Second Lieutenant 2d Mass. Vols. (Infantry), November I, 1861; first Lieutenant, July 21, 1862; Captain, November 9, 1862; killed at Averysborough, N. C., March 16, 1865.
James Ingersoll Grafton was the youngest son of Major Joseph Grafton, of the United States Army. His father served in the war of 1812. His eldest brother was also in the military service during the Mexican war. His mother was Maria (Gurley) Grafton. He was born in Boston, June 16, 1841, received his early education at Boston (where he studied with William P. Field, Esq.) and at Nazareth, Pennsylvania, and entered Harvard College in August, 1858. On the 1st of November, 1861, he left college to join the Second Massachusetts Volunteers as Second Lieutenant; he was made First Lieutenant, July 21, 1862, and was promoted Captain, November 9, 1862. He served faithfully with his regiment through all its hard service, declining a colonelcy, on one occasion, from unwillingness to leave it. His first fighting was in the retreat of General Banks from the Valley, at Newtown and Winchester; Virginia, in May, 1862. At the battle of Cedar Mountain, where his regiment suffered so severely, he was badly wounded in the head, and was off duty for several months. He was again severely wounded (in the leg) at Chancellorsville, and could not rejoin his regiment till after the battle of Gettysburg. In the autumn of 1863 the Second Massachusetts was ordered to the West, and took part in Sherman's famous march. He was absent for a time on recruiting service, the ranks being exceedingly depleted; but he returned in time for the entry into Atlanta. He wrote many graphic letters, describing the experiences of the march, and the following extracts are taken from the few that have been preserved.