humane of the regular army generals, in opposition to the wishes both of the War Department at Washington and of almost all his own general officers.197


Xvii. Massachusetts and the colored troops.

It is a curious fact that one part of the Civil War in which Massachusetts may claim an unquestioned precedence is the one part for which all her previous traditions had especially fitted her,—the arming of the blacks. It was a movement which went on almost simultaneously in different directions and on widely various lines, but by a curious fatality every one of those lines passed through the hands of a Massachusetts man.

Negroes had long been employed in the navy,198 but it is probable that the first direct proposal looking toward the enlistment of colored men was in a letter from Governor Andrew to the Secretary of War, April 25, 1861, in which he says, ‘Will you authorize the enlistment here and mustering into the United States service Irish, Germans and other tough men, to be drilled and prepared here for service?’199 It is difficult to tell what these lines mean, which were underscored in the original letter, if they do not refer to the negroes.

It was, moreover, the State of Massachusetts which, in advance of all others, debated in its Legislature resolutions urging upon the general government the employment of colored soldiers; these resolutions receiving a clear majority in both houses, but being defeated by a technicality. The Senate passed them by a vote of 17 to 13, and the House voted to suspend the rules for the same purpose, 74 to 69; this being a defeat, as a two-thirds vote was required. It was the last day of the session, May 23, 1861, and this vote makes it probable that the resolutions would [81] have passed the House had it remained in session one day longer. Up to this time, it must be remembered, colored men were not admitted to the Massachusetts militia, repeated applications from the leading colored men of Boston having failed to remove the restriction.

In the final debate, the main supporters of the resolution were Messrs. Henry L. Pierce of Dorchester, Charles W. Slack of Boston and William F. Durfee of New Bedford, the chief opponents being Messrs. A. H. Bullock of Worcester and George T. Davis of Greenfield. The opposition was based apparently on no distrust of the blacks, but upon the necessity of conciliating the prejudices of the Border States. Mr. (afterwards governor) Bullock ‘avowed his willingness to remove every vestige of disability from the colored citizens, and in proper time he hoped to see it done. This was not the time. Twenty-three sovereign States are a unit in this conflict. He who would now cast a firebrand among the ranks of the united North and West and the Border States will initiate a calamity the extent of which will be appalling and inconceivable.’200

The unquestioned priority in the actual enterprise belonged to Maj.-Gen. David Hunter of Washington, D. C., who began recruiting May 9, 1862, a black regiment called the First South Carolina Volunteers. But General Hunter, with many fine qualities, was a thoroughly impetuous man, whimsical, variable and easily influenced by his staff officers, few of whom had any real faith in the undertaking; he acted without authority from Washington, and his whole enterprise had been disallowed by the United States government when Brig.-Gen. Rufus Saxton, then military governor of the department, availing himself of the fact that one company of the regiment had not, like the rest, been disbanded, made that the basis of a reorganization of the regiment under the same name; and, under authority from the War Department dated Aug. 25, 1862,201 made it the pioneer of the whole subsequent series of slave-regiments. Now, General Saxton was a Massachusetts man; so was the colonel whom he put in charge of the regiment (T. W. Higginson); so was the first officer, detailed Aug. 4, 1862, to recruit for the 1st Kansas colored regiment (Capt. R. J. Hinton); so was Maj.-Gen. B. F. Butler, who recruited (Aug. 25, 1862) three regiments of free colored men in New Orleans. These five were the only colored regiments of the year 1862. The first [82] colored regiment recruited by any Eastern State was the 54th Mass. (Feb. 9, 1863), commanded by Col. R. G. Shaw, whose subsequent death and burial among his soldiers at Fort Wagner was the most picturesque and striking event in the whole career of this class of troops. This, like the 55th, consisted mainly of free negroes. Later, the large enlistment of colored troops in the slave States was mainly under the charge of Maj.-Gen. G. L. Andrews and Maj. G. L. Stearns, both Massachusetts men. Such also was Maj.-Gen. N. P. Banks, whose organization of the colored troops at New Orleans into the Corps D'Afrique, though in some respects injudiciously planned,202 was a further step. Brig.-Gen. Samuel M. Quincy, who arranged a special system of tactics for their benefit, was also from Massachusetts; and so was, at least by residence, Maj.-Gen. Edward W. Hincks, who commanded colored troops more efficiently, on a large scale, than any one else during the war. All these things gave to the State of Massachusetts a just right to claim that, if she had done more than any other State to give an anti-slavery character to the war, she had at least met that part of the responsibility without shrinking. It must also be remembered that the early organizers and officers of the colored troops fought, in a manner, with ropes round their necks, both they and their black recruits having been expressly denied by the Confederate government the privileges of soldiers.203 They had also to encounter for a long time the disapproval of many officers of high rank, both regular and volunteer; this often leading to a marked inferiority of weapons, to a grudging bestowal of supplies (even of medical supplies) and to a very disproportionate share of fatigue duty, often interfering greatly with proper military training. Every one of the above-named Massachusetts officers had these same obstacles to surmount. [83]

The career of the Massachusetts officers in organizing colored troops elsewhere need not here be followed in detail, but that of the 54th and 55th was too exceptional not to be more particularly mentioned. It has already been shown that, contrary to a prevalent impression, they were not the first colored regiments organized. Five such regiments were already in existence in the year 1862, whereas Governor Andrew's permission to recruit a colored regiment was not received until Jan. 26, 1863, and recruiting did not begin until February 9. The first squad of recruits went into camp at Readville on February 21, and the regiment was more than filled on May 15, the surplus going into the 55th, which was also finally mustered on June 22. The men meanwhile had been recruited in various States by Massachusetts agents; and this, with the careful and elaborate preparation made, gave a peculiar prominence to the new organizations. The officers selected were largely those who had seen service in other regiments, and the first colonel was young Robert G. Shaw, who, though a resident of New York, was of Boston birth, and had been a Harvard student, though not a graduate. He had already served with honor in the 2d Mass., had proved himself a good organizer and commander, and had, among other special qualifications, that of a peculiarly striking appearance; looking very youthful, with a blond coloring, which made him, as he rode at the head of his dusky regiment, beyond all comparison the most picturesque figure who had passed through the streets of Boston or marched down Broadway. So easily in time of warlike excitement are men influenced by such externals, that no contemporary description of the march of the 54th fails to dwell with enthusiasm on this seemingly trivial circumstance.

The 54th left camp on May 28, 1863, under orders to report to Major-General Hunter at Beaufort, S. C. Arriving there, it was brigaded under Col. James Montgomery of the 2d South Carolina Volunteers (afterwards 34th U. S. Colored Troops). He was a man of mature years, a veteran guerrilla leader from Kansas, personally daring and active, but utterly without the system and order needed by a brigade commander, and with a taste for guerrilla methods very unattractive to the better-trained officers of the 54th Mass.204 Their ultimate removal to the command of Brig.-Gen. [84] George C. Strong was a source of satisfaction, although it was accompanied almost immediately by one of the severest ordeals of the war. After a peculiarly fatiguing embarkation and night voyage, the regiment reached Folly Island at 9 A. M. on the 18th of June, had a toilsome march along the beaches until 2 P. M., and crossing the inlet of Morris Island reported to General Strong at 5 P. M. They had no rations, had had no food that day and little sleep for two nights, and in this condition were placed at the head of a night attack on Fort Wagner.205


Xix. Operations in the Department of the South.

Some minor engagements occurred in South Carolina in the summer of 1862 in which a few Massachusetts regiments took part; two companies of the First Cavalry at Pocataligo (May 29) under Maj. H. L. Higginson without loss, and the 28th Mass. Infantry at Legareas Point (June 2) under Lieut.-Col. M. Moore with only a few wounded men. At Secessionville (June 16) an attack of some force was made on fortified works at James Island, and in this the 28th sustained considerable losses (twenty killed or mortally wounded), the affair being an extremely rash assault upon a strongly fortified redoubt, and being described by one authority in the Department of the South, Judge-Advocate Cowley,206 as ‘an inexcusable blunder from beginning to end. They had to advance upon a narrow ridge of land not over two hundred yards wide, swept by grape and canister from six cannon . . . and exposed to a murderous fire from riflepits and sharpshooters.’

The 54th Mass. was under fire for the first time at James Island, July 16, 1863, aiding to repel an attack made by Confederate troops upon the 10th Connecticut, and behaved so well as to be complimented in orders by General Terry, who praised ‘the steadiness and soldierly conduct of the 54th Mass., who were on duty at the outposts on the right and met the brunt of the attack.’207 The following night James Island was hastily evacuated, [85] under orders, and they marched all night in a severe and prolonged thunder-storm, through swamps and over frail narrow bridges, among difficulties that can only be comprehended by those familiar with the peculiar topography of the Sea Islands, where every bayou, at low tide, becomes converted into a mere rivulet of water amid vast stretches of mud. They reached Cole's Island at 5 A. M.; they had scarcely any rations left and very little fresh water. In the evening they embarked on another steamer by means of a leaky long-boat holding but thirty,—so that they were all night in the embarkation. They reached Folly Island at 7 A. M., still without rations. Marching six miles, they waited for transportation across Light House Inlet, landing at Folly Island about 5 P. M., July 18, 1863. In this condition, the regiment being thus exhausted and still without food, their commander was asked by General Strong if he would lead the column of attack on what was called ‘the strongest single earthwork known in the history of warfare.’208 General Strong's words were, ‘You may lead the column if you say yes. Your men, I know, are worn out, but do as you choose.’ The offer was accepted. It is to be noticed that a previous assault on Fort Wagner had failed,—the leading regiment, the 76th Pennsylvania, having halted before the tremendous fire and lain down upon the ground.209

The attacking force for this second assault consisted of three brigades of infantry, the first under General Strong, composed of the 54th Mass. with five other regiments.210 The selection of the 54th was made by General Seymour and General Strong in consultation. It is worth recording that the latter had been a Democrat in politics and the former had been reported in the department as opposed to the enlistment of colored troops; but there is no reason to doubt that the selection was made in perfect good faith. The 54th was to lead the assault.

The head of the column being formed, while the troops were waiting Colonel Shaw walked back to Lieutenant-Colonel Hallowell and said, ‘I shall go in advance with the national flag. You will keep the State flag with you; it will give the men something to rally round. We shall take the fort or die there! Good-by!’ General Strong, riding up, said to the [86] men, ‘Boys, I am a Massachusetts man and I know you will fight for the honor of the State.’ Calling out the color-bearer he said, ‘If this man should fall, who will lift the flag and carry it on?’ Colonel Shaw standing near, took a cigar from between his lips and said quietly, ‘I will,’ amid loud applause from the men.211 The storming party advanced, fully visible, along three-quarters of a mile of sand, under a sharp fire for two hundred yards. Decimated on the way by this, they reached the ditch, descended into it, crossed through three or four feet of water and mounted the slope. Colonel Shaw, with both standard bearers, reached the parapet, when, just as he was shouting ‘Forward, Fifty-fourth,’ he fell dead, shot through the heart. Capts. C. J. Russell and W. H. Simpkins were killed at almost the same time. For some reason, never fully explained, there was an interval before the other regiments of the brigade came up. Of course the 54th was driven back,212 and the loss of eighty killed showed what the struggle had been; the national colors were brought away, and Sergt. W. H. Carney, who bore them, was twice severely wounded. Sergt. R. J. Simmons, Corp. Henry F. Peal and Private George Wilson were also especially complimented in the report213 of Lieutenant-Colonel Hallowell, who was left in command, though himself very severely wounded; the latter soldier (Wilson), when shot through the shoulder, had refused to fall back without his captain's permission. Three officers were killed and eleven wounded, most of them severely. When driven from the fort the regiment was drawn up in line, seven hundred yards from it, under command of Capt. L. F. Emilio, ninth captain in the line, all his superior officers having been either killed or wounded. Subsequent attacks were made by the rest of Strong's brigade, especially by the 6th Connecticut and 48th New York, but with similar repulse, General Strong himself receiving a wound from which he ultimately died. Colonel Putnam's brigade, with the 7th New Hampshire [87] and the 62d and 67th Ohio, afterwards tried the attack, Colonel Putnam himself being shot through the head. It was a series of perfectly hopeless and desperate night attacks, serving only to test the courage of the men. In this respect it had an effect, beyond any action of the war, in vindicating the character of the colored troops. On this subject there can hardly be said to have been a dissenting voice. When the writer asked General Strong afterwards, on board the steamer which was to carry him North, how the 54th behaved, he said emphatically, ‘No new regiment, which had lost its colonel, could have behaved better.’214 But the final test is that of Confederate officers themselves. Lieut. Iredell Jones, visiting the battery afterwards, wrote, ‘One file of negroes numbered thirty. Numbers of both white and black were killed on top of our breastworks as well as inside. The negroes fought gallantly and were headed by as brave a colonel as ever lived. He mounted the breastworks waving his sword and at the head of his regiment, and he and a negro orderly sergeant fell dead over the inner crest of the works.’215

A good deal of just indignation was created after this event, by a report, widely disseminated, that an order had been given by General Hagood, in command at Fort Wagner, in respect to Colonel Shaw's body, ‘to bury him with his niggers.’ In conversing with General Hagood ten years after the writer was expressly assured by him that no such order was given by him and that no such conversation took place, and I was entirely convinced that there had been some misunderstanding on the part of Assistant Surgeon John T. Luck, U. S. N., by whom the charge was originally made in the Army and Navy Journal.216 A letter to me on the same point from General Hagood will be found in Emilio's History of the 54th Mass.,217 where the whole affair is discussed. I still retain my original opinion of the matter.

The 24th Mass. Infantry (Colonel Osborne) formed an important part of the besieging force which subsequently brought about the surrender of Fort Wagner, and was ordered, Aug. 26, 1863, to capture by a sortie some riflepits in front of the fourth parallel of the besieging force. Some two hundred men took part in the attack and carried the position, capturing the occupants (sixty-seven) with a loss of three; the victors then entrenched [88] rapidly, and it afterwards became the fifth parallel. They were then subjected to a heavy fire, killing Lieut. James A. Perkins and several others.218 During the night the regiment was relieved by another. There was a long siege before the final surrender of the fort, and in this siege the 54th lost heavily at different times and the 24th and 40th lightly. The 54th, with other colored regiments, performed a rather excessive share of fatigue duty, and was complimented for this by Maj. T. B. Brooks, assistant engineer.219

The 54th Mass. was again under fire with the 40th Mass. at the battle of Olustee, Fla., Feb. 20, 1864. This was one of those utterly wasted defeats caused by the complication of political and military aims. It was the result of an attempt to take possession of the main land of Florida with a hope of bringing its people back into the Union,—an attempt in which every advantage was given to the Confederates by their possession of interior lines, so that they could easily overwhelm any given force by bringing up reinforcements. The first onset having been unfavorable to the Union troops, Montgomery's brigade was ordered forward to hold the enemy in check until a new line could be formed in the rear. This was effectually done and a newspaper correspondent wrote, ‘The two colored regiments had stood in the gap and saved the army.’220 The other colored regiment was the 1st North Carolina, which was first withdrawn, having lost heavily. The 54th Mass. was finally left alone, every other organization having been withdrawn, including Langdon's U. S. Battery, which had lost three guns. They were out of ammunition, and when some arrived it was of the wrong calibre. So hopeless seemed their position that Colonel Montgomery said, ‘in his bushwhacking way,’ ‘Now, men, you have done well. I love you all. Each man take care of himself,’ but Lieutenant-Colonel Hooper, more wisely, rallied the line, ordered bayonets fixed and exercised the regiment in the manual of arms to quiet it. It then retreated in good order, the last to quit the field. As at Fort Wagner, Seymour had allowed his forces [89] to be beaten in detail as they came up.221 During the retreat, the 1st Mass. Cavalry (Independent Battalion) assisted in covering the rear, but without losses, and the 55th was not in action. The 40th Mass. also lost some men in the engagement, in which it served as a mounted infantry, ‘on animals raked and scraped up within the department,’ according to Gen. G. H. Gordon. The loss of the 54th was fourteen killed, sixty-three wounded and eight missing.

In the expedition to James Island, July 2-9, 1864, the 54th sustained no injury, but the 55th and the 4th Cavalry (2d Battalion) had casualties.222 The 55th on taking possession of the island attacked and drove back a portion of the Confederate battery, capturing two guns. The troops were in the field a whole day with the thermometer at 110 degrees, many men falling from sunstroke. The whole movement was ineffectual and rather aimless, as were almost all attempts to advance our lines among the islands, and the 55th lost eleven men while the 4th Cavalry lost slightly.223

The defeat at Honey Hill (November 30) was less humiliating than that at Olustee, because there was more object in the battle. It formed a part of an attempt to carry out an order given by General Halleck, by report of General Sherman, that General Foster should break the Charleston and Savannah Railroad about Pocotaligo about the first of December.224 This particular fight was sufficiently well timed for Lieut.-Col. C. C. Jones, Jr., in his Siege of Savannah to say of it, ‘The engagement [November 30] at Honey Hill released the city of Savannah from an impending danger, which, had it not been thus averted, would have necessitated its immediate evacuation.’ General Potter wrote of the troops engaged, ‘Nothing but the formidable character of the obstacles they encountered prevented them from achieving success;’ and Capt. Charles C. Soule, of the 55th Mass., wrote to the Philadelphia Weekly Times, ‘The generalship displayed was [90] not equal to the soldierly qualities of the troops engaged. There appears to have been a lack of foresight in the preparations.’ This lack was certainly a very familiar thing in the Department of the South, where, in a most intricate and peculiar country, expeditions have been repeatedly sent out without the slightest previous investigation and wholly without knowledge of the localities,—attempting to navigate unnavigable streams and to cross bayous of impassable mud,—and this when opposed to an enemy that knew every by-path and held interior lines. On November 30 the 55th Mass. (Colonel Hartwell) lost thirty-one killed and thirty-eight wounded. The list of killed in this battle included Lieut. David Reid of Boston, who had had a curious sense of certainty of his own death, yet ‘met his death in the forefront of battle, his body lying in advance of the artillery pieces until brought back.’225

The 55th was again under fire, with slight loss, at Deveaux Neck, S. C., Dec. 9, 1864, and without loss at James Island, S. C., Feb. 10, 1865; also the 54th at Boykin's Mills, S. C., April 18, and at Swift Creek the following day, losing six men in these engagements, which were the last battles of the war in which Massachusetts troops took serious part. They occurred in connection with what was called ‘Potter's Raid,’ conducted by Gen. E. E. Potter under General Sherman's orders, the object being to reach and destroy a vast amount of rolling stock on a railway already destroyed by him. The raid included the 54th and 55th Mass. infantries and a detachment of the 4th Mass. Cavalry, and was put to an end by the appearance of a flag of truce announcing an armistice between Sherman and Johnston.

It may be proper to refer again to a fact already mentioned, that the first regiment of freed slaves formed during the war was formed of South Carolina and Florida recruits (volunteers) by Brig.-Gen. Rufus Saxton, military governor of the Department of the South,—he being a Massachusetts man, —and that its organization was intrusted to another Massachusetts man, Col. T. W. Higginson. The surgeon and first assistant surgeon, the chaplain, a captain and several lieutenants were also from Massachusetts. The headquarters of this regiment were at Beaufort, S. C. It did a large amount of duty as advanced picket, and conducted, with the co-operation of the navy, three important expeditions into the interior, ascending at different times, for various purposes, the St. Mary's, the St. John's and the South [91] Edisto or Pon Pon rivers. The first two raids were eminently successful, bringing away recruits, provisions, etc., in addition to the more especial object of each enterprise. The third failed of success from the want of water for the boats, which grounded repeatedly,—the Pon Pon River being a tidal inlet, almost dry at low water,—so that they were got off with difficulty, and the loss of the smallest one, including two small guns, which were afterwards fished up by the Confederates and afterwards retaken by the 1st South Carolina in an engagement,—a curious coincidence. The regiment was repeatedly in action with shore batteries and sustained itself well, but failed in the chief object of the enterprise, which was to ascend as high as the Charleston and Savannah railroad and cut it.226

Due credit should also be given the State of Massachusetts for the enormous service rendered by General Saxton as military governor in organizing the vast number of freedmen and refugees upon the Sea Islands, and first proving, on a large scale, that the plantations could be successfully carried on by free labor. In this respect he, more than any other man, solved the problem for the nation, but as it was really the application of military methods to civil operations, it cannot properly find an ampler place here. For the time, the Sea Islands were an object lesson, constantly visited from all parts of the country for the study of a difficult and momentous social problem.


Xx. The Chancellorsville campaign.

When General Hooker was ordered, Jan. 25, 1863, to the command of the Army of the Potomac, there were the following Massachusetts regiments and batteries, twenty-six different organizations, among the more than one hundred thousand men whom he commanded.227

Artillery Reserve.

32d Mass. Infantry, Co. C., Capt. J. C. Fuller.

First Army Corps.

Second Division.—2d Brigade, 12th Mass. Infantry, Col. J. L. Bates; [92] 3d Brigade (Col. S. H. Leonard commanding), 13th Mass., Lieut.-Col. N. W. Batchelder.

Second Army Corps.

First Division.—2d Brigade, 28th Mass., Col. Richard Byrnes.

Second Division.—1st Brigade, 15th Mass., Maj. G. C. Joslin; 3d Brigade, 19th Mass., Lieut.-Col. A. F. Devereux; 20th Mass., Lieut.-Col. G. N. Macy; 1st Mass. Sharpshooters, Capt. Wm. Plumer.

Third Army Corps.

Second Division.—1st Brigade, 1st Mass., Col. N. B. McLaughlen; 11th Mass., Col. Wm. Blaisdell; 16th Mass., Lieut.-Col. Waldo Merriam.

Fifth Army Corps.

First Division.—1st Brigade (Brig.-Gen. James Barnes), 18th Mass., Col. Joseph Hayes; 22d Mass., Col. W. S. Tilton; 2d Co. Mass. Sharpshooters, Lieut. Robert Smith; 2d Brigade, 9th Mass., Col. P. R. Guiney; 32d Mass., Lieut.-Col. Luther Stephenson; Artillery (Capt. A. P. Martin), 3d Light Battery (C), Capt. A. P. Martin; 5th Light Battery (E), Capt. C. A. Phillips.

Sixth Army Corps.

First Division.—Artillery, 1st Light Battery (A), Capt. W. H. McCartney.

Third Division.—2d Brigade, 7th Mass., Col. T. D. Johns; 10th Mass., Lieut.-Col. J. B. Parsons; 37th Mass., Col. Oliver Edwards.

Eleventh Army Corps.

First Division.—Brigadier-General Devens.

Second Division.—2d Brigade, 33d Mass., Col. A. B. Underwood.

Twelfth Army Corps.

First Division.—3d Brigade, 2d Mass., Col. S. M. Quincy.

Cavalry Corps.

Second Division.—1st Brigade (Col. H. B. Sargent), 1st Mass., Col. G. S. Curtis.


The first task devolving on General Hooker was the reorganization of his army, which was being decimated by desertion and absence. ‘So loose [93] had been its discipline that some eighty-five thousand officers and men appeared on the rolls . . . as absent without leave.’228 One hundred and fifty regiments were thoroughly inspected, and on March 3, 1863, the result of this inspection was announced. Eleven regiments were commended and were rewarded by special privileges in the way of furloughs,—three from Massachusetts (the 1st, 2d and 20th), two each from Maine and New York, and one each from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Minnesota. Fourteen batteries were similarly commended, of which two were from Massachusetts, the 1st (McCartney's) and the 3d (Martin's). On the other hand, twenty-five regiments were reproved and punished by cessation of all furloughs; of these, fifteen were from New York, eight from Pennsylvania and one each from Indiana and Massachusetts.229 Eleven batteries were also reproved, not one of which was from Massachusetts.

Within four months Hooker had under his command nearly one hundred and twenty thousand men,230 whom he himself designated as ‘the finest army on this planet.’ His first step was a brilliant one, soon to be followed by defeat and disappointment. On April 29 and 30 an army of fifty thousand men, each bearing sixty pounds of baggage, marched twenty-seven miles, crossed two streams guarded by an enemy, and took up a strong position at Chancellorsville, Va. So sure was Hooker of his position that he announced in an official order (April 30), ‘The enemy must either ingloriously fly or come out from behind his defences and give us battle on our own ground, where certain destruction awaits him.’231 But the superior generalship of Lee and the westerly flank movement under Jackson reversed the condition, and an utter surprise brought on a complete defeat. On May 5 the Union army recrossed the river, having lost in killed, wounded and missing more than seventeen thousand men,232 of whom more than seven hundred were from Massachusetts regiments. [94]

Of all the great battles of the army, Chancellorsville stands out as the one complete and overwhelming surprise. Many suggestions of danger had been sent in during the day (May 2, 1863) and there had been ample time between 10 A. M. and 6 P. M. for an impregnable defence, but Howard seemed utterly indifferent to all alarms, although Schurz and Devens both took some small precautions by facing a few reserve regiments to the flank, but went no farther. Curiously enough, the first immediate notice of Jackson's attack ‘did not come from our pickets, but from deer, rabbits and other wild animals of the forest, driven from their coverts by his advance.’233 Devens, who was nearest the enemy, was severely wounded in attempting to rally his men. His division taken in flank was driven back on Schurz's division, and that on Steinwehr's; and all retreated, driven in by sheer force of numbers. Among all their retreating body there was but one Massachusetts regiment, the 33d, this being one of tried courage, under a commander worthy of it (Col. A. B. Underwood), and having for a brigade commander one of the most daring and resolute officers in the whole army, Gen. Francis C. Barlow. It is only, therefore, because of the prominent share in the disaster attaching to a Massachusetts general that we need to dwell on it at all.

Great injustice was done at the time to General Devens, in the assumption that he could have acted independently of his commanding officer in averting the surprise. General Noble, then colonel of the 17th Connecticut Infantry, asserted that ‘the disaster resulted from Howard's and Devens' utter disregard and inattention under the warnings that came in from the front and flank all through the day.’ But Doubleday has shown clearly that Devens recognized the danger, as did Schurz, by the course they actually took; and that they would have risked a positive reprimand by going any farther.234 [95]

The battle of Chancellorsville is chiefly identified, in the public mind, with the humiliating surprise of May 2, though this was really only one event out of a series. Even during this very defeat the steadfastness of the 2d Corps, whose soldiers held their ranks unmoved while thousands of frightened men ran by them, is to be set against the stampede of the 11th Corps. In that unfortunate body, too, as is pointed out by Gen. F. A. Walker, an eye-witness, single regiments ‘behaved with great fortitude’ amid the general stampede, one of these being, as there is good reason to think, the 33d Mass. The whole affair was also somewhat exaggerated by the prejudice existing in the other army corps against the German troops, which made up the bulk of the retreating force.

In the assault upon Salem on May 3, Colonel Johns of the 7th Mass. Infantry, a West Point graduate, led a column of assault up the heights, ascending through a stony gorge, commanded by two howitzers. The column consisted of the 7th Mass. and the 23d New York Infantry. Colonel Johns was severely wounded and Lieutenant-Colonel Harlow, commanding the regiment, slightly, and the 7th captured two pieces of artillery without firing a shot. In General Newton's words, ‘Colonel Harlow proved himself a hero, as this was a charge not exceeded in brilliancy by any operation of the war.’ General Newton also said that ‘the 10th and 37th rendered their principal services at Salem Heights, and their coolness under fire and admirable discipline merited the warmest acknowledgments.’ The 7th was again in action near Salem Church and lost largely in the two encounters, including Capt. Prentiss M. Whiting and Lieut. Albert A. Tillson. Major-General Sedgwick, commanding the corps, says that ‘it is no disparagement to the other regiments of the corps to say that the steadiness and valor of the 6th Maine, 5th Wisconsin, 7th Massachusetts and the Vermont Brigade could not be excelled.’ He also mentions Col. (afterwards brigadier-general) H. L. Eustis as being ‘especially mentioned by his brigade commander for gallant service, he having subsequently taken command of the brigade,’ and compliments the firing of the 1st Mass. Battery (McCartney's).235236

After the battle or battles of Chancellorsville, General Hooker especially complimented in orders the conduct of the 2d Mass. Infantry (Col. S. M. [96] Quincy), as did also Brig.-Gen. Thos. Ruger, its brigade commander. In a prolonged contest, with successive lines of Confederate troops brought up to attack them, this brigade fought with great steadiness and bravery, much of the battle being in the midst of abatis and brush and ‘a regular handto-hand fight,’ as one officer says; and they had to protect themselves with their bayonets long after their ammunition was exhausted. Colonel Quincy is among those complimented as having ‘displayed great bravery and handled their regiments with skill.’ Col. S. Colgrove, commanding the 27th Indiana in this brigade, says, ‘To say that the three old regiments, the 2d Mass., 3d Wisconsin and 27th Indiana, fully sustained the reputation they won at Cedar Mountain and Antietam, is the very highest compliment that can be paid them.’237

It is interesting to notice that the remarkable qualities of Col. N. A. Miles (then of the 61st New York Infantry), although before recognized, came into notice more and more in the Chancellorsville battles, and are frequently mentioned in different reports,238 culminating in this remarkable bit of foresight on the part of Brig.-Gen. John C. Caldwell, his brigade commander: ‘I greatly regret to report that Colonel Miles was severely if not mortally wounded on Sunday morning while handling the picket line with masterly ability. I have had occasion heretofore to mention the distinguished conduct of Colonel Miles in every battle in which the brigade has been engaged. His merits as a military man seem to me to be of the very highest order. I know of no terms of praise too exaggerated to characterize his masterly ability. If ever a soldier earned promotion, Colonel Miles has done so. Providence should spare his life, and I earnestly recommend that he be promoted and intrusted with a command commensurate with his abilities.’239 Providence having complied with the kind suggestion of General Caldwell, the nation seems to have taken care of the rest. Apart from his ‘unexampled rapidity’ of promotion, it is to be noticed that he received a medal of honor ‘for distinguished gallantry in [97] the battle of Chancellorsville, May 3, 1863, while holding with his command a line of abatis and riflepits against a strong force of the enemy until severely wounded, while colonel 61st New York Volunteers, commanding the line of skirmishers in front of the 1st Division, 2d Army Corps.’

Col. N. J. Hall, brigade commander, expresses acknowledgments to Lieutenant Ferris (19th Mass.) and Lieutenant McKay (20th Mass.) who volunteered, with twenty-five men from each regiment, to cross the river in boats and dislodge the enemy from riflepits that menaced the builders of a bridge, but their services were not finally needed, though the boats were made ready.240 These represented, it will be remembered, the same regiments which did a like service at Fredericksburg. Colonel Blaisdell, with the 11th, was praised as usual.241 He was ‘highly complimented by General Hancock for the manner in which himself and regiment performed the arduous duties which devolved upon them on the extreme left, sustaining unaided the attacks made by the enemy to force that position during the entire day of May 2.’

Among those who fell during the three days at Chancellorsville were Gen. Amiel W. Whipple, Capts. Charles E. Rand of the 1st Mass. Infantry, Alexander J. Dallas of the 16th and William G. Hewins of the 18th. Capts. George Bush and William Cordwell of the 13th had been killed by artillery fire at Fitzhugh's Crossing, being the only persons killed (April 29-30). Lieut. A. E. Phillips, 1st Mass. Cavalry, was mortally wounded at Rapidan Station (May 1). There fell also at Chancellorsville Lieut. Gerald Fitzgerald (2d), John Munn and John S. Harris (11th), Hiram Rowe and Samuel Savage (16th). To these should be added Col. William 0. Stevens, a Massachusetts man, commanding the 70th New York Infantry, described by General Revere, his brigade commander, as ‘a truly splendid officer and magnificently brave.’242

On the first day of the battle of Chancellorsville there took place a cavalry skirmish at Rapidan Station, Va. (May 1, 1863), when the only life lost was that of Lieut. A. E. Phillips of Chicopee, of the 1st Mass. Cavalry. The fight at Brandy Station (June 9), in which the 1st Mass. Cavalry took active part, was the first instance where the Union cavalry really showed itself the equal of a similar Confederate force. In the much more important [98] cavalry battle of Aldie (June 17) the 1st Mass. Cavalry bore the brunt of the fight, charging through the town, capturing several prisoners and a battle flag, and holding the ground afterwards. Out of three hundred and fifty-eight who went into the fight, twenty-nine were killed or mortally wounded, forty-eight wounded (not mortally) and ninety missing. Lieut. Hugh Carey was mortally wounded, and Maj. H. L. Higginson and Capt. L. M. Sargent were left for dead on the field, though ultimately recovering. Lieuts. C. G. Davis, J. J. Higginson and L. N. Duchesney were taken prisoners.243 It was unquestionably the most important cavalry fight of the war.

On June 27, 1863, General Hooker requested to be relieved of his command, and Maj.-Gen. George G. Meade was his successor.244


Xxi. The Gettysburg campaign.

The Massachusetts troops serving in the Army of the Potomac (Major-General Meade, U. S. A., commanding) at the battle of Gettysburg, July 1-3, 1863,245 were the following:—

First Army Corps (Doubleday).

Second Division.—1st Brigade, 13th Mass. Infantry, Col. S. H. Leonard; 2d Brigade, 12th Mass., Col. J. L. Bates.

Second Army Corps (Hancock).

First Division.—2d Brigade, 28th Mass., Col. Richard Byrnes.

Second Division.—1st Brigade, 15th Mass., Col. G. H. Ward; 3d Brigade, 19th Mass., Col. A. F. Devereux; 20th Mass., Col. P. J. Revere.

Third Army Corps (Sickles).

Second Division.—1st Brigade, 1st Mass., Lieut.-Col. C. B. Baldwin; 11th Mass., Lieut.-Col. P. D. Tripp; 16th Mass., Lieut.-Col. Waldo Merriam.

[99]

Fifth Army Corps (Sykes).

First Division.—1st Brigade, 18th Mass., Col. Joseph Hayes; 22d Mass., Lieut.-Col. Thos. Sherwin, Jr.; 2d Brigade, 9th Mass., Col. P. R. Guiney; 32d Mass., Col. G. L. Prescott; Artillery Brigade (Capt. A. P. Martin), 3d Mass. Light Battery, Lieut. A. F. Walcott.

Sixth Army Corps (Sedgwick).

Third Division.—2d Brigade (Col. H L. Eustis), 7th Mass., Lieut.-Col. F. P. Harlow; 10th Mass., Lieut.-Col J. B. Parsons; 37th Mass., Col. Oliver Edwards; Artillery Brigade, 1st Mass. Light Battery.

Eleventh Army Corps (Howard).

Second Division.—2d Brigade, 33d Mass., Col. A. B. Underwood.

Twelfth Army Corps (Slocum).

First Division.—3d Brigade, 2d Mass., Lieut.-Col. C. R. Mudge.

Cavalry Corps.

Second Division.—1st Brigade, 1st Mass. Cavalry,246 Lieut.-Col. G. S. Curtis.

Artillery Reserve (Tyler).

1st Volunteer Brigade, 5th Light Battery, Capt. C. A. Phillips (with 10th New York Battery attached); 9th Light Battery, Capt. John Bigelow.


In the battle of Willoughby Run or Oak Ridge (July 1, 1863), the opening scene of Gettysburg, the 13th, brigaded under Brig.-Gen. Gabriel R. Paul, was ordered into action against a force so much larger that the regiments of the brigade were detached and had no sufficient support from one another, the 13th being, moreover, on the extreme right. Colonel Leonard was wounded early and the command devolved on Lieut.-Col N W. Batchelder. It lasted for an hour, when the officer in command ordered a charge, capturing one hundred and thirty-two prisoners, including seven officers, but the exposed flank rendered a retreat finally necessary, during which about one hundred of the 13th were taken prisoners. Out of two hundred and sixty muskets in action, the whole loss in killed, wounded and missing was one hundred and eighty-nine.247 The 12th (Col. J. L. Bates), a much [100] larger regiment, lost one-eighth of its number, including Lieuts. Francis Thomas of Weymouth and Charles G. Russell of Boston. Both these regiments were in the second division of the First Corps, under Maj.-Gen. J. F. Reynolds, though temporarily commanded by Maj.-Gen. Abner Doubleday. The First Corps was, on this first day, in the words of its commander, ‘broken and defeated but not discouraged,’ and was ‘a mere advance guard of the army.’ The men captured were largely taken in the effort to reach General Steinwehr's division on Cemetery Hill, which was their rallying point.248

On the second day of Gettysburg (July 2), Massachusetts regiments were with General Sickles in his firm resistance to the Confederate attack; these being the 18th and 22d and the 5th and 9th batteries. Col. W. S. Tilton, commanding brigade, says that ‘the officers and men showed the greatest coolness and courage.’249 In other parts of the line the heaviest losses fell on the 1st, 11th, 15th, 16th, 19th, 20th and 28th. In the afternoon, when two regiments (the 15th Mass., Col. G. H. Ward, and the 82d New York, Col. Huston) were sent forward to fill a gap in the lines, they sheltered themselves behind a hastily constructed breastwork of rails, and sustained a very severe attack of the enemy, both colonels being killed or mortally wounded, and both regiments forced back, losing also a number of prisoners.250 Lieut.-Col. G. C. Joslin mentions with especial commendation Maj. I. H. Hooper and Lieut. D. M. Earle, acting adjutant.

The 28th Mass. was ordered on the second day to carry the position of the enemy on the crest of a wooded hill, and accordingly advanced over the crest and nearly to the bottom of the hill, when they in turn were obliged to retire, being flanked on both sides, and with a loss of nearly half the force carried in.251

The 32d Mass. (Col. Geo. L. Prescott) distinguished itself by holding its ground after the breach in Sickles's Corps was made. The 32d was in front, the 4th Michigan and 62d Pennsylvania being behind it. ‘When the attack commenced,’ says Col. J. B. Sweitzer, commanding brigade, ‘word was sent by General Barnes that when we retired we should fall back under cover of the woods. This order was communicated to Colonel [101] Prescott, whose regiment was then under the hottest fire. Understanding it to be a peremptory order to retire then, he replied, “I don't want to retire; I am not ready to retire; I can hold this place,” and he made good his assertion. Being informed that he misunderstood the order, which was only to tell him how to retire when it became necessary, he was satisfied, and he and his command held their ground manfully.’252 As a result, Colonel Prescott was severely wounded.

At 4 A. M. the 2d Mass. Infantry (Lieut.-Col. C. R. Mudge) was ordered to advance from behind its breastworks and charge, in company with the 27th Indiana, a Confederate force which had taken possession of their unoccupied breastworks and which artillery had failed to disperse. In this charge Lieutenant-Colonel Mudge fell dead and four successive standard bearers were struck down, though the charge was but of four hundred yards and took but twenty minutes time. There fell also in this charge, or were mortally wounded, Capts. Thomas R. Robeson and Thomas B. Fox and Lieut. H. V. D. Stone.253 The works were not actually recaptured until several hours later, when the 2d Mass. occupied them again. The tree under which this fight took place is now in possession of the Massachusetts Historical Society. General Stoneman said once, ‘No regiment that ever served with me can show a better record than the 2d Mass.’254

In the finest single incident of the battle, and perhaps of the war, the charge of Pickett's men upon the centre of the Union army and its repulse, the 2d Corps, containing many Massachusetts regiments, bore the first brunt of the attack. After two hours of what was, up to that time, the most formidable cannonading of the war,—more than one hundred pieces of artillery concentrated on one spot,—when Pickett's division rushed, ‘with magnificent courage,’ up the long slope, in a charge which still excites the admiration of every visitor to the green hills of Gettysburg, there was a moment when the very fate of the Union was actually at stake. ‘In the very centre of the Union position crowning Cemetery Ridge wave the flags [102] of Virginia and the Confederacy.... For an awful quarter of an hour the two lines stand confronting each other, here two hundred yards apart, there but forty, pouring in upon each other a close and unremitting fire. There was no shrinking. The Union infantry came up somewhat tumultuously, it is true, but courageously, and formed around the head of Longstreet's column, four ranks deep. Every field officer in Pickett's division except Pickett himself and one lieutenant-colonel had fallen. The field was won. One moment more and all is over. The most of the surviving Confederates throw themselves on the ground; others seek to escape capture, and retreat hurriedly down the hill and across the plain, which is once more shrieking with the fire of the artillery.... Thirty-three standards and four thousand prisoners are the fruit of that victory, ... while in the Second Division [of the Second Corps], on which fell the utmost weight of the great assault, five battalion commanders have been killed. Scarcely any regimental officers remain unwounded.’255

The 19th (Col. A. F. Devereux) and 20th (Capt. H. L. Abbott) were at one time especially exposed on the countercharge; but it ended in the capture of four flags by men of the 19th and in taking a very large number of prisoners. Colonel Devereux in his report especially compliments Lieut. Moses Shackley of his regiment, and Captain Abbott especially selects for praise Capt. (afterwards brevet brigadier-general) H. L. Patten, who was twice wounded, and Lieut. Henry Ropes, who was killed.256

More soldiers from Massachusetts than from any other State received medals of honor for special services in the battle of Gettysburg, all being from the 19th Mass. Infantry, namely: Corp. J. G. DeCastro (Co. I), for capture of flag of 19th Virginia; Sergt. B. F. Falls (Co. A), for capture of flag; Sergt. B. H. Jellison (Co. C), for capture of flag of 54th Virginia; Priv. John Robinson (Co. I), for capture of flag of 57th Virginia.257 More than twenty years afterward Capt. Edmund Rice, then captain in the 5th U. S. Infantry, received a medal of honor ‘for conspicuous bravery in leading his regiment in the countercharge against Pickett's division, himself [103] falling severely wounded in this the enemy's lines, in the battle of Gettysburg, Pa., July 3, 1863, while serving as major, 19th Mass. Infantry.’

Among officers not already named who fell at Gettysburg (killed or mortally wounded) were Capts. John Murkland and H. P. Jorgenson (15th Mass.), Edwin Humphrey (11th Mass.), D. W. Roche, L. G. King and C. R. Johnson (16th Mass.), Lieuts. W. B. Mitchell (11th Mass.), E. G. Buss (15th Mass.), C. K. Knowles (22d Mass.), George F. Brown (16th Mass.), Herman Donath and S. S. Robinson (19th Mass.), Sumner Paine258 (20th Mass.), W. H. Barrows (32d Mass.), Henry Hartley (1st Mass.), with Christopher Ericson and A. H. Whitaker of the 9th Battery. A great loss was also sustained in Col. Paul J. Revere (20th Mass.), the second grandson killed of the Paul Revere of revolutionary fame, his brother, Dr. E. H. R. Revere, having fallen at Antietam.259

In Meade's somewhat belated pursuit of Lee, after Gettysburg, several Massachusetts regiments took part. At Auburn, Va. (Oct. 13, 1863), the 10th Mass. Battery (Capt. J. H. Sleeper) received the especial thanks of Major-General Birney (commanding 1st Division, 3d Corps) ‘for their gallantry in repulsing the enemy's attack on the head of the column.’260

In the ‘brilliant combat’261 at Bristoe Station (October 14), in which Warren's rear guard had a brush with Lee's whole army, the 15th, 19th and 20th Mass. infantries were engaged with slight loss and the 18th, 22d and 28th without loss. So in the running fight near Berryville, in which the 34th Mass. Infantry was for the first time under fire, the loss in that regiment was slight, but its adventures many, and its trophies in the way of weapons and supplies considerable.262 In this contest Corporal Gage of Co. E, bearing the State flag, was shot through the breast, as was another of the color-guard, Corporal Clark of Co. K, each dying without a word. Private McDaniels of Co. E, being hit in the foot, sat down, cut out the ball with his knife and recommenced firing. It was in this fight also that Lieut. Henry Bacon, when some of his company began bewailing by name [104] the deaths of some comrades, remarked amid a storm of bullets, ‘Shut your mouths, boys, and let your rifles do the talking.’263

When Meade forced the passage of the Rappahannock in pursuit of Lee a number of Massachusetts regiments and batteries took part (Nov. 7, 1863), only the 10th and 18th infantries sustaining losses, but not heavily.264 In the same way, in the more extended but somewhat ineffectual four days operations at Mine Run, Va. (Nov. 26-30, 1863), many Massachusetts regiments of the three arms of the service were engaged, actual losses falling only on the 1st Cavalry and the 1st, 9th, 11th, 15th and 16th infantries. Brig.-Gen. D. A. Russell of Massachusetts was designated to convey to the Adjutant-General seven captured battle flags and staff, ‘because of his conspicuous conduct as the leader of the storming party of the occasion.’265

During the subsequent winter quarters of Meade's army there was little fighting, but a scattering party of the 2d Mass. Cavalry was surprised and defeated at Drainsville (near Leesburg), Va. (Feb. 22, 1864), ten of the party being killed, including Capt. J. Sewell Read of San Francisco, the commander, and seven wounded and fifty-seven taken as prisoners. During the month of July, 1863, there occurred draft riots in New York and a few other cities, during which some forces were ordered to New York from the front and placed for a time under General Butler, some of these being Massachusetts regiments, but fortunately little actual military collision was required.266


Xxii. The Army of the Cumberland.

The only Massachusetts troops forming part of the Army of the Cumberland in 1863-64 were the 2d and 33d Infantry, but the service they rendered was important, and in the case of the latter peculiarly conspicuous. Troops being called for from the east to reinforce Rosecrans, two army corps were hastily sent, the 11th under Howard, the 12th under [105] Slocum. The first of these included the 33d Mass. (Lieut.-Col. Godfrey Rider, Jr., Steinwehr's division) and the second included the 2d Mass. (Colonel Cogswell, Williams's division). The orders arriving Sept. 24, 1863, the troops travelled west by rail for a week ere reaching their new command. On October 29 a sudden call was made upon the 33d to carry a very steep fortified hill, some two hundred feet high, at Wauhatchie; the task being intrusted by General Hooker to Col. Orland Smith (73d Ohio), brigade commander, who selected for the purpose his own regiment and the 33d Mass., some four hundred men in all. The steepness of the hill made it very difficult of ascent by daylight, and in the night it was a formidable enterprise. When the Confederate breastworks were at last reached, a voice shouted in the darkness, ‘Don't fire on your friends,’ calling out in reply a frank announcement of the title of the regiment, which was followed by a volley in their very faces, killing or wounding nearly half their force; Lieutenant Mudge, the adjutant, being among the former, and Colonel Underwood among the latter, his thigh being so shattered that amputation became necessary. Falling back for a short time, the regiment was re-formed and renewed the charge, carrying the fort, with the aid of the 73d Ohio, and capturing a hundred prisoners, with many small arms. Besides the adjutant, Lieut. W. P. Mudge, the list of killed or mortally wounded included Lieuts. Joseph P. Burrage of Cambridge, James Hill of Danvers and Oswego Jones of Fall River, with 32 enlisted men. More than 60 were wounded. No less an authority than General Thomas says, in congratulating General Hooker, ‘The bayonet charge of Howard's troops, made up the side of a steep and difficult hill over two hundred feet high, completely routing the enemy from his barricades on top ... will rank among the most distinguished feats of arms of this war.’267

Again at Lookout Mountain, Nov. 24, 1863, the 33d took part in the ‘battle above the clouds,’ but with no casualty except in a few wounded and one missing. Col. Godfrey Ryder, Jr. (33d Mass.), was especially complimented in a report by Col. Orland Smith (73d Ohio, commanding brigade), as was Lieut. E. M. Cheney of the same regiment, who served as brigade quartermaster.268 Lieut. Arthur Macarthur, Jr. (then adjutant 24th Wisconsin), a native of Massachusetts, received a medal of honor ‘for [106] coolness and conspicuous bravery in action in seizing the colors of his regiment and planting them on the captured works on the crest of Missionary Ridge, Nov. 25, 1863.’ ‘When the color sergeant was exhausted, he carried the flag in front of the regiment, cheering the men to follow him up the ridge.’269 Both the 2d and 33d took active part in the battle of Resaca (May 13-16, 1864), the former losing 5 killed or mortally wounded. The 33d again made a fine charge, charging and carrying three fortified hills in succession, but having 24 killed or mortally wounded,270 including Lieuts. H. J. Parker of Townsend and E. L. Bumpus of Braintree. At Cassville, Ga., both regiments were engaged (May 19-22), with small loss. At Kenesaw Mountain they had several engagements in June, the 33d making another fine charge, and losing 11 killed or mortally wounded, including the 2d lieutenant, C. H. Lord of Ipswich. By July 17 the 33d had been reduced to a mere skeleton regiment. The 2d Mass. was in the breastworks before Atlanta from July 22, 1864, and on the 30th Lieutenant-Colonel Morse of that regiment, being field officer of the day, surprised the enemy's pickets in his front and captured them in their rifle-pits. The regiment was then ordered to the support of the picket line and hastily threw up breastworks. They were ‘within two hundred yards of the enemy's forts, and under a close and hot fire of his artillery, infantry and sharpshooters.’271 Here the regiment remained for six hours, resisting successfully severalefforts of the enemy to retake the hill where they were posted, having expended two hundred rounds of ammunition per man. They were relieved at last by another regiment of the same brigade, the 3d New Jersey, with a loss of 4 killed and mortally wounded. On the fall of Atlanta, Sept. 2, 1864, the regiment was placed on duty as provost guard, Colonel Cogswell being placed in command of the fort.

At Averysboroa, N. C., the two Massachusetts regiments were again engaged, the 2d losing 8 killed or mortally wounded and the 33d lost 1. As Sherman's army passed through the Carolinas and became united with the regiments which had served near the coast, various engagements took place, in one of which, at Kinston, N. C., the 23d Mass. (March 14, 1865), as previously stated, was involved and lost a few men. [107]

During a part of the above events a portion of the 9th Corps, under Brig.-Gen. R. B. Porter, was assigned to the Department of the Ohio, commanded by Maj.-Gen. A. E. Burnside. It included the 36th Mass. Infantry (Maj. A. A. Goodell), the 29th (Maj. Charles Chipman), the 35th (Maj. Nathaniel Wales) and the 21st (Lieut.-Col. G. P. Hawkes). They had many toilsome marches and small engagements in Kentucky, Tennessee and Mississippi, having been transferred from North Carolina and having set out from Baltimore on March 24, 1863, to take part in the advance on Jackson, Miss., and the siege of Knoxville, Tenn. In the former attack several companies of the 36th Mass. did active duty as skirmishers on June 11 before the city, their colonel being in command of the brigade; and on the evacuation of Jackson the 35th Mass. in line of skirmishers were the first to enter the city, the 29th being the reserve. The losses of all these were small.272 At Blue Springs, Tenn. (October 10), there was a skirmish without actual loss, but in which Major Goodell of the 36th Infantry, a most valuable officer, was severely wounded; another at Lenoir's, Tenn. (November 15), without loss; and one near Campbell's Station (November 16), in which the 29th and 36th lost slightly. In this case there was a sharp attack by Hood upon three small regiments (the 36th Mass., the 8th Michigan and the 45th Pennsylvania), which narrowly escaped capture, the 36th being at this time under command of Maj. (afterwards general) W. F. Draper. In the siege of Knoxville, Tenn., the 21st, 29th, 35th and 36th Infantry were all engaged, with small losses for each; and it was the pickets of the 36th, under command of Capt. T. E. Ames of Co. B, which discovered and reported the raising of the siege by General Longstreet.


Xxiii. Shenandoah campaigns.

In the earlier portions of the war Massachusetts regiments took no part in the western campaigns, but an important part in the battle of Shiloh or Pittsburg landing273 (April 6, 1862) was performed by Col. Everett Peabody of the 25th Missouri, a Massachusetts man and a Harvard graduate. He at that time commanded a brigade, and was so sure of the surprise which had been planned against the Union troops that he sent out a scouting party, [108] which was the first to discover the approach of the enemy, and then fell back skirmishing. Colonel Peabody's brigade was one of the few which were in line when the attack came on; he rode to the front, in order to encourage his men, and fell in fifteen minutes, receiving five wounds,—in the head, thigh, neck and body. His brigade retreated in good order, and his own regiment numbered six hundred on the day after the battle, which could not have occurred had not its colonel taken better care of his men than of himself.274

The history of the Shenandoah Valley campaigns really begins in 1862, when Jackson ‘defeated Fremont at Cross Keys, captured the garrison at Front Royal, drove Banks across the Potomac, and, by alarming Washington, broke up the impending junction of McDowell and McClellan and the threatened capture of Richmond.’275 The part taken by Massachusetts troops in these proceedings was fortunately not large, and fell chiefly on the 2d Mass. Infantry, which formed the rear guard during a large part of Banks's retreat, marched fifty-six miles in thirty-three hours, lost many killed and nearly a hundred prisoners, including its major, surgeon and assistant surgeon. Col. Geo. H. Gordon, its commander, won his promotion to a brigadier-generalship by his distinguished services on this retreat. At Front Royal and Winchester (May 23-25) the regiment lost some 16 killed and mortally wounded.

In the overwhelming defeat of General Sigel at Newmarket, Va., May 15, 1864, the 34th Infantry was the only Massachusetts regiment involved, and it did its best to sustain the artillery by which it was posted, one company being deployed as skirmishers on the river bank.276 It made one remarkable charge with such energy that, on the order to retreat being given, Col. G. D. Wells, then in command, was compelled to take the standard bearer by the shoulders and force him to the rear. It afterwards held back the retreat while the whole line was giving way. Taking into action about 500 men, it lost about half of them in killed (32), wounded and prisoners, Lieut.-Col. W. S. Lincoln being among the latter. Colonel Wells was also wounded, but remained on the field.

In the early and at last ineffectual campaign of General Hunter in the Shenandoah Valley, the hard-worked 34th Mass. Infantry had a hand in a [109] single brilliant victory,—that of Piedmont, June 5, when it crossed, as a part of Thoburn's division, a deep ravine to strike the right flank of the enemy. The division charged on the woods and heights, which were promptly abandoned by the Confederates, many of the latter rushing over the steep bank into the river. About 1,500 prisoners were taken by the Union troops, and the Confederate general, Vaughan, wrote to General Bragg, June 6, ‘Went into the fight yesterday with an aggregate of 5,600; I have not over 3,000 effectives.’277 The 34th Mass. lost on this occasion 24. It took part also in the unsuccessful attack on Lynchburg, June 17– 18, and in the affair at Snicker's Ferry, July 18; also at Winchester, Va., July 24-25, without loss.

The Army of the Shenandoah, as reorganized under Maj.-Gen. P. H. Sheridan (Aug. 31; 1864), contained the following Massachusetts forces:—

Army of the Shenandoah.

Cavalry Force.

First Division.—3d Brigade, 2d Mass. Cavalry, Lieut.-Col. Caspar Crowninshield.

Sixth Army Corps.

First Division.—3d Brigade, 7th Mass. Infantry (detachment); 10th Mass. (detachment); 37th Mass., Col. O. Edwards; Artillery Brigade, 1st Mass. Battery, Capt. W. H. McCartney.

Nineteenth Army Corps.

First Division.—1st Brigade, 30th Mass., Lieut.-Col. F. H. Whittier.

Second Division.—1st Brigade, 26th Mass., Col. A. B. Farr; 2d Brigade, 3d Mass. Cavalry (dismounted), Col. L. D. Sargent; 3d Brigade, 38th Mass., Col. J. P. Richardson.

Army of West Virginia.

1st Brigade, 34th Mass., Lieut.-Col. W. S. Lincoln.


At the head of the 3d Brigade, first division of the large cavalry force, was Colonel Charles R. Lowell, with his own regiment, the 2d Mass. Cavalry, brigaded under him, all the rest of the brigade being regulars. This was the Massachusetts contingent under Sheridan in his Shenandoah campaign. This campaign was on the defensive until the opposing force [110] of Early was weakened by the detachment of Kershaw's force; but after this there was no more delay.

The battle of Opequon (or Winchester), Va., September 19, was, in the words of General Sheridan, ‘a most stubborn and sanguinary engagement, which lasted from early in the morning until five o'clock in the evening.’ It was testified by the same general that ‘the conduct of both officers and men was most superb.’278 An impetuous charge was made by Grover's division, including the 26th and 38th Mass. Infantry and the 3d Cavalry (dismounted), upon a Georgia brigade. General Birge, commanding the brigade containing the 26th, says, ‘As the troops entered the woods, I was ordered by General Grover to halt and hold that position, and not to go farther into the woods; but the charge was so rapid and impetuous and the men so much excited by the sight of the enemy in full retreat before them that it was impossible to execute the order, and the whole line pressed forward to the extreme edge of the timber, some three hundred yards beyond the enemy's original position and to his rear on both flanks. The brigade was now far in advance of our own line.’279 The fresh troops of Rodes coming up, Grover's fell back, when Russell's division of the 6th Corps came up, struck the flank of Rodes's force, and, aided by the 5th Maine battery, again turned the tide and re-established the line. ‘On the left of the brigade,’ wrote General Upton, brigade commander, ‘the 37th Mass. Volunteers rendered invaluable service in supporting Stevens's battery.’280 Gen. D. A. Russell, himself a gallant Massachusetts officer, commanding a division, was killed by a piece of shell during the movement. ‘His death,’ said Sheridan, ‘brought sorrow to every heart in the army.’ In this engagement the Massachusetts troops losing most heavily were the 26th, 34th, 37th Infantry and the 3d Cavalry (dismounted). Battery 1 had 4 wounded only. The losses included Maj. E. S. Clark and Capt. E. W. Thayer of the 26th, Lieut. J. P. Haley of the 30th and Lieuts. J. F. Glidden and J. F. Poole of the 3d Cavalry. These were all from the 19th Corps, arrived from Florida to take part in the campaign. At one time during this battle the brigade containing the 34th Mass., having been for some time stationary under fire, was notified by General Thoburn that they would be presently ordered to charge. ‘While [111] he was speaking, the 34th Mass. on the right, impatient at their constant great and increasing loss, sprang to their feet and started for the rebel battery alone; almost at the same moment the long-looked for movement was made, our whole line went forward with a cheer, and the rebels were driven from the wall in utter rout.’ This is the description given in the report of Col. G. D. Wells, brigade commander, and he adds, ‘I desire to call especial attention to the conduct of Major Pratt and his regiment in the last charge,’ and mentions also the death of Capt. G. W. Thompson, ‘for a long time commanding the regiment, and a most valuable and gallant officer.’281

In ‘the hurricane battle,’ as it has been called, of Fisher's Hill, Va. (September 21, 22), Massachusetts troops took an active part. Early had been already alarmed by the gradual approach of the Union troops, and was preparing, as he says, to retreat after dark, when at sunset the troops of Crook, who had been gradually approaching during the day, sprang upon him. ‘Had the heavens opened,’ writes one officer, ‘and we had been seen descending from the clouds, no greater consternation would have been created.’282 The 34th Mass. Infantry (Col. W. S. Lincoln) formed a part of the first attacking force; then Rickett's division, including Battery A of the 1st Mass. Light Artillery, had joined it; then came the rest of the 6th Corps, including parts of the 7th, 10th and 37th Mass.; and the 19th, including the 26th and 38th. These troops, ‘taking up the charge, descended into the ravine of Tumbling Run, with a headlong rush over fields, walls, rocks and felled trees. Making their way across the brook, they were soon scrambling up heights that it had seemed madness to attack, while Sheridan and his admirable staff were on every part of the line, shouting “Forward, forward everything!” and to all inquiries for instruction the reply was still “ Go on; don't stop; go on!” Formations were little heeded in the rush, but the whole Confederate line broke from its trenches.’283 General Early justly sums it up, ‘My whole force retired in considerable confusion.’ In this sudden attack and victory few men fell.

At Tom's Brook (October 8, 9), a purely cavalry fight, where Sheridan directed Torbert to set off at daylight and whip the rebel cavalry or get whipped himself, Lowell's brigade, including his own regiment (the 2d [112] Mass. Cavalry), were engaged; and Torbert wrote afterwards that ‘the cavalry totally covered themselves with glory, and added to their list victories ... the most decisive the country has ever witnessed.’ They captured prisoners, guns, ambulances, headquarters, wagons, ‘everything on wheels,’ it was said; and the enemy were chased twenty-six miles.284 It was after this that the joke was made that cannon sent from Richmond to the Shenandoah valley were marked ‘P. H. Sheridan, care of General Early.’ Early wrote to Lee, ‘the fact is, that the enemy's cavalry is so much superior to ours, both in numbers and equipment ... that it is impossible for ours to compete with it.’ This was in curious contrast with the comparative condition of the two forces at the outset of the war. At the easy but final victory of Waynesboroa, March 2, 1865, only the 2d Cavalry of Massachusetts troops took part, with small loss.

Early took Crook's command (Thoburn's division) completely by surprise October 13 at Hupp's Hill, near Strasburg, throwing shells among them while they were eating dinner, with guns stacked. Forming hastily in line, they encountered him, Wells's brigade (including the 34th Mass.) being on the left. Wells was obliged at length to retreat, having suffered severely; and he himself was mortally wounded and fell into the enemy's hands. The Union troops suffered much more than the Confederates from this unexpected attack, although both sides had fought well. It was followed up by a much larger surprise and attack, leading to the battle of Cedar Creek, Oct. 19, 1864, which fell also at first on the same division (Thoburn's), still including the 34th Mass.

The attempt of Early to surprise and overcome the vastly superior forces of Sheridan at this battle is pronounced by Irwin, the admirable historian of the 19th Army Corps, to have been one of exceptional daring. ‘It may be doubted,’ he says, ‘whether in the whole history of war an instance can be found of any similar plan so carefully and successfully arranged, and so completely carried out in detail, up to the moment.’285 The final shock fell on Thoburn's corps early in the morning, with such complete suddenness that their own guns were immediately turned against them, and every part [113] of the army was steadily driven back, although there was no confusion or general breaking up; the men held to their colors and every brigade and regiment retained its formation. Thoburn himself was killed.

The 6th Corps (including the 7th, 10th and 37th Mass.) checked for a time the advance of the enemy, but the battle closed with a defeat so complete that the Union force had been driven back from one to four miles, when the sudden arrival of Sheridan turned defeat to victory and gave one of the most striking instances in all history of the extraordinary power sometimes condensed into a single man. Sheridan himself thus briefly describes it, in his despatch to Grant: ‘I hastened to Winchester, where I was on my return from Washington, and found the armies between Middletown and Newton, having been driven back four miles. I here took the affair in hand and quickly united the corps,—formed a compact line of battle just in time to repulse an attack of the enemy.’286287 But a more vivid description is that of Col. B. W. Crowninshield of the 1st Mass. Cavalry: ‘One thing struck me as curious,—that the stream of men was now going towards Middletown. Astonished, I left Wheaton and galloped over to the pike, where I learned that Sheridan had just passed up,—as well as can be ascertained, it was half-past 11 o'clock,—and directly after, meeting General Forsyth, chief of staff, I received orders to go to Newtown, form a guard, and collect all the stragglers I could and bring them up to the front. This I proceeded to do, and finally collected about two thousand men of all corps, and brought them up and turned them over to the command of General Crook, then on our extreme left and rear. From the time the 6th Corps became engaged, at about 9 A. M., until Sheridan came up, about noon, the attacks of the enemy were on the whole feeble and ineffective ... Sheridan rode along his line, seeing for himself all his troops, and saying a word or two as he went along to encourage them, to which they responded with cheers.’

As a result, all that had been captured was recaptured, except the 1,429 prisoners whom Early had sent to the rear, these being balanced by some 1,200 taken by Sheridan, with twenty-four guns, fifty-six ambulance and many battle flags. The losses of the Massachusetts regiments were considerable, especially from the 26th, 30th, 34th and 38th Infantry and the 2d and 3d Cavalry. They included Lieuts. Lyman James of the 3d Cavalry, [114] Albert L. Tilden of the 26th Infantry, and Geo. F. Whitcomb of the 30th; also Maj. W. F. Clark of the 30th. No loss, however, was so deeply felt as that of Col. Charles Russell Lowell, whose commission as brigadier-general had been signed that day. He commanded the reserve or regular brigade, which had held during the morning, dismounted, a stone wall from which it could not be displaced. Sheridan himself said of him: ‘I do not think there was a quality which I could have added to Lowell. He was the perfection of a man and of a soldier.’288 Gen. Merritt, commanding the First Cavalry division, wrote of him: ‘His fall cast a gloom on the entire command. No one in the field appreciated his worth more than his division commander. He was wounded painfully in the early part of the day, soon after which I met him; he was suffering acutely from his wound, but to ask him to leave the field was to insult him, almost; a more gallant soldier never buckled a sabre. His coolness and judgment on the field were unequalled.... Young in years, he died too early for his country, leaving a brilliant record for future generations, ending a career which gave bright promise of yet greater future usefulness and glory.’289 The 2d Mass. Cavalry, as a part of Lowell's command, had acted as rear guard during Sheridan's retreat from Cedar Creek to Strasburg, and had sustained some losses in killed and prisoners. Again it took part in a skirmish at Berryville, Sept. 3, 1864, and sustained, with the 34th Infantry, some slight losses. Again at Waynesboroa, September 28, when Torbert's cavalry corps was superintending the destruction of a railway bridge, having burned the station, it was attacked by a portion of Early's force, and the 2d Mass. Cavalry lost some killed and prisoners.


Xxiv. The final campaign in Virginia.

We now pass to the great campaign of the war, and to battles which dwarfed all that had preceded, for the Massachusetts troops as for all others. In 1864 Congress had passed a bill reviving the grade of lieutenantgen-eral, and it had been conferred at once upon General Grant by President Lincoln, the two meeting for the first time when the commission was conferred.290 [115]

The Massachusetts troops operating against Richmond, Va., under Lieutenant-General Grant (May 5, 1864), were as follows:291

Army of the Potomac (Maj.-Gen. G. G. Meade).

Provost Guard.—1st Mass. Cavalry, Cos. C and D (Capt. E. A. Flint).


Second Army Corps (Hancock).

First Division.—2d Brigade, 28th Mass., Lieut.-Col. G. W. Cartwright.

Second Division.—1st Brigade, 15th Mass. (Maj. J. Harris Hooper); 19th (Maj. Edmund Rice); 20th (Maj. Henry L. Abbott).

Fourth Division.—1st Brigade, 1st Mass. (Col. N. B. McLaughlen); 16th Mass. (Lieut.-Col. Waldo Merriam); 2d Brigade, 11th Mass. (Col. William Blaisdell); Artillery Brigade, 10th Mass. Battery (Capt. J. Henry Sleeper).


Fifth Army Corps (Warren).

First Division.—2d Brigade, 9th Mass. Infantry (Col. P. R. Guiney); 22d Mass. (Col. W. S. Tilton) (with 2d Co. Sharpshooters attached); 32d Mass. (Col. G. L. Prescott); 3d Brigade, 18th Mass. (Col. Joseph Hayes).

Second Division.—1st Brigade (Col. S. H. Leonard), 13th Mass. (Capt. Chas. H. Hovey); 39th Mass. (Col. P. S. Davis); 2d Brigade, 12th Mass. (Col. J. L. Bates); Artillery Brigade, 3d Battery (Capt. A. P. Martin); 5th Battery (Capt. C. A. Phillips).


Sixth Army Corps (Sedgwick).

Second Division.—4th Brigade (Brig.-Gen. H. L. Eustis), 7th Mass. (Col. T. D. Johns); 10th Mass. (Lieut.-Col. J. B. Parsons); 37th Mass. (Col. Oliver Edwards); Artillery Brigade, 1st Mass. Battery (Capt. W. H. McCartney).


Ninth Army Corps (Burnside).

First Division.—1st Brigade, 35th Mass. (Maj. N. Wales); 56th Mass. (Col. C. E. Griswold); 57th Mass. (Col. W. F. Bartlett); 59th Mass. (Col. J. P. Gould); 2d Brigade, 21st Mass. (Lieut.-Col. G. P. Hawkes).

Second Division.—1st Brigade, 36th Mass. (Lieut.-Col. J. C. Whiton); Artillery, 11th Mass. Battery (Capt. E. J. Jones).


[116]

Cavalry Corps.

Second Division.—1st Mass. Cavalry (Lieut.-Col. L. M. Sargent).

Artillery.

3d Brigade, 9th Mass. Battery (Capt. John Bigelow).

Army of the James (Butler).


Tenth Army Corps (Gillmore).

First Division.—3d Brigade, 24th Mass. (Col. F. A. Osborne).

Second Division.—1st Brigade, 40th Mass. (Col. Guy V. Henry).


Eighteenth Army Corps (W. F. Smith).

Second Division.—1st Brigade, 23d Mass. (Col. Andrew Elwell); 25th Mass. (Maj. C. G. Attwood); 27th Mass. (Col. H. C. Lee).


Unattached troops.

13th Co. Mass. Heavy Artillery (Capt. John Pickering, Jr.), as pontoniers.


The first great battle of the campaign was the battle of the Wilderness (May 5-7, 1864), and it was, very fortunately, almost unique of its kind. It was not, like the later contests, an affair of entrenchments; cavalry had no important share in it, artillery little; it came as near as the invention of gunpowder permitted to the earliest form of hand-to-hand fighting. No description of the merely confused and chaotic side of war by Tolstoi or Zola or Crane equals the simplest soldier's narration of the Battle of the Wilderness. It was, in Swinton's phrase, ‘a collision of brute masses.’292 Once begun, it soon lost almost the semblance of military formation. Men could not see their own officers, keep in their own ranks or even know whom they were fighting. In the dense woods portions of regiments fired into one another. Badeau describes the region as ‘one tangled mass of stunted evergreen, dwarf chestnut, oak and hazel, with an undergrowth of low-limbed bristling shrubs, making the forest almost impenetrable.... A wrestle as blind as at midnight; a gloom that made manoeuvres impracticable; a jungle where regiments stumbled on each other and on the enemy [117] by turns, firing sometimes into their own ranks, and guided often only by the crackling of the bushes or the cheers and cries that arose from the depths around.’ Gen. F. A. Walker, who was also in it, after endorsing this description by quoting it, adds: ‘Of those that survived, many had not beheld an enemy, yet the tangled forest had been alive with flying missiles; the whistling of the bullets had been incessant; the very trees seemed peopled by spirits that shrieked and groaned during those hours of mortal combat.’293 He adds: ‘All the peculiar advantages of the Army of the Potomac were sacrificed in the jungle fighting into which they were thus called.’

In this battle, so remote from the modern type of contest (with its tactics, its entrenchments, its long-range firing and its smokeless powder), twenty-three Massachusetts infantry regiments were engaged, with losses in killed and mortally wounded varying from ninety-four to one, and making in the aggregate nearly five hundred. The regiment suffering the severest loss was the 57th, or Second Veteran Regiment, under Col. W. F. Bartlett, and that having the smallest the 13th, which had taken elsewhere its ample share. The 57th took into battle, according to Fox's tables, 545, and had 94 killed or mortally wounded, this being 17 per cent., or the largest among all the regiments engaged.294 The others were the 1st, 7th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 15th, 16th, 18th, 19th, 20th, 21st, 22d, 28th, 32d, 36th, 37th, 39th, 56th, 58th and 59th. Those suffering most seriously, after the 57th, were the 37th, 9th, 20th and 10th, in the order here given.295 The 35th Mass. Infantry was detailed as a guard for the supply trains, and met with no loss, as was also the case with the 3d, 5th, 9th, 10th and 11th light batteries, which were also engaged. In this battle Col., afterwards Gen., W. F. Bartlett was very severely wounded in the head, and did not again return to his regiment;296 and among the killed or mortally wounded in the regiment were Capt. J. W. Gird and Second Lieut. J. M. Childs, both of Worcester. Other Massachusetts officers killed or mortally wounded [118] were Maj. Henry L. Abbott (20th Mass.), of whom General Hancock said: ‘This brilliant young officer, by his courageous conduct in action, the high state of discipline in his regiment and his devotion to duty at all times, had obtained the highest reputation among his commanding officers. His loss was greatly deplored.’297 Capt. Joseph S. Hills and Lieut. J. U. Woodfin (16th Mass.); Capt. J. A. McIntyre and C. P. Smith (28th Mass.); Col. C. E. Griswold (56th Mass.); Lieut.-Col. David Allen, Jr. (12th Mass.); Capts. J. W. McNamara, W. A. Phelan, Lieuts. C. B. Mc-Ginnisken and N. C. Flaherty (9th Mass.); A. W. Midgley and W. A. Ashley (10th Mass.); and Joseph Stuart (13th Mass.) were all killed or mortally wounded in the Battle of the Wilderness.298 For ‘gallantry in action’ in this battle Color-Sergeant Leopold Karpeles (Co. E, 57th Mass.) received a medal of honor.

Near Port Walthal, Va. (May 6-7), the 23d, 25th and 27th Mass. Infantry were engaged, and at Todd's Tavern (May 4, 7) the 1st Cavalry, but with small losses; these being only preliminary to the next great battle, that of Spotsylvania (May 8-18). In this prolonged and intermittent battle, the very heaviest casualties of all—including both killed and wounded—came, with one exception, upon the 1st Mass. Heavy Artillery. Its casualties (390) were exceeded only by those of the 1st Maine Heavy Artillery (481), no infantry regiment rising above 301. The two Massachusetts infantry regiments attaining very high record in both regards were the 39th (Robinson's division, 5th Corps) and the 32d (Griffin's division, 5th Corps); while several regiments exceeded the latter in killed and mortally wounded alone, namely, the 22d, 9th, 37th, 57th, 28th and 56th.

At the formidable defence of the once-captured ‘Salient,’ or ‘Bloody Angle,’ it was claimed for the brigade of Col. Oliver Edwards (37th Mass. Infantry) that it fought longer than any other brigade of the 6th Corps; and for the 37th Mass. Infantry—one of two Massachusetts regiments in that brigade, the other being the 10th--that it was in action continuously for more than twenty hours, during which time it fired more than four hundred rounds per man. At one time the guns became so foul that [119] they could be used no longer, when they were exchanged for guns of another regiment.299 General McAllister's Brigade of the Fourth Division, including the 1st and 16th Mass. Infantry, also took a most active part.300

General Hancock in his report speaks of the ‘magnificent charge’ made by Birney's and Barlow's division on the 12th of May, and says, ‘it stands unsurpassed for daring, courage and brilliant success.’301 These divisions included, as will be seen by referring to the list of regiments, many Massachusetts organizations. In his report of flags captured, he mentions First Sergeant S. G. Viall and Sergeant Daniel Murphy (both of 19th Mass.) as each capturing a flag.302 The latter received a medal of honor soon after. Private F. M. Whitman (Co. G, 35th Mass.) also received one, ten years later, ‘for distinguished services in action at Antietam and Spotsylvania.’ The second brigade of Barlow's division in the 2d Army Corps, that division which, according to Gen. F. A. Walker, ‘made skirmishing a profession,’303 included the 28th Mass., Lieutenant-Colonel Cartwright. One of the most distinguished division commanders (in the 6th Corps) was Brig.-Gen. David A. Russell of Massachusetts; while another (in the 9th Corps) was Brig.-Gen. T. G. Stevenson; and among the brigade commanders were Brig.-Gen. H. L. Eustis, Col. N. A. Miles and S. H. Leonard, all of Massachusetts. Col. N. A. Miles won at this battle his promotion as brigadier-general,304 and ‘among regimental commanders Col. William Blaisdell of the 11th Mass. Infantry deserves especial mention for unflinching determination in holding his line against the most desperate assaults.’305

The most distinguished Massachusetts officer killed at Spotsylvania was Brig.-Gen. Thomas Greely Stevenson, originally colonel of the 24th Mass. Infantry, who had served with distinction in North and South Carolina, and was at the time of his death in command of the First Division of the 9th Army Corps. Another important officer who fell was Lieut.-Col. Waldo Merriam of the 16th Mass. Infantry, who had rendered valuable service [120] as field-officer of the day in Birney's division, a ‘brave and able’ soldier, in Hancock's phrase.306 On earlier days of the prolonged conflict Lieut. G. B. Simonds of the 15th Mass. had fallen, with Lieuts. Edward Sturgess and L. E. Hibbard, of the 20th. On May 12 died Capt. M. H. Warren of the 1st Mass. Infantry and Lieut. J. J. Ferris of the 19th; on May 18 Maj. A. J. Lawler and Capts. James Magner and W. F. Cochrane of the 28th Mass. In the contest of the heavy artillery regiments on May 19 among the killed or mortally wounded were Maj. F. A. Rolfe, Capts. W. G. Thompson and A. A. Davis and Lieuts. Edward Graham and Charles Carroll. All these officers, with multitudes of enlisted men whose names would now be difficult even to enumerate and impossible to print,— nearly five hundred in all,—were the victims of Spotsylvania, a battle which brought to Massachusetts the heaviest losses of the war, those of the Wilderness being next.307 It was as full of hand-to-hand contests as the Wilderness, not, however, among trees, but among fortifications; a battle where men were crowded so close that they touched each other over breastworks and sometimes drew one another bodily over; one in which they shot and stabbed each other through the crevices of the works; where dead bodies were piled three or four deep, the one upon the other, and where thick trees were actually cut down by the rain of bullets.308

Other officers killed at Spotsylvania, or in the various engagements which were a part of it, were Lieuts. Henry W. Nichols (7th Mass. Infantry), James O'Neil and Archibald Simpson (9th Mass.); Maj. D. F. Parker, Capt. J. H. Wetherell and Lieuts. E. B. Bartlett and A. E. Munyan (10th Mass.); Capt. J. S. Stoddard and Lieuts. E. J. Kidder and William Robinson (12th Mass.); Lieuts. C. W. Whitcomb (13th Mass.) and G. B. Simonds (15th Mass.) ; Capts. Benjamin Davis (22d Mass.), Robert Hamilton (32d Mass ) and S. H. Bailey (36th Mass.) ; Lieut. H. W. Daniels (36th Mass.); Capt. F. W. Pease and Lieuts. G. E. Cooke and Joseph Follansbee (37th Mass.) ; Lieut. I. D. Paul (39th Mass.) ; Capt. W. H. Harley and Lieut. F. G. Ogden (58th Mass.) and Lieut. G. J. Morse (59th Mass.) [121]

In the expedition on the south side of James River, in the battle of Swift Creek or Arrowfield Church, May 9-10, General Heckman's ‘Star Brigade,’ including several Massachusetts regiments, had an extremely arduous experience. ‘All the hardships incident to four days and nights under a drenching rain, without shelter of any kind, so close to the enemy's lines that but once could fires be built, and some part of the regiment on picket or skirmishing all the time, were borne without murmurs or complaint.’309 Outflanked and surrounded, finally, they fired until their ammunition was gone, then charged in vain, then retreated in perfect order. At one time they repulsed a charge of the enemy, during which the 25th Mass. Infantry and the 25th South Carolina found themselves face to face. The 25th Mass. lost 14 killed (including Lieut. C. E. Upton),310 the 23d and 27th also losing, while the 40th was present but not seriously engaged. At Ashland (May 11) the 1st Mass. Cavalry, being detached with others to make a sudden attack upon Ashland Station, lost 6 killed, including Lieut. E. P. Hopkins of Williamstown. At Drewry's Bluff (May 12-16) the ‘Star Brigade,’ with the 4th Cavalry (1 battalion), again met the enemy, with much heavier losses than at Swift Creek, the losses falling on the 23d, 24th, 25th, 27th and 40th Mass. Infantry. On the first day a portion of the enemy's line of defence was carried with small loss; on the 16th Butler was forced back to his entrenchments, the Confederates entrenching strongly in front, thus leaving him ‘bottled up,’ in Grant's celebrated phrase, and requiring but a small force of the enemy to keep him there.311

Warren's and Hancock's fight at North Anna’ (May 23-27, 1864), wrote Gen. M. V. MacMahon, ‘had been fierce but ineffective, resulting only in slaughter, of which, as usual, a sadly disproportioned share was ours.’312 This loss was, however, distributed so widely over many regiments as not to fall very heavily on any one,—these regiments being the 9th, 11th, 12th, 19th, 20th, 22d, 32d, 35th, 36th, 39th, 56th, 57th, 58th and 59th Infantry; the 1st Heavy Artillery and the 9th Battery. Among these the [122] heaviest loss in killed and mortally wounded fell on the 57th. Other regiments present were the 13th, 15th, 16th, 18th, 28th, 32d, 37th, with the 3d, 5th, 10th, 11th, 14th batteries, some of these having a few wounded but none killed.

In the efforts to cross the Totopotomoy River (May 29-31) the Massachusetts regiments incurring small losses in killed and mortally wounded were the 15th, 16th, 19th, 21st, 22d, 28th, 32d (the largest loss), 58th Infantry, the 1st Heavy Artillery and the 3d Battery. Other regiments engaged were the 12th and 20th, with the 9th and 14th batteries. Capt. D. C. Mumford (19th Mass.) was among the killed.

At Bethesda Church (June 1-3),—the action of the right wing at the terrible Cold Harbor,—the largest loss fell on the 36th Mass. Infantry (17 killed, 33 wounded) and next on the 32d and on the 21st; but also in a smaller degree on the 9th, 12th, 13th, 22d, 29th, 35th, 56th and 57th Infantry, and the 5th, 9th and 10th batteries. The 19th, 20th, 39th and 58th were also present, with the 11th and 14th batteries, but without loss.

The main battle of Cold Harbor (June 3)313 was perhaps the most unavailing, as it was the most desperate, battle of this Richmond campaign. Had the Confederate general controlled the action of both sides, he could have hardly had the battle conducted more to his liking than it was. He wished Grant to be the assaulting party, and was sure of his own entrenchments and of the disposition of his troops. Burnside at Petersburg hardly undertook a task more desperate, nor was his error so costly. ‘Out of the gray dawn, eighty thousand men rush forward upon the enemy in his entrenched lines, meet with a bloody repulse and retire to cover themselves with such works as they can most speedily erect to hold the advanced ground which some of them have gained. The assault has failed in a brief ten minutes. All the fighting is over in less than an hour. Eight thousand men have fallen. The enemy has lost but a tithe of this number.’314 Saddest of all was the vast number of wounded who expired in the narrow space between the hostile lines, on the days following the battle, simply from the inability of their own friends to succor them.

In this battle of Cold Harbor the most formidable loss fell on the 25th [123] Mass. Infantry, which reported 300 for duty that morning and lost 69 killed or mortally wounded, including 6 officers, Capt. Thos. O'Neil, Lieuts. Wm. Daley, Henry McConville, Henry Matthews, Chas. H. Pelton and James Graham; the wounded and missing making up the total list of regimental casualties to 215,—more than two-thirds of the whole number.315 Another regiment suffering heavily was the 58th Mass., of which Fox says that it ‘moved against the works ... with a line whose steadiness and precision elicited praises from all who saw it, winning the compliments of both brigade and division commanders.’316 It lost 31 in killed and mortally wounded, including Maj. Barnabas Ewer, Jr., Capts. Chas. M. Upham and Thos. McFarland, with Lieut. W. H. Burbank; the 27th Mass. losing 32, including its major, William A. Walker, Capt. E. K. Wilcox, Lieuts. Frederick C. Wright, Samuel Morse and E. H. Coombs. The 28th lost fewer, but the loss included its colonel, Richard Byrnes, commanding brigade,317 and Lieut. James B. West. There fell also Capts. J. H. Baxter (22d Mass.) and C. F. Pray (18th Mass.) at Bethesda Church, Capt. R. J. Cowdin (56th Mass.), Lieut.-Col. G. E. Marshall, Lieuts. G. C. Bancroft and Edward Carleton (40th Mass.), John B. Thompson (19th Mass.). The whole loss of Massachusetts officers was not, however, more than two-thirds as great as at Spotsylvania, although considerably larger than at the Wilderness.318

General Grant recognized frankly that the charge ordered on June 3 at Cold Harbor was the one battle which he thoroughly regretted.319 He said: ‘Cold Harbor is, I think, the only battle I would not fight again under the circumstances,’ and again in his Personal Memoirs: ‘I have always regretted that the last assault at Cold Harbor was ever made.’ He had ordered Meade to suspend the attack whenever it should prove clearly hopeless, and the heavy fighting lasted less than an hour; but it has always been regarded as the greatest mistake of the war on the Union side.320 [124]

Other regiments losing valuable lives were the 7th, 10th, 11th, 13th, 15th, 18th, 19th, 20th, 22d, 23d, 37th, 40th, 56th and 59th Infantry; the 1st Heavy Artillery, and the 1st, 5th and 10th batteries. The 12th, 16th, 35th, 36th, 39th, 57th Infantry and the 3d and 14th batteries were present or engaged, but without loss of life. Corp. David P. Casey (Co. C, 25th Mass.) received a medal of honor for his bravery at this battle, as did Corp. Orlando P. Boss (Co. F, 25th Mass.). Lieut.-Col. Guy V. Henry (7th United States Cavalry) also received a medal ‘for noteworthy and conspicuous gallantry while colonel of 40th Mass. Volunteers, leading the assaults of his brigade upon the enemy's works at Cold Harbor, Va., June 1, 1864, where he had two horses shot under him, one while in the act of leaping over the breastworks of the enemy.’

More Massachusetts regiments were engaged in the first assaults on Petersburg than in any battle of the war, although the total of losses was not so great as in some battles, nor did any single regiment, except the 1st Heavy Artillery, lose so heavily; that having 68 killed or mortally wounded in the successive assaults. The whole number of organizations sustaining losses was no less than twenty-five. This included the 10th, 11th, 15th, 16th, 19th, 20th, 21st, 22d, 25th, 27th, 28th, 29th, 32d, 36th, 37th, 39th, 40th, 56th, 57th, 58th, 59th Infantry; 1st Heavy Artillery, and 5th, 9th and 14th batteries. The 12th and 18th Infantry and the 15th Battery were also in the battle. The 56th lost 21 killed or mortally wounded; the 57th, 20; the 27th, 19; the 58th, 12; and all others less.

Among the killed were Col. Geo. L. Prescott (32d Mass.), Capts. Charles Goss (21st Mass.), Amos Buffum (36th Mass.), Lewis P. Caldwell (1st Heavy Artillery), Samuel A. Bean (59th Mass.), Lieut. S. G. Gilbreth (1st Sharpshooters), J. H. Crawley (56th Mass.), Edward I. Coe (57th Mass.), O. L. Farnham (1st Heavy Artillery).

Among the prisoners taken by the Confederates in the sharp surprise at the Weldon Railroad (June 22) was included the 15th Mass., the small remnant of which was captured almost bodily.321 In this disaster Capt. Joseph W. Kimball, 1st Mass. Infantry, lost his life, and on the day following Col. Wm. Blaisdell, 11th Mass. Infantry, who had distinguished [125] himself at Cold Harbor, and indeed everywhere else, was killed on the skirmish line; his brevet as brigadier-general being afterwards dated back to that day.

The Massachusetts troops took part—generally by one or two regiments at a time—in various skirmishes during the Petersburg campaign, generally with small loss; as the 4th Cavalry near Petersburg (June 10), the 5th Cavalry at Baylor's Farm (June 15), the 1st Cavalry at Samaria Church (June 24), a detachment of the 2d Cavalry at Aldie (July 6), and the 32d Infantry with the 10th Battery in reserve at Deep Bottom (July 21). A more important affair, also at Deep Bottom, occurred on July 27-28, when the 28th Mass., as a part of Barlow's skirmish line, under command of Colonel Lynch (183d Pa.) and under the immediate direction of General Miles, advanced with two other regiments against entrenchments held by both infantry and artillery, and did it so skillfully as to carry them by skirmishers alone, capturing four twenty-pound Parrott guns.322 At later periods of the fight the 19th and 20th Mass. and 1st Heavy Artillery were in action with small loss, and the 11th and 26th Infantry, with the 10th Battery, without loss.

In the terrible disaster of the Mine (or the Crater) at Petersburg (July 30) it is rather a satisfaction to know that Massachusetts had but a moderate share. It is one of the few affairs which seem to have been so thoroughly mismanaged that the friends of the Union cause prefer to pass them lightly by.323 [126]

The Massachusetts troops actually involved in the attack were the 11th, 21st, 29th, 35th, 40th, 56th, 57th, 58th and 59th Infantry and the 5th Battery. Of these, the 59th suffered most in prisoners and the 57th in killed; but none of these sustained such heavy losses as fell upon some of the newly levied colored regiments of Ferrero's Division. Among the killed were Lieut. S. G. Berry (35th Mass.), Capts. George H. Howe and E. T. Dresser (57th Mass.), Lieut. Clement Granet (58th Mass.). Gen. W. F. Bartlett was again struck by a shot and was captured, but it proved to be only his wooden leg that was shattered, although this was not at first discovered by the sympathizing soldiers who undertook to bear him away.

In the third battle of Deep Bottom, Va. (Aug. 14-18, 1864), the attacking brigade was led in the most gallant manner by Col. George N. Macy of the 20th Mass., who had returned that day from his Wilderness wounds, and had here two horses shot under him, being severely injured by the falling of one of these.324 There was heavy skirmishing and some alternate success and defeat. General Miles of Massachusetts finally succeeded General Barlow, who had never recovered from his terrible wounds at Antietam and Gettysburg, and had to resign the command of his division on the 18th, though he attempted a few days later, unsuccessfully, to resume it, and had to be carried from the field on a stretcher.325

At Deep Bottom the Confederates remained in possession of the field. The Massachusetts regiments sustaining casualties at this battle were the 11th, 19th, 20th, 24th, 28th Infantry, the 1st Cavalry and the 1st Heavy Artillery. Of these, the 24th lost most heavily (31 killed or mortally wounded). Among the officers killed were Maj. H. L. Patten326 (20th Mass.), Capt. Patrick Nolan (28th Mass.), Lieuts. William Thorne and Jesse S. Williams (24th Mass.). [127]

In the attack on the Weldon Railroad, below Petersburg, under General Warren (August 18-21), the Massachusetts troops engaged were the 18th, 21st, 29th, 32d, 35th, 36th, 39th, 56th, 57th and 59th Infantry, the 1st Cavalry and the 3d, 5th, 9th and 11th batteries, almost all incurring small losses and the 39th suffering especially with 17 killed or mortally wounded and 246 missing, mostly prisoners. Lieutenant-Colonel Peirson was severely wounded, leaving Capt. F. R. Kinsley in command of the 39th, who was himself made prisoner a day or two later. Lieut. Wm. T. Spear was mortally wounded. Lieut. Horace M. Warren, adjutant of the 59th, was also killed, with Capt. J. W. Ingell (15th Mass.) and Lieuts. Robert T. Bourne (22d Mass.) and A. J. White (35th Mass.).327 A small battalion of recruits and re-enlisted men, formerly belonging to the 18th Mass., captured 50 prisoners and a flag.

At Summit Point, Va., the 37th Mass. Infantry had a picket skirmish with some loss (August 21), and at Reams' Station (August 23-25) the 28th Infantry and the 10th Battery lost some lives and the latter 19 prisoners. Prisoners were also taken from the 19th and 20th Infantry.

At Poplar Spring Church or Peebles' Farm (September 30–October 1) the small remaining band of the 18th Mass. again did itself credit, its captain, Luther S. Bent of Quincy, commanding the skirmish line and being brevetted as major ‘for gallant and distinguished services at the battle of Peebles' Farm.’ The 35th Mass. had the largest number of killed and mortally wounded at this battle, besides 156 taken prisoners. The 11th, 21st, 29th, 32d, 36th, 56th, 57th, 58th and 59th also had casualties. Among the killed were Capts. C. H. Johnson (58th Mass.) and O. S. Sampson (21st), and Lieut. J. W. Fiske (58th Mass.). At Arthur's Swamp, Va., on the same day, the 1st Mass. Cavalry had a skirmish; as had the 40th Mass. at Chapin's Farm, where Lieut. J. A. Fitch was killed (November 30) ; and also the 1st Heavy Artillery at Yellow Tavern (October 1-5 ); the 24th Infantry and 4th Cavalry at Darbytown Roads (October 7 and again October 13); while the 57th made a reconnaissance to Boydtown Plank Road (October 8); all with small losses.

At Hatcher's Run, Va. (Oct. 27, 1864), in connection with the Boydtown Plank Road movement, took place a contest in which the action of the [128] 10th Mass. Battery (Lieutenant Granger) was, according to the historian of the 2d Army Corps, ‘unusually spirited;’328 and it lost its commanding officer, Lieut. H. H. Granger; Lieut. Asa Smith, U. S. A. (4th U. S. Artillery), who was detailed to take his place, also fell. Capts. D. A. Granger and Alexander McTavish, both of the 11th Mass. Infantry, were also killed. The 11th was also actively engaged (November 5) in repelling an attack on the picket line, and was warmly praised by Col. R. MacAllister, commanding brigade, who especially complimented its adjutant, Lieut. Michael Boucher.329 The 19th, 20th, 57th, 59th Infantry, 1st Cavalry (at Dinwiddie Court House) and 11th Battery were also engaged, but with small losses. The 32d, 35th and 36th Infantry and the 5th and 9th batteries were also present, but not seriously engaged.

On the Weldon Railroad expedition of December 7 and 11 the Massachusetts regiments engaged (but without loss) were the 11th, 32d, 39th Infantry, the 1st Heavy Artillery and the 5th and 11th batteries; while the 1st Cavalry lost one man at Three Creeks.

At Dabney's Mills (Hatcher's Run), Feb. 5-7, 1865, the 10th Mass. Battery also distinguished itself, repelling three Confederate charges within an hour, and firing nearly three hundred rounds, but without casualty beyond the loss of three horses. The 11th, 19th, 20th, 32d Infantry lost men, though not largely, the 37th having several wounded. Lieut. W. H. Tibbetts (19th Mass.) fell at this time.

At the daring assault of the Confederates under Lieutenant-General Gordon on Fort Stedman (March 25, 1865), capturing the fort by surprise almost without a struggle, but being driven out again, several Massachusetts regiments were involved, the 29th and 57th Infantry suffering most, but the 14th Battery somewhat, especially in prisoners, many prisoners being, however, taken on the Union side, though General McLaughlen, brigade commander, was among those captured by the Confederates. Lieut. E. B. Nye (14th Mass. Battery) was killed after refusing to surrender; and Maj. James Doherty and Lieut. A. M. Murdock (57th Mass.), with Lieut. Nathaniel Bumpus (29th Mass.), were also killed. The 29th Mass. was peculiarly fortunate in receiving medals of honor for this affair. [129] Maj. J. M. Deane received one ‘for most distinguished gallantry in action at Fort Stedman, in serving with other volunteers a gun previously silenced and abandoned, mounted on barbette at Fort Haskell, being exposed to a galling fire from the enemy's sharpshooters.’ Sergeant William H. Howe, Co. K, received a medal of honor ‘for distinguished gallantry’ in this action, and Color Sergeant Conrad Homan (Co. A) of the same regiment had previously received one ‘for fighting his way through the enemy's lines with regimental colors near Petersburg, Va., July 30, 1864,’ as had Private J. H. Harbourne (Co. K) for the capture of a flag, and Private Richard Welch (37th Mass.), also for the capture of a flag, a few days later, and Private Chas. A. Taggart (37th Mass.) for the same.

The 28th Mass. Infantry and the 1st Heavy Artillery met with losses, which in the former case were considerable, at Duncan's Run (March 25), and the 32d and 34th Infantry with the 1st Heavy Artillery had small losses on the Boydtown Road (March 29-31), as had the 39th at Gravelly Run (March 29). At Dinwiddie Court House (March 29-31) and at Five Forks (April 1) the 2d Mass. Cavalry took an honorable part, as did—at the latter engagement—the 32d and 39th Mass. Infantry. Such was also the case with the 28th and 39th at the South Side Railroad, near Petersburg.

In the final capture of Petersburg, Va. (April 2, 1865), several Massachusetts regiments were engaged with losses,—the 19th, 34th, 35th, 36th, 37th, 46th, 58th and 61st Infantry, the 1st Heavy Artillery and the 5th Battery. The 20th and 57th Infantry and the 9th, 10th and 14th were also engaged, but without loss. The most conspicuous part was perhaps that taken by the 61st Infantry (Colonel Walcott), the very last regiment to leave the State, serving primarily as an engineer regiment, and now in its first battle. The Confederates having lost and retaken Fort Mahone, the 61st carried it, as far as the parapet, and, holding on till after dark, its skirmishers then discovered the main fort to be abandoned, as also were Petersburg and Richmond the next day. The 61st lost 7 killed and mortally wounded, among whom was Lieut. Thomas B. Hart. Lieut. Lewis Munger (2d Mass. Cavalry) was killed a day or two previous, as was Lieut. Samuel Storrow (2d Infantry) at Black Creek, N. C., on March 16, 1865.

In the subsequent race for final victory between the winning army and that already practically defeated, the Massachusetts troops took their full share. At Fort Blakeley (April 2-9) the 31st Infantry and the 2d, [130] 4th, 7th and 15th batteries were engaged, with a loss of one man in the 7th. At Sailor's Creek (April 6) the 37th Infantry lost considerably, but the 19th, 20th and 28th Infantry, the 2d Cavalry and the 1st Heavy Artillery escaped without loss of life. At High Bridge (April 6) the 10th Battery had no loss, but the 4th Cavalry (Col. Francis Washburn), with a force of only 12 officers and 67 men, was surrounded by the Confederate cavalry, under Generals Rosser and Fitzhugh Lee, and, after once cutting their way through, returned to the defence of two infantry regiments which had accompanied them. Gen. Theodore Reed, commanding the expedition, was killed, and Colonel Washburn mortally wounded, Capts. W. T. Hodges and John D. B. Goddard, with First Lieut. George F. Davis, being also killed, and most of the men killed, wounded or captured. The results of the contest were, however, of great importance in checking the Confederates and leading to Lee's final surrender. Meanwhile, on April 3, Cos. E and H, 1st Mass. Cavalry, under Maj. A. H. Stevens, Jr., were the first troops to enter Richmond on the day of its evacuation; Major Stevens having received the surrender of the city and personally hoisting the guidons of his squadron over the State House.330

On April 6, at Rice's Station, the 34th Infantry had its last man killed (out of many), and at Farmville (April 7, 8) the 19th, 20th and 28th Infantry, the 1st Heavy Artillery and the 10th Battery were present, but without losses on the field, though Capt. Isaac H. Boyd (19th Mass.) died of wounds received there. This was for Massachusetts troops the last battle of the great Virginia campaign. On April 9 came the surrender at Appomattox.

In the first attack on Fort Fisher (Dec. 25, 1864) Massachusetts can hardly be said to have taken part, and at the second attack (Jan. 15, 1865) no Massachusetts troops can be said to have participated. It was in itself, however, an affair of great importance, this being the largest and strongest earthwork constructed by the Confederacy, and absolutely essential to it at last, through the protection given to Wilmington, the chief blockade-running port.331 Much blame has been cast upon a Massachusetts [131] commander, Maj.-Gen. B. F. Butler, for his decision that the fort was impregnable; but we have the authoritative opinion of the Confederate commander, Col. Wm. Lamb, that this decision was absolutely necessary, and that the reason of the success of Maj.-Gen. A. H. Terry's second attack lay in the much more formidable character of the naval bombardment which preceded it, from seventy-five vessels instead of forty-one. Colonel Lamb emphatically said that ‘Admiral Porter was as much to blame as General Butler for the repulse.’332 The second and successful attack is vividly described by a Massachusetts officer, Capt. (now admiral) T. O. Selfridge, Jr., in the Century War Book, and it was one in which Massachusetts naval officers and sailors took an active part. ‘For the first time in the history of sieges,’ says Colonel Lamb, ‘the land defences of the works were destroyed, not by any act of the besieging army, but by the concentrated fire, direct and enfilading, of an immense fleet poured upon them without intermission, until torpedo wires were cut, palisades breached so that they actually afforded cover for assailants, and the slopes of the work were rendered practicable for assault.’333


Xxv. Massachusetts enlistments and casualties.

It is almost needless to point out that this preliminary narrative is in no sense a history of the Civil War, but merely a general sketch of the part taken in it by Massachusetts. The writer has, so far as possible, resisted the temptation to discuss the general management of military affairs, the success or failure of campaigns or even of particular battles, except so far as it bore on the Massachusetts contingent. His effort has been to treat all troops of this State as if they were one body of soldiers, included in the Union Army, but necessarily distributed on various services. This has of course been less easy than in dealing with a State like [132] Vermont, where the regiments were not only fewer, but more generally brigaded together; and it has precluded a perfectly continuous narrative, because it has been necessary to follow the varying lines of several simultaneous campaigns. It has not been attempted to give the separate regimental histories, except in a highly condensed form, and this partly because it has already been so well done in a general way, in Bowen's valuable Massachusetts in the War, that it seemed better to approach the whole matter from the collective, not the regimental, point of view. The story is told, in short, as if it were that of a single army corps, organically united, but constantly distributed over different localities.

Less than half of the Massachusetts regiments have had their histories even ostensibly written. Some of these histories were of the most sketchy character, published too soon after the war to have any value except as they might contain scattered facts or graphic isolated descriptions. In many cases the chapter given to some particular regiment in Bowen's Massachusetts in the War is of far more historical value than the book ostensibly devoted to it. As a rule, the most recent histories, as Crowninshield's 1st Cavalry and Emilio's 54th Infantry, are altogether the best; and it is probable that the present State law, which provides for a certain established standard in such histories, will give us much better average work hereafter. No Massachusetts regimental history is on the whole so good as the best corps histories; those especially of the 2d Army Corps by Gen. F. A. Walker and of the 19th Corps by Irwin. The chief and unique value of even the poorest regimental history or company narrative lies in the flavor of actual experience there exhibited; and in this the simple autobiography or company diary is apt to surpass the more formal regimental record. The best book which the author has had occasion to consult in this respect is Lincoln's Life with the 34th Massachusetts Infantry in the War of the Rebellion (Worcester, 1879), a book making no claim to high finish or especial literary merit, but thoroughly admirable in its way. With these may be classed, so far as they go, the manuscript narratives and memoranda of Brevet Maj. E. W. Everson, U. S. Vols., some of which have become the property of the State, and which should at some time be printed. It was at one time the hope of the author to obtain a good [133] deal of such manuscript material, but in this he has had only a limited success.334

It has been attempted to deal as much as possible with facts and as little with eulogy, except as this is quoted from commanding officers, such eulogies being, properly speaking, a part of the facts. The total credit of Massachusetts, as a single State, lies, if anywhere, in the claim (1) that she was very promptly in the field; (2) that there was a certain high average standard in her regiments; (3) that they never even once conspicuously disgraced themselves; (4) that she yielded soldiers and sailors not merely up to her quota but considerably beyond it; (5) that she had a governor who appreciated the situation; (6) that, while she did not produce a single professional soldier of the very highest rank,335 she produced a series of young men, before untried,—of whom Lowell, Bartlett and Miles were perhaps the most striking instances,—who exhibited, by admission of all, not merely the most daring courage but a certain genius for war. Thus far we are on safe ground; it will hardly be denied that all this may be claimed for Massachusetts.

As to numbers, the (State) Adjutant-General's report for January, 1866,336 claims the total number of men supplied to be 159,165, including 26,163 in the navy. This estimate includes re-enlisted veterans, who may not be included in the U. S. report. The final report from the Adjutant-General's office at Washington on the statistics of the war (1885) reports from Massachusetts 122,781 white troops, 3,966 colored troops and 19,983 sailors, making in all 146,730 men, of whom 13,942 died in the war. The only States surpassing Massachusetts in total number were New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois and Indiana; the same proportion existing in the number of deaths, with the addition that Michigan also slightly exceeded Massachusetts in the proportion of these. [134]

The tables in the successive reports of the State Adjutant-General show that every city and town in the State filled its quota upon every call made by the President, and that, except in twelve small towns, each city and town furnished a surplus over all demands, amounting in the aggregate to 15,178.337 This number has since been considerably increased by the addition of sailors finally credited to Massachusetts, the whole number of whom now exceeds 30,000; and it does not include five companies furnished for the New York Mozart Regiment and some 600 men of the 99th New York (recruited by Colonel Wardrop, formerly of the 3d Mass.), who did not form a part of the Massachusetts quota. Every colored man recruited out of the State and every German brought from Germany might be deducted, and leave a large balance in favor of Massachusetts. There is, however, no reason why they should be deducted, since it was plainly the duty of every State to seek recruits from beyond its borders for the aid of the republic, so long as it did not substitute them for its own citizens. The total amount of bounty paid to all recruits by the State, up to Dec. 1, 1865, was $11,685,987.60.338

The only important instance of the incorporation into Massachusetts regiments of whole companies raised out of the State was as follows: after the formation of the 2d Cavalry had been determined on, an offer was received from California to raise a company there, to be counted on the quota of Boston. A company was accordingly thus organized on Dec. 10, 1862, at San Francisco, and reached Camp Meigs at Readville, Jan. 3, 1863, under command of Capt. J. Sewell Read of San Francisco,—afterward killed in service,—the second lieutenant being also from that city and the first lieutenant from Boston. Afterwards a whole battalion was enlisted in California, reaching Boston April 16, 1863, and consisting of four companies (E, F, L and M). Of these, the first three were commanded wholly by California line officers, while the last had a second lieutenant from Massachusetts. The men were natives of almost every State in the Union, enlisted with no Massachusetts bounty.

Some account of the colored troops enlisted by Massachusetts has been previously given, there being in addition a regiment of cavalry (the 5th Mass. Cavalry) composed of colored men, under white officers, and having [135] a respectable and useful career, though less conspicuous than that of the 54th and 55th Mass. Infantry. As to German soldiers, Mr. J. G. Rosengarten, in his The German Soldier in the Wars of the United States, estimates the total number recruited in this State as 1,876, the total German population of the State, by the census of 1860, being 9,961.339 This statement is based on the calculations made by Dr. B. A. Gould for the Sanitary Commission. These soldiers were doubtless widely scattered through the regiments,340 but there were three especially German companies, and it is greatly to be regretted that the special history of these three has never been written. The late Mr. S. R. Urbino of Newtonville, who took a larger share than any one else in recruiting them, had offered to prepare a sketch for this narrative, but was prevented by death from fulfilling his purpose, and, though his papers relating to the subject have been placed in my hands, they are very scanty and fragmentary. The first two companies were formed in and near Boston, perhaps with some recruits brought from Germany. The company officers were, at first, German by birth or origin, except Lieut. J. W. LeBarnes, who was well known and popular among the German citizens of Boston, and had formed a German company for the defence of Wendell Phillips during the antislavery troubles just previous to the war.

The companies (B and C of the 20th) were unfortunate in the loss of officers, Captain Babo and Lieutenant Wesselhoeft having been drowned at Ball's Bluff and Captain Dreher being severely wounded there and mortally at Fredericksburg. They were also in one respect peculiarly situated, forming a part of a regiment which, although fine in material and discipline and eminent in service, was for a time somewhat divided by what General Devens criticised as ‘the blue-blood theory’ of promotion, and still more by the inclination of some of its very best officers to return fugitive slaves, under the wish and even orders of Gen. C. P. Stone. It is needless to say that the German companies were by no means on the conservative side on either question, and it is evident, from the correspondence in my hands, that some chafing grew out of this fact. It even appears that when General Stone was finally arrested for treason and imprisoned, one [136] of the German companies fell into line spontaneously and gave three cheers. It is well enough to know that, in spite of this possible breach of orderly discipline, the offending company received high praise from Capt. (afterwards general) G. N. Macy, whose good opinion was certainly of value, and who wrote (June 14, 1862), ‘I am very [glad] to say that the company behaved splendidly [at Fair Oaks] and did nobly but with one exception.’ This testimony is the more valuable as this officer had been promoted some months before to the captaincy (of Co. B) over the heads of its two original lieutenants, a thing which, even where necessary, rarely promotes harmony or even good discipline. The third German company, in the 25th Mass. Infantry, had German officers, and maintained its character well.341 Desertions from these three companies were but few; indeed, the whole number recorded against the whole 25th Regiment was but thirteen, none of these being to the enemy.342

There were Irish companies in several regiments, as, for instance, four in the 48th Infantry, one in the 25th, and so on, but the men of this descent were mainly concentrated into two distinctively Irish regiments,—the 9th and the 28th. Of the first Irish regiment, the 9th, Adjutant-General Schouler wrote in January, 1862: ‘This regiment is one of the best the Commonwealth has sent to the field. It is composed almost entirely of men of Irish birth and their immediate descendants.’343 As a rule, they showed the fighting characteristics of their race and sometimes the turbulent qualities. As for desertion, the regiments which suffered most from it were not the distinctively Irish regiments, although they suffered a good deal.

In June and July, 1863, the United States law in regard to drafting was put in force in Massachusetts under Major Clark, U. S. A., provost marshal general. All male persons in the State between twenty and forty-five years of age were enrolled, in two classes (107, 386+56, 792=164, 178 in all). The number actually drafted was 32,079, of whom 6,690 were held to serve. Of these, 743 actually entered the service, 2,345 were represented by substitutes, [137] 22,343 were exempted from physical defect or other cause, 3,044 failed to report, and 3,623 paid commutation, amounting to $1,085,800.344

The subject of cowardice and desertion is one upon which it is useless to enter in detail, because one soon finds that, the whole subject being naturally vexatious, commanding officers have usually avoided it, and accurate details are unattainable. The Massachusetts commander who faced it most fully appears to have been Col. N. B. McLaughlen of the 1st Infantry, who in his final report gave a list (not printed) of nine commissioned officers and thirteen men who had disgraced their State by cowardice.345 Even this list may have been untrustworthy, since all experience shows that a man may at first shirk, and yet turn out brave at the end.346 It has never been charged on any Massachusetts regiment that it showed cowardice collectively, although there were instances during the Civil War where whole bodies of troops turned their backs at the first engagement.347

In respect to desertions, General McLaughlen reports a desertion of 160 in the 1st Mass. Infantry, out of a total of about ten times that number. Ten per cent. of desertion is a large figure; but that in other regiments was much larger, usually occurring late in the war, when a class of men called bounty jumpers grew up, who enlisted expressly with a view to this. Bowen, in his Massachusetts in the Civil War, gives the following figures as to desertion,348 the ten worst regiments, in this respect, being graded as follows: 2d Cavalry, 614 desertions; 3d Heavy Artillery, 381 desertions; 11th Infantry, 320 desertions; 3d Cavalry, 289 desertions; 28th Infantry, 279 desertions; 2d Infantry, 276 desertions; 4th Cavalry, 261 desertions; 9th Infantry, 236 desertions; 20th Infantry, 226 desertions; 47th Infantry, 225 desertions. The larger proportion of desertions in the cavalry regiments was due partly to the fact of their often scattered life at outposts and headquarters; partly to [138] 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.349

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;350 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 260.351 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 [139] were in the whole army 14 batteries losing each 15 or more, of which the 5th Mass. Battery (Captain Phillips) ranked third, losing 19; and the 9th (Captain Bigelow) twelfth, losing 15. Perhaps, however, the truest test of hard fighting is to compare the number of killed and mortally wounded with the total enrolment. Fox gives a list of 23 full regiments (nearly all infantry) losing 15 per cent. or more upon their total enrolment. At the head of these stands the 2d Wisconsin, with 19.7 per cent.; third in rank comes the 57th Mass. Infantry, with 19.1 per cent.; and sixteenth comes the 22d Mass. Infantry, with 15.5 per cent. All these figures are admitted by the compiler to be in some degree approximate, as it is often impossible to state with precise accuracy the total enlistment of regiments of long service. In the case of the 57th Mass., for instance, a number of names have been properly excluded which were added by consolidation of the 49th at the very close of the war.352 It must always be remembered, however, that, as has already been suggested, a high rate of mortality, even in battle, is not always and necessarily to the glory of a regiment, since while it may sometimes proceed from the daring of officers and men, it may sometimes come quite as much from carelessness or want of discipline. Yet on the whole the record of lives lost will always be popularly accepted as the test of distinguished service. On the same principle, it is to be noticed that all the monuments and memorials erected for soldiers are built to celebrate the dead, not the survivors.353

All military historians agree, moreover, that the mere comparison of losses is one of the most superficial grounds of comparison between military commands. The first duty of an officer is to sacrifice his troops where it is necessary; his second, to guard them against needless sacrifice. His skill and foresight and the discipline and coolness of the troops whom he commands will often save them from losses which poor officers and insufficient discipline would incur. The losses suffered at Bull Run, for instance, were not those of an army but of a mob in uniform, as yet undisciplined; or, as Governor Andrew said, [140] of ‘an aggregation of town meetings.’ The governor himself wrote, on June 4, 1862, to Col. G. H. Gordon, commanding a brigade under Major-General Banks: ‘Permit me, in closing, to congratulate you upon your nomination to the rank of brigadier-general, and also upon the brilliant success achieved by the withdrawal of our forces, with so little loss.’354


Xxvi. Massachusetts in the field.

The patriot Garibaldi told Gen. W. F. Bartlett that he had seen from the beginning that there was only one question pending in the world, and that was the American question.355 It was not the fault of Massachusetts if other nations and even our own nation failed at first to recognize the greatness of this question, or the fact that slavery was an essential factor in the war. Even some who finally were active in recognizing it, as General Butler, held back from it at first, and would gladly have seen the matter adjusted without liberating a slave. Col. George D. Wells, one of the most brilliant of the younger Massachusetts commanders, advocated this policy in his recruiting speeches at Worcester, and yet afterwards became a member of a board to examine officers for colored troops. The increasing tendency to an emancipation policy swept all before it, and carried Massachusetts first; yet the repugnance to this attitude died hard among many Massachusetts officers, and unfortunately among some of the best of these.356

The good sanitary condition of the Massachusetts regiments was admitted by many witnesses, the camps being kept in such order, sometimes, that when an inspection by a regular officer was announced for a certain day not the slightest special preparation was made for that ceremony.357 The early surgical examination of soldiers was often so carelessly conducted as to bring many men not properly inspected into the regiments,358 but after being there they were fairly well attended and supervised.359 The percentage of [141] deaths from disease in the 13th Mass. Infantry (Col. S. H. Leonard) was the smallest among the three-year regiments of the entire army. ‘There were regiments with a smaller number of deaths from disease, but they were two-year regiments, or carried a less number of names on their rolls.’ This is the remark of Col. W. F. Fox in his invaluable book, Regimental Losses in the Civil War;360 but when he adds, ‘The extraordinary exemption from disease ... would indicate that the regiment was composed of superior material,’ he forgets to recognize that it must have been also well officered. Nothing is more deceptive among military statistics than the mere number of killed in battle; this may proceed from the superior daring of a commander or simply from his carelessness and incapacity; but a small death-roll from disease is pretty sure to be due to the care of the commander and the surgeons. The high character of the Massachusetts surgeons was generally recognized, from the days of Dr. Luther V. Bell onward; and many instances of their self-devotion have been recorded in these pages.361 It was found easier, however, to secure the aid of first-class surgeons at the beginning of the war than at the end; and it was latterly necessary to introduce into the service a good many of what were called ‘contract surgeons,’ who did not perhaps come quite up to the level of their predecessors. In the earlier days great aid was given in the care of the Massachusetts regiments by a soldiers' agency, established at Washington under the auspices of Col. Gardner W. Tufts of Lynn, this being first instituted on the arrival of the 6th Regiment with its wounded, April 19, 1861, and afterwards expanding until it included not merely the oversight of the Massachusetts men in the sixty hospitals in and near Washington, but also in the camps and on the battlefields within reach, including the sound as well as the disabled. The names of 36,151 sick or wounded soldiers from the State were recorded at the Washington agency, and the expense to the Massachusetts treasury was some $35,000.362

The service of the chaplains in the field ought properly to rank next to that of the surgeons, but this was not always the case. The whole position of the chaplain in our army was not only difficult but anomalous, in this respect at least. In a little world ruled by clockwork, where in the ordinary [142] camp routine each man had his precise position and every hour its prescribed duties, the chaplain alone held a vague and indefinite place, and had to fill his own hours and lay out his own plan of work. This left his whole sphere of usefulness to be determined by his personal qualities. To the man of strength and tact, this freedom was an advantage, and he often created for himself a position of vast influence; but the weak or tactless man found himself pushed aside, the mechanism provided no place for him such as it created for all others; he degenerated into the mere postmaster of the regiment or the caterer for the officers' mess. It was fortunate if actual demoralization did not follow. Sometimes the very spirit of adventure, having no legitimate channel, led him astray, as with the Massachusetts chaplain of one of the early colored regiments at the South, of whom a soldier said, ‘Woffer Mars' Chapman [chaplain] made a preacher for? He's de fightin'est more Yankee I eber see in all my days.’ This adventurous person, volunteering on a perilous scouting expedition, was captured by the enemy and held a prisoner for a year, at a time when non-combatant chaplains were promptly exchanged. Apart from such extremes, we often come upon hints, in the books of personal reminiscences, of the errors or incompetence of individual chaplains.363 On the other hand, there was no limit to the respect and gratitude inspired by some other Massachusetts chaplains, as, for instance, Rev. G. S. Ball (21st Infantry) and Rev. J. F. Moors (52d Infantry). To these might be added Father Scully (9th Infantry), whom Sheridan is said to have pronounced ‘the pluckiest little devil of a chaplain’ he ever saw.

It is a merit of civil war, that, while often bitterer than any other, it usually discloses little of the incidental or secondary cruelties of war,—as personal outrage or torture, wanton havoc or personal plunder. Of plundering there was a good deal at the outset, and there is little doubt that there were serious frauds, in some directions, as to the cotton supply; but ‘loot,’ in the sense so familiar in British army life, occurs very little as a factor. Where it existed, it was carefully concealed, not proclaimed. No American soldier would have bragged of his commander's stolen possessions, as English soldiers spoke freely, for instance, of Lord Wolseley's. An English military writer, speaking of that officer's frequent ill-luck, says frankly: ‘Upon the loot of Lucknow an officer gave him a valuable [143] cashmere shawl. It was stolen. The men of his company afterwards presented him with two silver bowls. They shared the same fate.364’ There was no American officer of whose career such matters would be so openly affirmed.365 This was certainly a gain.

Moreover, there were in our Civil War many instances of something approaching to chivalry on both sides, as when, in the assault on Port Hudson, orders were given by Confederate officers to spare Gen. W. F. Bartlett, as the only mounted man visible among the throng of assailants ;366 or when the commander of a picket station bade his men present arms to General Meade across the river at Richmond, instead of firing upon him, when they had him absolutely in their power; or when, on the other side, General Kershaw was spared by the Union officers at Fredericksburg when he alone dared ride up to reconnoitre the enemy from a knoll which was swept by the fire of the sharpshooters of both armies.367

The gradual development of the Union cavalry, which at first was distinctly inferior to the Confederate and in the end overwhelmingly superior,368 while not at all confined to the Massachusetts regiments, yet found in them some of its best illustrations, and certainly some of its best commanders. This was due largely to the high standard set by Col. Robert Williams of the 1st Cavalry and to the distinguished qualities of Col. C. R. Lowell of the 2d Cavalry, of whom much has been elsewhere said. Colonel Williams brought upon himself some criticism by his severe winnowing of the original list of his line officers,—an act of courage to which few regimental commanders were equal. The later career of his [144] regiment vindicated this, for it did its full share, especially in those two important engagements at Brandy Station and Aldie, which, in Sheridan's phrase, ‘made the Federal cavalry’369 and proved it to be henceforward not merely the equal but the superior of the Confederate. The Massachusetts field artillery also held its own conspicuously well, though always somewhat handicapped by the fact that it was not, like that of some other States, allowed to possess a regimental organization, so that the best and bravest officers, though often, like Capt. A. P. Martin, having a brigade command, could not rise above the linear rank and pay of captain, even if brevetted, as in his case, to a brigadier-generalship.370 During the Red River campaign, Col. W. J. Landram (19th Kentucky) wrote of an engagement at Sabine Cross Roads: ‘It is proper to say that Captain Nims's battery [the 2d Mass.] displayed through the whole fight an example of coolness and true courage unsurpassed in the annals of history.’371

The war was also marked by a great self-education in military methods, and the creation of an extremely energetic and efficient veteran force out of that aggregation of town meetings of which Governor Andrew spoke. The art of entrenching, for instance, which scarcely existed at the battle of Shiloh,372 was brought to such perfection as made it almost a matter of instinct with veteran soldiers to entrench themselves wherever they halted over night, in the enemy's country.373 At the outset there were curious superstitions or at least rumors among raw recruits as of ‘masked batteries’ and a certain ‘Black Horse Cavalry’ which haunted the imagination and inspired real terror. So thoroughly were these fears removed that there was for a long time a disbelief as to the existence of torpedoes in the Southern rivers, and some valuable lives were sacrificed through [145] sheer disbelief. The same incredulity extended to those obstructions which the Confederates built skilfully on those rivers, and which were seldom allowed for or foreseen.374

On the other hand, the war developed methods and short cuts impossible for any regular army, and scarcely to be commended even for an unusually intelligent and self-respecting body. A Massachusetts colonel told the writer with satisfaction that he for a time, in a region wholly safe, entirely discontinued all sentinels round his camp, throwing the men entirely on their honor as to absenting themselves, and having a wholly empty guard-house as the result. He also told me that on a long march he also discontinued the tedious process of laboriously aligning his men before letting them rest and then again before taking up the line of march; but permitted them simply to halt for rest at a single command and set off again at another. The consequence was, he said, that his men got twice as much rest on a march as the other regiments.375 They never, perhaps, like some Confederate regiments, made charges without military formation, as at Charles City, or used stones for missiles, as at Groveton;376 but they were often, at the outset, equipped with muskets so poor as to be more efficient when clubbed than in any other way. There were among them individual instances of cowardice,377 but this was never, so far as I know, attributed to any Massachusetts regiment or battery collectively, or to the actual commander of any; nor were whole companies ever mustered out as insubordinate, as happened once in the Confederate army.378 It may fairly be claimed that the Massachusetts regiments were at first censured far oftener, among their mates, for showing too much discipline than for too little; and that, as the war came slowly to its height, the value of this discipline was more and more conceded by all. That great drawback to restraint in volunteer regiments, and especially in rural regiments, the [146] too free-and-easy familiarity between officers and men, diminished as the war went on; and all learned by experience the absolute need of military subordination, whatever the relative position of the parties at home.379

It is probable that, in a war so prolonged and desperate, the defects incident to volunteer soldiers were much more than counterbalanced by the personal intelligence and endurance of that class. Maj. G. C. Eggleston, a Confederate officer, has borne remarkable testimony to this in a paper in the Century War Book. He says of Lee's army: ‘With mercenary troops or regulars the resistance that Lee was able to offer to Grant's tremendous pressure would have been impossible.... The starvation and the excessive marching would have destroyed the morale of troops held together only by discipline.... If either side had lacked this element of personal heroism on the part of its men, it would have been driven from the field long before the spring of 1865.’380 It is the recognition of this fact on each side which has rendered possible the mutual good feeling that has since arisen between the veterans of the two armies, and which has nowhere been more marked than in Massachusetts. After a sufficient number of years have passed, it is impossible not to recognize with a certain appreciation the fighting qualities of either a victorious or a defeated foe. The same fairness extends in time to the mutual criticism of leadership. The latest Northern writers, as Ropes and Dodge, both Massachusetts men, have sometimes been criticised as being too complimentary to Lee as compared with Grant; and Walker, also a Massachusetts man, and a very high authority, has not hesitated to bear witness to ‘that restless activity, unflinching audacity and spontaneous enterprise by which the Confederate commanders were so strongly marked, but in which many of the most resolute and stubborn fighters in our own army seemed lacking.’381 Even he would doubtless recognize, however, that, after the organization of Sheridan's cavalry, this comparison lost some of its weight. Certainly the soldiers of each army thoroughly outgrew the delusion with which each began, that the other army would be easy to conquer. ‘Do [147] not let us deceive ourselves,’ said Col. James Montgomery; a veteran Kansas guerilla, to the present writer, who had commented on the undersized and underfed men who had once been brought in as prisoners, in Florida. ‘There are no soldiers in the world more formidable,’ he added, ‘than those whom we have to encounter.’ Should this reunited nation ever be unfortunate enough to be entangled in a foreign war, there will be an inestimable value in the mutual respect and confidence which were fought out by both North and South upon the battlefield. It is an inadequate compensation for those four years of sorrow, yet it is something.


Xxvii. The return of the flags.

There occurred in Boston, at the end of the war, a ceremony which came the nearest attainable to a general review and reception of the surviving Massachusetts soldiers. It occurred on Dec. 22, 1865, the two hundred and forty-fifth anniversary of the landing of the pilgrims at Plymouth. It was called forth by the following orders proceeding from Governor Andrew:—

[General order no. 18.]

Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Headquarters, Boston, Dec. 13, 1865.
By General Order No. 94 of the War Department, issued May 15, 1865, volunteer regiments and batteries, on their return to their respective States, when mustered out and discharged, were to deposit their colors with the chief United States mustering officers, to be by them transferred to the governors of the States.

Since that time, the following Massachusetts regiments and batteries, having faithfully served their country to the end of the rebellion, returned home and been discharged, their colors have been received by Brevet Col. F. N. Clarke, U. S. A., chief mustering officer, viz.: 2d, 11th, 17th, 19th, 21st, 23d, 25th, 26th, 27th, 28th, 29th, 31st, 33d, 34th, 35th, 36th, 37th, 38th, 39th, 40th, 54th, 55th, 56th, 57th, 58th, 59th, 61st Regiments of Infantry, 1st Battalion Frontier Cavalry, 3d, 4th, 5th Regiments of Cavalry, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 11th, 15th, 16th Batteries Light Artillery, 1st, 2d, 3d, 4th regiments of Heavy Artillery.

On Friday, 22d instant (Forefathers' Day), the colors will be escorted from Colonel Clarke's headquarters, No. 2 Bulfinch Street, to the State House, where they will be formally received by His Excellency the Governor, and placed in the public archives of the Commonwealth, to be sacredly preserved forever, as grand emblems of the heroic services and patriotic devotion to liberty and union of one hundred and forty thousand of her dead and living sons. [148]

The escort will be performed by the 1st Co. of Cadets, Lieutenant-Colonel Holmes commanding, who will report to Brevet Colonel Clarke, at his headquarters, at 11 o'clock A. M., when the line of march will be taken up.

All general, regimental and company officers, and past general, regimental and company officers of Massachusetts, and especially all officers and past officers, and all non-commissioned officers and privates of the several organizations named above, are invited to take part in the ceremony and join in the procession. The officers will, as far as practicable, detail a color-guard for the colors of their respective late commands. The original date of muster — in of each command will govern its place in the procession. Officers and enlisted men, as far as practicable, will appear in uniform.

For further orders and information apply to the Adjutant-General of the Commonwealth.

By order of His Excellency John A. Andrew, Governor and Commander-in-Chief.

William Schouler, Adjutant-General.

[General order no. 19.]

Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Headquarters, Boston, Dec. 13, 1865.
It having been represented at these headquarters that the Massachusetts regiments and companies which had filled their allotted terms of service in the field prior to May 15, 1865, the colors of which are deposited in the State House, desire to take part in the flag reception on the 22d instant, referred to in General Order No. 18, current series, the Commander-in-Chief most cordially complies with their wishes. The colors of these organizations will be handed them on the morning of the 22d, upon proper requisition. They are to be returned at the close of the services.

Maj.-Gen. Darius N. Couch of Taunton, ranking officer of volunteers in Massachusetts, has been invited to take command of the troops. Should he decline, Brevet Maj.-Gen. George H. Gordon of Boston, next in rank, will take command. The commanding general will arrange details.

By order of His Excellency John A. Andrew, Governor and Commander-in-Chief.

William Schouler, Adjutant-General.

The procession was duly formed on December 22, under the immediate direction of Maj.-Gen. Edward W. Hinks (afterwards Hincks), chief of staff, under the following order— [149]

Ceremonies for delivering the colors of returned Massachusetts Volunteers to the state authorities. [Circular no. 3.]

Commonwealth of Massachusetts. State House, Boston, Dec. 19, 1865.
Composition of the column: Escort of Honor, Independent Corps of Cadets; Lieut.-Col. C. C. Holmes commanding. Maj.-Gen. D. N. Couch commanding. Staff of General commanding; Chief of Staff, Brig.-Gen. Edward W. Hinks.

Aids to General commanding: Col. A. F. Devereux, Col and Brevet Maj.-Gen. George N. Macy; Lieut-Col. Giles A. Rich; Maj. John B. Burt; Maj. James Brown; Capt. Augustus Crocker; Lieut. and Brevet Maj. Linus B. Comins, Jr.

Surgeon: Maj. Patrick A. O'Connell.

Aids to Chief of Staff: Capt. and Brevet Maj. J. H. Sleeper; Capt. and Brevet Col. William L. Palmer; Capt. Joseph J. Baker.

Brevet Col. Francis N. Clarke, Chief United States Mustering Officer. Staff of United States Mustering Officer: general and brevet general officers with their staffs, who are not assigned to commands, and general staff officers, mounted.

Brigade of Cavalry: Brig.-Gen. E. A. Wild commanding. Five regiments and one battalion of cavalry.

Division of Artillery: Brig. and Brevet Maj.-Gen. Joseph Hayes commanding. First Brigade, sixteen light batteries, Capt. and Brevet Col. Augustus P. Martin commanding. Second Brigade, four regiments and two battalions heavy artillery, Col. William S. King commanding.

Corps of Infantry: Brig. and Brevet Maj.-Gen. George H. Gordon commanding. First division, Brig.-Gen. Robert Cowdin commanding, regiments from 1 to 20 inclusive. Second division, Brig. and Brevet Maj.-Gen. Charles J. Paine commanding, regiments from 21 to 40 inclusive. Third division, Col. and Brevet Brig.-Gen. William S. Tilton commanding, regiments from 41 to 61 inclusive.

Route of march: From the Common to Tremont Street, to Hanover, to Blackstone, to Clinton, to Commercial, to State, to Washington, to Essex, to Harrison Avenue, to Dover, to Washington, to Union Park, to Tremont, to Pleasant, to Boylston, to Arlington, to Beacon, to the Common.

On the return of the column to the front of the State House the colors will be delivered to His Excellency Governor Andrew by Major-General Couch and Col. F. N. Clarke.

By command of Major-General Couch.

Edward W. Hinks, Chief of Staff.

On the day appointed the flags of the regiments were first formally handed over by Brevet Col. Francis N. Clarke, United States mustering [150] officer, in whose custody they had been deposited. The procession was then formed, the veteran troops being represented as follows:—

Cavalry Division (Brig.-Gen. E. A. Wild).

3d Cavalry, Col. D. P. Muzzey, 20 officers, 100 men.

5th Cavalry, Maj. C. F. Adams, Jr., 50 men.

Frontier Cavalry, 40 men.

Artillery Division (Brevet Maj.-Gen. Joseph Hayes).

Heavy Artillery, Col. W. S. King:—

1st Heavy Artillery, Col. Nathaniel Shatswell, 100 men, six colors

2d Heavy Artillery, Col. A. B. R. Sprague, 12 officers, 40 men.

3d Heavy Artillery, Lieut.-Col. J. A. P. Allen, 20 officers, 50 men.

4th Heavy Artillery, Capt. A. E. Proctor, 7 officers, 15 men.

Light Artillery, Brevet Col. A. P. Martin:—

1st Battery, Capt. W. H. McCartney.

3d Battery, Lieut. A. F. Walcott.

4th Battery, Capt. G. G. Trull.

5th Battery, Brevet Maj. C. A. Phillips, 40 men.

8th Battery, Capt. A. M. Cook, 20 men.

9th Battery, Capt. R. S. Milton, 20 men.

10th Battery, Lieut. G. M. Townsend, 25 men.

11th Battery, Capt. E. J. Jones, 35 men.

12th Battery, Lieut. J. M. Campbell, 30 men.

14th Battery, Capt. G. W. Sanborn, 30 men.

Infantry Division (Brevet Maj.-Gen. George H. Gordon, assisted by Brig.-Gen. Robert Cowdin, Brevet Maj.-Gen. Charles J. Paine and Brevet Brig.-Gen. W. S. Tilton).

1st Infantry, Lieut.-Col. C. B. Baldwin, had three State flags and one city [flag], mustered 150 men, most of whom wore the badge of the 2d Division of the 3d Corps, and some of whom boasted of belonging to Hooker's old brigade in McClellan's army. Besides the colonel, there were Maj. Gardner Walker, Capt. C. M. Jordan, Capt. J. S. Clark, Capt. G. E. Henry, Capt. W. S. Johnston, Lieut. R. M. Maguire, Lieut. Frank Thomas. [151]

2d Infantry, Capt. D. A. Oakey, had three flags and two staffs from which the colors had been shot off. This regiment turned out some 50 men. Present with it were Adjutant J. A. Fox, Quartermaster M. M. Hawes, Chaplain A. H. Quint, Capt. H. M. Comey, Capt. G. J. Thompson, Capt. G. A. Thayer.

3d Infantry, belonging to Plymouth and Bristol counties, had 4 commissioned officers to carry its four colors. Lieut.-Col. James Barton outranked the other officers on the ground.

4th Infantry, Col. Henry Walker, 30 men.

5th Infantry turned out very strongly, having some 300 men in line and two flags. Col. G. H. Pierson was in command.

6th Infantry, Lieut.-Col. Melvin Beal, 30 men, four colors.

7th Infantry, a Bristol County regiment, 40 men, carrying two colors; was commanded by Maj. J. B. Leonard.

8th Infantry, Col. B. F. Peach, Jr., of Lynn, 60 men, two colors.

9th Infantry, Col. P. R. Guiney, 30 men.

10th Infantry, Lieut.-Col. J. B. Parsons, 10 officers, 20 men, two flags.

11th Infantry, Lieut.-Col. T. H. Dunham, Jr., seven colors, 50 men.

12th Infantry, Lieut.-Col. B. F. Cook, four colors, 6 officers, 50 men.

13th Infantry, Col. S. H. Leonard, 100 men, three colors.

15th Infantry, Lieut.-Col. I. H. Hooper, 7 officers, 15 men, two colors.

17th Infantry, Col. Henry Splaine, 9 officers, 100 men, 5 colors.

18th Infantry, Maj. Thomas Weston, 10 officers, 20 men, three colors.

19th Infantry, Col. Edmund Rice, 13 officers, 60 men, five colors. Three of the color bearers were one-armed.

20th Infantry, Col. F. W. Palfrey, 9 officers, 50 men, two colors.

21st Infantry, 25 men, 6 colors. Accompanying the color bearers of this regiment was Sergeant Thomas Plunkett, who had both arms shot off at Fredericksburg.

22d Infantry, Lieut.-Col. Thomas Sherwin, 100 men, four colors.

23d Infantry, Col. J. W. Raymond, 30 men, three colors.

25th Infantry, Col. James Tucker, 50 men, three colors.

Third Battalion Rifles, Capt. M. S. McConville, 10 men, one flag.

26th Infantry, Col. A. B. Farr, 12 officers, 20 men, four colors.

27th Infantry, Adjutant J. W. Holmes, 2 officers, 12 men, three colors.

28th Infantry, Capt. John Miles, 50 men, six colors. [152]

29th Infantry, Lieut.-Col. C. D. Browne, 100 men, four colors.

30th Infantry, Lieut.-Col. H. O. Whittemore, 30 men, three colors.

The regiment is still in the field.

31st Infantry, Maj. L. F. Rice, 2 officers, 8 men, five colors.

32d Infantry, Col. J. A. Cunningham, 200 men, three colors.

33d Infantry, Lieut.-Col. A. W. Tebbetts, 80 men, six colors.

34th Infantry, Col. W. S. Lincoln, 36 men, two colors,

35th Infantry, Lieut.-Col. J. W. Hudson, 150 men, four colors.

36th Infantry, Col. T. L. Barker, 50 men, four colors.

37th Infantry, Quartermaster-Sergeant Sears, 3 men, each with a color.

38th Infantry, Lieut.-Col. J. P. Richardson, 50 men, four colors.

39th Infantry, Col. C. L. Peirson, 100 men, four colors.

40th Infantry, Maj. J. L. Elder, 100 men, two colors.

42d Infantry, Col. I. S. Burrill, 90 men, two colors.

43d Infantry, Col. C. L. Holbrook, 11 officers, 75 men, two colors.

44th Infantry, Col. Francis L. Lee, 50 men, two colors.

45th Infantry, Col. C. R. Codman, 70 men, two colors.

46th Infantry, Col. W. S. Shurtleff, 50 men, two colors.

47th Infantry, Col. L. B. Marsh, 16 officers, 65 men, two colors.

48th Infantry, Sergeant Wait, two colors.

49th Infantry, Capt. Johns, 3 men, two colors.

51st Infantry, Capt. E. A. Wood, two colors.

53d Infantry, Col. T. D. Kimball, 12 officers, 20 men, two colors.

54th Infantry, Brevet Brig.-Gen. E. N. Hallowell, 8 officers, 51 men, two colors.

55th Infantry, 16 officers, 25 men, two colors.

56th Infantry, 60 men, three colors.

57th and 59th Infantries consolidated, Lieut.-Col. J. M. Tucker, 10 officers, 50 men, two colors.

58th Infantry, Lieut.-Col. E. S. Horton, 30 men, two colors.

60th Infantry, Col. A. D. Wass, two colors.

61st Infantry, Col. E. W. Stone, 60 men, two colors.

Gilmore's band preceded the infantry corps.382 [153]

The streets were crowded with a great multitude of spectators, and when the State House was reached General Couch addressed the Governor as follows:—

May it please Your Excellency: We have come here to-day as the representatives of the army of volunteers furnished by Massachusetts for the suppression of the rebellion, bringing these colors in order to return them to the State, who intrusted them to our keeping. You must, however, pardon us if we give them up with profound regret,—for these tattered shreds forcibly remind us of long and fatiguing marches, cold bivouacs and many hard-fought battles. The rents in their folds, the battle-stains on their escutcheons, the blood of our comrades that has sanctified the soil of an hundred fields, attest the sacrifices that have been made, the courage and constancy shown, that the nation might live. It is, sir, a peculiar satisfaction and pleasure to us that you, who have been an honor to the State and nation, from your marked patriotism and fidelity throughout the war, and have been identified with every organization before you, are now here to receive back, as the State custodian of her precious relics, these emblems of the devotion of her sons. May it please Your Excellency, the colors of the Massachusetts Volunteers are returned to the State.

Governor Andrew replied in the following address:—

General: This pageant, so full of pathos and of glory, forms the concluding scene in the long series of visible actions and events, in which Massachusetts has borne a part, for the overthrow of rebellion and the vindication of the Union.

These banners return to the government of the Commonwealth through welcome hands. Borne, one by one, out of this capitol, during more than four years of civil war. as the symbols of the nation and the Commonwealth, under which the battalions of Massachusetts departed to the field, they come back again, borne hither by surviving representatives of the same heroic regiments and companies to which they were intrusted.

At the hands, General, of yourself, the ranking officer of the Volunteers of the Commonwealth (one of the earliest who accepted a regimental command under appointment of the Governor of Massachusetts), and of this grand column of scarred and heroic veterans who guard them home, they are returned with honors becoming relics so venerable, soldiers so brave and citizens so beloved.

Proud memories of many a field; sweet memories alike of valor and friendship; sad memories of fraternal strife; tender memories of our fallen brothers and sons, whose dying eyes looked last upon their flaming folds; grand memories of heroic virtues sublimed by grief; exultant memories of the great and final victory of our country, our Union and the righteous cause; thankful memories of a deliverance wrought out for human nature itself, unexampled by any former achievement of arms; immortal memories with immortal honors blended,—twine round these [154] splintered staves, weave themselves along the warp and woof of these familiar flags, war-worn, begrimed and baptized with blood.

Let the ‘brave heart, the trusty heart, the deep, unfathomable heart,’ in words of more than mortal eloquence, uttered, though unexpressed, speak the emotions of grateful veneration, for which these lips of mine are alike too feeble and unworthy.

General, I accept these relics in behalf of the people and the government. They will be preserved and cherished, amid all the vicissitudes of the future, as mementos of brave men and noble actions.383

With this closing pledge from the War Governor of Massachusetts, this brief record of the service rendered by the Commonwealth may fitly end.

1 See Comte de Paris, Civil War in America (Translation, 1, 160): ‘Would it be a military promenade, or a war of conquest? No one was able to predict; but in the North as well as in the South the impression was universal that the war would not be of long duration, and that the first encounters would settle the question; nobody believed that the volunteers summoned by Mr. Lincoln to serve for three years, or during the war, would see their terms of enlistment expire amid the din of battle; neither party had as yet formed an idea of the sacrifices its opponent was capable of making.’ For the over-confidence of the Confederates, see De Leon, Four Years in Rebel Capitals, p. 135. ‘Not one in three looked facts in the face.’ (De Leon, p. 32.) The war was ‘only a campaign, and not to last six months.’ (De Leon, 27, 175.) See the similar opinions expressed by Coombs and Benjamin, in 1861, in Century Magazine (October, 1889, p. 950). But Gen. J. E. B. Stuart held a different opinion. (Eggleston's A Rebel's Recollections.)

2 Speech, etc., p. 34.

3 McClure's Magazine, November, 1895, p. 64.

4 Compare Walcott's 21st Mass., p. 133.

5 Compare Documents in the Case of Maj. Andrew Washburn, late of the 14th Mass. Volunteers, 2d ed., Boston, 1862. This pamphlet includes the remarkable letter of resignation of Col. William B. Greene, 14th Mass. Infantry (1st Heavy Artillery), resenting alleged injustice to his officers.

6 Benedict's Vermont in the Civil War, p. 7.

7 General Order No. 2, Headquarters, Boston.

8 G. O. No. 4, Headquarters, Boston (Schouler, I, 20).

9 Gen. Jacob D. Cox, in Battles and Leaders of the Civil War (Century War Book), I, 85.

10 The next in date appears to have been that issued by Capt. Allan Rutherford of New York City, who called a meeting at the Mercer House, for a similar purpose, Jan. 11, 1861. (Townsend's Honors of the Empire State in the War of the Rebellion, p. 89.)

11 The following is a copy of the enlistment list and its various endorsements of approval:–

Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

We, whose names are hereunto affixed, do severally consent, and by our signatures hereunto made do agree, to be enrolled into a company of volunteer militia, to be raised in the city of Cambridge and vicinity, subject to orders of the commander-in-chief; and, in consideration of arms and equipments to be furnished us by the Commonwealth, we do hereby agree to serve for the period of five years, unless sooner discharged agreeably to law.

[Here followed the names.]

City of Cambridge, March 19, 1861.
I hereby signify my approval of the organization of the within company of volunteer militia, and my desire that the same may be sanctioned by the commander-in-chief.


Executive Department, April 5, 1861.
The Adjutant-General will issue the proper orders for the organization of a company under this petition.

J. A. Andrew, Governor and Commander-in-Chief.

Headquarters, Boston, April 9, 1861.
I hereby certify that the within names are a correct copy of the original petition.

Wm. Schouler, Adjutant-General.

12 Captain Richardson writes: ‘As we passed along, we received many tokens of regard from citizens. Dr. Estes Howe placed a one-hundred-dollar bill in my hand, to be used for the benefit of the company. One man gave me a dilapidated white kid glove, saying, “The fingers will make the very best kind of cots, if you should get a wound in the finger.” ’ (Ms. letter.)

13 Adjutant-General's report, January, 1862, pp. 9, 13.

14 Manuscript letter from General Chamberlain, April 22, 1895.

15 Paige's History of Cambridge, p. 433, note.

16 ‘As a soldier he manifested a loyal and patriotic devotion to his country by raising the first volunteer company for the late war.’ Appleton's Cyclopaedia of American Biography makes a similar statement: ‘In 1861 he raised the first company of volunteers for the national cause in Massachusetts.’

17 Manuscript letter of Capt. J. P. Reynolds (Sept. 7, 1895).

18 Quint's 2d Mass. Infantry, p. 12.

19 Gordon's Organization, etc., of 2d Regiment, pp. 11, 14.

20 Quint's 2d Mass. Infantry, List of Officers, etc.

21 Schouler, I, 50.

22 Adjutant-General's report, January, 1862, p. 8.

23 Schouler, I, 51.

24 Manuscript letter from Maj. Charles F. Allen, late captain Co. E, 4th Regiment M. V. M., afterwards major 38th Mass. Infantry.

25 The 8th M. V. M. came mainly from Essex County; the 3d and 4th mainly from Norfolk, Plymouth and Bristol; the 6th mainly from Middlesex, with one company from Boston and one from Worcester.

26 Schouler, I, 77.

27 See his memoir in Harvard Memorial Biographies, I, 296.

28 See his memoir in Marvin's Worcester in the War, p. 489. It is a curious illustration of the condition of discipline in the early part of the war that this officer's appointment as major from outside the regiment (Aug. 12, 1862) led to the resignation and dismissal of nine line officers who had served with it from the beginning, their cashiering or dismissal dating Nov. 25, 1862. (Adjutant-General's report, January, 1863, p. 127.)

29 G. O. 4, Jan. 16, 1861.

30 Schouler, I, 54.

31 Schouler, I, 54.

32 Hanson's 6th Regiment, p. 20.

33 For the early use of Scott's tactics, see Comte de Paris, Civil War, I, 273; England's Evolution of a Life, p. 144; Parker's 32d Mass., pp. 12, 29. Hardee was used for rifles only.

34 Hanson's 6th Regiment, p. 40; Brown's Baltimore and the 19th of April, p. 44.

35 Hanson's 6th Regiment, p. 48. Governor Andrew ordered the bodies brought ‘tenderly.’

36 The best and most careful account of the whole affair at Baltimore is that entitled Baltimore and the 19th of April, 1861, by