Εικόνες σελίδας
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

and was ordered back a short distance to intrench. The new line was about five hundred yards from the line of the enemy. Loss in the brigade, very heavy. The Twelfth and Eighty-eighth Pennsylvania occupied the line of skirmishers as sharpshooters, keeping the enemy very closely confined to their works.

June 25, the term of service of the Twelfth Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers expired. I returned to the command of my regiment, which was ordered to City Point for embarkation, and turned over the men whose terms of service had not expired to the Thirty-ninth Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers. Having made the transfer, marched for City Point at three, P.M.

The regiment was safely transported to Boston, where it was mustered out of the service of the United States, July 8, 1864.



Thirteenth. - Its Origin. - Officers. - In Maryland. — In Virginia. - Second Battle of

Bull Run. - South Mountain and Antietam. - Fredericksburg. Chancellorsville. –
Gettysburg. — Across the Rapidan. — Wilderness. — Across the James River. – Re-
ception at Home. – Fourteenth. - Its Colonel. — Its Roster of Officers. - At Fort
Albany. – Changed to the First Heavy Artillery. – Fifteenth. – Col. Charles
Devens. – Mrs. Child's Letter. - Roster of Officers. — Ball's Bluff. Hampton. -
Camp Misery. - At Yorktown. Peninsular Campaign. - At Antietam. - Second
Battle of Fredericksburg. — At Gettysburg. Bristow's Station. - Campaign of the
Wilderness. — Return Home. - Muster Out.



\HE nucleus of this regiment was the Fourth Battalion of

Rifles, Massachusetts Volunteer Militia. It was ordered, under Major Leonard, to Fort Independence, Boston Harbor, June 1; was there recruited to a regiment; and left for Washington, July 30, 1861. . Its roll of officers was as follows:


Samuel H. Leonard.

N. Walter Batchelder

Jacob P. Gould.

Allston W. Whitney.
Assistant Surgeon

J. Theodore Heard.

Noah M. Gaylord. Until the spring of 1862, the Thirteenth was on patrol and outpost duty on the Upper Potomac, in Maryland.

On the last day of December, 1861, Companies A, B, E, and H, in command of Capt. J. A. Fox, marched to Williamsport, Md.; and Jan. 5, 1862, Companies C, D, and I were ordered to Hancock, Md., to aid in repelling a force of the enemy. Having marched twenty-six miles, through a severe snow-storm, between three, P.M., of that day, and half-past one of the next morning, they reported to Gen. Lander. But the enemy had left, after destroying several miles of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. On the 30th, these companies left Hancock for Camp Jackson, at Williamsport, reaching their old quarters next day.

The month of February was occupied by the regiment in drills, guard-duty, picket-service, from Falling Waters towards Williamsport, with the ordinary routine of camp-life, relieved only by an occasional alarm which called the men to arms.

March 1, a telegram from Gen. Banks made a stir in the encampment; and soon the regiment was crossing the Potomac. It joined Gen. Hamilton's brigade at Bunker Hill; on the 12th, acted as provost-guard in Winchester, Va.; and, on the 20th, was added to Gen. Abercrombie's brigade. On the 25th, the troops crossed the Shenandoah to re-enforce Gen. Banks, but immediately retraced their steps to Blue Ridge on information that re-enforcements were not needed.

Marches were again the order for several days, until the regiment was quartered in deserted rebel tents at Bull Run. The history of April, in its general aspects, was similar to that of March. May 12, marching again commenced; and the routes pursued were from Camp Stanton viâ Cedar Creek, Falmouth, Alexandria, Manassas Junction, &c., to Front Royal. Col. Leonard wrote, June 8, 1862:

The unprecedented number of “absent sick" is owing to the heavy marches over the ridges of Manassas and the Blue Mountains, and without any shelter for the men except their rubber blankets, and their not having been accustomed to it. Two days' rest, with regular rations, have improved us very much. The want of proper food — living for a week on hard-bread and coffee only has affected the officers as well as enlisted men.

July 4, by order of Gen. McDowell, the regiment moved towards Warrenton, and bivouacked near Gainesville. Resumed the march on the 5th. On the 25th, moved camp about one mile.“ On the 28th, took part in the action at Thoroughfare Gap; and at night encamped at Gainesville.

At daylight on the morning of the 29th, it marched to Manassas Junction, viâ Bristow Station on the Alexandria and Orange Railroad, and thence to

position near the first Bull Run battle-field, where it bivouacked. Early on the morning of the 30th, the brigade in which they were was ordered forward to the line of the expected battle. Shortly after gaining this position, it was discovered that our left had been flanked by a heavy force; and this regiment especially was receiving the enemy's fire from two directions. Soon the supported line fell back, passing through the regimental line to the rear. Not until thus uncovered did this regiment return the fire of the enemy.

After nearly half an hour's brisk fighting, many having been disabled, it became evident that the Thirteenth could not, unsupported, long hold the position, exposed, as it was, to a fierce enfilading fire from both the enemy's artillery and musketry. At this time, their colonel received an order by one of Gen. McDowell's aides to flank to the woods, then partly occupied by the enemy, about one hundred yards distant, across a small brook and ravine much exposed to the enemy's fire. While accomplishing this movement, the left wing of our whole force gave way generally; and this regiment retired with the other troops to re-form in the rear of the hospital. At night they retreated about two miles, and bivouacked, and, early the next morning, reached Centreville.

The losses sustained by this regiment at this battle were nineteen killed, one hundred and eight wounded, and sixty-six missing; total, one hundred and ninety-three.

On the retreat of Gen. Pope's army, Gen. Lee entered Maryland, and moved immediately upon Frederick, the capital. Gen. McClellan, at the head of the Union army, also advanced upon Frederick, and compelled a total change in the rebels' plan of operations. They, retiring towards Hagerstown, were brought to a stand, Sept. 14 ; and the battle of South Mountain was fought. On the 17th was fought the battle of Antietam, resulting in the success of the Union arms. Advancing from Keedysville, on the right bank of Antietam Creek, the brigade of which the Thirteenth was a part came under fire of the enemy.

The colonel says,

For two hours, the regiment was spiritedly engaged. Their brigade was composed of four regiments, of which the Twelfth Massachusetts was on the right, the Eighty-third New-York on the left, and the Thirteenth Massachusetts on the right of the left wing. The battle raged fiercely at this point. After a full hour's hard fighting, the right wing of the brigade, holding a more exposed position and suffering a heavy loss, fell back. This regiment was the last to retire ; and not until the Nineteenth Pennsylvania, which came up as a re-enforcement in the place of the Eleventh Pennsylvania and the Twelfth Massachusetts, had retired from their right, and the Eighty-third New-York from their left, did their colonel receive the order to fall back.

The Thirteenth was with the army under Gen. Burnside at Fredericksburg, and took part in the battle there, Dec. 13, 1862. Of the conduct of the Thirteenth in this battle, Adjutant Bradlee, in a letter dated Falmouth, Dec. 17, 1862, writes,

The continuous thug of the bullets as they struck around every man as he rose up to fire, and the fact that there were less than three hundred men in

front of three brigades, every man's actions to be seen by those in the rear, and not knowing any thing but what was going on in front, proved the grit of what remains of our regiment. At the general advance, shortly after noon, our regiment began to fire as rapidly as they could from a kneeling position, until the brigades advanced over them, and commenced the battle in earnest, as the press has it. The Thirteenth was ordered to rally upon their reserve of two companies, and sent nearly half a mile to the rear for ammunition, which they got after a long time, and when the brigade had mostly fallen back, and formed on us. Gen. Gibbons being wounded, Gen. Taylor assumed command of the division, and Col. Leonard of the brigade, and advanced to a position in the rear of the road we picketed the night before. By what miracle our men escaped, no one can tell; but certain it was, that, on our recapitulation of today, the regiment can account for every man but two, who were doubtless deserters, as they were not in the fight.

The Thirteenth, excepting the sick, who numbered more than half the regiment, was, for the next nine months, most of the time on the move, with interludes of camp-life, at Fletcher's Chapel, White-oak Church, and other points. The Rappahannock and Deep Run will never be forgotten by the brave fellows, who, in spite of weariness and the rain, enlivened the march by songs and cheers.

At the Fitz - Hugh House, the enemy's shells killed Capt. George Bush and Lieut. William Cardwell, Company F, and tore away the right leg and arm of Sergeant I. S. Fay.

At Chancellorsville, May 3, 1863, in a reconnoissance to discover the position of the enemy, seven men of the Thirteenth were wounded.

On the 20th, the regiment was transferred to the first brigade. On the 12th of June, the army commenced its march northward. On the 25th, crossed the Potomac near Edward's Ferry, and the Pennsylvania line on the 30th ; when a halt was ordered, and a line of battle formed, owing to the first division, which was in advance, encountering the pickets of the enemy.

Report from the battle-field of Gettysburg says,

Marched, July 1, at six o'clock, A.M. After proceeding about four miles, heard cannonading in front; our cavalry and flying artillery having engaged the advance of the enemy.

The first and third divisions, being ahead of us, advanced, and we followed rapidly. Before proceeding far, the news came to the rear of the death of Gen. Reynolds. We rapidly neared the firing, which grew more rapid and severe as we approached. Soon the first division was engaged; and Gen. Paul notified the commanders that they were imme diately going into an engagement. We left the road, and moved out to the

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »