United States Regiments & Batteries > Massachusetts

According to Fox’s 500 Fighting Regiments, the 28th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment ranked seventh in losses for all Union regiments in the Civil War. It lost 15 officers and 235 enlisted men killed or mortally wounded and 1 officer and 136 enlisted men to disease. It is honored with a monument at Gettysburg.

* Faugh-A-Ballaugh – Gaelic for “Clear the way”

December 12 Organized at Cambridge and Boston under Colonel William Monteith, Lieutenant Colonel McLelland Moore and Major George W. Cartwright
December 28 The regiment received a green flag of patriotic and Irish slogans that would be carried in the place of its state colors.
January 11 Left State for New York and duty at Fort Columbus, New York Harbor
February 14 Sailed on Steamer “Erickson” for Hilton Head, S.C.
February 23 Arrived Hilton Head amd attached to Dept. of the South
April 7 Moved to Dafuskie Island, S.C. and duty there; attached to 1st Brigade, 2nd Division, Dept. of the South.
April 18-May 6 Companies A and K detached at Jones and Bird Islands
May 12 – May 28 Companies A, C, D, F and K moved to Tybee Island
May 20 Colonel Monteith was placed under arrest for drunkeness and other violations of regulations. He would be court-martialled, and resigned in August. Lieutenant Colonel McLelland Moore took command, but soon resigned due to feuds between various factions in the regiment. Major George W. Cartwright took command of the regiment and was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel effective 7/26.
May 28 Companies B, E, G, H and I moved to Dafuskie Island and to Hilton Head
June 1-28 Operations on James Island, S.C.
June 3-4 Skirmishes on James Island
June 16
Battle of Secessionville

The regiment suffered 67 casualties in a charge through an impassible bog, including Sergeant John J. McDonald, carying the colors.

June 28-July 7 Evacuation of James Island
July 14-18 Moved from Hilton Head to Newport News. Va. Attached to 1st Brigade, 1st Division, 9th Army Corps, Army of the Potomac
August 3-6 To Aquia Creek and Fredericksburg
August 6-16 Operations in support of Pope
August 16-
September 2
Pope’s Campaign in Northern Virginia
August 29
Battle of Groveton
August 30
Second Battle of Bull Run

The regiment suffered 135 casualties, including Lieutenant Colonel George W. Cartwright, who was wounded, and Lieutenant William Flynn, who was killed. Captain Andrew A. Caraher of Company A took command of the regiment.

September 1-2
Battle of Chantilly

The regiment took part in a charge led by General Isaac Stevens that ended in a torrential thunderstorm, with General Stevens killed. It suffered 99 casualties, including Lieutenant Alexander Barrett, who was mortally wounded.

September-October Maryland Campaign
September 14 Battle of South Mountain
September 16-17
Battle of Antietam

Commanded by Captain Andrew A. Caraher, the regiment lost 18 killed, 40 wouned and 1 missing in fighting near Burnside’s Bridge, including Lieutenant Nicholas Barrett, who was killed.

From the War Department marker for Christ’s Brigade along Rodman Avenue on the Antietam battlefield:

On the morning of the 17th Christ’s Brigade was in reserve on the eastern slope of the ridge on the left bank of the Antietam, nearly opposite the Burnside Bridge.

About 2 P.M., after Sturgis’ Division had carried the bridge, the Brigade crossed and, following the stream and road to Sharpsburg, filed to the right where the course of the former diverged to the east and formed line on the narrow plateau at the foot of the bluff southeast of this point. After the formation of the Corps line, the Brigade advanced, under a heavy fire from Cemetery Hill and the high ground west of the road, to within a few yards of this point where it was checked. After a short delay the 79th New York advanced as skirmishers and compelled the Confederate Artillery to retire. The Brigade was about to move forward, when the attack of A.P. Hill on the left of the Corps obliged it to fall back to the Antietam, where it remained until the evening of the 18th, when it was relieved by Morell’s Division of the Fifth Corps.

September 19-October 2 March to Pleasant Valley and duty there
October 18 Richard Byrnes was appointed Colonel by Governor Andrew. The appointment of an outsider led seven officers to resign in protest. Colonel Byrnes immediately tightened discipline in the regiment, relieving the sergeant major and quartermaster sergeant and instituting daily drills and inspection.
October 25-
November 19
Movement to Falmouth, Va.
November 15 Captain Caraher of Company A was promoted to major.
December Assigned to 2nd Brigade, 1st Division, 2nd Army Corps, Army of the Potomac, the Irish Brigade. The 28th was swapped for the 29th Massachusetts, a Yankee regiment.
December 12-15
Battle of Fredericksburg

The regiment lost 32 killed or mortally wounded, 116 wounded, 1 captured and 11 missing of the 416 men engaged in the attack on Marye’s Heights. Lieutenents Edwin Weller, William Holland and John Sullivan were killed and Major Andrew Caraher and Captain Charles Sanborn were wounded.

After the charge General Edwin Sumner rebuked a soldier for not being in company formation. The soldier responded, “This is all my company, sir.”

The regiment is honored on a monument to the Irish Brigade on the Fredericksburg waterfront at the City Dock. From the monument:

While posted here in the early morning of Dec. 13, 1862, the men of the Irish Brigade placed sprigs of boxwood in their caps in honor of their Irish heritage. Later in the day, they took part in the futile assaults against confederate positions on Marye’s Heights. After the battle, the Union dead closest to the Confederate positions wore sprigs of boxwood in their caps.

January 20-24 “Mud March”
January – April
At Falmouth

Lieutenant Colonel Cartwright returned to the regiment after recovering from his Bull Run wounds. Ten captains and lieutenants resigned due to the ongoing discipinary struggle with Colonel Byrnes, who had brought in several replacement officers from outside the regiment.

April 27-May 6 Chancellorsville Campaign
May 1-5
Battle of Chancellorsville

The regiment suffered 26 casualties, mostly in helping to save from capture the guns of the 5th Maine Battery.

June Assgned to 1st Brigade, 1st Division, 2nd Army Corps
June 11-July 24 Gettysburg Campaign
July 2-4
Battle of Gettysburg

The regiment was commanded by Colonel Richard Byrnes. It brought 265 men to the field, losing 8 killed, 57 wounded and 35 missing in fighting in the Wheatfield and around the Stony Knoll.

July 7 – 15 Left Gettysburg for Faling Waters via Taneytown, Frederick and Crampton’s Gap
July 18 Crossed the Potomac
July 24 Arrived at Manassas Gap after marching through Snicker’s Gap, Bloomfield and Ashby’s Gap
July 31 Went into camp at Morrisville to rest and refit
August 31 Marched to United States Ford in support of the cavalry, then returned to camp
September 10 Received 175 draftees from Massachusetts, bringing the regimental strength over 300 men.
September 13-17 Advance from the Rappahannock to the Rapidan
September 20 Major Caraher resigned due to his wounds from Fredericksburg and Chantilly and was appointed to the U.S. Veteran Volunteer Corps. He would eventually die in 1885 (on duty as a U.S. Cavalry officer) from complications from his Civil War wounds.
October 9-22 Bristoe Campaign
October 14
Auburn and Bristoe

The regiment suffered six casualties in skirmishes during the retreat from Auburn Hill

November 7-8 Advance to line of the Rappahannock
November Assigned to the 2nd Brigade, 1st Division, 2nd Army Corps
November 26-
December 2
Mine Run Campaign
November 29
Skirmish at Robinson’s Tavern along Plank Road

The regiment lost nine men charging taking a line of rifle pits

December 5 Arrived at Stevensburg and established winter quarters
December 31 157 Veterans reenlisted, quaifying the 28th as a Veteran Volunteer Regiment and earning a thirty day furlough as well as a $402 Federal bounty and a $325 state bounty.
February 6-7 Demonstration on the Rapidan
February – May Colonel Byrne and four other officerss return to Massachusetts and recruit 288 new men for the regiment, bringing its strength to over 500 men. Many of these recruits were not Irish and many not from Massachusetts; 90 were Canadian.
May-June Campaign from the Rapidan to the James
May 5-12
Battle of the Wilderness 

Commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Cartwright, the regiment lost 24 killed, 81 wounded and 8 missing, including Cartwright, who was severly wounded, and Captains James McIntyre and Charles Smith, who were killed. Major Andrew Lawler asumed command.

May 10 Po River

The regiment lost 3 killed, 5 wounded 2 captured and 1 missing to artillery fire while digging in after crossing the river.

May 12-21
Spotsylvania Court House

The regiment lost 21 killed, 74 wounded, 8 captured and 3 missing, including Captain James Magner, who was killed.

May 12
Assault on the Salient

The regiment lost 62 men in the attack on the “Mule Shoe”

May 18
Second Assault on the Mule Shoe

The regiment lost 42 men, including Major Lawler and Captains William Cochrane and James Magner, all killed or mortally wounded.

May 20 Colonel Byrnes returned to the regiment but assumed brigade command as senior colonel. The regiment had been reduced to 315 men.
May 23-26 North Anna River
May 26-28 On line of the Pamunkey
May 28-31

Under the command of Captain James Fleming, the regiment lost 13 men in picket skirmishing.

June 1-12
Cold Harbor

Under the command of Captain James West, the regiment lost 48 men, including Captain West, who was killed. Colonel Byrnes, commanding the brigade, was mortally wounded, dying in a Washington hospital on June 12. After the battle the regiment had less than 100 men fit for duty commanded by Lieutenant John B. Noyes, with only one other lieutenant.

June 16-19
First Assault on Petersburg

The regiment lost 19 men.

June 16 Siege of Petersburg begins
June 20 The Irish Bigade had been reduced in strength to a handful of men commanded by Captain Richard Moroney of the 69th New York, and was broken up. The 28th was assigned with a number of other shattered 2nd Corps regiments to the 1st Brigade, 2nd Division, 2nd Corps, the only Irish Brigade regiment to remain in the field.
June 22-23
Jerusalem Plank Road

The regiment lost 12 men repulsing a Confederate attack.

July 27-29 Demonstration on north side of the James
July 27-28
Deep Bottom

Commanded by Captain Fleming, the regiment led the brigade in turning the Confederate left flank, capturing four 24pounder Parrott Rifles while suffering only founr men lost.

August 13-14
Strawberry Plains, Deep Bottom

The regiment lost 15 men in a demonstration against a Confererate battery, including Captain Nolan, who was killed.

August 16
Charles City Cross Roads

The regiment lost 18 killed and 22 captured

August 25
Ream’s Station

The regiment lost 10 killed and 24 captured or missing after repulsing three Confederate attacks, being forced back from its breasworks, and then regaining them in a counterattack.

October 27-28 Boydton Road, Hatcher’s Run
December 19 One officer and 20 men returned to Massachusets, the survivors of the original 1861 members who had not reenlsted as Veterans. The regiment had lost 408 men and eight commanding officers in 1864, with only one commissioned officer surviving unscathed. The remaining 185 members of the 28th were reorganized as a five company battalion.
February 5-7 Dabney’s Mills, Hatcher’s Run
March 25 Watkin’s House
March 28-April 9 Appomattox Campaign
March 31
Hatcher’s Run or Boydton Road and White Oak Road

The battalion lost 17 men killed and 53 wounded capturing outer Cofederate picket lines in preparation for a breakthrough attack, including Major Fleming, who was wounded, and Lieutenant Thomas Parker, who was killed. Captain Patrick Black took over the battalion.

April 2
Sutherland Station and fall of Petersburg

The battalion lost Captain Black and five other men wounded in its last action of the war, capturing 150 Confederate prisoners, two cannon and a battle flag.

April 6 Sailor’s Creek
April 7 High Bridge and Farmville
April 9
Appomattox Court House

Surrender of Lee and his army.

April 10 – May 2 At Burkesville
May 2-15 March to Washington, D.C. under Captain Patrick Bird.
May 23 Grand Review
May 24 Duty at Washington
June 29 Mustered out
July 5 Discharged at Readville, Massachusetts