United States Regiments & Batteries > Massachusetts > 13th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment

The 13th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment lost 4 officers and 117 enlisted men killed or mortally wounded and 40 enlisted men to disease in the Civil War. It is honored by a monument at Gettysburg

May-July The 13th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment was organized at Fort Independence
July 16 Mustered into Federal Service for three years under Colonel Samuel H. Leonard, Lieutenant Colonel N. Walter Batchelder and Major Jacob P. Gould. The regiment was armed with Enfield rifles.
July 29 Left Massachusetts by rail for New London, then by the steamship John Brooks to New York City. Crossed to New Jersey and then moved by rail to Philadelphia and Hagerstown, Maryland.
August 1 Arrived in Hagerstown, Maryland. Attached to Stiles’ 3rd Brigade, Banks’ Division, Army of the Potomac for patrol and outpost duty on the Upper Potomac.
August 2 Marched 12 miles to Boonesboro
August 3 Continued 16 miles to Pleasant Valley
August 5 Marched 19 miles to Sharpsburg.
August 6 Detachments of the regiment took up picket positions along the Potomac:

  • Companies A & B were sent to Antietam CreekCompany C is sent to Shepard’s Isle
  • Companies E & H were sent to Blackford’s Ford (also known as Boteler’s Ford)
  • Company I to Dam Number 4 of the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal
August 14 Confederate pickets fired across the Potomac at Antietam Ford
August 18 Members of Company E cross the Potomac at Blackford’s Ford to set fire to a mill that provided shelter to Confederate sharpshooters.
August 20 The detached companies rejoined the regiment at Sharpsburg.
August 21 Marched 7 miles to Boonesboro.
August 22 Continued 13 miles to Middletown and then Broad Run.
August 23 Marched 15 miles to Sandy Hook. Company I proceeded two miles further to Harper Ferry.
August 24 The 13th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment rushed to reinforce Company I when it was believed they were threatened by Confederates across the river. It lost its first casualty to friendly fire when Edwin Smith of Company K was shot by a sentry who failed to challenge Smith as he approached with information for their post. Smith would die in 1863.
August 31 Men from Company I cross the Potomac and captured 2 men and 3 horses.
September 1 Company C under Captain John Kurz was sent to Monocacy Junction to guard the railroad. Company M joined Company I at Harpers Ferry under Major Gould. These 3 companies would remain detached until the end of October. The other 7 companies of the regiment moved to Darnestown, Maryland.
September 2 Action at Beller’s Mill, near Harper’s Ferry. Companies I&M were attacked by Confederate cavalry. George Brown became the first member of the regiment to be injured by enemy fire.
September 15 A scouting party commanded by Lieutenant David Brown of Company I were attacked along the towpath of the C&O Canal opposite Pritchard’s Mill, near Harpers Ferry.   John L. Spencer of Company I became the first man from the regiment killed by enemy fire.
September 25 Captain Kurtz or Company C resigned to accept a commission as colonel in the 23rd Massachusetts Infantry.
September 28 Company C was ordered to proceed by rail to Point of Rocks to assist against an expected Rebel attack. They boarded the train at midnight and waited until daylight, when they disembarked, no attack having occurred.
September 30 Company C moved from Monocacy Junction to Harpers Ferry to reinforce companies I&M.
October 10-13 The main body of the regiment marched from Dranestown to Williamsport
October 23 The seven companies at Williamsport went into winter quarters.
October Assigned to Abercrombie’s 2nd Brigade, Banks’ Division
October 16
Battle of Bolivar Heights

Companies C, I & K helped fight off an attack by Confederate Colonel Turner Ashby. Companies I & K were at Herr’s Mill on Virginus Island.

October 31 Companies C, I & K rejoined the regiment at Williamsport by canal boat.
November 5 Company D moved to Hagerstown
November 7 Company D returned to Williamsport
November 26 Companies A, B, E & H moved to Hancock, Maryland, with Company E continuing 5 miles further up the Potomac to Sir John’s Run
November 30 Company E skirmished with Confederates at Sir John’s Run. Private George S. Cheney was wounded.
December 4 Captain Clark leads a raid of men from Companies B and H from Hancock to Bath to arrest a prominent Confederate.
December 5 Company D moved to Hagerstown.
December 6 Confederates fired at pickets at Dam Number 5. A night raid from Hancock to Bath failed to capture its target, Captain Johnson Orrick of the 33rd Virginia Infantry.
December 7 Pickets at Dam Number 5 were driven back by a surprise attack at sunset launched by the 27th Virginia Infantry with artillery under Confederate Major Elisha Franklin Paxton. The Confederates tried to destroy the dam, working in the icy water for five hours under Union fire. Company C arrived from Williamsport at 11 p.m. and shots were exchanged until 2 a.m. Company D was moved from Hagerstown to Williamsport.
December 8 Company G arrived at Dam Number 5 to relieve Company C. Shooting continued on both sides, but the only casualty was a Confederates artilleryman. The dam proved more sturdy than it was thought combined with the cold weather and constant Union fire convinced the Confederates to give up the attempt. Company K had been sent from Williamsport to reinforce the men at the dam but was stopped and returned.
December 10 John S. Burnap of Company K died in camp at Williamsport after a 2 week illness, attended by his father.
December 11

Company C marched from Williamsport to Dam Number 5 but was recalled and returned to camp before night.

December 12 Confederate cavalry with artillery attacked the Union pickets at Dam Number 4. An artillery piece was sent to the position.
December 14 Companies D and K marched from Williamsport to Dam Number 5 and returned to camp.
December 14 Lieutenant Joseph Colburn led a raid of 31 men across the river from Sir John’s Run to arrest a Confederate Colonel Buck. He was not found, but a supply of Confederate chickens and ham were, and were brought back from the 32-mile patrol.
December 17 Confederates under Colonel Thomas Jackson returned to Dam Number 5 in strength. Pickets tried to pin down Union forces while a working party attempted to breach the dam. At the same time a Confederate force arrived at Falling Waters as a diversion.Company K moved to Falling Waters to join Company F.
December 18 Lieutenant Colonel Batchelder led Companies C, D & G to Falling Waters along with a section of artillery.At Dam Number 5 Confederate artillery drove Union sharpshooters out of a brick house, but Union artillery which had been brought up by surprise returned fire, Gunfire prevented the Confederates from working on the breach in the dam in daylight.
December 19 Jackson moved downriver from Dam Number 5 and feinted a crossing, drawing Union forces away from the dam and giving some time for the dam-breakers to work undisturbed in daylight. But reinforcements sent by General Banks arrived, allowing both positions to be covered, and the Confederates were forced to give up work.Company K returned to Williamsport from Falling Waters.
December 20 The Confederates tried to continue breaching the dam but gave up for good in mid afternoon, having caused little damage.Companies D, C, & G returned to Williamsport from Falling Waters.
December 21 Colonel Leonard sent men to pursue the withdrawing Jackson at Dam Number 5, but Confederate deserters told that Jackson had a large number of men, and the pursuit was discontinued. Canal traffic resumed past the dam, and General Banks congratulated Colonel Leonard on his defense.
December 22 Private George C. Haraden of Company K died of heart disease at Williamsport.
January 2 Companies A, B, E & H took canal boats from Hancock to Williamsport.
January 6 Companies C, D, I & K were ordered to march from Williamsport to Hancock, commanded of Lieutenant Colonel N. Walter Batchelder, to reinforce troops there that are being attacked y Jackson. The march is in a blizzard an they march until 2 a.m. the next morning.
January 10 Companies C, D, I & K returned to Williamsport from Hancock, with an overnight stay at Clear Spring.  The blizzard snows had melted, and the march was muddy.
January 27 Captain Charles Pratt of Company E resigned.
February 6 Lieutenant Perry D. Chamberlain of Company H, resigned.
February 9 Company D was sent to Hagerstown as guard until February 27.
February 20 Private Charles A. Holmes of Company G died of disease.
February 25 Lieutenant A. N. Sampson of Company B led 25 men across the river on a scout, seeing enemy cavalry.
March Assigned to 2nd Brigade, 1st Division, Banks’ 5th Corps
March – April Operations in the Shenandoah Valley
March 1 Crossed the Potomac River and at dusk marched 12 miles to Martinsburg, arriving at midnight.
March – April

Operations in the Shenandoah Valley

March 4 Private George Dickey of Company F died of disease at Williamsport
March 5 Marched 10 miles to Bunker Hill. Company D stayed behind to guard the train.
March 11 Moved 6 miles to Stephenson’s Depot.
March 12 Occupation of Winchester, Virginia. The 13th Massachusetts led the way into town as skirmishers.
March 15 Lieutenant Colonel N. Walter Batchelder led a reconnaissance 8 miles away to Newtown.  Private Thomas Rathburn  of Company F died of disease at Winchester.
March 18 Most of the regiment moved camp 2 miles off, while Companies B & K remained in Winchester. Private Horace Crocker (Co. I) died of disease at Centreville, Virginia.
March 19 Companies B & K join the rest of the regiment outside of Winchester.
March 22 March via Berryville to Snickers Gap.
March 23 Continued to Aldie.
March 24 Returned 18 miles back to Snickers Gap.
March 25 March west to Berryville and recrossed the Shenandoah River before being ordered to backtrack to Snickers Gap.
March 26 Continued toward Aldie and camp at Goose Creek.
March 27 Made a 27 mile round trip reconnaissance to Middleburg with the 16th Indiana Infantry.
March 28 Marched 18 miles to Pleasant Valley.
March 29 Continued 7 miles in the rain to Blackburn’s Ford.
March 30 Bivouac in the rain in the Bull Run Mountains.
March 31 Marched 5 miles to Manassas (142 total for the month). Joined by 45 recruits.
April Guard duty on the Orange & Alexandria Railroad
April 1 Marched 14 miles to Warrenton Junction.  Because of the deep mud some tried marching on the railroad tracks. Company A remained as guards at Manassas Junction until April 17th under the command of Lieutenant Neat, who was appointed provost-marshal. Private Patrick Cleary of Company K died of disease at Manassas.
April 10 The name of the regiment’s camp was changed to ‘Camp Starvation.’  General Abercrombie had chosen a poor campsite, muddy and with bad water.
April 12 Private James Dunn of Company E died at Williamsport.
April 14 Brigade review
April 17 Company A was returned to the regiment from guard duty at Manassas Junction.
May 1 General Abercrombie (“Old Crummy” or “Aunt Abbie”) was replaced by General Hartranft. Camp was immediately moved to a good spot on high ground at Catlett’s Station.
May 10 Assigned to 3rd Brigade, 2nd Division, Department of the Rappahannock.
May 12 Marched 6 miles to Elk Run. Winter overcoats were packed up and returned to Massachusetts.
May 13 Continued 18 miles to Falmouth. There were several cases of sunstroke in the 100 degree temperatures.
May 14 Marched 8 miles to headquarters.
May 25 Moved 15 miles to Aquia Creek.
May 26 Sailed on steamship John Brooks to Alexandria.
May 27 Landed late at night and marched from the dock to the railroad station to board freight cars on the Orange & Alexandria Railway
May 28 Arrived at Manassas Junction.
May 29 Marched 12 miles to Haymarket, then moved by rail through Thoroughfare Gap. Detrained and camped on the west side of the Gap.
May 30 Continued 3 miles to the far side of Salem.
May 31 Continued 5 miles to Piedmont. Packs and equipment were stored there, and the regiment continued another 20 miles in the rain to Front Royal, fording the Shenandoah River on the way.
June 1 Marched 2 miles toward Strasburg.
June 2 Continued 5 miles toward Strasburg.
June 3 Crossed the North Fork of the Shenandoah River and marched 2 miles.
June 4 After a heavy rain all night the 13th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment at first light retraced its steps to the river and recrossed. A dozen men failed to make it across before the bridge was swept away. They were left without rations while the rest of the regiment marched into Port Royal.
June 5 The supply wagons caught up with the regiment. Due to hard marching and foul weather 94 men were in the hospital, with about 600 fit for duty.
June 6 Good weather followed the storms, but the regiment’s mood was not improved when two of the men who had been left behind on the 4th, John F. Fuller of Company B and Charles B. Cushing of Company C, drowned when they tried to recross the still flooded Shenandoah in a skiff.
June 12 Company I was assigned as Provost Guard for Front Royal
June 17 Moved by rail to Manassas Junction and camped on the old battlefield.
June 26 Assigned to the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Division, 3rd Corps, Army of Virginia
July 4 The Independence Day celebration was cancelled, replaced by an 11 mile march toward Warrenton.
July 5 Marched the remaining 5 miles to Warrenton and camped in “a fine spot.” No men were reported in the hospital.
July 22 Continued 10 miles to Waterloo and made camp.
July 25 Camp was moved to a better location at Carter’s Run.
July 31 Major General Pope, commander of the Army of Virginia, made a brigade inspection.
August 4 Marched 11 miles toward Culpeper.
August 5 Continued 12 miles and camped just outside of Culpeper.
August 8 Moved 4 miles to Pony Mountain.
August 9

Battle of Cedar Mountain

The 13th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment marched a short distance toward the battle but remained in reserve during the fighting. They reached the field as darkness fell. When Confederate artillery began to shell the area they were ordered to move to a less exposed location. Colonel Leonard ordered the men to ‘trail arms’ so that the bright moonlight would not reflect off their bayonets, and the 13th was the only regiment in the brigade with no casualties.

August 11 Marched 7 miles to the Rapidan River and went into camp.
August 16 –
September 2

Pope’s Campaign in Northern Virginia

August 17 Marched 4 miles to Mitchell’s Station.
August 18 New recruits joined the 13th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment during the day. Early in the night the regiment was suddenly awakened and formed line of march, it having been learned that the Confederate army was trying to trap Pope’s men between the Rapidan and Rappahannock Rivers. But the roads were clogged by wagon trains and the regiment was forced to wait.
August 19 Having stood all night, it was 9 a.m. before the regiment was able to begin a 20 mile march to Rappahannock Station, where they crosed the Rappahannock River in the early evening.
August 20 The regiment immediately returned across the river and took up position on two small hills. Companies D & K were sent out as skirmishers while the rest of the regiment built breastworks.  They were joined by the 11th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment along with Battery F, 1st Pennsylvania Light Artillery.
August 21 The regiment continued to work on the earthworks while Confederates fired artillery shells into the position, although without effect.
August 22 Heavy rains prevented movement by either side.
August 23 The regiment was ordered back across the Rappahannock River due to fears that the heavy rains of the day before would wash away the bridge and leave them vulnerable to be overwhelmed by a Confederate attack. The men formed up before first light and no sooner crossed that an artillery barrage began followed by an attack, which failed.  In the afternoon they marched north toward Warrenton.
August 24 Marched to three miles beyond Warrenton.
August 25 Spent the day resting until 5 p.m., then marched to the Waterloo road and went into camp. General Hartsuff was forced to leave command due to his old wounds from the Seminole wars. Colonel John W. Stiles of the 9th New York State Militia took over the brigade.
August 26 Marched back to the Waterloon Road, but shortly returned to camp.
August 27 In mid afternoon marched 8 miles up the Gainesville Road, going into camp well after midnight.
August 28

Thoroughfare Gap

The march resumed toward Manassas. At Haymarket they were stopped and ordered to leave their knapsacks – which they would never see again – and move west to Thoroughfare Gap.  They arrived in the afternoon to find Longstreet’s Confederates having just taken the high ground from the other side.  Skirmishing went on until dark.  Two men of Company E were killed, Corporal Daniel R. Jackson and Private George Clark, and two other men were wounded. Colonel Leonard was very sick but stayed with the regiment by ambulance until this time, when he turned over command to Major Jacob Gould.

August 29 Marched at first light 5 miles to Bristoe Station. In mid afternoon the regiment continued the march to Manassas, hearing the sounds of battle ahead of them.
August 30

Second Battle of Bull Run

The 13th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment was in reserve for the first part of the day on the Union left flank. In the afternoon Longstreet attacked that flank with overwhelming force. The regiment was part of the two brigades that General McDowell personally led to a position on Chinn Ridge. The outnumbered Union troops were surrounded on three sides, but every moment they delayed the enemy allowed the rest of Pope’s army to recover and form a defensive line on Henry Hill.

The 500 men of the 13th Massachusetts were able to hold about half an hour before the position was overrun. The cost was heavy, with 38 men killed. The survivors fell back in no order, with a number of men attaching themselves to fresh regiments to continue the fight. Eventually everyone made their way over Bull Run and down the road to Centreville.

August 31 The regimental band mustered out.
September 1

Battle of Chantilly

The regiment stood in line of battle in a great thunderstorm, but remained in reserve and suffered no casualties.

September Assigned to 3rd Brigade, 2nd Division, 1st Corps, Army of the Potomac

Maryland Campaign

September 14

Battle of South Mountain

September 16-17

Battle of Antietam

The 13th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment was commanded by Major J. Parker Gould

From the brigade marker on the Antietam battlefield:

Hartsuff’s Brigade, advancing from the Poffenberger Woods early on the 17th, passed through the northern part of the East Woods and over the open ground west of them, and went into action on a line running northwest and southeast through this point. Early in the movement Gen. Hartsuff was wounded and the command devolved upon Col. Richard Coulter, 11th Pennsylvania Infantry. The left center of the 11th Pennsylvania was at this point with the 12th Massachusetts on the right. On the immediate left of the 11th was the 13 Massachusetts and on its left was the 83rd New York. In this position, supported by two Regiments of Christian’s Brigade, it maintained a sanguinary contest in which it lost half its number, but was compelled to withdraw, being relieved by the advance of Crawford’s Brigade, Twelfth Corps. The Brigade carried into action about 1220 men of whom 82 were killed and 497 wounded. The 12th Massachusetts lost 224 out of 334 engaged.

September 18 -October 30 At Sharpsburg
October 30- November 19 Movement to Warrenton, then to Falmouth, Va.
December 12-15

Battle of Fredericksburg

January 20-24

“Mud March”

January – April 27 At Falmouth and Belle Plain
April 27-May 6

Chancellorsville Campaign

April 29-May 2 Operations at Pollock’s Mill Creek
April 29-30

Fitzhugh’s Crossing

Captain George Bush and Lieutenant William Cordwell were killed

May 2-5

Battle of Chancellorsville

The regiment lost 2 men killed and 7 wounded

May Assigned to 1st Brigade, 2nd Division, 1st Corps
June 11-July 24

Gettysburg Campaign

< See Lieutenant Colonel Batchelder’s Official Report on the 13th Massachusetts Infantry in the Gettysburg Campaign >
June 28 Left camp at Middletown, Md. at 3. 30 p. m., and marched 9 miles over the old mountain road to near Frederick, arriving at 8 p. m.
June 29 Marched at 5 a. m., passing through Emmitsburg at 5. 30 p. m. Camped near the town. Distance marched was 26 miles, the greater part of the march being over mud roads in very bad condition, owing to continued rains.
June 30 Continued at 8 a. m., and, after proceeding about 6 miles, crossed the Pennsylvania line, halted and formed line of battle, the First Division having encountered the pickets of the enemy.
July 1

Battle of Gettysburg

The 13th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment  was commanded by Colonel Samuel Haven Leonard until he was wounded early on July 1. Lieutenant Colonel Nathaniel W. Batchelder then took command of the regiment.

The regiment fought on the extreme northern end of the Federal line along Oak Ridge. It took part in a charge that resulted in the capture of 132 Confederate prisoners, including 7 commissioned officers. The collapse of the 11th Corps on the regiment’ right flank forced it into a retreat through the town to Cemetery Hill in which it lost a hundred men captured.

The 13th Massachusetts brought 284 men to the field, and lost 7 killed, 77 wounded and 101 missing.

July 2

Battle of Gettysburg – Day 2

Supported batteries on Cemetery Hill

July 3

Battle of Gettysburg – Day 3

Ordered at daylight to the rear of the batteries. Remained there until afternoon, then were sent to support the center, which the enemy were making desperate efforts to break. Reached the point of attack as the enemy were handsomely forced back by the Second Corps. Relieved the troops that had been engaged, built earthworks in the edge of the woods, and, after detailing a strong picket, bivouacked. (from the official report)

July 4 Picket skirmishing was kept up all day, with very few casualties. Rain fell nearly all day. (the following July entries are from Lieutenant Colonel Batchelder’s official report)
July 5 At daylight discovered that the enemy had retreated. At 9 a. m. moved to the left, and occupied part of the ground on which the Third Corps had fought.
July 6 Formed line at 6 a. m., and marched toward Emmitsburg. After marching 6 miles, were halted and marched back 2 miles, resting in a piece of woods until afternoon. Again formed and marched to within 2 miles of Emmitsburg, and went into camp.
July 7 Marched by the rough mountain road to Belleville; distance, 20 miles.
July 8 Continued through Middletown and South Mountain Gap, and threw up earthworks on the west side of the ridge. Distance marched, 18 miles.
July 10 Moved through Boonsborough to Beaver Creek and built more earthworks. After completing the works, were ordered to change front to rear, and to build another line of works.
July 11 Late in the afternoon went on picket.
July 12 Withdrawn from picket early in the morning, marched to Funkstown and on the Hagerstown road. Formed line of battle on the left of the road, and again intrenched.
July 14 At daylight it was evident the enemy had left the regiment’s front. Marched at 2 p. m., and reached Williamsport before night. Went into camp.
July 15 Marched early, and camped at night near Crampton’s Gap.
July 16 Moved through Crampton’s Gap and Burkittsville, camping near Berlin.
July 18 Crossed the Potomac on pontoons, and camped near Waterford.
July 19 Marched to Hamilton.
July 20 Continued to Middleburg.
July 22 Served as rear guard to the supply train. Arrived at White Plains at 3 a. m. of the 23d.
July 23 Marched at 10 a. m., and reached Warrenton at 4 p. m., and went into camp.
July – October Picket duty along the Rapidan
October 9-22

Bristoe Campaign

November 7-8 Advance to line of the Rappahanock
November 26- December 2

Mine Run Campaign

December Duty on the Orange & Alexandria Railroad
February 6-7 Demonstrations on the Rapidan
March Assigned to 1st Brigade, 2nd Division, 5th Corps

Campaign from the Rapidan to the James

June Assigned to 1st Brigade, 3rd Division, 5th Corps
May 5-7

Battle of the Wilderness

May 8-21

Battle of Spotsylvania Court House

May 12
Assault on the Salient
May 23-26
North Anna River
May 23 Jericho Ford
June 26-28 Line of the Pamunkey
May 28-31


June 1-12

Cold Harbor

June 1-3
Bethesda Church
June 13
White Oak Swamp
June 16-18

First Assault on Petersburg

June 16-July 14

Siege of Petersburg

August 1 The 13th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment mustered out