Unit History – 1st Massachusetts Infantry

24 03 2022

Cols., Robert Cowdin, N. B. McLaughlin; Lieut.-Cols., George D. Wells, Clark B. Baldwin; Majs., Charles P. Chandler, Gardner Walker. This was the first Massachusetts regiment enlisted for three years’ service, having first responded to the call for militia regiments for three months. It was mustered in at Boston May 23 to 27, 1861, and mustered out on Boston Common, May 25, 1864. Co. B was composed of the Union Guards of East Boston; Co. C, of the North End True Blues, of Boston; Co. D, of the Roxbury City Guards; Co. E, of the Pulaski Guards, of South Boston; Co. F, of the National Guards of Boston; Co. G, of the Independent Boston Fusileers; Co. H, of the Chelsea Volunteers; Co. I, of the Schouler Guards, of Boston, and Co. K, of the Chadwick Light Infantry, of Roxbury. On June 15 it left Boston for Washington, where it was assigned to Richardson’s brigade and encamped on the Potomac, 2 miles below the Chain bridge. Its first skirmish was at Blackburn’s ford July 18, 1861, and later participated in the battle of Bull Run and the siege of Yorktown. It was on the skirmish line at Williamsburg and engaged at White Oak swamp, where it made two assaults, and in the Seven Days’ battles fought at Savage Station and Glendale. The month of July was spent at Harrison’s landing, where the men had a much-needed rest. The regiment was sent to Alexandria in Aug., 1862, and took part in the second battle of Bull Run. After the fight at Chantilly, when Gen. Hooker left the division, he insisted that the division should be relieved for a time, on account of its heroic and arduous services. The 1st took part in the battles of Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, where its loss was heavy, and Manassas gap. It was ordered to New York on Aug. 2, 1863, on account of the draft riots, and remained there till Oct. 15, when its returned south. It was engaged at Kelly’s ford and in the Mine Run campaign, wintered at Brandy Station and met with severe losses in the battle of the Wilderness. Late in May, 1864, the regiment was mustered out and the reënlisted men and recruits transferred to the 11th Mass. infantry.

From The Union Army, Vol. 1, p. 168


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