William Schouler, Late Adjutant-General of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

A Look Inside: A History of Massachusetts in the Civil War

Part II of our Civil War collection, The Soldiers’ Perspective, provides an in-depth look at the day-to-day actions of the troops who fought in the war years of 1861-1865. This glimps comes primarily in the form of regimental histories.

These texts were generally written by an individual veteran, but sometimes they were compiled by a committee, these books were all published after the war to document what actually happened during the war years.

Taking a look inside A History of Massachusetts in the Civil War, by William Schouler, in this collection provides the kind of detailed first hand history of the Civil War that is the hallmark of this collection of books. This exhaustive history was composed by William Schouler, Late Adjutant-General of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.


The original plan of this work would have included a brief narrative of each Massachusetts regiment which had served in the war, and a sketch of the meetings held in the several cities and towns in the Commonwealth to encourage recruiting, and to raise money and provide for the families of the soldiers. I soon found it was impossible to carry out this plan so as to do any thing like justice to the subjects. The mass of papers, letters, and reports bearing upon them placed in my hands, convinced me that one volume should be devoted exclusively to the three years’ regiments, and one to the cities and towns.

There are several thousand letters in the files of the Governor, Adjutant-General, and Surgeon-General, written from the front by officers and enlisted men, which contain information both interesting and valuable; and many more are doubtless in the possession of the families of those who served in the war. From these and other sources, material can be furnished to make an interesting volume; and it is due to the veteran regiments that it should be written.

I have received new and valuable material from nearly every city and town in the Commonwealth, showing what was done by them in carrying on the war; and from this could be compiled a work which would reflect the highest honor upon the municipalities of this Commonwealth.

Should the present volume be received with favorable regard by the people of Massachusetts, it is my purpose to write a volume of the same size and style, devoted exclusively to the three years’ regiments and batteries, to be followed by another, devoted to the cities and towns.

William Schouler.
Lynn, Massachusetts • March 17. 1868.


To the honorable Levi Lincoln, of Worcester, the most venerable and distinguished living citizen of Massachusetts this volume is respectfully dedicated by the author.

Table of Contents


Massachusetts — Civil Government — Election, 1860 — Legislature — President of the Senate — Speaker of the House — State of the Country — Farewell Address of Governor Banks — Governor Andrew’s Inaugural — Their Views of the Crisis — Sketch of Governor Andrew — Lieutenant-Governor — Executive Council — Adjutant-General — Military Staff — Congressmen — The Volunteer Militia — Military Equipment — Early Preparations — Salutes, 8th of January —General Order No. 2 — Report of Adjutant-General — General Order No. 4 — Proceedings of the Legislature — Regular Session — Emergency Fund — Loan Credit of State — Delegates to Peace Convention — South Carolina to Massachusetts — Two thousand Overcoats — Order of Inquiry — Letter of Adjutant-General — Letter of Colonel Henry Lee, Jr. — Meeting of Officers in Governor’s Room — Colonel Ritchie sent to Washington — His Letters to the Governor — Secretary Seward’s Letter — Letter of Colonel Lee — Charter of Transports — John M. Forbes, Esq. — Meeting in Faneuil Hall — Meeting in Cambridge — Speech of Wendell Phillips, Esq., at New Bedford — Remarks — The President calls for Troops — The Eve of Battle


The Call for Troops — The Marblehead Companies first in Boston — The Excitement of the People — Headquarters of Regiments — Four Regiments called for — General Butler to command — New Companies organized — Liberal Offers of Substantial Aid — Dr. George H. Lyman, Dr. William J. Dale, Medical Service — Action of the Boston Bar — The Clergy, Rev. Mr. Cudworth — The Women of the State — The Men of the State — Liberal Offers of Service and Money — Robert B. Forbes, Coast Guard — Colonel John H. Reed appointed Quartermaster — The Personal Staff — Executive Council — Mr. Crowninshield appointed to purchase Arms in Europe — An Emergency Fund of Two Hundred Thousand Dollars — Letter of the Governor to Secretary Cameron — General Butler consulted — The Route by Annapolis — Narrative of Samuel M. Felton — Mr. Lincoln’s Journey to Washington — His Escape from Assassination — The Third Regiment — Speech of Ex-Governor Clifford — The Fourth Regiment — Address of Governor Andrew — Departure for Fortress Monroe — The Sixth Regiment — Departure for Washington — Reception in New York and Philadelphia — The Eighth Regiment — Departure — Speeches of Governor Andrew and General Butler — Reception on the Route — Arrival in Philadelphia — The Fifth Regiment sails from New York for Annapolis — Major Cook’s Light Battery ordered to Washington — The Third Battalion of Rifles sent forward — The Massachusetts Militia — Arrival of the Third Regiment at Fortress Monroe — Attempt to save Norfolk Navy Yard — The Fourth Regiment the first to land in Virginia — Fortress Monroe — Big Bethel — The Fifth Regiment — Battle of Bull Run — The Sixth Regiment — Its March through Baltimore — The Nineteenth of April — First Blood shed — The Eighth Regiment — Lands at Annapolis — Saves the Frigate Constitution — Arrives in Washington — The Rifle Battalion at Fort McHenry — Cook’s Battery at Baltimore — End of the Three Months’ Service — Conclusion


The People of the Towns — The Press — The Pulpit — Edward Everett — Fletcher Webster offers to raise a Regiment — The Sunday Meeting in State Street — Mr. Webster’s Speech — Meeting in the Music Hall — Speech of Wendell Phillips — Meeting in Chester Park — Speeches of Edward Everett and Benjamin F. Hallett — Meeting under the Washington Elm in Cambridge — Ex-Governor Banks, George S. Hillard, and others — Letters received by the Governor — Extracts — Reception of the Dead Bodies of the Killed in Baltimore — Mr. Crowninshield goes abroad to buy Arms — Ex-Governor Boutwell sent to Washington — Letter of John M. Forbes to Mr. Felton — Letter to General Wool — To Rev. Dr. Steams — To Robert M. Mason — Offer of a Ship Load of Ice — Purchase of the “Cambridge” — Provisions sent to Fortress Monroe and Washington — Governor to President Lincoln — Attorney-General Foster — The Ladies of Cambridge — Call for Three Years’ Volunteers — Letter of John M. Forbes — Letters received by the Adjutant-General — Extracts — Letters from Dr. Luther V. Bell and Richard H. Dana, Jr. — Ex-Governor Boutwell arrives at Washington — Letters to the Governor — State of Affairs at Washington — Letter from Mr. Foster — Cipher Telegram — Judge Hoar at Washington —Letters to the Governor — The War Department will accept no more Troops —Charles R. Lowell, Jr., Massachusetts Agent at Washington — His Instructions — Letter of Governor to Dr. Howe — Appointed to examine the Condition of the Regiments — His Report — Colonel Prescott — Letters of the Governor and General Butler — Slavery


Companies sent to the Forts — Officers appointed to Command — Militia Battalions — First Call for Three Years’ Troops — Delays at Washington — Letter to Montgomery Blair — Letter of Secretary of War — General Order No. 12 — Six Regiments allowed — Governor anxious to send more — Letter of General Walbridge — Governor to Senator Wilson — More Delay — Extra Session of the Legislature — Address of the Governor — Proceedings of the Legislature — War Measures adopted — Debate on Colored Troops — Bills passed by the Legislature — Sinking Fund — Government Securities — Pay of Troops — Established Camps — Seven Millions of Dollars — State Aid to Families of Soldiers — The Six Regiments of Three Years’ Men — Ten more Regiments called for — Their Organization — Additional Staff Officers appointed — Surgeon-General’s Department organized — Letter of Governor to Dr. Lyman — Board of Medical Examiners — Promotion of the Surgeon-General — Letter of the Governor to Colonel Frank E. Howe — New-England Rooms, New York — Letter of Colonel Lee to Charles R. Lowell — Letters of the Governor to Different Parties — Circular of the Secretary of War —Colonel Browne to Colonel Howe — Abstract of Correspondence — Colonel Sargent to General Scott — Cobb’s Battery — Letter to Colonel Webster — Letter to the President — Irish Regiments — Flag-raising at Bunker-Hill Monument — Speech of Governor Andrew — Speech of Colonel Webster — Interesting Ceremonies — Conclusion.


Death of Governor Andrew — The Great Loss — Mission of Mr. Crowninshield to Europe — The Purchase of Arms — Colonel Lucius B. Marsh — Vote of Thanks by the Council — The Policy of the Governor in making Military Appointments — Letter to General Butler in Regard to our Soldiers — Neglect of Officers — Letter to Colonel Couch, of the Seventh — Sends Two Thousand Muskets to Wheeling, Va. — General Lander — Governor Stevens, of Oregon — General Sherman comes to Boston to confer with the Governor — The War Department and Appointments — Governor makes an Address to the People — Mission to Washington — Writes to Governor Curtin, of Pennsylvania — Blockade-runners at Halifax — Governor saves the Life of a Private Soldier — His Letter to Patrick Donahoe — Religious Toleration — To the Editor of the Boston Post — Massachusetts Companies in New-York Regiments — General Sherman’s Command — Liberality of the People — Battle of Ball’s Bluff — The Massachusetts Dead — A Noble Letter — Exchange of Prisoners — Governor’s Letter to President Lincoln — Scheme to invade Texas — Suggests that Congress offer Bounties — Controversy about making Massachusetts Soldiers catch Fugitive Slaves — Letter to General McClellan — Another Letter to the President, about Exchange of Prisoners — Our Men in Richmond Jail — San Francisco sends Two Thousand Dollars for Soldiers’ Families — The Maryland Legislature — Liberal Action — The Republican State Convention — Interesting Debate — Democratic Convention — Thanksgiving Proclamation — Thanksgiving in the Massachusetts Camps — Major Wilder Dwight — The Second Regiment at Harper’s Ferry — Full Account of the Controversy between Governor Andrew and Major-General Butler about recruiting and raising Regiments in Massachusetts


The Campaign of 1862 — Meeting of the Legislature — Ex-Governor Clifford elected President of the Senate — His Speech — Alexander H. Bullock elected Speaker of the House — Speech of Mr. Bullock — Of Caleb Cushing — Proceedings of the Legislature — Abstracts of Military Laws passed — Massachusetts Prisoners in Richmond — Clothing sent — Letter from Adjutant Pierson — Expedition of General Burnside — Capture of Roanoke Island — Massachusetts Troops first to land — Care of the Sick and Wounded — Dr. Hitchcock sent on — The Wounded in New York — Colonel Frank E. Howe — Establishment of the New England Rooms — Care of the Sick and Wounded — The Army of the Potomac — The Wounded at Williamsburg — Letters of Colonel Howe — Every Assistance given — The Agencies of the State for the Care of the Men — The Office in Washington — Colonel Gardiner Tufts, Mrs. Jennie L. Thomas, Robert C. Corson, William Robinson, appointed Agents — Visits of the Adjutant-General, Colonel Ritchie, and Colonel John Q. Adams, to the Front — Report to the Governor — The Appearance of Washington Reports of Edward S. Rand and Dr. Bowditch — First Massachusetts Cavalry at Hilton Head — Our Troops in North Carolina — Appointment of Allotment Commissioners — Their Valuable Services Letters of the Governor — Rule for making Appointments — Illegal Recruiting — Colonel Dudley — Thirtieth Regiment — Captured Rebel Flags — Death and Burial of General Lander — Letters of Governor to Secretary of War — Secretary of the Navy —To the President on Various Subjects — Letter to General Burnside — Secretary Chase — The Retreat of General Banks — Great Excitement — Troops sent forward — Militia called out — The Position of our Regiments — The War in Earnest


Recruiting for the New Regiments — The Position of the Armies in the Field — Letters from the Adjutant-General to Different Persons — Establishment of Camps — Departure of New Regiments — Recruits for Old Regiments — Letter to Secretary Seward — Suggestions adopted — Foreign Recruits — Letter to General Couch — Deserters — Want of Mustering Officers — Letter from General Hooker — Our Sick and Wounded — Letter to General McClellan — General Fitz-John Porter — Call for Nineteen Thousand Soldiers for Nine Months — Appointment of Major Rogers — Preparing for a Draft — Militia Volunteers — Letter to the President — Great Activity in Recruiting — Liberality of John M. Forbes — Colonel Maggi — Town Authorities ask Civilians to be commissioned — First Attempt to raise Colored Troops — Letter to Hon. J. G. Abbott — Recommends Merchants and Others to devote Half of each Day to Recruiting — Hardship to Seaboard Towns — Attempt to have Credits allowed for Men in the Navy — Difficulties — Earnest Letter — Surgeons sent forward — Several Recommendations — Battle of Antietam — Dr. Hitchcock sent forward — His Report — Affairs at the Front — Recruiting Brisk — Republican Convention — Sharp Debate — Nominations — People’s Convention — General Devens nominated for Governor — Speeches — Letter to General Dix — Contrabands — Complaints — Quotas filled — Departure of Regiments — Invasion of Texas — Major Burt — State Appointments, &c.


The Proclamation of Freedom — Colored Regiments — Letter to Samuel Hooper — The California Battalion — Meeting of the Legislature, January, 1863 — Organization — Address of the Governor — Delay of the Government in paying the Soldiers — The Commission of Mr. Crowninshield — His Claim not allowed — Reports of the Adjutant, Surgeon, and Quartermaster Generals — Abstract of Military Laws — Letter to Hon. Thomas D. Eliot — Western Sanitary Commission — Confidential Letter to General Hooker — Efforts to reinstate Major Copeland — The Pirate “Alabama” — Curious Coincidence — Authority to recruit a Colored Regiment — The Governor’s Policy in the Selection of Officers — Colonel Shaw — The Passage of the Fifty-fourth (colored) Regiment through Boston — Departure for South Carolina — Death of Colonel Shaw at Fort Wagner — Letter of the Governor to Captain Sherman — Letter to General Hamilton, of Texas — Major Burt — Plan to invade Texas — Mortality of Massachusetts Regiments in Louisiana — War Steamers — Rights of Colored Soldiers — Temperance — General Ullman’s Expedition — Coast Defences — General Wilde — John M. Forbes writes from London — Colonel Ritchie — A Rebel Letter — Robert C. Winthrop — Letter to Mr. Gooch, M.C. — Army Officers in Boston — Cases of Suffering — Useless Detail of Volunteer Officers — Letter to General Wool — Suggestions about Recruiting — About Deserters — Staff Appointments — Complaints — Nine Months’ Men — Letter to J. H. Mitchell, Massachusetts Senate — Claims for Money in the Legislature — Case of Mr. Maxwell, of Charlemont — Sergeant Plunkett, of the Twenty-first Regiment — Soldiers to be shot — Troubles in the Department of the Gulf, &c.


The Military Condition — Reverses and Successes of the Union Arms — Service and Return Home of the Nine Months’ Regiments — List of Casualties — Deserters — The July Riot in Boston — Prompt Action — An Abstract of the Orders — Alarm in other Cities — The Attack in Cooper Street — The Eleventh Battery —The Word to fire The Riot suppressed — The Draft — Appointment of Provost-Marshals — The Fifty-fifth Colored Regiment — Letters from Secretary Stanton — Injustice to the Colored Troops — Letters of the Governor on the Subject — Difficulties with the Draft — Major Blake sent to Washington — Request to allow Bounties to Drafted Men refused John M. Forbes in Washington — Letters to the Governor — Heavy Ordnance — Colonel Lowell — The Attack on Wagner — Death of Colonel Shaw — Instances of Bravery on the Part of Colored Troops — Letters to General Dix —Troops for Coast Defence — Governor writes to Governor of Ohio — Formation of Veteran Regiment Massachusetts Militia — Letters to Colonel Lee — Colored Cavalry Letter of Secretary Stanton — Confidential Letter on the Exposed Condition of the Coast — Telegraph Communication with the Forts Letters to Senator Sumner — Exact Condition of the Defences — Letter of the Adjutant-General — Reports of General William Raymond Lee — Colonel Ritchie sent to England — Democratic State Convention — Republican State Convention —Re-election of Governor Andrew — The President calls for Three Hundred Thousand more Volunteers — Extra Session of the Legislature called — Governor’s Address — Bounties increased — Abstract of Laws


The Military Camps in Massachusetts — Number of Troops Jan. 1, 1864 Where Serving — Letter of Governor to Lewis Hayden — From Miss Upham — Soldier’s Scrap-book — Letter to Samuel Hooper — Sale of Heavy Ordnance — The Condition of our Defences — Colonel Ritchie in England — Meeting of the Legislature — Organization — Addresses of Mr. Field and Colonel Bullock — Address of the Governor — Eloquent Extract — Abstract of Military Laws — Members of Congress — Letter to John B. Alley — The Springfield Companies — Secretary Stanton refuses to pay them Bounties — Correspondence in Regard to it — Letters from General Butler — Governor to Miss Upham — Complaints about Soldiers at Long Island — Re-enlisted Veterans — Order of War Department — Returns of Veteran Regiments — Their Reception — Letter to General Hancock — General Burnside reviews the Troops at Readville — Letter to the Christian Watchman — General Andrews —Surgeon-General Dale — Confederate Money — Letter from General Gordon —Battle of Olustee — Letter to Selectmen of Plymouth — A Second Volume of Scrapbook — Letter from Mr. Lovejoy — Lieutenant-Colonel Whittemore Correspondence — The Heavy Artillery — Condition of Fort Warren — Misunderstanding — Secretary Stanton and the Governor — Colonel William F. Bartlett — His Promotion — Earnest Letter to Mr. Sumner — Troubles about Recruiting — Complaints made — A Convention held —Letter of the Adjutant-General — The Recruiting of New Regiments — Forwarded to the Front — The Advance of General Grant


General Position of Affairs at the Beginning of 1864 — Credits in the Navy — Law of Congress — Appointment of Commissioners — Circular Letter — Agents to Recruit in Rebel States — Letter to Mr. Everett — Governor Andrew in Washington — Pay of Colored Troops Letter to the President — Letter to Mr. Stanton — Expectation of Rebel Attack on our Coast — Present of a Turtle — Brigadier-General Bartlett — Letter to Governor Seymour, of New York — Letter to the Secretary of War — Letter to the Attorney-General — Letter to Andrew Ellison — Colonel N. A. M. Dudley — Letter of Governor Yates, of Illinois — Case of Otis Newhall, of Lynn — Case of Mrs. Bixby, of Boston — Letter to the President — Plan to burn the Northern Cities Speech of Mr. Everett — Destruction of the “Alabama” — Honors paid to Commodore Winslow — Donations for our Soldiers — Letter of Mr. Stebbins — Letter to the Union League Club, New York — Colored Officers — Letter to James A. Hamilton — Battle before Nashville — Case of Jack Flowers — National Conventions — Nominations — Republican State Convention — Proceedings — Renomination of Governor Andrew — Democratic State Convention — Nominations — Report of the Adjutant-General’s Journey to the Front — Staff Appointments during the Year — Conclusion


Public Confidence — Meeting of the Legislature — Organization — Address of Governor Andrew — Acts passed by the Legislature — General Sargent — Death of Edward Everett — Frontier Cavalry — Governor and Secretary Stanton — Abolition of Slavery — Boston Harbor — Fast Day — Currency Question — Proclamation of President Lincoln — Case of a Deserter — Letter from Secretary Seward — Foreign Enlistments — The End of the Rebellion — Capitulation of General Lee — Rejoicings throughout the State — Governor sends a Message to the Legislature — Meeting in Faneuil Hall — Proposition for a National Thanksgiving — Death of President Lincoln — Action of the Legislature — Governor’s Letter to Mrs. Lincoln — Original Copy of General Lee’s Farewell Address, sent to the Governor by General Russell — Death of General Russell — Monument to the First Martyrs in Lowell — Address of the Governor — Letter to F. P. Blair, Sen. — Meeting at Faneuil Hall — Letter of the Governor — Reconstruction — Colonel William S. Lincoln — Memorial Celebration at Harvard — Letter to Mr. Motley, Minister to Austria — Miss Van Lew — Alexander H. Stephens — Governor to President Lincoln — Relics of Colonel Shaw — Letter to Colonel Theodore Lyman — State Prisoners in Maryland — Letter to James Freeman Clarke — Freedman’s Bureau — Emigration South — Letter to General Sherman — Governor’s Staff — Governor declines Re-election — Republican Convention — Democratic Convention — Reception of the Flags Forefathers’ Day — Speech of General Couch — Speech of Governor Andrew — Compliment to the Adjutant-General — General Grant visits Massachusetts — Mrs. Harrison Gray Otis — Her Services — New-England Women’s Auxiliary Association — What it did — New-England Rooms, New York — Massachusetts Soldiers’ Fund — Boston Soldiers’ Fund — Surgeon-General’s Fund — Number of Men sent from Massachusetts to the War — Governor Andrew’s Valedictory Address — Governor Bullock inaugurated — Last Military Order — Close of the Chapter

All images included in blog posts are from either Accessible Archives collections or out of copyright public sources unless otherwise noted. Common sources include the Library of Congress, The Flickr Commons, Wikimedia Commons, and other public archives.

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