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Chapter 44: in camp at Bailey's Cross Roads. Muster out.

The regiment had by this time become entirely different in its make up to the Nineteenth Massachusetts of 1861, and and the addition of many recruits of all nationalities lent much to its picturesqueness.

Here nothing of interest occurred until May 23, when the Army of the Potomac passed in review before President Johnson and Lieutenant General Grant.

This was a great event. Most of the previous day was spent in preparation, cleaning guns, polishing brasses and blacking equipments and boots. No knapsacks or equipments were to be carried. Colonel Rice wanted to make it as easy for the men as possible and they would march much easier and make a better appearance without them. The tin receptacles for cartridges were taken out of the cartridge boxes and sandwiches of bread and pork put in their places for the men's dinners.

At sunrise they started, each man carrying in his ‘inside pocket’ a pair of white gloves to be put on at the proper time.

On reaching the city, the Nineteenth marched to the East of the Capitol building where the Division was massed in side streets to await its turn. Men were brought along with the regiment to carry blacking and brushes and while waiting in line, the veterans brushed up and ate their lunches

The white gloves were to be put on ‘just before they started,’ but that time was so often that the men nearly wore them out drawing them on and off. [365]

Finally the end of the tramping column appeared and the Nineteenth filed into its place in the line late in the afternoon —the column had been marching many hours—and marched down past the Capitol where an immense crowd was assembled, and then out Pennsylvania Avenue.

So many persons lined the streets as to leave hardly room for the regiment to march.

In the centre of a vast assemblage of brilliant uniforms at a point on the line of march, sat General U. S. Grant, while in the chair, which, but for the fanatic Booth, would have been filled by Abraham Lincoln, sat President Andrew Johnson.

No halt was made until the regiment had crossed the Aqueduct Bridge into Virginia and was well on the way to camp. This was the last march the old Second Corps ever made.

Although the Army of the Potomac never presented a finer appearance than on that day, and the Second Division was admitted to be one of the finest divisions in the Army, the Nineteenth Massachusetts was adjudged to be the best regiment in its Corps for appearance, discipline and instruction. Those of its friends who witnessed its march will never forget its fine appearance and bearing.

The numerical condition of the regiment on June 1, 1865, was as follows:

ForOn Daily orIn
DutyExtra DutyArrestSickTotal
Field & Staff.213
Co. A.
B. J. G. B. Adams.
C. Wm. E. Barrows.
E. Henry A. Homer, 86115
G. Wm. L. Palmer.
H. C. S. Palmer.
K. L. J. Hume
Enlisted Men:3093515359


Commissioned officers:
On detached service,0
With leave,1
Enlisted men:
On detached service,5
Paroled prisoners of war173
Present and absent:
Commissioned officers:
Lieut. Colonel,1
Regt. Q. M.1
1st. Lieuts.8
2nd Lieuts. 3
Enlisted men:
Sergt. Major,1
Q. M. Sergt.1
Prin. Music'n,2
Com. Sergt. & Hosp. Steward,2
Total enlisted,645


The regiment remained in camp at Bailey's Cross Roads, on Munson's Hill, until June 29, when it was mustered out, at 9 o'clock in the evening, in obedience to General Orders No. 158, Headquarters Army of the Potomac, current series, and on the following morning began its return journey toward Readville, Mass.

The command left Washington at 10 A. M., Baltimore at 4.45 P. M. on the same day; arrived in Philadelphia at 6 A. M. on July 1st. It is needless to say that from the Philadelphians the regiment experienced a cordial and substantial welcome at the ‘Old Cooper Shop.’

Leaving Philadelphia at 2 P. M. on July 1, the men reached New York on the same night and there the regiment received from Colonel Howe, his associates and friends, a reception worthy of it and them. Leaving New York at 3 P. M., July 2, the regiment arrived at Readville at 9 A. M. on July 3, to await final discharge and payment.

The men were allowed to leave for their homes immediately and with only the delay necessary to dispose of guns and equipments, they took advantage of the opportunity.

Of the 37 commissioned officers who left Massachusetts with the regiment in 1861, only 1 returned,—Colonel Edmund Rice who went out as captain and returned as colonel commanding the regiment.

Fourteen officers and 250 men were either killed or died of wounds received in action, and 449 were discharged for disability occasioned by wounds or disease contracted in the service.

The colors, ordnance, camp and garrison equipage, regimental and company books and papers having been turned over to the proper officers of the United States, final disbandment was accomplished July 20, 1865, at Readville.

The regiment has become a thing of the past, but its history also become a part of the history of Massachusetts.

No regiment has had a more eventful history, fought better, or performed its duties with more promptness or alacrity. During its existence the regiment was engaged in 45 battles and skirmishes, in six of which it lost from one third to five [368] sixths of its men. It captured and turned over to the War Department seven stands of colors (First Texas, Fourteenth, Nineteenth, Fifty-Third and Fifty-Seventh Virginia, Twelfth South Carolina and Forty-Seventh North Carolina) and six pieces of artillery; When it is said that the regiment has been characterized by the most kindly and brotherly feeling, the best discipline and alacritous obedience in all ranks, that it was frequently commended and never censured by its superior commanders, the story is done.

The record is concluded by inserting the following, which appeared in the ‘Boston Journal:’

near Petersburg, Dec. 25, 1864.
On the 15th of December, at Headquarters Second Army Corps, near Yellow Tavern, Va., General Meade presented medals of honor commemorative of special instances of distinguished bravery in battle to several noncommissioned officers and soldiers of the Second Corps. Among these honored and gallant men were Sergeants B. H. Jellison and Joseph H. DeCastro of the Nineteenth Massachusetts Infantry. These gallant soldiers were two of the four members of this regiment, who, on the 3d of July, 1863, at Gettysburg, captured the battle flags of the Fourteenth, Nineteenth, Fifty-Third and Fifty-Seventh Virginia Regiments. The others were Sergeant B. F. Falls, Co. A, of Lynn, who fell mortally wounded at Spottsylvania, May 12, and Private John Robinson, of Co. I, of Boston, now a prisoner of war. At the close of this interesting ceremony, the Nineteenth and other regiments, whose members had received medals, being drawn up before the general; he took occasion to address to them a few kind, cheering words of acknowledgment for the services of the rank and file of the army, justly observing that but for the heroic endurance and magnificent courage of the enlisted men, the utmost efforts of their officers would be unavailing.

The Nineteenth Massachusetts Infantry has, during its existence, captured seven stands of colors, viz: one at Antietam (First Texas Regiment) by Corporal Thomas Costello, Co. G, of Lowell, killed at the Wilderness, May 6th; four at Gettysburg, by Sergt. Benj. F. Falls, Sergt. Benj. Jellison, Corp. Jos. DeCastro and Sergt. John Robinson; one at Spottsylvania Court House, (Thirty-Third No. Carolina) by First Sergeant Samuel E. Viall, of Co. E, of Lynn, mortally wounded on North Anna River, May 24th; and one at Hatcher's Run, Oct. 27th, (Forty-Seventh North Carolina) by Sergeant Daniel F. Murphy, Co. F, of Boston. Sergeant Murphy being deputed by the commanding general to personally present the captured color to the Secretary of War, received from the hands of Mr. Stanton a medal of honor in acknowledgment of his gallantry.

When it is considered that such captures are only made in hand to hand conflicts of the most desperate character, this appears a glorious record.


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