Monday, August 1, 2011

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

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


     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?

July 31, 1861
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.