Massachusetts in the Civil War














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Massachusetts in the American Civil War

Massachusetts and the Civil War (1861-1865)

Massachusetts (1861-1865), part 1

The outbreak of the Civil war found Massachusetts, as was
true of the Eastern States generally, in an almost complete
state of military unpreparedness. In the South men were drill-
ing and active preparations for war were under way long
before the optimistic Northerner could bring himself to believe
that the inevitable conflict was at hand. Very few men in the
North desired war and largely on this account few believed
that war would come. It is also matter of common knowledge
that still fewer men, either North or South, believed that the
war would assume large proportions or be of long duration,
after the actual outbreak of hostilities.

Crude and incomplete as was the militia organization of the
state when the war began, Massachusetts was, nevertheless, the
first in the field with her troops, and should perhaps be credited,
by reason of her promptness, with saving the national capital
from capture. The separate militia companies of the state had
been recently organized into regiments by the foresight of
Gov. Banks, and on Jan. 16, 1861, eleven days after John Albion
Andrew was inaugurated as governor, he issued an order re-
quiring every company commander to revise his muster roll,
with the view of determining whether all were fit for service
in case of emergency. If any were unfit or unwilling to re-
spond to the call of the commander-in-chief, such were to be
discharged and their places filled by others. It was, moreover,
due to Gov. Andrew, that the state armory, when the war
broke out, contained overcoats, blankets, knapsacks and ball-
cartridges for 2,000 troops, as well as 3,000 Springfield rifled
muskets of the latest pattern.

The following admirable word picture of the famous War
governor brings the man vividly before the reader: "He stood
before the people a figure of unique appearance and bearing —
short, stout, blue-eyed, with closely curling brown hair, smooth
cheeks, and a general effect that was feminine, though very
sturdily so. He entered on his duties with universal popular
confidence as to his intentions, but absolutely untried as to large
executive duties. His personal habits were pacific and even
sedentary; he had no taste for any pageantry, least of all for
that of war; yet in his very inaugural address he showed that
he had grasped the situation of the country, and from that day he
was, emphatically and thoroughly, the war governor. Gov.
Andrew was frank, outspoken, with no concealments and little
solicitude for any reserve in others. * * * He was thin-
skinned and felt keenly any personal attack; and when he met
with a thoroughly unscrupulous and tormenting opponent it
was not hard to keep him vexed and irritated, in spite of the
unselfish nobleness of his aims." (Massachusetts in the Army
and Navy, Higginson, vol. 1, pp. 5-6.)

It is a fact but little commented on, that Gov. Andrew im-
mediately after his inauguration, sent confidential messengers
to the governors of the rest of the New England States, im-
pressing on them the necessity of military preparation. The
number of enrolled militia in the state in 1860, was 155,389;
the number of active or volunteer militia, 5,593. Gov. Andrew
was one of the few men in the North who believed that war
was rapidly approaching. He made this plain in his inaugural
address wherein he advised an inquiry whether the dormant
militia, or at least a large part of it, as well as the active militia
should not be put on a war footing, thus placing the state
ready, "without inconvenient delay, to contribute her share of
force in any exigency of public danger." To arouse the latent
patriotism of the people, he caused a salute to be fired on
Boston Common Jan. 8, 1861, in commemoration of the battle
of New Orleans. Among the important acts of the session of
the legislature which closed on April 11, 1861, were the act in
relation to the volunteer militia, which gave the governor
authority to organize as many companies and regiments as the
public exigency might require in addition to the existing militia
organization; the act appropriating $100,000 as an emergency
fund; and one appropriating $25,000 to provide overcoats and
equipage for 2,000 men. Meanwhile Gov. Andrew was engaged
in correspondence with leading members of Congress, state
governors, leading men, etc. Not only was the militia strength-
ened, but a cipher key for sending secret messages was arranged,
the defense of Boston harbor considered, and the best means
of forwarding troops for the defense of Washington was fully
discussed. Col. Ritchie, of the governor's staff, was even de-
spatched to Washington, to confer confidentially with the Mas-
sachusetts senators and representatives, and Gen. Scott, on the
subject of a possible requisition for troops, to learn from the
general what would be the best route for troops to take to
Washington and whether they were to carry their field equipage
with them. Arrangements were even made to charter transports
for the troops. From the above and much more of the same
tenor it will be seen that Massachusetts, during the four months
prior to the outbreak of hostilities, was more or less alive to
the approaching crisis, and that however inadequate her military
preparation, she was at least better prepared than the rest of
the loyal states.

The time for actual fighting came with unexpected sudden-
ness. On April 12 Fort Sumter was fired upon, and "the
drum beat of the long roll was struck." On April 15 Massa-
chusetts received the first call for troops in a telegram from
Senator Wilson, asking that twenty companies be sent on to
Washington separately. This was followed by telegraphic de-
spatches the same day from the secretary of war and the adju-
tant-general making formal requisition for two full regiments
of militia. Four regiments were at once summoned in order
that the two required might be filled to the maximum. Special
Order, No. 14, being sent by mail and special messengers to Col.
Wardrop of the 3d at New Bedford, Col. Jones of the 6th at
Lowell, Col. Munroe of the 8th at Lynn, and Col. Packard of
the 4th at Quincy, requiring them to muster their commands
on Boston Common forthwith. Adjt.-Gen. Schouler is authority
for the statement that the first companies to arrive were three
from Marblehead (Cos. B, C, H, 8th regiment), though Thos.
Wentworth Higginson, the state military and naval historian,
says that Co. E, 4th regiment, from Abington, is possibly en-
titled to this honor. The troops all arrived promptly on April
16, in a driving storm of rain and sleet, and were marched
directly to Faneuil Hall followed by an enthusiastic throng of
people, who had gathered to receive them. A number of de-
tached companies were also ordered to report at the same time
and were assigned to different regiments. On the day of mus-
ter, April 16, another message came from Senator Wilson
stating that the original call had been modified to include four
regiments with a brigadier-general in command. On April 19
the 5th regiment was also ordered out and Brig.-Gen. Butler
was placed in command of the first four regiments. Cos. B, E, F,
G, H, of the 7th, together with Maj. A. F. Cook's company of
light artillery, were added to the command of Col. Lawrence
of the 5th. Co. F, above mentioned, became insubordinate, and
a new company under Capt. Wardwell was substituted. On
April 20, the 3d battalion of rifles of Worcester, under Maj.
Devens, was ordered to report for duty, and on May 1, Capt.
Albert Dodd's company of Boston was summoned, thus com-
pleting the list of three months' volunteers. These troops num-
bered 244 officers and 3,492 men, a total of 3,736. Col. Pack-
ard's regiment was the first to leave the state, going via
Fall River on the afternoon of April 17 to New York and
thence by steamer to Fortress Monroe. An hour later the 6th,
under Col. Jones, left by rail for Washington. The 3d, under
Col. Wardrop, left for Fortress Monroe by steamer, on the
morning of April 18, and the 8th, Col. Munroe, accompanied
by Brig.-Gen. B. F. Butler, proceeded to Washington via Phila-
delphia, New York and Annapolis, on the same day. To the
6th regiment must be accorded the unique honor of being the
first fully organized and equipped regiment to reach Washing-
ton, under the call of the president. It had been preceded by
a force of five militia companies from Pennsylvania, numbering
400 or 500 men, totally unarmed with the exception of 34 men.
These companies reached Washington at 7 P. M., April 18, and
the 6th Mass. arrived at 9 P. M., April 19. This historic regi-
ment was composed of four companies from Lowell, two from
Lawrence, one from Groton, one from Acton, one from Boston,
one from Worcester, and one from Stoneham, making
eleven in all and mustering about 700 men. "Their hetero-
geneous uniform was characteristic of the period. Seven of
the companies wore blue uniform coats, dark or light, sorne-
times with red trousers, and four wore gray, with buff or yellow
trimmings. Some companies had two lieutenants, some had
four; some had learned the old Scott drill, others the Hardee
tactics, then a novelty, afterwards universal."
(Higginson's, Massachusetts in the Army and Navy, p. 18.)

In passing through Boston, New York and Philadelphia, the
regiment was received with enthusiastic ovations, but in Balti-
more, Cos. C, D, I and L, under Capts. Follansbee, Hart, Picker-
ing and Dike, and numbering about 220 men, were attacked by
a mob while marching from the President street station to the
Camden street station, a distance of a little more than a mile. The
other seven companies, under Col. Jones, covered the distance in
safety. These four companies found the track obstructed and were
forced to march the distance. In the riot 4 of the Massachu-
setts soldiers were killed, 36, including Capt. Dike of Stoneham,
were wounded, and 12 of the rioters were killed. On their
arrival in Washington the regiment was quartered in the senate
chamber and constituted the chief defense of Washington until
the arrival of the 8th and 5th, together with the 7th New York,
by way of Annapolis. When this regiment continued in service
after the expiration of its term of service, in order that it might
protect the capital, which was still in danger, they received a
vote of thanks from the national house of representatives. Said
Lincoln, wrought up by the anxieties of the hour, to the
wounded men of the 6th Mass. at Washington: "I begin to
believe that there is no North. The 7th regiment is a myth.
Rhode Island is a myth. You are the only reality." On the
arrival of the 8th Mass. at Philadelphia, Gen. Butler was ordered
by Maj.-Gen. Scott, to go via Annapolis to Washington, where
the regiment finally arrived on April 26, after a toilsome march
from Annapolis in company with the 7th N. Y. Gen. Butler
remained behind in command at Annapolis, and two companies
of the 8th were put aboard the frigate Constitution, then the
school ship at the academy, until she should sail for New York.
The enthusiasm with which these first three months' troops
were welcomed by the people is a tribute to their true instinct.
These raw militia regiments were as yet untried and had been
subjected to none of the real perils of war, yet they were recog-
nized as the real saviors of the country during the first hours
of peril. The spontaneity and zeal with which these men took
up arms at the first call of country is worthy of all praise.

While the regiments above mentioned were getting ready, scores
of offers to raise companies poured in from all parts of the
state. Says Adjt.-Gen. Schouler, in his report for 1861: "From
the 13th of April to the 20th of May, 159 applications were
granted to responsible parties for leave to raise companies. In
nearly every instance the application was signed for the requisite
number of men for a company. These applications came from
every part of the commonwealth, and represented all classes,
creeds, and nationalities. The authorities of the several cities
and towns acted with patriotic liberality toward these companies,
furnishing good accommodations for drilling, and providing
for the families of the men." There were fully 10,000 men in
these companies, all anxious to be called into immediate service.
Nearly all the new militia companies were organized between
April 13 and May 4. While the work of enlistment was going
on offers of pecuniary aid poured in on the governor and the adju-
tant-general. William Gray of Boston sent his check for
$10,000; Otis Norcross of Boston sent $500; Gardner Brewer
of the same city offered the state $10,000, while many smaller
amounts were received. The Boston banks proffered a loan of
$3,600,000 without security and further offered to the secretary
of the treasury to take their full share of an issue of $150,000,000
in treasury notes. Secretary Chase credited Samuel Hooper of
Boston with more valuable assistance in supporting the credit
of the government than any other man in the country. He
further said: "I sent the first treasury note that ever was
signed to Mr. Edward Wallace of Salisbury, Mass., in recogni-
tion of his having been the first man in the country to offer a
loan to the government without interest." The professional
classes rallied to the support of the government with the same
zeal. At the very inception of the war, an efficient medical
department was organized through the efforts of Drs. George
H. Lyman and William J. Dale. Dr. Lyman had shown wise
foresight by preparing himself in advance for such service and
immediately offered his services to the governor in the work
of fitting out the regiments with medical supplies. Dr. Dale
wrote: "On April 16, 1861, I was called from my professional
pursuits, by Gov. Andrew, to assist Dr. George H. Lyman in
furnishing medical supplies for the 6th regiment, and I con-
tinued, under the direction of the governor, to perform, con-
jointly with Dr. Lyman, such duties as were incidental to a
medical bureau, until June 13, 1861, when I was commissioned
surgeon-general of Massachusetts, with the rank of colonel."

Many of the best physicians in the state gave their services
gratuitously to the families of soldiers. The Boston bar voted
to assume the business of any lawyers who might enlist and to
make liberal provision for their families. Many of the clergy
offered their services as chaplains. The Rev. W. H. Cudworth,
of East Boston, not only volunteered as chaplain for the first
three years' regiment, but also announced that, if his services
were not accepted, he would devote a year's salary to the cause,
and that the sexton and the organist would do the same. He
also advised that the money raised to build a new church be
devoted to the families of soldiers; hoped the society would
furnish at least one company to defend the flag; and recom-
mended that the women of the parish form a society to make
underclothing for the soldiers. Nor were the women lacking
in zeal and patriotism. They freely offered their services as
hospital nurses and busied, themselves in making soldiers' gar-
ments and hospital supplies. On April 19 Mrs. Frances Wright,
of Foxboro, wrote the governor, the letter being signed by 100
young women of that town who offered their services in the
above capacities, or in any other way possible. Gov. Andrew
replied: "I accept it as one of the most earnest and sincere of
the countless offers of devotion to our old commonwealth, and
to the cause of the country," and asked them "to help those who
are left behind and follow those who have gone before with your
benedictions, your benefactions, and your prayers." The above
are but limited examples of the boundless enthusiasm, the gen-
erous spirit of sacrifice and the patriotic zeal displayed by all
classes in the Old Bay State, when the nation's integrity was
assailed. Moreover, Massachusetts contributed her full share
in the councils of the government at Washington, where she
was represented by such men as Charles Sumner and Henry
Wilson, while abroad she was represented at the Court of St.
James by the brilliant Charles Francis Adams.

From the first outbreak of hostilities the executive and mili-
tary departments of the state were almost swamped with work.
It was at once found necessary to relieve the adjutant-general of
part of his duties, and on April 19 Col. John H. Reed, an experi-
enced military man, was commissioned quartermaster-general of
Massachusetts, with the rank of brigadier-general. Cols. Sargent,
Ritchie, Lee and Wetherell, of the governor's personal staff,
were almost constantly on duty, giving information, answering
letters, and engaged with the many details of the executive office
at this time. The executive council was also in session and on
April 20 it authorized the treasurer to borrow $200,000, as an
emergency fund for military purposes; and further directed that
"an agent be sent to Europe with authority to purchase, on account
of the commonwealth, 25,000 rifles and army pistols, to be im-
ported as soon as may be, for the use of the militia in defense
of the state and of the nation, and that the governor issue a letter
of credit to such agent for the purpose of fulfilling this order."
Hon. Francis B. Crowninshield was appointed as agent, given
a letter of credit for 50,000 sterling, and sailed forthwith for
England.

Before the three months' levy was fairly in the field, men
began to realize the need for longer enlistments, and that the war
was to be a longer and much more serious affair than any one
had at first thought. When, on May 3, Gov. Andrew stated
among other things, in a letter to President Lincoln, "We have
now enough additional men to furnish you with six more regi-
ments to serve for the war, unless sooner discharged," he had
in mind a three years' enlistment, which was believed by all,
ample to cover any possible prolongation of the war. On May
3, 1861, President Lincoln issued his proclamation calling for
thirty-nine regiments of infantry and one of cavalry, but Mas-
sachusetts was not assigned her quota under the call for more
than two weeks. From the time the three months' troops left
the state until the call for three years' volunteers communica-
tions between the departments at Washington and the state
authorities was slow and unsatisfactory. It was on this account
that Gov. Andrew requested ex-Gov. Boutwell, Atty.-Gen. Fos-
ter, Judge E. R. Hoar and William L. Burt to go forward and
make every effort to keep him in touch with events at Wash-
ington, New York and elsewhere. He was admirably served
by all these gentlemen, as will be seen from a study of their
correspondence among the state papers. The following brief
extracts from the correspondence of Judge Hoar at this period
will show something of the valuable services rendered by them
all. He writes from Washington on May 6, to Gov. Andrew :
"Mr. Foster, I learn, has gone with Gen. Butler, and cannot
be communicated with. Dr. Howe has not arrived. The 'Cam-
bridge' arrived yesterday afternoon. I have therefore, as I wrote
to you yesterday, 'taken the responsibility,' which I trust will meet
your approbation, as there is no one here to attend to the busi-
ness, and, unless instant attention be paid to it, in the present
extreme confusion of affairs here, there would be even great
delay in getting their private packages to our troops. I saw
the president this morning the instant he left the breakfast table,
presented your letter to him, and explained to him the whole
business. I also saw Gen. Cameron, and he has agreed to take
the stores, with the exception of such as we may retain for hos-
pital use and for the reasonable comfort of our men, at the
invoice price with the freight added at the price you named.

The president sent for Mr. Seward, and I had a conference
with them jointly as to the purchase or employment of the
steamers, and also with Gen. Cameron. The strong inclination
of the government is to purchase rather than to charter vessels,
and I think the arrangement can be made to sell them. * * *
The 6th Mass. regiment left Washington yesterday, under Gen.
Butler's orders, for the Relay house, between Annapolis Junc-
tion and Baltimore. Their future destination is not certain, but,
if there should be a march for the occupation of Baltimore, it
is felt that poetical justice requires that regiment to have first
place." He thus describes a few of the early hardships of the
5th regiment: "The regiment reached the junction (Annapolis)
and took their first substantial sleep on the ground, without
shelter or blankets. Our Concord company had nothing but
their guns, and what they left home in, and their great-coats,
and a number had not even the coats left behind at Annapolis.
The baggage, left without charge, got mixed with general
United States stores and distributed to Pennsylvania and other
troops promiscuously. It is gone past redemption. Thirty men
of the Concord company have not yet got a blanket and sleep
on a hard floor. They had not a shirt in the company till last
Friday, two weeks from home, except those they wore from
home, nor a pair of stockings or drawers till Saturday, and then
not enough to go around There is no complaint. * * * *
They want what the enclosed list states — instantly. I know
you will send them if you can." May 2 Gov. Andrew appointed
Dr. Samuel G. Howe of Boston to go into the field and make
a personal report on the sanitary condition of Gen. Butler's bri-
gade. He entered on his duties at once, and returning concluded
his report with the pertinent suggestion: "If a tithe of the
science, skill and care, which are so liberally given to improving
all the means of killing the soldiers of other armies were devoted
to the means of keeping our own soldiers in health, the present
fearful mortality of war would be lessened." Judge Hoar left
Washington about May 15. Charles Russell Lowell, Jr., later
well known as a general of cavalry and mortally wounded at
Cedar creek, Va., was appointed to take up the work of Judge
Hoar. His duties as the semi-official agent of the state were
explained to him by Judge Hoar, who thus summarized the
matter: "The object of the whole arrangement is to have some
one responsible, competent agent, who will know all that is
done and sent from Massachusetts, and all that is wanted and
received at Washington, or by the troops wherever stationed;
to take care of property, take vouchers, prevent waste, and to
be the sole channel of communication between supply and de-
mand." Mr. Lowell served as state agent until May 14, when
he received from the president a captain's commission in the
6th U. S. cavalry. He was succeeded in the work by Charles
H. Dalton of Boston.

After the president's call of May 3, 1861, every effort was
made by the state authorities to induce the government to ac-
cept all the regiments which Massachusetts was prepared to
furnish. The whole state overflowed with martial ardor and
companies were rapidly organized. These were drilled with
care, and might be seen parading the streets of every consid-
erable town in the state. Enlisted as militia, they were anxious
to serve as three years' volunteers. On May 8 an offer was
made to the secretary of war, by direction of the governor, to
"furnish six regiments for three years, or for the war, per-
fectly equipped, in addition to the quota which Massachusetts'
might be called upon to furnish under the first call of the presi-
dent." This was refused and the same day, by the secretary.
Gov. Andrew telegraphed time and again for instructions to
organize into regiments the various companies which had been
formed, but could get no reply. Finally, on May 22, a letter
was received from Sec'y Cameron, which gave, almost grudg-
ingly, authority to raise six regiments, but added: "It is im-
portant to reduce rather than enlarge this number, and in no
event to exceed it. Let me earnestly recommend you, therefore,
to call for no more than eight regiments, of which six only are
to serve for three years or during the war, and if more are
already called for to reduce the number by discharge." This is
strange language, in the light of after events, and clearly shows
how little the authorities at Washington comprehended the grav-
ity of the situation or the magnitude and length of the contest
ahead. The masses of the people in city and hamlet seemed
to have a far clearer insight into the future. The records of all
the early town meetings in Massachusetts reflect this saner view
on the part of the people.

The organization of these three years' regiments was practi-
cally the same as that which obtained in the regular army. Ma-
terial for the formation of twice the number of regiments was
at hand, but the war department had authorized only six addi-
tional ones, which "were organized, armed, equipped, clothed
and sent forward within four weeks after orders were received
that they would be accepted." The following were the regi-
ments: The 1st (Col. Cowdin) left for Washington June 15
and was the first of the three years' regiments to reach the
capital; the 2d (Col. Gordon) left for the front on July 8; the 7th
(Col. Couch) left for Washington July 11; the 9th (Col. Cass),
and the nth (Col. Clark) left for Washington on June 24;
and the 10th (Col. Briggs) on July 25. On June 17, through
the vigorous efforts of Gov. Andrew, permission was accorded
to raise ten more regiments. This met the governor's view
that the war should be prosecuted with vigor and also dispelled
some of the cares which had crowded thick upon him at this
time. Orders were at once issued to organize and send forward
these regiments and the work was accomplished with the same
energy and despatch which had characterized Massachusetts
since the inception of the war. It was impossible for the execu-
tive department to satisfy many of the demands made upon it
during this period. Replying to a letter from Senator Wilson,
in Washington — who wrote that "the condition of the uniforms
and equipments of the Massachusetts three months' troops was
bad, as compared with those of other states," Gov. Andrew used
this language: "I have sent and am sending forward large
supplies both of provisions and clothing, but as I am not gifted
by the Lord with omniscience, and as in no single case have I
received any report from any of the regiments in and about
Washington of what they need, I am sorry I am unable to sat-
isfy everybody, and still more sorry that Massachusetts
troops should be permitted to suffer. Although a month has
now elapsed since they left the state, the muster-rolls of the 8th
regiment are the only ones which have as yet been received." The
officers failed to report fully and frequently on the needs of
their commands, but when authentic information was received
on this head there was every effort made to satisfy all demands.
"We have," he wrote, "not less than $50,000 worth of under-
garments and other clothing now on hand. We are now manu-
facturing no less than 6,000 summer uniforms, and we have spent
not less than $50,000 in merely supplying subsistence to our
troops on their way and in the field." If the troops were not
properly equipped, it was due to their hurried departure, being
assured by the secretary of war that the department would sup-
ply all their needs at Washington on their arrival. He com-
plained that he had never been advised what supplies the de-
partment had furnished or expected to furnish; that no United
States officer had been detailed to muster troops in Massachu-
setts, and to advise with him, as was done in New York and
other states; that in spite of his frequent communications on the
subject, Boston harbor was then undefended by a single gun —
his requests having been met with positive refusal or ignored;
and that he was even refused permission to clean Fort Warren
at the expense of the state, in order to put it into a sanitary
condition for the reception of the volunteer troops; and sug-
gested finally "that the influence of all the agents of Massachu-
setts at Washington is needed, and may be profitably exerted
to extort from the national government, if it cannot be done
by persuasion, at least some approach to the courtesy and atten-
tion which have evidently been extended to other states in these
respects, and which is preeminently due to Massachusetts, by
reason of her constant loyalty, her prompt movement to the de-
fense of the nation, her children dead at Baltimore, and the sac-
rifice of money and men which she expects and is willing to
make for the common cause."

Believing that the war would be a long one, and that the state
should be placed in a better position to meet the numerous prob-
lems that had arisen since the close of the regular session of
the legislature on April 13, it was deemed best to call an extra
session, which convened on May 14. Gov, Andrew addressed
them thus: "The occasion demands action, and it shall not be
delayed by speech; nor do either the people or their representa-
tives need or require to be stimulated by appeals or convinced
by arguments. A grand era has dawned, inaugurated by the
present great and critical exigency of the nation, through which
it will providentially and triumphantly pass and soon, emerging
from apparent gloom, will breathe a freer inspiration in the as-
sured consciousness of vitality and power. Confident of our
ultimate future, confident in the principles and ideas of demo-
cratic-republican government, in the capacity, conviction and
manly purpose of the American people, wherever liberty exists
and republican government is administered under the purifying
and instructing power of free opinion and free debate — I per-
ceive nothing now about us which ought to discourage the good
or to alarm the brave." He then briefly reviewed the events of
the last month; stated that the state had expended up to date
$267,645.18 in equipping and provisioning the regiments, ex-
clusive of the 50,000 sterling drawn in favor of Mr. Crownin-
shield for the purchase of arms abroad and of contracts which
would call for the expenditure of $100,000 more; said that 129
new companies had been organized, and urged the following
matters upon the attention of the legislative body: A state
camp for military instruction; a law forbidding the payment of
bounties to men enlisting in local companies by the towns; and
prohibiting all costly and inefficient modes of organizing and
disciplining troops. The legislature made a cordial response to
these suggestions. Among the acts passed at this session was
one "in aid of the families of volunteers," which empowered
towns and cities to raise money for soldiers' families; one or-
ganizing the home guard; and one "for the maintenance of
the Union and the Constitution," which ratified what the gov-
ernor had previously done, gave him power to arm, equip, and
officer troops, fix their rank and pay, and adjust accounts with
the United States. It also created the "Union Fund," and
authorized the issue of $3,000,000 in scrip, bearing interest at
six per cent. — coupons payable after 10 or at 30 years. A sup-
plemental act empowered the governor to issue scrip for
$7,000,000 at six per cent., to be loaned to the United States or
expended in the purchase of U. S. treasury notes. It also cre-
ated a sinking fund to redeem the war debt; passed an act which
authorized the governor to pay from the Union Fund any troops
of the commonwealth mustered into the U. S. service, from the
time they reported up to the date of their muster in; and an act
empowering the governor to establish one or more camps of
military instruction and discipline. Many of the members do-
nated their pay to the volunteer fund and the session concluded
amid the singing of patriotic songs.

After the six three years' regiments had left the state and
the additional ten, before mentioned, had been accepted, there
was a constant demand for troops until the close of the war.
The state camp authorized by the legislature was never estab-
lished, but the troops were rendezvoused at various temporary
camps in different parts of the state to accommodate the local
demand. In 1861, during a period of six months, a total of
27,000 officers and men were organized, equipped and sent to
the front as three years' volunteers. Including the three months'
men, the state furnished during the year an aggregate of 30,736
officers and enlisted men. The three years' organizations were the
1st, 2d, 7th, and from the 9th to 29th regiments of infantry,
inclusive, though the last two were not complete. In addition
were one battalion of infantry, composed of five companies doing
garrison duty at Fort Warren until the close of the year, which
formed the nucleus of what was later the 32d infantry; two
companies of sharpshooters; the 1st cavalry;1st, 2nd, 3d, 4th
and 5th light batteries. Gen. Butler was also organizing two
regiments in the state independently of the state authorities; six
companies had gone to New York to join the "Mozart" regi-
ment and the Excelsior brigade; 300 had enlisted in the Union
coast guard at Fortress Monroe, under Col. Wardrop, formerly
of the 3d Mass. infantry, and 7,658 men had entered the naval
service through enlistments at the Charlestown navy-yard.

Despite the small pay of the volunteer soldier, every effort
was made to induce him to save a part of it, both for the sake
of those dependent upon him and for his own sake on return
to civil life. On July 22, 1861, Congress provided for the allot-
ment system to the volunteer soldiers. Frank H. Fay of Chelsea.
Henry Edwards of Boston, and David Wilder, Jr., of Newton,
were appointed allotment commissioners in Feb., 1862, and at
once visited all the troops in the field. The work was so well
done that forty-one regiments and batteries took advantage of
the system, whereby a portion of the soldier's pay was deducted
by the U. S. paymasters and sent directly to the state treasurer,
who distributed it to the recipients named in the act of allot-
ment through the several city and town treasurers, or retained
it in the treasury at interest for the benefit of the soldier. More
than $3,000,000 were sent home in this way by Massachusetts
soldiers, in addition to sums sent directly by the men.

Under the Massachusetts militia system the officers were
elected and all the three months' regiments were organized in
this manner. On account of the short term of their service, no
question arose as to the method of filling vacancies which might
result during their absence. With the three years', and other
long service troops, the elective system was dropped and the
officers of the regiments and companies were selected and com-
missioned by the governor. The question of filling vacancies
was unsettled until Aug., 1861, when it was determined that the
adjutant-general of the United States should report any va-
cancy to the governor, who thereupon issued the commission
to such person as he might select. This practice, with some
modifications for certain troops, prevailed during the war.

The work of organizing and sending off so many troops dur-
ing the year 1861 entailed so much extra labor as to require
the appointment of new staff officers, and the creation of more
military departments. Mention has already been made of the
appointment of a quartermaster-general of the state on April
19, which appointment was later confirmed at the special session
of the legislature. The organization of a medical bureau has
also been detailed. On May 25, 1861, Gen, Ebenezer W. Stone
was appointed master of ordnance with the rank of colonel and
held, the position until October of the same year. On May 27,
Albert G. Browne, Jr., of Salem, was appointed military secretary
to the governor with the rank of lieutenant-colonel and held the
position throughout the several administrations of Gov. Andrew.
On June 13, 1861, Elijah D. Brigham of Boston was commis-
sioned commissary-general of Massachusetts; Charles H. Dalton,
at Washington; William P. Lee and Waldo Adams, of Boston, and
Frank E. Howe, of New York, were appointed assistant quarter-
master-generals during the summer of this year.

Men had come to realize that the war was to be a bitter and
protracted struggle. Most of the men in the field had enlisted
for long terms of service and the casualties from battle and
disease were growing in volume as the months rolled by. Every
effort was made by the state authorities to supply the needs of
the soldiers at the front and to relieve the sufferings of the
sick and wounded. To this end various soldiers' relief asso-
ciations and agencies were established early in the war. One
such agency was established at Washington after the arrival
of the wounded of the 6th regiment from Baltimore, April 19,
1861. This agency enlarged its field of usefulness until it in-
cluded not only the oversight of Massachusetts men in the 60
hospitals in and near Washington, but reached out to the ac-
cessible camps and battle-fields and took in the needs of both
the sound and disabled soldiers. The scope of the work to be
carried on is well set forth in the following preamble of the
constitution, adopted at a meeting of Massachusetts residents
of Washington, April 19: "The undersigned, now or formerly
citizens of Massachusetts, in order to secure, by organization
and mutual cooperation, proper care for the wounded and dis-
abled and decent interment for the dead, of the Massachusetts
troops which are now or may be on duty in this vicinity, do
form ourselves into a society, to be called the Massachusetts
association." The sick and wounded were returned in great
numbers during the summer of 1862 from the Peninsular cam-
paign, and Col. Gardner W. Tufts of Lynn was appointed the
agent for Massachusetts in Washington. His instructions gov-
erned every service an agent could perform, or a soldier require.
Mention should here be made of the devoted labors in this field of
Miss Lander of Salem, sister of Gen. Frederick W. Lander, who
"headed the advance guard of that corps of mercy." Another
devoted co-worker was Mrs. Jennie L. Thomas of Dedham.
appointed in Oct., 1862, to assist Col. Tufts. The names of
35,151 sick or wounded men were recorded at the Washington
agency, and the expense to the Massachusetts treasury was
$35,000. The total amount of the money transactions of the
agency up to Jan. 1, 1867, was $721,722.87. During the last
year of the war a branch was established in Annapolis to care for
the Massachusetts soldiers who were or had been prisoners.

Another important relief agency was early established in New
York city, which came to be known as "the New England
rooms." The originator of this noble relief work was Frank E.
Howe, a former citizen of Massachusetts. It developed into a
hospital and home for soldiers from all the New England states.
The expenses were met by voluntary contributions from the lib-
eral and patriotic citizens of the city. Col. Howe was made the
accredited agent of the commonwealth in a letter written by the
governor May 20, 1861, acknowledging Mr. Howe's liberal and
patriotic tender of services.

The need for similar agencies was early felt in the large cities
of Baltimore and Philadelphia, where state agencies were estab-
lished and became useful auxiliaries to the great agencies in New
York and Washington. In consequence the soldiers of the state
were sure of being cared for while en route through these cities.
The Baltimore agency was established under the direction of the
governor and was placed in charge of William Robinson of that
city, who had won favorable notice through kindness extended
to the wounded of the 6th regiment. At Philadelphia Robert C.
Corson was placed in charge of the immediate interests of Mas-
sachusetts soldiers passing through that city. In addition to the
establishment of the above agencies, the governor gave personal
attention to the wants of the Massachusetts regiments, and at
various times sent members of his staff to the front to report on
their condition. During the disastrous summer of 1862, Adj.-Gen.
Schouler, Col. Ritchie, Col. John Q. Adams, and Dr. Bowditch
were sent to the front and rendered full reports of the condition
of the men.

Among the numerous relief associations which were estab-
lished in various parts of the state it is only possible to mention
a few of the more important ones by reason of the limitations
of this work. Two important and central organizations, which
carried on relief work of a notable and highly praiseworthy char-
acter, were formed in Boston and its immediate vicinity. The
"Ladies' Industrial aid association" had for its object the assist-
ance of those women who performed sewing- and manual work
for contractors to meet the urgent calls for military clothing and
supplies. Mrs. Charles R. Lowell was the president of the asso-
ciation and received the articles from the contractors. She was
able to pay the women twice as much as the contractors and thus
performed a two-fold service. The New England Women's
auxiliary association, an efficient branch of the U. S. sanitary
commission, was organized in Dec, 1861, and rendered impor-
tant aid in the work of that noble institution. Its branches were
everywhere throughout Massachusetts, and the three New Eng-
land States on the north. One million garments and articles
were forwarded to the hospitals and camps; $314,000 was con-
tributed to the work; all services were done gratuitously. The
Donation Committee originated in Boston early in the war and
was another important relief association. It was under the man-
agement of Mrs. Harrison Gray Otis and received and distrib-
uted during the four years of the war an immense quantity of
supplies to the soldiers. Nearly $1,000,000 in money and goods
were donated and passed through the hands of the committee.
The headquarters were originally at the home of Mrs. Otis,
later at the Evans house, and finally at 126 Tremont street, op-
posite Park street church. While these large and central meas-
ures were being put into operation in and about Boston other
parts of the state were equally patriotic and were doing efficient
work along the same lines. Even the convicts in the state prison
worked night and day preparing supplies for the outgoing vol-
unteers. Space forbids more than passing mention of the Mas-
sachusetts soldiers' fund, whereby the amount of nearly $75,000
was raised and disbursed for the benefit of soldiers' families;
the Boston soldiers' fund, for the benefit of soldiers' families liv-
ing in Boston; and the considerable sums donated and disbursed
through the medium of the surgeon-general of the state. The
record of patriotic relief work carried on by the people of Mas-
sachusetts during the war is an inspiring and noble one, and has
never been surpassed.

See also:
 
 
Source: The Union Army, vol. 1































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