Saturday, October 30, 2021

New Web Pages at

      I've posted two new web-pages at my on-line history site.  This brings the narrative of the 13th Mass. Vols. history, up to November 19, 1863, the date of the dedication of the new National Cemetery at Gettysburg.

      The first page follows the regiment's movements from October 15, where they formed the center of the Union Defensive lines around Centreville, through November 6, at Catlett's Station. They marched to Hay Market, October 19; Thoroughfare Gap, October 20, back to Bristoe Station October 24, to Kettle Run October 30 and finally to Catlett's Station on November 5.  The page contains several diary entries, letters and newspaper correspondent reports from the regiment.

     The 2nd page tells of the return to the Rappahannock River Nov. 7.  As the regimental historian Charles E. Davis, Jr. wrote, they had been to this spot so many times they had lost count.

     Two engagements took place that day, one at Kelly's Ford and a daring attack at Rappahannock Station.  The 13th MA were part of General French's wing of the Army, 1st, 2nd & 3rd Corps, and camped at Morrisville, in support of the 3d Corps advance, during the fighting.  They were guarding the wagon trains.  The next day they advanced with the rest of the army to Brandy Station, in line of Battle, where General Meade hoped General Lee would attack.  But Lee seldom did what General Meade wanted.  The advance was a lost chance.

     The following day the regiment marched to Licking Run along the Orange & Alexandria Railroad, and spent the next couple weeks helping with repairs to the line.  There are several humorous stories about life in the work details from Sergeant Austin Stearns.

     Its exciting to bring the history of the regiment this far forward.  This brings the number of detailed web-pages on my site to 62!

     The Mine Run Campaign will be next, when I get around to it.  Davis, did a pretty good job going into this campaign in depth in his 1894 regimental history.  This forgotten campaign is full of drama and I can't wait to get at it.

      It has been a year since any pages were posted, but that is because I have become busy over at Cedar Mountain Battlefield.

     Here are the links to the new pages.

Fall of 1863

Return to the Line of the Rappahannock

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

13th Anniversary for


This year is the thirteenth anniversary for

This month, I paid another year's subscription to my web-host to keep The Thirteenth Massachusetts Volunteers website going, at least for another 12 months.  Time flies.

I must admit, I grow a bit weary of the constant work on the site.  I have never benefited from it monetarily, though I have greatly benefited from it in other ways over the years.  This, mostly from personal relationships formed, and doors being opened to me in places where they would otherwise be shut. 

It takes countless hours of time and dedication to build each page of my website.  The project began as a creative release born of my passion for story telling, and grew from there.  Much of that creativity and fun still exists as I build new pages for the site, but it coexists with hours of research, and work.  I have to divide this work between other interests.  

I am also having trouble getting transcripts of primary source materials for this later period in the regiments history. I have had setbacks.  With the pandemic, resources shut down just when I needed them most. And, several times now, CW dealers have refused me the privilege of getting transcripts of letter collections from this period in the war.  And, I tried hard to get copies of them.  These collections would have been  a great value to me in building new pages, as I would have a new unique and consistent source from the ranks of the 13th MA to quote from, in addition to my usual 4 sources, that are already widely available in print.  

I guess a sudden surge in this kind of source material would re-invigorate my enthusiasm, but it has not happened.

There was one very notable exception to this, and that was Seth Kaller auctions, who very generously shared with me a transcription of the Charles Conant Diary of 1863.  They should know I appreciate what they did for me very much.  Conant is heavily relied upon for the latest pages.

So along with the work, the source material grows thin and this kind of website format grows more obsolete.

Even Yahoo Groups shut down.  It was my primary means of promoting the site to descendants of 13th MA soldiers.

However, the next page is already well in progress and will eventually be posted to the site in the coming months.  It will cover the close of the Bristoe Campaign and the return of the Army of the Potomac to the line of the Rapphahannock in November, 1863.  I didn't wish to potentially end the project in mid-campaign.  A page for the forgotten Mine Run campaign would follow, followed by a page for the 1863-1864 Winter Encampment.  These are fascinating periods in the history of the regiment that I always wanted to cover.

I appreciate those who continue to support this project, there have been many.

Meantime, I still have come across several fascinating items that could occasionally be posted here on the blog.