Saturday, July 30, 2011

Blog in Real Time - July 30, 1861 - Post #33


On July 30th 1861 the 13th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry left Boston for the war front in Western Maryland.  They would stay at the front for their entire 3 year term of enlistment, although it would be a long while before their first major battle action, but there would be lots of marching and skirmishing along the Potomac in their immediate future. 


[From the “Boston Daily Journal,” July 30, 1861.]


     The Thirteenth Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteers, Colonel Leonard, being the eighth regiment of three years’ troops which Massachusetts has sent to the war, took its final departure for Washington this afternoon.

     The admiration and affection of a whole community has been centred upon the young men of this regiment, the nucleus of which, the Fourth Battalion of Rifles, was recruited in our midst from the families of our most respected citizens.  It is no disparagement to the members and officers of the battalion to say that the companies from the country, which have been added to the regiment, are equally meritorious and deserving of popular regard.

     No pains have been spared to make the Thirteenth equal, if not superior, to any regiment which has left the state.  They have a full, neat, and serviceable uniform, equipments which any soldier might be proud to wear, and an arm – the Enfield rifle musket – which has been pronounced by the officers of the regiment to be the most delicate, highly finished, and defensible weapon in the infantry service.

     The regiment, which has been quartered at Fort Independence, came up to the city on the steamer “Nelly Baker,” the boat making two special trips for the purpose.  She arrived at the foot of Long Wharf at a quarter before one o’clock, bringing Companies B, C, F, I, and K, under command of Major Gould, and then returned for the remainder of the regiment, which was finally landed in the city at a quarter past two.

   As each detachment of troops left the fort, bidding adieu to quarters which have been the scene of so much happiness, they were honored with a parting salute by Sergeant Parr, the United States ordnance officer in charge of the post.  The troops acknowledged the compliment with hearty cheers.

      The courtesy of escorting the regiment through the city was accepted by Colonel Leonard from the Second Battalion of Infantry, Major Ralph W. Newton, and the Old City Guard, and past members of the Fourth Battalion of Rifles under Col. Jonas H. French. The two corps paraded as a battalion, being accompanied by Gilmore’s Band, and the Old Guard by the Boston Brigade Band. The first troops which arrived remained under cover of the sheds, where they were protected from the rain until their comrades reached the wharf, when the line was formed and the regiment escorted up and down State Street, making the detour of the Old state House, through Merchants Row to Faneuil Hall.

      The hospitalities of the city were extended to the regiment by His Honor the Mayor, in the form of a collation to have been served to the men on the Common; but the storm which prevailed interrupted the programme of the march and collation, and the latter was laid on the table in the “Old Cradle of Liberty,” which the regiment reached about three o’clock. Hastily partaking of a most acceptable repast, the line was re-formed, and the regiment took up the line of

    Nothing but the storm which prevailed all day prevented this regiment from receiving an ovation surpassing any which has been given to the troops going before it.  

     The social position of the members, the reputation which they have achieved in drill and discipline, and the fact that a majority of the officers of the regiment were representative members of some of our most popular organizations, grown up and educated amongst us, - all these circumstances conspired to ensure the regiment a most generous and enthusiastic demonstration.

     The march through the city was accomplished under trying circumstances, the condition of the streets harassing the troops, encumbered as they were with overcoats and knapsacks. The route was through Merchants Row, up state and Washington Streets to the long freight depot of the Boston & Worcester Railroad, which they entered out of Harvard Street.  Instead of a “sea of heads,” an ocean of umbrellas filled the streets, surging with the increase from streams of anxious spectators which poured in from every alley and by-way; and above the beating of drums and blast of horns arose the shouts of the people, cheering the brave boys who have pledged their lives in the defence of the Union. What was lacking in numbers was made up in enthusiasm by the people who lined the way.  Bouquets were showered in profusion upon the troops by loving hands whose hearts went with floral tributes which they gave.

     At the depot scenes occurred never to be forgotten.  The fair friends of the troops were in full possession of the place, and when the regiment filed into the cars, the flying moments, which to the actors were as hours, were fraught with incidents of self-sacrifice, of womanly devotion, and manly heroism which caused the stoutest heart to quail and the sternest lip to quiver.  There was no calling back of husbands, sons, and brothers, no repining, but brave words of encouragement, pious counsels, and motherly advice to the young and inexperienced volunteer as the final good-by and “God bless you” was spoken.

      The train left the depot at precisely five o’clock, amid the cheers of thousands of people who filled the side tracks and covered the bridges under which the train passed.  The baggage-wagons and horses of the regiment were sent forward in advance of the troops. In this latter respect the regiment fared as well as those who have preceded it. The regiment carried with it two stands of color, consisting of a State and National flag, which were presented to them by the State without ceremony, just as they were leaving the city. 

Colonel Samuel H. Leonard, of Boston.
Lieutenant-Colonel  N. Walter Batchelder, of Boston.
Major  Jacob Parker Gould, of Stoneham.
Adjutant David H. Bradlee, of Boston.
Quartermaster George E. Craig, of Boston.
Surgeon Allston W. Whitney, of Boston.
Assistant Surgeon  J. Theodore Heard, of Boston.
Chaplain Noah M. Gaylord, of Boston.

The following is a list of the officers of the regiment:

Company A. – Captain, James A. Fox; First Lieutenant, Samuel N. Neat; Second Lieutenant, George Bush.
Company B. – Captain, Joseph S. Cary; First Lieutenant, John G. Hovey; Second Lieutenant, Augustus N. Sampson.
Company C. – Captain, John Kurtz; First Lieutenant, William H. Jackson; Second Lieutenant, Walter H. Judson.
Company D. – Captain, Augustine Harlow; First Lieutenant, Charles H. Hovey; Second Lieutenant, William H. Cary.
Company E. – Captain, Charles R. M. Pratt; First Lieutenant, Joseph Colburn; Second Lieutenant, Edwin R. Frost.
Company F. – Captain, Henry Whitcomb; First Lieutenant Abel H. Pope; Second Lieutenant, Charles F. Morse.
Company G. – Captain, Eben W. Fiske; First Lieutenant, Loring S. Richardson; Second Lieutenant, John Foley.
Company H.- Captain, William L. Clarke; First Lieutenant, Perry D. Chamberlain; Second Lieutenant, Francis Jenks.
Company I. – Captain, Charles H. R. Schreiber; First Lieutenant, Moses P. Palmer; Second Lieutenant, David Brown.
Company K. – Captain, William P. Blackmer; First Lieutenant, William B. Bacon; Second Lieutenant, Charles B. Fox.

     After leaving the station of the Boston & Worcester Railroad the regiment was greeted with cheers and fluttering handkerchiefs all along the route to Worcester. The citizens of the towns on the road seemed to have been on the watch for the train, and as the regiment went quickly past they improved the short time by the most energetic demonstration of good-will.  It was a considerable distance beyond the city that the members of the regiment took a last look of Boston friends.  Far out on the Back Bay lands were a considerable number of ladies and gentlemen who seemed to vie with each other in their exertions to cheer the departing soldiers.  “Good-by, boys, - keep up the reputation of the Thirteenth,” were words earnestly impressed upon the minds of the men; and they promised to do all in their power to answer the expectations of the friends of the regiment.
     Every house near the railroad was filled with ladies, as the train passed through Brighton, who flung their handkerchiefs back and forth, and seemed anxious to be counted among the well-wishers of those who got to fight for our country.  Thus it was at Newton and Natick, and at the latter place large numbers were collected at the railway station, as if desirous to have the train stop; but it whirled past, and many relations of the Natick company were probably deprived of an opportunity to say a parting word to them. The first stop of the train was at

     As the train drew near, it was greeted with the booming of cannon and ringing of bells.  There were several thousand ladies and gentlemen gathered at the station from Marlboro’, Natick, and other adjoining towns, from which several companies of the regiment came.  A tarry of ten minutes was well improved by the soldiers, many of whom were engaged in farewells to relatives; while others improved the opportunity to replenish their canteens with what had been provided for them.  Had there been a probability of longer stay, still further provision would have been made by the Framingham people for the comfort of the soldiers.  As it was, the reception was warm and enthusiastic, and the men left with a renewed feeling of sadness for those left behind. The train arrived at Framingham at six o’clock, and at ten minutes past six it was again whirling away towards Worcester.

      At Westboro’, in which town company K was organized, the speed of the train was slackened, and went through the village so slowly as to allow the citizens and the soldiers to take leave of each other. The train then hurried on. 

     The regiment arrived in Worcester at half-past seven o’clock, while preparations had been made to give the soldiers a collation. This was prompted in part by the fact that Colonel Leonard was formerly a resident of that city, and has a large number of personal and warm friends there.  The cars passed from Worcester to Norwich Railroad, and stopped just beyond the Common.  The regiment then filed out and marched round to Main Street, where an escort was waiting to receive them.
     The escort consisted of several companies from the Fifteenth and Twenty-first Regiments, as follows :  Fifteenth Regiment, Company B, Capt. J.W. Kimball; Company E, Capt. Charles H. Watson; Company E, Capt. Charles H. Watson; Company D, Capt. Charles H. Foster; Company G, Capt. Walter Forsband.  Of the Twenty-first :  Company G, Capt. Addison A. Walker; Company D, Lieut. C. S. Foster in command.  The whole was under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Ward, of the Fifteenth Regiment.  The regimental band of the latter regiment headed the escort.
     The column marched up Main Street and returned to City Hall, where a collation was in waiting.  Main Street was crowded with people, but it was growing dark, and they did not have a good opportunity to see the regiment.  They were, however, disposed to praise Colonel Leonard’s command very highly.

     On account of the unfavorable weather the arrangements to prepare a collation on the Common were changed, and the City Hall was taken for that purpose. 

     There was not as much room in this building as was necessary for the whole regiment, and in consequence but five companies were entertained at a time. The collation was prepared liberally, under the supervision for a committee of the citizens, who had received aid from the city government. In the hall were major-General Morse and staff and other prominent individuals, including the mayor of the city.  Colonel Leonard and staff were made to realize that they have a host of friends in Worcester.  

     On the entrance of the colonel to the hall he was presented with a beautiful bouquet by the ladies present.  About an hour was consumed in the hall, when the soldiers left and marched back to the cars under escort.  At shortly before half-past nine o’clock the train was again in motion, and it moved away amid the drowning cheers of the multitude.

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