Sunday, July 31, 2011

Blog in Real Time - July 31st 1861 - Post #34

From the “New York Herald,” July 31, 1861.

TROOPS BOUND FOR THE SEAT OF WAR - THE THIRTEENTH MASSACHUSETTS VOLUNTEERS EN ROUTE FOR THE SEAT OF WAR.

     The Thirteenth Regiment of Massachusetts volunteers, under command of Colonel Leonard, arrived in this city yesterday en route to the seat of war.  The regiment, which was organized in a great measure in the city of Boston, was encamped for some time at Fort Independence, in Boston harbor, where they were so well perfected in discipline that few regiments can compete with them in drilling and manoeuvering.  They struck their tents on Monday morning, and after a short parade in Boston proceeded to this city by the Norwich & Worcester route, and arrived about eleven o’clock yesterday. They were met at the steamboat wharf by a deputation of citizens, natives of Massachusetts wearing on their breasts badges with the inscription “Sons of Massachusetts.”  These badges, as also the banner carried by the “Sons,” were ornamented with the coat-of-arms of the Bay State.  The regiment then took up their line of march through Canal Street and Broadway to the City Hall Park, where the men were dismissed for dinner in the barracks and “a ramble about the city.” 

     Shortly after four o’clock the regimental line was again formed, and the procession, preceded by the escort of citizens, marched down Broadway and around Battery Place to pier No. 1, where they embarked on board the steamboat “John Potter,” for Amboy. Their reception was a most magnificent one, and the applause of the populace was expressed at every step of the route in a continued clapping of hands.

     The Thirteenth Regiment is one of which Massachusetts may well be proud. It is composed of a superior class of men.  In physical appearance, soldier-like bearing, and martial discipline, the regiment is perhaps unsurpassed. The members generally belong to a higher social position than those composing most of our regiments, and their enlistment had been a matter of pure patriotism, many having left remunerative salaries and situations to go to the war.  The uniform of the regiment consists of a dark-blue loose jacket of flannel, light-blue cloth pants, and regulation cap. They are all armed with the Enfield rifle. 

Memoirs of Charles H. Roundy, Company F

(Charles Roundy's handwritten memoirs are in the collection of the Army Heritage and Education Center (AHEC) in Carlisle Pennsylvania.
We leave Fort Independence

     Eight weeks from the time we entered the fort we were ready and anxious to get away.  We had drawn Uncle Sam’s uniforms and guns and equipments.  We were armed with Enfield Rifles – the natty battalion uniforms were discarded now and all the companies looked alike and the eight weeks of hard work showed as we marched Company front – 50 men in the front rank with the other 50- thirteen inches in the rear, and each man struggling for a straight alignment – the Companies reaching from Curb to Curb as we marched up State Street and on to the State House, where Governor John A. Andrew talked to us like a father to his sons, - gave us our Colors and bid us God Speed.

    We went to the Worcester depot and after the excitement of leave taking we left Boston and arrived at New London, Conn. At midnight- took the steamer “John Brooks” for New York and were allowed a short liberty in the city, then fell in and marched down Broadway.

This march down this famous Street – lined with thousands on thousands of people – with every window packed with people, cheering – clapping hands, - waving flags and handkerchiefs, was for me the proudest day of my life. The regiment marched as never before.


    We had got rid of many things which we had thought we could not do without, but we found we could do considerable more trimming yet, and the process was kept up at every halt.

    Marching company front down Broadway reaching from curb to curb, the band playing “John Brown’s body lies” – every man nerved to do his utmost to keep a straight line.  The multitude – singing – cheering – and waving of flags made one continuous ovation till we took train for Philadelphia – going via Havre de Grace (where the whole train was run onto the ferry boat with out our leaving the cars) and taken across the river.

    We landed in Phila. About 1 A.M midnight, and at 2 A.M. we were eating the first square meal at the afterwards famous “Old Cooper Shop” Restaurant.

    How sweet those waiters in their quaker bonnets looked to us as they helped us to sandwiches and coffee – yes and pie – real pie.

    Who of the 13th can ever forget their kindness?

PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER 
July 31, 1861
LOCAL INTELLIGENCE
At Washington street wharf, at eleven o’clock last night, the Thirteenth Massachusetts Regiment was expected en route from Boston to Washington.  It was doubtful, however, whether they would not be taken to the Kensington depot, and marched from thence to the depot at West Philadelphia, their final destination being with General Banks, in Maryland.  The regiment numbers one thousand men, well equipped for the war. They are armed with the Enfield rifled musket.  The uniform is neat and substantial, consisting of dark blue jacket and cap, and light blue pantaloons.  The men are supplied with everything needed on the field, ninety-five horses and twenty baggage wagons accompanying the regiment.  The conveniences for taking care of the wounded are unusually ample, consisting of one two-horse and eight one-horse ambulances, and two hospital wagons.  A peculiarity in connection with the horses brought by the regiment is, that they are nearly all grey – designedly chosen.  The nucleus of the regiment was the Boston City Guard – a rifle corps, consisting of four companies.  Of the remaining companies two came from Marlboro’, one from Stoneham, (nearly all shoemakers,) one from Westborough, one from Roxbury, and the other from Natick (shoemakers).  The men, it is said, as a class, are sober, intelligent, earnest and determined.  (The poster shows the Cooper Shop Volunteer Refreshment Saloon, 1862, 1009 Otsego Street, Philadelphia, where soldiers, including the 13th Mass, at this early stage of the war, could find food and refreshments.  The Cooper Shop grew and continued the service throughout the war.

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.]

DEPARTURE OF THE THIRTEENTH REGIMENT – RECEPTION BY THE SECOND BATTALION AND OLD CITY GUARDS – COLLATION IN FANEUIL HALL.

     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.

ARRIVAL OF THE REGIMENT IN BOSTON.
     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 ESCORT.
      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 COLLATION.
      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

MARCH THROUGH THE CITY.
    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 DEPARTURE.
      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. 

THE REGIMENTAL ROSTER.
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.

ON THE ROAD.
     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

FRAMINGHAM.
     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. 
RECEPTION AT WORCESTER.

     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.

THE COLLATION.
     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.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Blog in Real Time - July 25, 1861 - Post #32

Following the Battle of Bull Run, July 21, both sides wondered what would come next.   President Lincoln decided to bring more men forward and strengthen forces in the Shenandoah Valley.  Major General Nathaniel P. Banks was appointed commander of the Department of the Shenandoah July 25.  The 13th Mass. meanwhile, still drilling at Fort Independence would receive orders to report to General Banks in Western Maryland.




The following is from the defunct website, "Letters of the Civil War" by Tom Hayes.


LETTERS OF THE CIVIL WAR.
JULY 25, 1861.

Presentation. – Capt. C. R. M. Pratt, of Co., E, Thirteenth Regiment of Rifles, is to be surprised this afternoon, at the camp at Fort Independence, by the presentation of an army regulation sword, with sash, belt, shoulder-piece, and other accoutrements, all of the finest workmanship.  A number of store-keepers in the vicinity of Webster Hall, are the donors, and intend it as a mark of their esteem, to an able and efficient commander, in Col. Leonard’s famous Rifle Regiment.

The new uniforms of this regiment have been received, and 13th will be sent to join the grand army in a few days.

The following official appointments have been made in the Roxbury Rifle Company: – Captain, C. R. M. Pratt; 1st Lieut., J. Colburn; 2d Lieut., Edwin Frost; all of this city. (Roxbury City Gazette; July 25, 1861; pg. 2, col. 5.)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Blog in Real Time - July 16, 1861 - Post #31

  On this date, the 10 rifle companies garrisoned at Fort Independence, in Boston Harbor, were mustered into Federal Service as the Thirteenth Regiment, Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, to serve a 3 year term of  enlistment.

     I'm not sure when officers were elected, but Captain Jacob Parker Gould, of the Stoneham, 'Grey Eagles' Rifle Company, (company G) was elected Major, beating out Captain James A. Fox, (company A) the favorite of the 4th Battalion of Rifles, (companies A - D).

      Some original officers from the 'country towns' were replaced with Boston men.  In his memoirs, Sgt. Austin C. Stearns of Company K, wrote:

On the 16th of July, about 10 A.M., Company K was marched up to the Fort, and there took the oath that made us Uncle Sam's soldiers.  I noticed, as we marched in, a boyish looking fellow with a tall hat on, who followed us, and also Charles B. Fox, a Sergeant of Company B, but did not think they were to be our Lieutenants, but such was the case.

Our old Lieutenants were allowed to go where they pleased.  Greenwood (Abner Greenwood) went in K as a Sergeant, Sanderson (John) as a Sergeant in C, while Winslow (Charles P.) and Bullard (Ethan) went home.

William B. Bacon (pictured) was the name of the boyish looking fellow; he was mustered in as our 1st Lieutenant.  I have nothing to say about the old Lieutenants, only this:  I think they were used as mean as men could be, and I justify them in the course they took.  I do not know who was responsible for this.  Fox was a good man and officer, and always treated the men as men.  Bacon, as far as he knew, did the same, but he was a young man, just from school, without any knowledge or experience of the great principles one should have who is called upon to command.  In fact he was a boy; boyish principles and boyish impulses governed all his acts. To put such a boy in command over men who were better qualified, as far as age, experience, and knowledge of human nature, was one of the fatal mistakes of the Executives of Mass. in the early days of the war, and I have no hesitation is saying that full one fourth of the men who marched into the Fort that morning were better qualified to be commissioned than he.
NOTE:  Sanderson is John C. Sanderson, (pictured) later promoted 1st Lt.,  and still later in the war, a Captain of the veteran 59th Mass. Vols.  Charles P. Winslow is listed as original 1st Lt. of the company, later 1st Lt. in the 51st Reg., Capt. in the Unattached Co. Infantry, and Capt. in 4th Reg. Heavy Artillery.  May have been in other regiments as well.  Ethan Bullard was original 2nd Lt. of Company.  (From Three Years With Company K, by Austin C. Stearns, (deceased) edited by Arthur Kent, Assoc. Univ. Press., 1976.)

     I do not have complete information on the origins of all the officers but Companies A-E kept their original Captains.  In Company F, from Marlboro, Captain Abel H. Pope was reduced a rank to 1st Lt.  Captain. Henry Whitcomb taking command of the company.  In Co. G, Eben Fiske  replaced Jacob Gould as Captain, Gould having been elected Major of the 13th Mass.  In Company H, William H. Clarke  of Boston  replaced Capt. Perry Chamberlain who was reduced a rank to 1st Lt.  In Co. I, Capt. R. L. Shriber would be assigned Captain on July 29.  Moses Palmer was reduced a rank to 1st Lt.  Company K retained its Captain, William Blackmer, but rec'd the two new officers mentioned in Stearns narrative above.

     Seniority is the usual means for promotion and since all officers had the same muster in date of July 16, Col. Leonard determined seniority would be established by Company, A being first, K being last.  This would create some tension within the ranks as will be seen in the future.   For an ambitious officer like Charles B. Fox, 2nd Lt. of K, it left little chance for advancement.

{There won't be many more 'real time posts' until July 25, then after that July 29.  Things should pick up in August).

Also, If you are enjoying these posts please let me know because the increased frequency of posts may become difficult to maintain in the near future. Thanks.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Blog in Real Time - July 11, 1861 - Post #30

The following is from the defunct website "Letters of the Civil War" by Tom Hayes.
LETTERS OF THE CIVIL WAR.
JULY 11, 1861.

The advent of the Roxbury Rifle Company among us on the Fourth it is said, took some of our citizens completely by surprise.  Their discipline and general appearance having exceeded the most ardent expectations, which gained for them the bestowal of many favors, and the unqualified approbation of all.  In the afternoon, the committee on celebrating the day, gave them a fine dinner at the Norfolk House, after which a few hours were spent in a convivial manner, speeches and songs forming no insignificant part of the entertainment.

Alderman Burrill, Councilman Morse, Lieut. Pratt, and others, were among the speakers.  These festive ceremonies over, they proceeded to Mt. Pleasant, for drill, where they astonished their many friends by the faultless execution of their various evolutions, especially in wheeling in double quick time.  From there they proceeded to Meeting House Hill, where they went through with similar movements, which elicited hearty applause.

At about seven o’clock, they took the Metropolitan cars for Boston, but on arriving at Long Wharf, where they were to embark for Fort Independence, received permission from the Adjutant of the battalion, to remain until morning, which they were not unwilling to do.

Too much cannot be said in praise of this company, the members of which are nearly all young and robust men, who do honor to our city and to themselves. (Roxbury City Gazette; July 11, 1861; pg. 2, col. 3.)

NOTE:  the next "blog in real time" post may not arrive until July 25.



Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Blog in Real Time - July 5, 1861 - Post #29

The following is from the defunct website, "Letters of the Civil War" by Tom Hayes.
Excursion to Fort Independence 

     In consequence of the desire of our City Government to avoid everything that has the least tendency to a prodigality in the expenditure of the public money, they have this year concluded to forego the usual annual excursion down the harbor. On last Friday afternoon they did, however, make a trip in that direction, under circumstances that rendered the excursion highly appropriate. The military committee of the City Government having been tendered the use of the Steamer Henry Morrison, by the City Government of Boston, for the purpose of visiting Fort Independence, the offer was accepted, and His Honor the Mayor, with the other members of the City Government, proceeded thither. As is well known, the Fourth Battalion are quartered here, including the Roxbury Rifle Company. The visitors were much please with their entertainment at the Fort, and especially with the dress parade of the battalion under Major Leonard, which proved the Major to be a thoroughly competent officer, and the “right man in the right place.” During the absence of the Major, occasioned by the reception of the five new companies that have been added to complete the regiment, Capt. N. Walter Batchelder of Company B. acted in the capacity of Major, to whom, as well as to Capt. James A. Fox of Company A., the visiting party were indebted for many kind attentions.

The oldest commissioned officer in the Thirteenth Regiment is Capt. Hobart Moore of Natick, – Capt. Batchelder being the next in order. It is understood that the latter will be appointed either Lieut. Colonel or Major General. E. W. Stone, in his official capacity as Master of the ordnance department, also visited the Fort for the purpose of examining the ordnance. In this capacity he holds the rank of a Colonel, with a salary of fifteen hundred dollars.

As the boat was departing on the return trip, Lieut Col. I. H. Burrill, proposed three cheers for Major Leonard, and his battalion, and they were given in an enthusiastic manner, being responded to by three rousing cheers from the Battalion.

[Digital Transcription by James Burton]

Monday, July 4, 2011

Blog in Real Time - July 4, 1861 - Post #28

    
     On July 4th, the 4th Battalion of Rifles acted as escort for the city of Boston Government, in the annual 4th of July parade. In Roxbury, the "Roxbury Rifles" put on an exhibition for their hometown.


From "Three Years In The Army" by Charles E. Davis, Jr., Boston, Estes & Lariat, 1894;

     We were up early the morning of the “Fourth” brushing clothes, blacking boots, and making other preparations for the day’s jubilee.  We were well tanned by constant exposure to the sun, giving appearance of health and vigor, our uniforms fitting perfectly, with the addition of white collars, and our guns and bayonets in excellent order, so that we made a very satisfactory appearance.  As we stood in line inside the fort, we all felt how much was at stake in competing with the two battalions with whom we were to parade.  We were told to eat a hearty breakfast, for we had a hard day’s work before us; but what a breakfast that was, and what murmurs of indignation were expressed as we flung the mouldy toast and the mild dilution of coffee at the cook-room!  It was too unsavory for us, so we went without it, though the time came, months after, when we wished that we might have some of that same toast.

    We were escorted to the boat by the other companies of the regiment, who expressed their generous wishes for our success.  They were quite as anxious for our credit as we were, and the hearty cheers that were given as the boat left the wharf testified the good feeling that existed, and which continued during the whole three years of our service, and indeed has never ceased to exist.

     Upon our arrival in Boston it became known that we had come to town without a breakfast, and while halting in front of the Parker House kind friends supplied the deficiency.  All along the route of seven miles we were greeted with demonstrations of great kindness and hospitality.  It was a day never to be forgotten.  The enthusiasm of the people excited us to do our best, and we never did better.  Our two months of constant daily drilling enabled us to make a very creditable appearance.  The enthusiasm with which we were everywhere greeted was due to the fact that we were part of a regiment soon to leave for the seat of war;  for at that time the patriotic feeling was at its whitest heat.  It was a hot day, the thermometer at 104; but our daily work out of doors enabled us to make the march with the loss of only one or two men, while the other battalions suffered much more than we did from the intense heat.

     After the parade we were furloughed until the following morning, when the battalion returned to the fort to meet the kindly greeting of the companies who were already aware of the success achieved by the five companies, through the newspapers, which were extravagant in their words of praise.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Blog in Real Time - July 2, 1861 - Post #27


The following is from the defunct website "Letters of the Civil War" by Tom Hayes.


ROXBURY CITY GAZETTE
JULY 5, 1861, (p. 2, col. 5)

FORT INDEPENDENCE, BOSTON HARBOR,
Quarters 13th (Rifles) Regiment,
July 2d, 1861.

MR. EDITOR. – Knowing well the deep interest that is taken in the 13th Regiment, and the especial regard paid to the several companies of which it is composed, I am prompted by a sense of duty to inform its many friends, through the columns of your luminous sheet, of its present condition, location, and future prospects, so far as known to your humble servant.

For the past few weeks we have been favored with fair weather, so that we have rarely been interrupted in our daily exercises. There has been the appearance of a storm for the past few days, and we arose this morning to find the premonition true. It rained quite hard during the night, and still continues. This will test, to a certain degree, the utility of the Sibly tents, which are pitched outside the Fort, and we think they will prove their efficiency.

These tents are occupied by the five new companies which arrived here on Saturday last. By this arrangement the 4th Battalion and the Roxbury company are not disturbed. Four of the companies are on the southerly side of the Fort, and one is located just outside the sallie port. Of the new companies, two are from Marlborough, one from Westborough and Sudbury, and one from Natick. These companies are composed of fine looking men, and their very appearance does honor to the towns from whence they came.

The 4th Battalion is to do escort duty in Boston on the coming fourth, and it is understood that company E. of Roxbury will visit that city sometime during the day. The new additional forces will be left in command.

This regiment is to be uniformed alike throughout before leaving the State. The uniform is said to be somewhat of a Zouave style, with light blue overcoats. When fully equipped we flatter ourselves we shall confer honors upon the State from whence we hail, not only before our departure, but enroute for the seat of war, and on the battle field, if we are favored with such a privilege. It will not be on account of our appearance and efficiency alone, but those enobling qualities which in every respect characterizes true manhood.

The superiority of our officers throughout, in regard to military discipline, and as gentleman, is unquestionable. They are too well known to need comment. Major Leonard is a favorite of the regiment, and we think no one could fill his place satisfactorily.

The best of feeling exists between the different companies, and a happier lot of boys is seldom seen. Camp songs are all the rage, and musical instruments of every description are in abundance. At times our boys are very operatic, but oftentimes the banjo, tamborine and bones take the place, and a regular clog dance and other negro peculiarities come off much to the amusement of the immense audiences present. A little more practice and Morris Brothers and all other minstrelsy will be altogether in the shade. We are progressing rapidly, and it is expected we shall be prepared to leave sometime during the month.

Not wishing to occupy too much space in your paper, I will close without further remark.

Yours occasionally,

RANGER.

Letter of John B. Noyes, Company B.
John Buttrick Noyes, (1838-1908) Civil War Letters; Houghton Library, Harvard College; used with permission.

Fort Independence, July 2d 1861
Dear Martha
I received your note this P.M. immediately after our Battalion drill.  I haven’t time to write you at any length, as I wish to have this note go by the 6 o clock boat.  I wish to have my duds washed and sent back as soon as possible, together with my boots.  The blue shirt is too large in every way & I intended to give some directions as to its alteration.  Perhaps mother can alter it to suit herself and me.  Make it so as to fit George.   You ought to go to Boston to see us.  I believe we parade at about 9 A.M., but am not certain.  I will get a furlough and talk over matters after the 4th of July.  Mother need not be depressed.  I am not obliged to go; and if I were, for my own comfort to look no further, the position of private in our Regiment is much better than that of officer in most of our Regiments.  In the First Regiment C. F. Walcott could find no decent society among the officers; the privates in our company are mostly sons of men in good circumstances thrown out of profitable employment by the crisis.  The rest of our Reg’t. has now come to the Fort.  The men are in every way superior to most volunteer soldiers.  They are farmers, and sons of farmers, and of American parentage.  The exclamations “by gosh,” “darn it” show their birth places.  One of them dipped his hands into the harbor water, licked it, and wanted to know if he had got to drink that water!  There is a rumor that Maj. Foster of Salem is to be our Colonel; if that be so, he will have no 4th Battalion as Major Leonard is our unanimous choice for that position.  But I have no fear that Leonard will be rejected.
Good by for the present.
Yours Affectionately
John B. Noyes




Letter of James Ramsey, Company E

                                           Fort Independence July 2nd 1861
Dear Mother I am well and I like it here very much, now I am aquanted  I think I will come home some day next week  The company talks of going to Roxbury next Fourth of July if they do not get our new uniforms we will come to Boston with the fourth Batallion.  We will most probably go to Roxbury.  I will not have a chance to go out of the ranks.  I went on guard this morning for 24 hours  I will get releived to morrow morning at 8 O’clock.  We commenced to draw pay Saturday  we have our regular allowance of food  we are to have no more butter and the like.  Yesterday Col Lenard received a dispatch to be ready to move from the fort at 24 hours notice if we do we will go into camp before we go south.  The whole regiment are to have a full zouave uniform.
Give my love to all
              From your son

PS I have not received a letter yet.


Friday, July 1, 2011

Blog in Real Time - July 1, 1861 - Post #26

The following is from the now defunct website "Letters of the Civil War" by Tom Hayes.

BOSTON HERALD
July 1, 1861 (page 2, column 2).


The Thirteenth (Rifle) Regiment at Fort Independence.

    The five companies from Marlborough, Sudbury, Natick and Westborough, which, together with the Fourth Battalion of Riflemen and the Roxbury Rifle Company, form the new Thirteenth Regiment, went down to Fort Independence Saturday afternoon in the steamer Nelly Baker. The several companies reported themselves to Major Leonard, on the Common, and under his command marched down to the boat, which left at half past two o'clock. - The Natick and Marlborough firemen, who escorted the companies from those towns into Boston, marched down to the wharf in the rear of the military, and gave their friends some parting cheers as the boat left.

    Capt. Hobart Moore, of the Natick company, resigned his commission Saturday morning on account of ill health, and 1st Lieut. Terry (Perry?)  D.  Chamberlain was in command.

    The battalion was handsomely received by the soldiers already at the Fort, and the men, soon after their arrival, set about putting their camp in order.

    All five companies are encamped outside the Fort; Co. F, of Marlborough, Capt. Pope, upon the southerly side, nearly opposite the sallyport, and the others upon the easterly side of the Fort, Co. H, of Natick, and Co. I, of Marlborough, being located upon the high plat of ground, and Co. K, of Marlborough, and Co. G, of Sudbury, upon the lower. All have the Sibley tents.

    The 4th Battalion and the Roxbury company remain in the same quarters as before, the former inside the Fort, and the latter in the building outside.

    The regiments lack about 200 men of being full. The new arrivals reported as follows: Co. F, 90 men; Co. G, 64 men; Co. H, 79 men; Co. I, 90 men; Co. K, 101 men. The Boston companies could be filled up at very short notice, and the orders for that purpose will probably be given in a few days. Major Leonard will have a splendid regiment. We all know what the Fourth Rifle Battalion is, and the new acquisition are of the right stamp. Of course they are at present lack the drill and discipline which the Boston Battalion has had an opportunity to obtain, but that they will make good advancement in military science we have no doubt.

    The rank of the commanding officers of the Regiment, according to the dates of their commissions, is as follows:- Capt. Batchelder, of Co. B; Capt. Fox, of Co. A; Capt. Pope, of Co. F; Capt. Kurtz, Co. C; Capt. Blackmer, of Co. K; Capt. Harlow, of Co. D; Capt. Palmer, of Co.   I; Capt. Jones, of Co. G; Lieut. Chamberlain, of Co. H; Lieut. Pratt, of Co. E.

    The regimental line will be subsequently formed thus:-
1-6-4-9-3-8-5-10-7-2
 B-D-C-H-F-G-K-E-I-A
    The following is a roster of the five companies which arrived at the Fort Saturday:-
    Co. F, Marlborough  Captain, Abel H. Pope; 1st Lieut., John T Whittier; 2d, Charles F. Morse; 3d, Donald Ross; 4th, Rufus H. Brigham.
    Co. G, Sudbury-Captain, Abel G. Jones; 1st. Lieut., Joel Parmenter; 2d, Marshall Davis; 3d, Lenan Willey; 4th, W. H. Benham.
    Co. H, Natick-Captain (vacancy); 1st Lieutenant, Perry D. Chamberlain; 2d, A. W. Pray; 3d, Francis Jenks; 4th, Joseph Adams.
    Co. I, Marlborough-Captain, Moses P. Palmer; 1st lieutenant, David L. Brown; 2d, Alfred G. Howe; 3d, Samuel D. Witt; 4th, (vacancy).
    Co. K, Westborough -Captain, William P. Blackmer; 1st Lieutenant, Charles P. Winslow; 2d, Ethan Bullock; 3d, John Sanderson; 4th, Abner Greenwood.
    1st Lieutenant Palmer, of Co. G, has resigned, but his resignation has not been accepted.