United States Regiments & Batteries > Massachusetts


The 2nd Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment lost 14 officers and 176 enlisted men killed or mortally wounded and 2 officers and 96 enlisted men to disease during the Civil War. The regiment is honored by a monument at Gettysburg, the first permanent regimental monument on the battlefield.

1861
May 25 Organized at Camp Andrew, West Rexbury, and mustered in under Colonel George H. Gordon, Lieutenant Colonel George Leonard Andrews (first in his class, USMA 1851) and Major Wilder Dwight
July 8 Left State for Hagerstown, Md.
July 11-12 Moved to Williamsport and Martinsburg. Va. Attached to Abercrombie’s Brigade, Patterson’s Army
July 19 Attached to Abercrombie’s Brigade, Banks’ Division, Dept. of the Shenandoah
August Attached to Gordon’s 2nd Brigade, Banks’ Division, Army of the Potomac; Duty at Harper’s Ferry
October 23-24 At Conrad’s Ferry
October 25 –
December 4
Picket duty at Seneca Mills
1862
December 4 -February 27 Duty at Frederick, Md.
February 27-28 Reconnoissance to Charleston
March 12 Occupation of Winchester. Attached to 3rd Brigade, Williams’ 1st Division, Banks’ 5th Army Corps
March 24-
April 27
Pursuit of Jackson up the Shenandoah Valley
March 27 Strasburg
April 1 Woodstock
April 1-2 Edenburg; Attached to 3rd Brigade, 1st Division, Dept. of the Shenandoah
May 15-June 17 Operations in Shenandoah Valley
May 23 Buckton Station
May 23-June 6 Retreat to Martinsburg and Williamsport
May 24 Middletown and Newtown
May 25
Battle of Winchester

The regiment was in the rearguard May 24-25

June Assigned to 3rd Brigade, 1st Division, 2nd Army Corps, Army of Virginia
May 26 – June 9 At Williamsport
June 10-18 Moved to Front Royal
June 13 Colonel Gordon was promoted to brigadier general, Lieutenant Colonel Andrews to colonel and Major Dwight to lieutenant colonel
July 11-17 To Warrenton and Little Washington
August 6-
September 2
Pope’s Campaign in Northern Virginia
August 9
Battle of Cedar Mountain
August 19-23 Fords of the Rappahannock
August 28-30 Guarding trains during Second Battle of Bull Run
September Assigned to 3rd Brigade, 1st Division, 12th Army Corps, Army of the Potomac
September 16-17
Battle of Antietam

The regiment lost 12 killed and 51 wounded, including Lieutenant Colonel Wilder Dwight, who was mortally wounded, and Captain Francis and Lieutenants Crowninshield and Mills, who were wounded. Captin Robert Gould Shaw was also lightly wounded in the neck, an incident that is shown in the movie, Glory. Collis’ Independent Pennsylvania Company of Zouaves d’Afrique was attached to the regiment for the battle.

From the first War Department marker to Gordon’s Brigade in The Cornfield on the Antietam battlefield:

Gordon’s Brigade formed line at daybreak on the Hoffman farm and advanced in a southerly direction in support of Hooker’s Corps.

The 107th New York was detached to support Cothran’s Battery and the 13th New Jersey was held in reserve. The Brigade formed on either side of Ransom’s Battery on the high ground due east of D. R. Miller’s, where it repulsed an assault of Hood’s Division and its support and, moving south through the Cornfield, changed front to the right and took position behind the ridge parallel to the Hagerstown Pike, where it remained until it was relieved by the advance of Sedgwick’s Division and withdrawn to the East Woods.

From the second War Department marker to Gordon’s Brigade on the Antietam battlefield:

Immediately after the withdrawl of Gordon’s Brigade to the East Woods, after being relieved by Sedgwick’s Division, it was ordered to the support of that Division in the West Woods.

The 13th New Jersey and 2nd Massachusetts advanced into this road – the former north and the latter south of this point – where they encountered such a destructive fire from the enemy that they were compelled to retire to the East Woods. Later in the day, the 13th New Jersey advanced into the woods west of the Dunkard Church and took position on the right of Greene’s Division.

From the Official Report of Colonel Andrews on the 2nd Massachusetts at Antietam:

The evening preceding, the regiment was ordered forward to a place near the battlefield, to be in readiness, with other forces, to support General Hooker. The men were here allowed a few hour’s rest. At about 6 o’clock in the morning of the 17th the Regiment moved with the rest of the Third Brigade, in column, to a point still nearer the scene of action, which had already commenced. From this point, after a short interval, a part of the brigade, including this regiment, which was on the right, was marched forward in column by battalion, with deploying intervals. Having reached the farther edge of a wood in front, the enemy, who occupied a wood opposite the left of the brigade and a corn-field in front of the center and right. This regiment, with the rest of the brigade, advanced, passing through one of our batteries, by which its movements were necessarily much impeded, and was halted in an orchard, some 75 yards in advance of the position taken by the other regiments of the brigade. I formed the regiment in a broken line; the left perpendicular and the right parallel to the line of the other regiments. In front of the right, about 50 yards distant, were two regiments lying down. From my position a fire was opened so directed as to cross that of the rest of the brigade, and which was delivered with perfect coolness, and evidently with great effect. I here witnessed the gallant manner in which the Third Wisconsin, under Colonel Ruger, sustained and replied to a destructive fire. The enemy was soon driven from his position, when our line was ordered to advance through the corn-field. The enemy fled from this part of the field, leaving it thickly strewn with his dead and wounded. The regiment was halted near one of our batteries, which was playing upon the enemy, receiving his fire in return. Up to this time the loss in this regiment had been very small.

Soon after this, the corps of General Summer passed us, advancing to attack the enemy in his near position, which was in a thick wood – his line being nearly at right angles with that of the Third Brigade when advancing to the attack. The front of the brigade was then changed so as to take a position in the woods from which the enemy had been driven, and which was directly opposite the wood above mentioned. At about 12 o’clock (m.) this regiment, with the rest of the brigade, was ordered forward to the support of General Sumner’s corps. The regiment advanced in line, the Thirteenth New Jersey on its right, to a lane [Hagerstown Pike], fenced on both sides, which offered a partial cover, and which was about 100 yards from the wood held by the enemy. Here the regiment received a very heavy fire from a large body of the enemy posted in the woods. Our fire was opened in return; but the enemy having greatly the advantage, both in numbers and position his fire became very destructive.

Being unsupported, it was impossible to advance and a useless sacrifice of life to keep my position. The regiment was accordingly marched back in perfect order to the position from which it had advanced. This position, with some unimportant changes, was retained until evening, when the regiment, with the rest of the brigade, was ordered forward opposite the left of the wood held by the enemy, to support our batteries. Here it remained until the next morning.

Too much praise cannot be given to the officers and men of the regiment for their bravery and steadiness under the fire of the enemy, and for their general good conduct throughout the day. I would include in this commendation the few remaining men of the company of the Zouaves d’Afrique attached to this regiment; their only remaining officer was necessarily absent sick. Assistant Surgeon Stone with his attendants and the detachment of recruits detailed to take care of the wounded, rendered most efficient service.

Although there was little opportunity for individuals to distinguish themselves, yet several of the non-commissioned officers and privates were conspicuous for bravery,coolness, and good conduct in action. They will be properly noticed.

I have to lament the loss of Lieutenant Colonel Wilder Dwight, who fell, mortally wounded, at the lane above mentioned, while displaying his usual coolness and courage under the fire of the enemy. The loss of [..] but he has added another bright name to the glorious list of brave and noble men who have freely given their lives in the cause of their county. Captain Francis and Lieutenants Crowninshield and Mills were wounded, the latter severely. Of non-commissioned officers and privates, 12 were killed, 51 wounded, and missing. Of the company of Zouaves d’Afrique, 3 were wounded, 1 of whom is missing.

September 19-October 29 Duty at Maryland Heights
October – December Picket duty at Blackford’s Ford and Sharpsburg, Md.
November 10 Colonel Andrews promoted to brigadier general
December 12-16 March to Fredericksburg
1863
January 20-24 “Mud March”
January – April
At Stafford Court House

Captain Robert Gould Shaw left the regiment to become colonel of the 54th Massachusetts Infantry (the subject of the film, Glory.)

April 27-May 6 Chancellorsville Campaign
April 29 Germania Ford
May 1-5
Battle of Chancellorsville
June 9
Battle of Brandy Station

Commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Charles R. Mudge.

June 11-July 24 Gettysburg Campaign
July 1-3
Battle of Gettysburg

The regiment was commanded at Gettysburg by Lieutenant Colonel Charles R. Mudge, who was killed leading the regiment in a desperate charge. He questioned the command but remarked, “it is murder, but it’s an order.”

From the monument near Spangler’s Spring at Gettysburg:

From the hill behind this monument on the morning of July 3, the Second Mass. Inf. made an assault upon the Confederate troops in the works at the base of Culps Hill opposite. The regiment carried to the charge 22 officers and 294 enlisted men. It lost 4 officers and 41 enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and 8 officers and 84 enlisted men wounded. To perpetuate the honored memories of that hour the survivors of the Regiment have raised this stone. 1879.

Lieut. Col. Charles R. Mudge, Captain Thomas B. Fox, Captain Thomas R. Robeson, Lieut. Henry V.D. Stone. Color bearers – Leavitt C. Durgin, Rupert J. Sadler, Stephen Cody. First Sergeant Alonzo J. Babcock, Sergeant William H. Blunt. Corporals Charles Burdett, Theodore S. Butters, Jeremiah S. Hall, Patrick Heoy, Ruel Whittier, Gordon S. Wilson. Privates Samuel T. Alton, George M. Baily, Henry C. Ball, Wallace Bascom, John Briggs, Jr., David B. Brown, William T. Bullard, James A. Chase, Peter Conlan, John Derr, James T. Edmunds, William H. Ela, John E. Farrington, Silas P. Foster, Willard Foster, Joseph Furber, Fritz Goetz, Daniel A Hatch, John J. Jewett, John Joy, Charles Kiernan, William Marshall, Frederick Maynard, Andrew Nelson, Rufus A. Parker, Philo H. Peck, Sidney S. Prouty, Richard Seavers, Charles Trayner, David L. Wade

July 5-26 Pursuit to Warrenton Junction, Va.
August 16 to September 13 Detached duty in New York City
September 24-
October 3
Movement to Stevenson, Ala., attached to Army of the Cumberland
October Guarding Nashville & Chattanooga Railroad at Elkwater Bridge and Tullahoma
December 31 Regiment veteranize
1864
January 10 –
March 1
Veterans on furlough
April Assigned to 2nd Brigade, 1st Division, 20th Army Corps, Army of the Cumberland
May 1 to
September 9
Atlanta (Ga.) Campaign
May 8-11 Demonstration against Rocky Faced Ridge
May 14-15 Battle of Resaca
May 19 Cassville
May 22 Non-Veterans left front for muster out
May 25 Non-Veterans mustered out at Chattanooga, Tenn.
May 25 New Hope Church
May 25-29 Operations on line of Pumpkin Vine Creek, and battles about Dallas, New Hope Church and Allatoona Hills
May 29-June 8 Guard trains to Kingston and back
June 6 Raccoon Creek
June 10-July 2 Operations about Marietta and against Kenesaw Mountain
June 11-14 Pine Hill
June 15 Gilgal or Golgotha Church
June 15-17 Lost Mountain
June 17 Muddy Creek
June 19 Noyes Creek
June 22 Kolb’s Farm
June 27 Assault on Kenesaw
July 4 Ruff’s Mills, Smyrna Camp Ground
July 5-17 Chattahoochie River
July 19-20 Peach Tree Creek
July 22-August 25 Siege of Atlanta
August 26 –
September 2
Operations at Chattahoochie River Bridge
September 2-November 15 Occupation of Atlanta
November 15-December 10 March to the sea
December 9 Monteith Swamp
December 10-21 Siege of Savannah
1865
January to April Campaign of the Carolinas
March 2 Thompson’s Creek, near Chesterfield
March 3 Thompson’s Creek, near Cheraw, S.C.
March 16 Averysboro, N. C.
March 19-21 Battle of Bentonville
March 24 Occupation of Goldsboro
April 9-13 Advance on Raleigh
April 14 Occupation of Raleigh
April 26 Bennett’s House, surrender of Johnston and his army.
April 29-May 19 March to Washington, D.C., via Richmond, Va.
May 24 Grand Review
May – July Provost duty at Washington
July 11 Mustered out
July 26 Discharged at Boston, Mass.