Sunday, October 16, 2011

Marlboro Rifles; 351 Years Continuous Service

This is the anniversary of John Brown's Raid at Harper's Ferry.  It is also the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Bolivar Heights  (the town above Harper's Ferry) in which Company C of the 13th Mass. charged through the town with the 3rd Wisconsin to drive back Confederate Colonel Turner Ashby's attack force.  This was considered a pretty major engagement for the boys in the regiment at this time, very early in the war.  Companies I and K were at the Ferry too, guarding Herr's Mill, on Virginius Island, the catalyst for the attack.  I wrote extensively about the engagement on my website, here:    Battle of Bolivar Heights

But to connect the past with the present, there was a ceremony today at the Massachusetts National Guard Museum in Worcester. Company F of the 13th Mass. was the Marlboro Rifle Company.  It has a continuous lineage back to 1660, and the organization still exists today as the 125th Quartermaster Company in Worcester, Mass. 

The following excerpt is from a copyrighted article in the Marlboro Enterprise, Sept. 20.  I hope they don't mind the post here, because it says everything so succinctly.

The Chief of Military History, US Army, recently approved the research by Massachusetts National Guard historians that proved that the 125th traces its history back to Dec. 3, 1660, when it was organized as a militia company in Marlborough. This makes the 125th the second oldest company in the Massachusetts National Guard and US Army.
Brig. Gen. Greg Smith, Assistant Adjutant General, will present the unit with 27 campaign streamers for service in the Revolutionary War, Civil War, Spanish American War, World War I and World War II. The first streamer is inscribed “Lexington” for service during the Lexington-Concord battles on April 19, 1775.
From 1822 to 1917 the unit was also called the Marlborough Rifles. The 125th, under various designations, was stationed in Marlborough until 1996 when it moved to Webster, then Worcester.

I know that members of the re-enactment group, Company F, were part of the ceremony, and I hope I can soon post a photograph of the event here.   You can visit the re-enactors site here:  Company F, 13th Mass. Infantry
If I may quote a friend who attended,

"The unit has the unique distinction of being the only existing American unit with recognized participation in the Lexington-Concord events, having been part of the militias who intercepted the British on their retreat to Boston."

This is quite a distinction indeed!

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