I've neglected the blog in real time series for June, so I'll post a few pieces today to catch up.
The 4th Battalion of Rifles and the Roxbury Rifle Company, (Five companies that would become the nucleus of the 13th Regiment) were busy drilling at Fort Independence since arriving there in late May for garrison duty. The rifle companies organized in the other towns,(Marlboro, Stoneham, Westboro, and Natick) had not yet had their services accepted or been assigned. The Westboro Rifle Company was about to disband, when orders to report to Fort Independence were received on June 25. These companies would arrive at the fort June 29.
The following newspaper columns will serve to get us caught up with events.
The following two transcriptions were downloaded from the now defunct website, "Letters of the Civil War" which was run by Tom Hayes. Photos of the fort are by Boston Photographer Sarah Kizina.
CHELSEA TELEGRAPH and PIONEER, June 8, 1861, (Pg. 2, Col. 5.)
It seems but a few minutes, and we are standing on shore of this fair island. The bustling little steamer has passed on, and the waters are rippling quietly at our feet. We hear in the distance the soft dashing of oars, and around us we see row boats manned by sun-brown oarsmen.
Behind us rise the walls of the Fort. Peaceful enough is all without, and over flowing with images of beauty; but within-we will enter.
But the summons has gone forth. When did ever a nation hold back so long in moving to crush rebellion among her children? Was ever war more entirely unsought? Was ever cause, in the sight of God and man, more just? Was ever conflict more sacred in the eye of eternal truth and right?
It is written that the time shall come when the science of war shall cease to be learned; the act shall no more be practised. There shall come such a day; but only through scenes of battle, and garments rolled in blood,-forever til the strong man learns that his strength is for the protection and safety of the weak, rather than for their oppression, will the sound of war cease from earth.
But the visit is over, and we must go home. There is a flush of sunset upon the waters, and again, after a delicious sail of half an hour, we are landed.
ROXBURY CITY GAZETTE; June 13, 1861; pg. 2, col. 3.)
It was out pleasure on last Saturday afternoon, in company with a party consisting of the members of the Old City Guard of Boston and their families, to visit the Fourth Battalion of Rifles at Fort Independence, and witnessed the presentation of a beautiful silk flag to the Battalion. The Germania Band accompanied the party.
Though the weather wasn't the most comfortable, it being rainy, the garrison went through the review, presentation and dress parade in a creditable manner, and elicieted unqualified praise of the spectators.
Major Leonard responded in behalf of the Battalion, with appropriate sentiments and eloquent words. "If," said he, "it should be our good fortune to be numbered among those of whom in future days it should be said that with that determined and unwavering bravery which vaults not myself, they breaded a wave of revolt which threatened the destruction not only of our lives and our homes, but of the grandest government which the world has ever seen, rest assured that the considerate friends who have by this presentation, inspired us with a new incentive to honorable achievement's, shall not have occasioned to feel the blush of shame for any deeds of ours."
In conclusion the Major called for three cheers for the American flag, which were given with an enthusiasm that could not be mistaken.
NOTE: The flag described in the presentation here mentioned, is probably the flag now hanging in the Westborough Memorial Library. (pictured). Lt. William R. Warner, Sgt. Austin C. Stearns and Sgt. Melville H. Walker donated it to the library in 1903.