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When I think of the discipline of the Twenty-fourth, distinguished among all the armies of the United States, I cannot forget him who recruited it and so long commanded it. It would be an omission ungrateful to you,
and uncongenial to my own feelings, if, before your ranks dissolve for the last time, I were not to pronounce in your presence, with honor to the dead and with respect for the living, the name of Brig.-Gen. STEVENSON. Not a more heroic spirit has passed triumphantly the portals which this war has opened to so many young and noble and brave.
It only remains that I should now transfer your colors to the great companionship in which they shall benceforth be preserved ; and that, in behalf of a grateful people, I should greet and honor your return.
After the reception of the colors, the regiment marched to Faneuil Hall, and partook of a collation provided by the city of Boston. The men then separated for their homes.
TWENTY-FIFTH, TWENTY-SIXTH, AND TWENTY-SEVENTH
The March of the Twenty-fifth from Camp Lincoln, Worcester, to Roanoke Island. - Service
there. - In Gen. Foster's Expedition to Plymouth. — Other Expeditions. — Return Home. - The Twenty-sixth leaves Boston for Ship Island. — Sails for New Orleans. Services in Louisiana. — Furlough. – In Maryland and Virginia. The Return to Massachusetts. — The “Second Western Regiment.” — At Annapolis, Newbern, Goldsborough. — Closing Service in the War.
THIS regiment was raised by authority of the State, Sept. 9,
B. R. Sprague, lieutenant-colonel. The next day, enlistments commenced; and by the 25th the regiment was in Camp Lincoln, at Worcester. On the 31st, the tents were struck, and the regiment, one thousand and thirty strong, started, viâ New York, en route for Annapolis, to join the Burnside Expedition. We add a roll of the principal officers :
Arriving at Annapolis Nov. 3, the regiment reported to Col. Morse, commanding the post. Jan. 7, embarked on board the propeller “Zouave" and the schooner “Skirmisher," of the Burnside Expedition ; sailed on the 10th, and arrived at Hatteras Inlet the following Monday. Sharing in the delays and disasters of the voyage, this regiment was landed by the tow-boat “ Pilot Boy" on Roanoke Island, Feb. 7, and, marching inland a mile, bivouacked for the night. Next morning, the Twenty-fifth-took up the line of march; Capt. Pickett's company skirmishing in the advance. The enemy was soon encountered, and pushed by our skirmishers back to his works.
The artillery was placed in position, supported by this regiment. By Gen. Foster's order, Col. Upton formed his troops across the road in line of battle, extending from a forest on the left to a clearing on which the right rested. Both sides opened fire, which continued uninterruptedly for nearly three hours; when, the ammunition of the Twenty-fifth being exhausted, it was formed in column by companies in the rear of the right, waiting for a fresh supply, until the enemy had left his position. The regiment then marched to Camp Foster, at the upper end of the island. In this engagement it lost six killed and forty-two wounded. From the camp it went on board transports; and on the 11th the fleet got under way, anchoring again on the 12th, within fifteen miles of Newbern. The next day, covered by a heavy fire from the gunboats, the regiment landed at Slocum's Creek; and marching ten miles through a drenching rain, and wading through mud, it lay down at night upon the cold, wet ground, exposed to the pelting storm. In the gray of early dawn, the “ boys” formed into line, marched ten miles, and came in sight of the rebel works, where they were saluted by a shower of shells; but they pressed forward, and were soon in the midst of the battle.
After supporting a battery for some time, the Twenty-fifth was ordered to charge on the enemy's works ; Gen. Foster himself leading in the assault. The enemy retired on his approach ; and the regiment formed in line of battle within the intrenchments, and then moved along the road by the flank, in position for streetfiring.
In this action the regiment lost four men in killed, and assisted in capturing one hundred and fifty. It then proceeded to Newbern, and that night was quartered in the city. Here it served as provost - guard until May 9, and, for the six weeks succeeding, was engaged in picket-duty.
July 21, it joined an expedition to Trenton and Pollocksville. Returning to Newbern, the remainder of the hot summer months offered little opportunity for valuable service. Oct. 30, the Twenty-fifth moved with the expedition of Gen. Foster to Washington and Tarborough, and thence to Hamilton, Williamston, and Plymouth; where, Nov. 10, the greater part of the troops embarked for Newbern, leaving the Twenty-fifth and Twenty-seventh to protect our artillery awaiting transportation. Returning from Plymouth, Nov. 10, the Twenty-fifth was attached to the Third
brigade, Col. Lee commanding, and left Newbern again on the 11th. On Sunday, the 14th, was fought the battle of Kinston; the Twenty-fifth supporting Belgier's Rhode Island battery. After the battle, it crossed the bridge, and bivouacked that night in Kinston. On the 19th, marching by flank in the rear of the Union batteries, it advanced towards Goldsborough. One hundred men of the Twenty-fifth were now detailed as sharpshooters for duty on the banks of the river in clearing the woods of the enemy's riflemen. Next morning, the march was resumed; the third brigade having the advance. Skirmishing commenced, and was continued until the brigade came upon the main force posted near the railroad bridge, crossing the Neuse River. In the action which followed, near the close of the day, the Twenty-fifth supported Belgier's battery, losing one man killed and three wounded. Night ended the contest; and the regiment took up the line of march for Newbern, which it reached on the 21st. On the 6th of March, 1863, the regiment was ordered to the forks of the Trenton and Kinston Roads. Three companies under command of Capt. Denny attacked and routed the rebels, burning their camp, and destroying a large number of new knapsacks, arms, blankets, boxes of clothing, &c.; and returned by' daybreak, with the loss of only two wounded. On the 8th, a part of the regiment returned to Newbern, leaving Capt. Denny with four companies in their position near Deep Gully. On the 13th, the six companies at Newbern were ordered to outpost duty near Deep Gully, that place having been attacked. Skirmishing with the enemy followed. In the evening, these companies were relieved by the Forty-third Massachusetts, and they marched back to Newbern.
Another expedition to Batchelder's Creek was undertaken on the 21st. On the 22d, the enemy, outflanked, and attacked in the rear, fled precipitately to the swamps; and the Twenty-fifth returned to camp, having enjoyed the pleasure of seeing their regimental colors floating over the enemy's intrenchments. Nothing of marked interest in the history of the regiment occurred until the 24th of July, when an expedition was undertaken to Winton, N.C. This resulted in the capture of several horses, mules, and bales of cotton, but no commissary-stores. On arriving at Newbern, these, with a few prisoners (sixty-nine), were turned over to the provost-marshal, and the regiment went into camp.
It was stationed in early winter at Camp Upton, Newport News.
During January, 1864, four hundred and thirty-two of the men re-enlisted, and, Feb. 14, left on furlough for Massachusetts. They were enthusiastically welcomed by the people of Boston, and later at Worcester, the place of enrolment and rendezvous. On the 21st of March, they again left Boston for the field ; landed on the 24th at Fortress Monroe ; and were ordered to Getty's Station, on the outer defences of Portsmouth, Va., where they were rejoined by the remaining part of the regiment, and went into Camp Wellington.
The Twenty-fifth was engaged in two or three expeditions during the month of April, attended with no important results. On the 26th of that month, it was assigned to Gen. Heckman's brigade, and went into camp at Yorktown. On the 27th, the regiment marched to City Point, on its way to the Army of the Potomac, which it joined at Cold Harbor on the 31st.
In the assault on the enemy's works, June 3, the Twenty-fifth made a magnificent charge through a perfect tempest of bullets, losing in killed and wounded nearly two-thirds of its number: still, with such protection as the nature of the ground afforded, they resolutely held it until dark. Then the brave fellows, with their tin cups in hand, went to work upon rifle-pits, and, before dawn, had made their position tenable. They continued there, skirmishing with the enemy, until the 12th, when they went to White House, having lost at Cold Harbor four officers and twenty-four men killed.
The regiment marched for Petersburg on the 15th under a scorching sun, and again fought the enemy victoriously. After lying in the trenches, and changing position to the left of Gen. Butler's line of works, it reached Newbern Sept. 10.
Oct. 5, that part of the regiment whose term of service had not expired was ordered to Worcester, Mass., to be mustered out of service. The remainder was consolidated into four companies, with headquarters near Fort Spinola, to perform guard and picket duty along the railway to Morehead City.
An officer thus sums up the work and status of the regiment:
During the past year, the regiment has lost some of its best and bravest officers. Capt. O'Neill, Lieuts. Daly, Upton, Mathews, Pelton, and Graham, have nobly and gallantly fallen in the faithful discharge of their duties. The adjutant, Lieut. M Conville, a brave and most accomplished officer, also died of wounds received in the battle of Cold Harbor, Va., June 3, 1864. The excellent conduct of both officers and men, under all circumstances, elicits