The Lawrence Light Guard.
by Helen Tilden Wild.[Read before the Medford Historical Society, May 19, 1902.] IN an oration delivered in Winchester, July 4, 1860, Hon. John A. Bolles said: ‘Of the Winchester Light Guard I can find no surviving trace. . . They and their guns have both gone off.’ The orator could not have made a very extensive search, for that organization has a lusty ‘surviving trace’ which has existed over forty years within three miles of its first armory. The military company of Winchester ‘went off’ to Medford and formed the Lawrence Light Guard. The company was organized March 27, 1851, with Frederick O. Prince, afterward Mayor of Boston, as captain. It was named in honor of Col. William P. Winchester. The armory was on Main street in Winchester. It was organized as Co. A, 7th Regt., designated as Co. E, 7th Regt., December 15, 1852, and as Co. E, 5th Regt., in 1855. Captain Prince commanded from 1851 to 1853; Capt. Wallace Whitney, 1853 to 1855. Capt. Wm. Pratt was commissioned as the latter's successor, but received his discharge March 27, 1855. The company did not receive much encouragement from the town and citizens of Winchester, and it was voted to disband. At this time a military company was projected in Medford, and instead of applying for a new charter, Medford men enlisted in the Winchester company with the purpose of reorganizing and transferring the command to Medford. The name was changed to Lawrence Light Guard, in honor of Mr. Daniel Lawrence, who as long as he lived showed his interest by substantial aid. [p. 74] Henry W. Usher was the first captain of the reorganized company. He served about a year. He was succeeded by Asa Law, who commanded until he was appointed colonel. Capt. Samuel C. Lawrence was commissioned in 1856, and served until his promotion to rank of Major in 1859. For several years thereafter he retained an active interest in the Light Guard, holding the office of treasurer. Captain John Hutchins was commissioned in 1859. Some of the Winchester men retained their membership in the company after it was transferred to Medford, and the first parade after the reorganization extended through both towns. A brass band was in attendance, and as the musicians had practiced together only long enough to learn two tunes, the music was acceptable but monotonous. The May training, fall parade and annual muster were the chief military events of the year. The muster was more like a county fair than like the modern tour of duty. The militia was brigaded sometimes in one place and sometimes in another until the establishment of the State camp ground at South Framingham. It is recorded that on April 2, 1855, an article in the warrant for town meeting was considered relative to an appropriation for fitting up an armory for the Light Guard. It was laid on the table where it still reposes. In the selectmen's records we find that the armory rent was paid and accounts rendered to the Adjutant General. The annual rent in 1855 was one hundred and fifty dollars. It was reduced to one hundred in 1858. All expenses beside rent had to be met by the company, and for that purpose assemblies were held in the town hall. The music consisted of a very few pieces, and, to save expense, the captain and first lieutenant attended the door, turn and turn about, rather than pay for a regular ticket taker. The boys were their own carpenters, and fitted up their armory with their own hands. At the time of Capt. Hutchins' election in July, 1859, the Light Guard was in a very prosperous condition. [p. 75] At the next muster the company appeared on the field with over fifty muskets, and received from Mr. Daniel Lawrence a prize of fifty dollars for so doing. September 15, 1860, the fire which destroyed the First Trinitarian Church building seriously damaged the armory and the property of the company. Insurance made good the financial loss, and the company set about putting up new gun-racks and refurnishing, but the rooms were hardly in order when they were again visited by fire, December 15, 1860, when the armory building, ‘American Hall,’ where Small's brick block now stands, was totally destroyed. The company lost most of its property by this fire, and as there was no insurance, a popular subscription was started in its behalf. The town hall became the armory. The company for some time had been agitating the question of buying new uniforms, and at this time an order was sent to a first class Boston tailor to make the suits from cloth which had been manufactured for this special purpose at one of the mills at Lowell. The men immediately began to pay for them on the instalment plan, by depositing fifty cents a week each with the company treasurer. Meanwhile they drilled in their old regimentals and fatigue caps, and as there were not uniforms enough for all, some wore the caps and citizens' clothes. In the fall of 1860, the political sky was so darkened that there was increased activity in all military organizations. The Light Guard drilled twice a week. In February, 1861, the company was called upon to answer the question whether or not it was ready to respond to a call for troops at a minute's notice. At roll call thirty-eight men answered ‘yes’ and three answered ‘no.’ Lieutenant Chambers sent his assent in writing. There were fourteen absentees who were speedily interviewed. Some who had enlisted the previous summer for the especial enjoyment of muster had hardly considered themselves regular members of the company, but being [p. 76] too proud to back out in the face of danger answered ‘yes’ and were enrolled. Company election was held February 12, 1861, to choose a second lieutenant, and thereafter, until the close of the three months campaign, the officers were: John Hutchins, captain; John G. Chambers, 1st lieutenant; Perry Colman, 2d lieutenant, and William H. Pattee, 3d lieutenant. After this election a collation was given in the upper hall of the town house. Do you remember it, with its sloping roof and its painful lack of air? In the words of 1st Sergt. Hosea, this spread was tendered by the newly elected lieutenant or ‘somebody else.’ From this time until the Light Guard went to the front this mysterious somebody furnished several suppers after drills, and we suspect that to this day he is the good genius of the company. Private Benjamin Moore at this time presented a ‘splendid roll board,’ and after ‘three cheers and a lemon’ (I quote from the records) for Private Moore, the meeting adjourned. This roll board is still in the possession of the company, although few of the present members know its history. It is made with spaces for inserting cards bearing the names of the members, which were removed as resignations were accepted. The militia rolls were not kept with the formality that they are now, and the old rosters are lost because they never existed in permanent form. In March, 1861, regimental drills were begun, which were held regularly until the beginning of the war, in Fitchburg Hall, Boston. Medford was blessed in those days with only one late train a week, and if drill occurred on any other night, the men were compelled to make special provision for transportation. One evening the horse cars of the long ago defunct Middlesex Horse R. R. landed them in Medford about midnight. On another occasion, carriages which had been ordered failed to appear, and the company went by train on the Lowell Railroad to ‘Medford Steps,’ and marched to the [p. 77] armory, arriving at 12.10, ‘well pleased with our drill, but not with the arrangements for our return.’ April 12, 1861, Fort Sumpter was fired upon, and on April 15 the ‘fiery cross’ was sent out over the Com- The new uniforms of the Light Guard were speedily finished, and all who had signified their willingness to go on the first call were supplied. You who always think of Union soldiers as ‘the boys in blue’ would like to know how these men were dressed. I copy verbatim from the description of the uniform given by one who wore it. ‘It was iron gray cloth trimmed with black, swallow-tailed coat, with a profusion of brass buttons. The suits were made by a skilled tailor, and were tight fitting, very military and stylish—I may say “natty.” The hat was after the bean-pot style, cost, I think, about seven dollars. Said hat was adorned with braid—brass—and a red and white plume or pon-pon. Can you imagine anything more inappropriate or comical than the sight of those boys in this holiday garb, carrying a ten-pound musket, also one or two revolvers and dirk knives, marching off to war! Oh, what a headache I had on arrival at Washington from wearing that heavy hat! The last sight I ever had of it (as also a leathern stock worn about the neck) was when it disappeared over a fence into somebody's back yard.’ A mass-meeting was held Thursday evening, April 18, 1862, at which six thousand dollars were subscribed amid great enthusiasm, to complete the uniforming of the company and to aid the families of the soldiers while they were away. A committee of thirteen was formed to apportion the money raised. Thirteen must have been an unlucky number in this case, for by a series of misunderstandings the uniforms were not paid for until over a year after the return of the company, and only after a long dispute and legal process. Col. Lawrence was ordered to report in Boston with his regiment April 19, 1861. His orders were issued [p. 78] April 18, and were delivered by the hand of his brother, Mr. Daniel W. Lawrence. It is a strange coincidence that this second summons of the minutemen should have come on the exact anniversary of Paul Revere's ride. On the afternoon of April 20 a great crowd assembled in the square to bid the company God-speed. A hush fell as the company formed in a hollow square, and the Rev. Jarvis A. Ames of the Methodist Church offered prayer. The company left on the two o'clock train, reported for duty on Boston Common at three, and thence marched to Faneuil Hall, where they were quartered until the morning of April 21. There, more recruits were received. William H. Lawrence of Arlington was one of these. He was particularly anxious to enlist under the colonel who bore the same name as his own. The crowd was so dense at the door that he climbed through a window and reached the recruiting officer's side. He was a fine example of physical manhood, and he at once attracted the colonel's interest. He was assigned to Co. E and made color sergeant. The troops took the cars for New York at 6 P. M., April 21. They arrived at New York in the evening and were marched to the St. Nicholas Hotel. The records say ‘We were received with cheers at every station on the route and plenty of refreshments were furnished.’ They left New York on the steamship DeSoto, on Monday morning, and arrived at Annapolis in the afternoon of April 24, after a rough passage. Camp was made in the woods. The next morning they proceeded to Washington, and took up their quarters in the treasury building on Saturday, April 27. They were mustered into the Federal service, May 1, 1861. The regiment remained on guard in the treasury building until May 25, the morning after Ellsworth was killed at Alexandria, when it was ordered to that town. The first month of service was hardly more than a long holiday. The Light Guard made friends among the people of Washington, had plenty to eat (the [p. 79] Light Guard always has appreciated that blessing, at home and abroad), and had little hard work, but the change to Alexandria brought a new experience. Coarse bread, no butter or milk, guard duty, wet feet and work with pick and shovel was fun for only a little while. The enemy had not been seen, but there was, every day, the possibility that something exciting might happen. July 16, 1861, the Light Guard was ordered to march with the army toward Richmond. Sunday morning, July 21, they left Centreville for Bull Run, and then something did happen. The opposing forces met. By the middle of the afternoon the Union troops seemed on the point of victory, but the arrival of Kirby Smith turned the scale. The zouaves who were in front broke and retreated in disorder through the Union lines, closely pursued by the Confederates. All the Union men did not wear the regulation United States blue, and many Confederates wore the uniforms of their local organizations. In the confusion, friend could not be distinguished from foe. Rout was inevitable. In the retreat, Col. Lawrence was wounded, but in spite of this and the general panic, the Fifth maintained its formation, and Capt. Hutchins reports that fully three-fourths of his command marched back to camp in regular order. Capt. Hutchins' telegram, sent the next morning, allayed the fears of those at home, but the Light Guard was not unscathed. On the night before the battle, ‘Billy’ Lawrence, the color-bearer, said to a brother sergeant, ‘We are going into action tomorrow, and as sure as the sun rises, I shall be killed. I shall not put the brass eagle on the staff, but in my haversack. That flag is going to the front tomorrow, and whatever happens to me, don't let the rebels get it.’ His presentiment was verified; while carrying the flag in the front line, a bullet pierced his heart. The flag he so bravely carried was saved from capture, and is a precious treasure, for it bears the stain of his blood. [p. 80] Manville Richards was wounded in this battle, but recovered and came home to be killed at a fire in Medford a few months later. Wm. Crooker was also wounded and J. Henry Hoyt was taken prisoner. The three months term having expired, the Fifth started at once from Alexandria to Washington after the battle. A violent rain was falling when the troops reached the capital; no quarters had been provided, and the men dropped on the sidewalk and slept. Capt. Hutchins, Capt. Swan of Charlestown, and Capt. Locke of Reading determined that their men should be sheltered. By personal effort they found quarters in the large hall at Willard's Hotel. They remained five days. When Mr. Willard was asked for his bill, he said, ‘I have no bill against you. If I can't get my pay from the Government, I will go without.’ The company arrived in Boston, July 30. They were escorted home by citizens of Medford and the fire companies of the town. The procession was headed by a band of music. On the following Tuesday a formal reception was given them at Child's Grove on Fulton street. Lieut. John G. Chambers was commissioned adjutant of the 23d Regiment, October 11, 1861. The company presented him with a purse of twenty-five dollars when he left town for the front. He had served in the Mexican War and had been st lieutenant of the Light Guard during the three months campaign. His ability and fondness for military life earned him his promotions and he became lieutenant-colonel of his regiment. He was wounded at Drury's Bluff and died at Fortress Monroe, May 13, 1864. His body was brought home and the town took charge of his funeral. Drills were resumed in the town hall and continued regularly unless the town fathers rented it for some other purpose. In January, 1862, the four-story brick block, quite imposing for those days, which was erected on the site of the former armory was finished, and the [p. 81] company took possession of the quarters which, with the exception of a few years when the Lawrence Rifles occupied them, were to be its home until the time of the Spanish War. To celebrate the event, and also the first anniversary of the departure for the front, a dedication levee was held. The affair was a great success, and the pleasure of the Light Guard was enhanced by the unexpected presence of a party of Washington friends, who, at their own request, were made fine members of the company (men and women, too). In the months that followed, when many of the men were in the government hospital, these fine members did much to win them back to health. In July, 1862, Captain Hutchins was appointed major and resigned the command of the Light Guard, being succeeded by Lieut. Perry Coleman. This arrangement lasted for a very short time, for before the month ended, a letter from the selectmen, desiring the company's services, as part of the quota demanded from Medford, had been received and accepted. The whole command became a committee to secure new members. The first new man to enlist was James A. Hervey. Major Hutchins was made recruiting officer. By August 15, eighty-five members were enrolled. Street drills were held and ‘High Private’ Samuel C. Lawrence took personal charge of the awkward squad. Dr. C. V. Bemis was surgical examiner, and donated all his fees to the company treasury. The roll of the company was carefully corrected. Some were under age; others had already enlisted. When the time for departure came, there were ten members left. The next month seven of these enlisted for nine months in the 5th Massachusetts, leaving three, one a paroled prisoner, as a home guard. The Lawrence Light Guard stipulated that the members should elect their own officers. The selectmen granted their request and they chose Capt. John Hutchins, 1st Lieut. Perry Colman, 2d Lieut. I. F. R. Hosea, all veterans of the first campaign. The day fixed for [p. 82] departure was August 25, 1862, and the ceremonies were similar to those of 1861. The minister of the Unitarian Church offered prayer and Thomas S. Harlow, Esq., made an address. The company went first to Lynnfield and then to Boxford, where the 39th Regiment was organized. The Light Guard became Co. C. The colonel was P. S. Davis. Co. C was what might be called a family company; nearly all were Medford boys. Three families furnished three sons each; several, two sons, and two families, father and son; beside, there were several cousins. All had been friends and acquaintances for years. One of the comrades says, ‘They were a jolly, wide-awake lot of fellows, and the record they made, Medford is proud of. Col. Davis used to say there was more genius, neatness and deviltry in Co. C than in any other company. Whenever he had visitors it was Co. C's quarters that were inspected.’ This statement is borne out by the company order book, which records that at inspection Co. C's quarters ranked good and other companies varied from fair to bad. The deviltry part was not serious, for Capt. Hutchins says that only one man was put in the guard house for disobeying his orders. The culprit did not remain there long enough to be dealt with by the regimental authorities, but apologized, promised good behavior, and kept his word as long as he lived, for he was one who never came home. The 39th Regiment left Boxford September 5, 1862. Immediately upon their arrival in the South, they were put on picket duty on the Potomac River. Writing from Conrad's Ferry, Maryland, on September 20, Capt. Hutchins says, ‘We have slept under a tent but one night since we left Massachusetts.’ The next morning after arriving at Washington, the regiment marched to Camp Chase at Arlington Heights. They camped there two nights, (the second, in tents). The next day was spent on the march, the second in felling trees for a new camp, and the night on picket duty. With one [p. 83] day for rest and preparation, they started off on a long march to Ball's Bluff, where six companies were on picket, Capt. Hutchins being in command of three of them. He was obliged to go six miles every morning to report at headquarters, and a detail had to be sent there each day for rations. Six miles on foot, carrying a heavy box of hard tack, under a blazing sun, caused Private Whitney of the Light Guard to suffer from illness for the only time during the whole three years term. Commanders and men chafed under this arrangement to no purpose. At this time the Light Guard was without change of clothing, their baggage having been left behind when they left Arlington Heights, but Capt. Hutchins wrote, ‘We have two towels and some soap, and the Potomac runs near us.’ Exposure to river fogs at night brought on fever and ague. Men not on picket duty were employed at target practice. Foraging was especially prohibited, and three companies were made to pay fifty dollars for twenty-seven hogs killed. Perhaps some of Co. C's deviltry entered into the swine, for the lieutenant was reprimanded for allowing firing by his men. December 20, 1862, after serving all the fall on picket and as river guard, the regiment went into winter quarters at Poolesville. Tents were supplied with bunks and straw. April 14, 1863, marching orders were received. A week later, the 39th was in barracks at Washington, D. C., acting as provost guard. From April to July our company enjoyed the pleasure of renewing old friendships and of doing easy work. July 12, 1863, just after the Battle of Gettysburg, the regiment marched to Funktown, Maryland, and joined the Army of the Potomac, under General Meade. The Rappahannock was reached July 27. Samuel W. Joyce died of typhoid fever in an ambulance wagon during the march and was buried at Middleburg, Virginia. During a short halt the company gathered around, a hurried burial service was said, a [p. 84] volley was fired, and the body placed in a hastily made grave. A small wooden slab was put up to mark the spot. Then the column moved on toward the river. Day after day the two armies hurried forward in a parallel course toward Richmond, with constant skirmishing until both went into winter quarters. During this campaign many changes were made in the personnel of the Light Guard. Among them, James A. Hervey was detailed to the Quartermaster's Department, Albert A. Samson was discharged to become second lieutenant in the 10th U. S. Colored Regiment, in which he was promoted to rank of captain the next year. Lieut. Perry Colman was discharged for disability, and Lieut. Hosea was transferred to Co. E. At the battle of Mine Run, November 28, 1863, Companies C and E were deployed as skirmishers. Benj. H. Dow of Medford was wounded. December 2 the corps crossed the Rapidan, the 39th being the last to go over. On this march, Charles Coolidge and Henry Currell, being unable to keep up with the column, were captured and died in Libby Prison. December 24, after bivouacing by day and marching by night, the regiment reached the extreme outpost of the army, picketing the northern bank of the Rapidan. Winter quarters were laid out with company streets twenty-five feet wide, with corduroyed sidewalks four feet wide. The cabins were of logs seven by fifteen feet, outside measurement. There was a door in each in the centre of the long side with fireplace opposite. The pitch roof was made of four pieces of shelter tent. January 1, 1864, Captain Hutchins was absent and sick, and Lieut. Hanson was in command. He had been transferred from the Danvers company and commissioned November, 1863. One sergeant, two corporals and sixteen privates were sick and absent. Corporal Champlin died in the hospital about this time. The company was so busy, says the History of Medford, that [p. 85] at one time an orderly sergeant and one private represented the company at dress parade. After a rest of a month and four days, orders were received to leave the comfortable quarters. The men were enjoined by their colonel to leave their camp in good condition for occupancy of friend or foe who might occupy it next. March 12, 1864, all sutlers were sent to the rear. Dress coats were packed and sent to Washington for storage. As soon as it was warm enough overcoats were sent to the rear. In regard to clothing the Christian injunction was followed, ‘Let him who hath two coats give to him that hath none.’ No stream was to impede progress unless it was deep enough to wet cartridges. At temporary halts men were not even to unsling knapsacks. Canteens were to be filled only at starting and at noon halts. Stragglers on the flanks were to be fired upon. Fighting by day, marching by night, under the indomitable command of Grant, the Army of the Potomac marched through the Wilderness. May 4, the terrible battle began, and for thirty-eight days the army had no sleep except naps on the ground when they halted. The Light Guard lost eighteen men, killed and wounded, in the Wilderness. The company was not actually engaged until the fourth day of the engagement, at Laurel Hill. The regiment, charging with fixed bayonets, drove cavalry and then a battery before it, but meeting strongly entrenched infantry, it was forced to fall back over an open field. Here the Light Guard suffered severely. Henry Hathaway, Stephen Busha and Alfred Joyce were missing. The latter died in prison at Andersonville; the others were never heard from. Corporal Stimpson was maimed for life and Sergeants Turner and Morrison were slightly wounded. On May 10 the regiment was in the front line (where it was placed almost without exception all through this campaign). It made no actual demonstration but was exposed to artillery fire. On that day Sergeant Stevens, who had [p. 86] been recommended for promotion, and Privates Bierne and Harding were instantly killed. On May 12, while the 39th filled a gap between the 5th and 6th corps, Edward Ireland was killed and Henry A. Ireland was wounded. On the night of May 13, the command marched through deep mud and pitchy darkness to Spottsylvania, and remained there exposed to the fire of the enemy for a week, when the line was abandoned, leaving pickets to follow. Robert Livingstone of Co. C, one of these pickets, was taken prisoner and died at Andersonville. The Light Guard had its share in the victory which followed the crossing of the North Anna, and the march was continued with constant skirmishing until the fifth of June, when a halt of five days was made at Cold Harbor. The march was resumed June 12 at five o'clock in the afternoon and continued all night, with long halts. The next day the enemy was met at White Oak Swamp, where a line was formed and held till dark, when the corps pushed on to join the main army. After daily skirmishes and nightly marches the column arrived before Petersburg and drove the enemy into its inner works. Here Co. C received several additions from recruits of the 12th and 13th Massachusetts whose terms of enlistment had not expired with the mustering out of their regiments. The Light Guard, with its regiment, was stationed behind entrenchments so exposed, that relieving of pickets, drawing rations and ammunition and other necessary work had to be done at night. Joel M. Fletcher's life was sacrificed here. July 11, 1864, Col. Davis was killed. Read the order book of the regiment. That is enough to tell his character. Captain Hutchins said of him, ‘The regiment . . . is the pride of our noble colonel, who is a father to us all, and the best colonel now in the service.’ The regiment went into Fort Davis on the day after the colonel's death and remained there until August 18, [p. 87] when it was ordered to destroy the tracks of the Weldon Railroad. A detachment was ordered to tear up the tracks, and another was placed on guard. Suddenly they found themselves surrounded by the enemy. The regiment, beside killed and wounded, lost two hundred and forty-five men. Rodney Hathaway of Co. C was killed. Capt. Hutchins, Sergt. Eames, Frank J. Curtis, Edwin Ireland, Patrick Gleason, Benjamin J. Ellis, Milton F. Roberts, I. T. Morrison and Lieut. Hosea of the Light Guard proper, beside several others who had been recruited in Medford, including William H. Rogers, a native of the town, and nine men transferred to Co. C from the 12th and 13th Massachusetts were taken prisoners. They were first stripped of everything of value and then sent to Richmond, where they were confined in Libby Prison. Although the place was foul and the food bad enough, they were under cover and the rations were cooked. But the nine days of confinement there during mid-summer were so hard to bear that they hailed the change to Belle Isle where they would be sure of air to breathe, but every change brought added discomfort. In October they were transferred to Salisbury, where, without shelter, without cooked food, with hardly water enough to drink, and none for bathing, with only vermininfested rags for covering, they spent a horrible winter. Here Gleason and Rogers died, and the rest looking with hollow eyes into one another's faces, gave parting messages for dear ones at home, fearing that a few days more would bring mental or physical death. Deliverance came soon enough to allow Benjamin Ellis and Augustus Tufts to come home to die. One by one these prisoners have dropped out of life since the war, and now Capt. Hutchins, J. Henry Eames and Milton F. Roberts are the only ones who can tell that dreadful tale of living death. On August 21, the Confederates tried for the last time to recover Weldon Railroad. At Hatcher's Run, October 29, Sergt. Edwin B. Hatch of the Light Guard was [p. 88] killed. During December, 1864, five men were transferred from Co. C, to other posts of duty. At that time the regiment was so depleted that the State colors were sent home, there not being enough men to protect two flags. February 3, 2d Lieut. Wm. McDevitt of Woburn was transferred from Co. K and placed in command of the remnant of Co. C, and continued until the surrender of Lee, when Capt. Hutchins returned to the company. March 29 the spring campaign opened. The 39th were sent out as skirmishers, but were driven back, leaving dead and wounded behind. Aaron Tucker and George Graves were taken prisoners in this engagement at Gravelly Run, but were re-captured in a few days. April 1, at Five Forks, the 39th was brigaded with Sheridan's cavalry. At noon the line was formed with infantry in the centre and cavalry on the flanks. The fight was quick and spirited, and as the Union forces advanced, the evidences of hurried retreat gave them renewed courage. At this battle Corp. J. H. Whitney,1 who had been appointed color bearer on March 28, shared the fate of all his predecessors who had carried the flag of the 39th, and was wounded. Corp. Whitney was the youngest member of the Light Guard, and had never been absent from his regiment from the time of his enlistment until the day he was shot. The next day Lieut. McDevitt and his twelve men, who were the remnant of Co. C, took up the march which was to terminate at Appomattox and victory. Of the one hundred and one men who left Medford in August 1862, only nine took part in the concluding battle as members of Co. C. Of these, only Royall S. Carr, Henry A. Ireland, Emery Ramsdell and Edwin F. Kenrick were members of the original Light Guard which volunteered its services to the selectmen, July 30, 1863. The regiment, after Lee's surrender, marched back toward Petersburg, and on April 21 made camp at Black's and White's station, where many officers and men, paroled prisoners, joined their commands. [p. 89] May 9 the regiment crossed the Rappahannock for the tenth and last time, as it marched toward Washington and home. The regiment arrived in Readville, Massachusetts, at seven o'clock in the morning, June 6, 1865. The records of the company are responsible for the statement that here the Light Guard, after thirty-four months of faithful service, basely deserted! Nobody blamed them then, and certainly no one does now, for what mortal man could stand being cooped up in barracks, only a few miles from home, which he had not seen for almost three years? But all went back again, and on June 9 appeared at the Providence Station, Boston, where they were received by the Lawrence Rifles, Capt. B. F. Hayes, the Boston Cornet Band, and a large delegation of citizens of Medford, under the marshalship of Gen. S. C. Lawrence, through whose agency the captain had been able to receive special permission for their return that day. Mr. Nathan Bridge made an address of welcome in behalf of the selectmen. After a march through Boston the company took the train to Medford. The arrival of the train at Park street was announced by the booming of cannon, which was echoed by several other pieces stationed in different parts of the town. The records say, ‘By their incessant roar they seemed determined to remind us of the many trying scenes through which we had so recently passed.’ After a march through several of the principal streets to West Medford, where a collation was furnished by the citizens of that part of the town, the company returned to the square, where they were entertained by the Lawrence Rifles at their armory in Usher's Building. The town gave the Light Guard a reception on June 14, and another was given by Washington Engine Co., No. 3, at Green Mountain Grove on the twenty-eighth.2 These were days of rejoicing, but the booming of cannon, the huzzas, and the music only drowned the sounds [p. 90] of weeping for dear ones who had gone away with the company, but whose places were vacant now, who slept on Southern battlefields or who had died in foul prison pens. Many in the ranks were but shadows of their former selves, some had been left behind in the hospitals, others had come home to die. The first duty of the Light Guard was to bring home the dead. The bodies of Samuel W. Joyce, George Henry Champlin and George H. Lewis were sent home through the personal supervision of Capt. Hutchins, who was called South to testify in the trial of the commander of Salisbury Prison. (To be concluded in January number.)
The ‘town House.’THE lot now occupied by City Hall was bought of the heirs of Samuel Buel, May 22, 1833. The cost was $3,000. The committee in charge of negotiations were Isaac Sprague, Daniel Lawrence and Elisha Stetson. The town voted to build the Town House of wood at an estimated cost of $3,600. In 1834 the above committee was discharged and John P. Clisby, John Sparrell and Thomas R. Peck were appointed, with instructions to ‘observe generally the outlines of the plan, which was drawn by Mr. Benjamin, as regards the general exterior appearance of the building.’ The structure was damaged by fire October 27, 1839. John P. Clisby, Lewis Richardson, Samuel Lapham, Galen James and Darius Waitt were the committee to repair. At this time the brick wall on the south side was built. In 1850 it was again burned. George T. Goodwin, Daniel Lawrence and Charles S. Jacobs were chosen a committee to repair the building. It was proposed to build a belfry at this time, but the town voted in the negative. Slate roof and copper gutters were the extent of outside improvements. Except in a few minor details, the exterior of the building has never been changed.—Compiled from Town Records.