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This is the archive for March 2012

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Note: the 18th Mass. continued in camp at New Market Bridge, VA.

Even though the sun was shining, two officers from the Regiment, fed up with living in a "swamp" and in tents so small that one had to change their clothes outside, sought quarters elsewhere. Four other officers, who had formed a mess, shared a coffee pot, four dippers, two plates and a single fork and knife. "We have to use our fingers. That is what we call going back to first principles."

Friday, March 30, 2012

Note: the 18th Mass. continued in camp at New Market Bridge, VA.

A heavy rain, which had begun the night before, continued throughout the day turning the 18th's camp into a flood plain. Combined with the cold all were "very uncomfortable."

Note: to find out what David C. Meechan of Co. E was up to on this date visit his Facebook page.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Note: the 18th Mass. continued in camp at New Market Bridge, VA.

After obtaining passes, some from the Regiment visited Newport News where they saw the U.S.S. Cumberland lying in "24 feet of water" close by the shore, while the U.S.S. Congress "burnt to the water's edge" lay about a third of a mile to the south, both ships having been sunk as a result of their tangle with the Merrimac on March 8, 1862.

Back in camp, beans, salt junk, and rice were added to the menu; welcome food items all after living on four hard breads and unsweetened coffee for ten consecutive days. And while mail was still not being delivered there were welcome visitors in the form of the 7th Massachusetts Infantry which arrived on the scene and pitched camp close by the 18th.

Sinking of the Cumberland by the Merrimac

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Note: the 18th Mass. continued in camp at New Market Bridge, VA.

While every regimental commander probably dreamt of achieving glory on the battlefield, the reality is that a Colonel's life could be a downright crappy job at times. Witness General Order No. 14 issued by Col. James Barnes, who made it clear he wasn't going to pamper the men in the 18th Mass.

Head Quarters 18th Regiment Mass. Infty
Camp near New Market Va March 28th 1862

General Order No. 14
The necessary sinks for both Officers and men have been provided and are situated upon either flank. Any improper use by the men of the woods or fields will not here after be permitted.

Per Order James Barnes
Col. Commanding

J.C. Ayer, Adjutant

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Note: the Regiment remained encamped at New Market Bridge, VA

A large reconnaissance force was sent in the direction of Big Bethel, but it was found the Rebels had abandoned their positions.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Note: the Regiment remained encamped at New Market Bridge, VA

All delivery of incoming mail was stopped with no time frame announced as to when it would begin again. Some in the Regiment took advantage of their downtime between drills and camp duties by combing the nearby shore for shell fish.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Note: the Regiment was encamped on the Peninsula at New Market Bridge, VA

24 miles away from Yorktown, the Regiment found itself encamped in "splendid" country, where the land was "rich and level." Peach and cherry tree blossoms greeted the eye in every direction. Close by was a large pine forest, interspersed with prickly pear and locust trees, all of which seemingly touched sky. Amid this bountiful land a member of Company I returned to camp with a pig, "which will probably disappear with a relish before tomorrow night."

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Note: the 18th Mass. finds itself in Hampton, VA.

The full impact of the devastation created by Magruder's arsonists unfolded with the rising of the sun. Rubble and ruin greeted the eyes in every direction. House chimneys, standing like solitary sentinels, were about only thing left standing intact. Amid jumbled piles of charred bricks, "numerous piano strings, marble fireplaces, and in one or two places marble floors," green grass and flowers poked their way to the surface.

In late morning a 100 men detail and wagons loaded with the Regiment's baggage arrived at St. John's Church in time for the Regiment's four mile march to New Market Bridge through "beautiful country" where peach blossoms were just starting to bloom.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Note: the 18th Mass. continues its sea voyage toward Fortress Monroe, VA.

Men woke with the sun on Sunday morning to find the Elm City already underway and in the open waters of the Chesapeake Bay. For the next nine hours the men would relax, breath salt air, and enjoy placid waters before coming in sight of Fortress Monroe at Hampton, Virginia in late afternoon, where the boat would once again anchor. From the top deck they had an hour's viewing time of the fort and the gun boat Monitor sitting in the harbor before the sun finally set.

Darkness fully enveloped the shore when orders came to shoulder knapsacks and muskets. The steps down the gangplank were the first of what turned out to be a roundabout march of two to three miles into the charred ruins of a once beautiful and prosperous city that Confederate General John B. Magruder had ordered torched the previous August. Lacking superstition, Company I pitched its tents amongst the headstones of the St. Johns' churchyard cemetery.

St. John's Church - April 1862 (Library of Congress photo)

St. John's Episcopal Church - photo by Donald Thompson

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Note: the 18th Mass. leaves Alexandria for Fortress Monroe.

The Elm City weighed anchor about 9 a.m. on Saturday morning and, taking its place in the convoy line, slowly steamed east on the Potomac, its paddle wheel churning up water reddened by mud that had washed into it. A short time later Fort Washington, on the left, and then Mt. Vernon, on the right, came into view. All crowded against the rails to catch a glimpse of the mansion and the tomb where Washington's remains rested. Of added interest were the abandoned Rebel batteries that had impeded river traffic to and from the nation's capitol.

Cruising along in pleasant weather the Elm City, having traveled about 90 miles from Alexandria, dropped anchor after dark, just short of the confluence of the Potomac and Chesapeake Bay.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Note: the 18th Mass. breaks camp and boards a troop transport.

Starting from Camp California around noon, the 18th Mass. marched about five miles through "mud over shoe" to a wharf in Alexandria, arriving just as dark set in. From 10 p.m. to midnight 965 members of the Regiment filed on board the steamer "Elm City," one of 25 vessels contracted to carry Porter's First Division to Fortress Monroe. Officers were assigned to unfurnished State Rooms, while enlisted men claimed their own spaces on the floor of one of three decks.

Elm City

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Note: the 18th Mass. remained at Camp California near Alexandria, VA

Rain fell through out the day and continued on through the evening. After dark campfires from all the assembled regiments lit up the sky for miles around. Captain Joseph Collingwood took care to burn his wife's letters after reading them. The day before, after returning to Camp California, he, along with others, found their belongings had been ransacked by members of the 19th New York Infantry, who were supposed to be protecting the 18th's camp while they were absent. Sitting beside the fire Collingwood felt violated. His wife's mud splattered letters, which had been scattered on the ground, were "sacred" to him and he vowed that no "damd scoundrel," "pirate," or "robber" would ever again contaminate his Rebecca. "I have had better usage than that among the secesh."

Note: to find out what David C. Meechan of Co. E was up to on this date visit his Facebook page.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Note: the 18th Mass. remained at Camp California near Alexandria, VA

Recognizing a good man and soldier when they saw one, nine Captains and 15 Lieutenants in the Regiment signed a petition to Gov. John Andrew of Massachusetts in support of Company D's 1st Sergeant John Thompson Haskell's promotion to Second Lieutenant. Nepotism would ultimately win out, however, when Lieut. Col. Timothy Ingraham's son William, then Commissary Sergeant, was elevated to the position on April 2nd. Why Haskell, who would later be cited for bravery at the battle of Fredericksburg, was continually passed over for promotion and mustered out of the service in October 1864 still a 1st Sergeant remains a mystery.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Note: on this date the 18th Mass. passed the day at Camp California outside Alexandria, VA

From the vantage point of Camp California, situated on a high hill overlooking the Potomac, men were able to observe an increase in river traffic with sailing vessels and steamers traveling in both directions. Also observed was the 22nd Massachusetts, which began arriving piecemeal from Fairfax. Positioned in front of the 18th when the return march began on March 15th their return was greeted by derisive cheers and ball busting taunts from their Massachusetts compatriots.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Note: the Regiment is encamped near Alexandria, VA

In preparation for a move down the Potomac, Second Lieutenant George M. Barnard, Jr., who was in Washington seeing to his pay, made arrangements for all his baggage to be sent to Baltimore, thereby reducing the personal effects he'd carry with him on the campaign to his blankets, a towel, and tooth brush. Strolling the waterfront he spied two familiar boats, both of which had plied New England waters: the "Nelly Baker" and "Naushon." Berthed among more than fifty steamers now anchored in the Potomac, their owners had contracted for their use to transport troops.

Across the river word was received in camp that General Nathaniel Banks had arrived with his force at Manassas. That news only added to the positive attitude everyone had adopted. Even chronic grumblers had little to complain about. A campaign loomed and conditions in the temporary camp were improved over those experienced at Fairfax. Most important to the over 800 stomachs in residence was the fact there was plenty of fresh beef and soft bread to go round.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Note: the start of the Peninsular Campaign is announced.

What had been unclear was now made crystal clear. All ears in the Regiment heard the same thing in an order read to them. McClellan put it to them succinctly: "The time has come."

Confident the Army of the Potomac could and would kick butt and force the Confederacy's quick capitulation, the General Commanding was now going to send them "right where the Rebels are." The gloves were off! The ramparts were to be scaled! Loyalists versus traitors! Mano a mano! That very moment, when the realization pitched battle loomed, when every throat let loose a wild fevered cheer, could only have been improved upon by the Chambers Brothers immediately taking the stage and launching into their soaring, drum pounding anthem: "Time Has Come Today."

The men of the 18th Mass., thinking they might have to march off to war without benefit of the pies and cookies offered by a Sutler, were relieved to hear that William S.S. Mann had stepped in to fill the void created through the departure of Jacob Crossman. Crossman either had no desire to tag along behind the regiment with his rolling 7-Eleven, or saw the opportunity for larger profits in an entirely different venture.

Even though they drew many times more pay than the average soldier, officers were responsible for rounding up and paying for their own grub. Those who were solely dependent on their pay to make ends meet, and often short on funds just before pay day, were not above soliciting enlisted men for a share of their rations.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Note: on this date the 18th Mass. marched from Fairfax to Alexandria, VA

There was nothing pleasant about the fifteen mile trek from Fairfax to Alexandria. Rain pounded down "like a waterfall nearly half the time." Woolen clothing soaked. Blankets that had been strapped to knapsacks, soaked. Boots and brograns which had plunged into one too many streams were heavy, spongy, and filled with water. To make matters worse, after assisting in pulling horses and wagons from mudholes the entire route, the night was spent in small leaking tents left standing by the 66th New York on a high hill overlooking the Potomac and close by an abandoned flour mill. The whole scene repeated throughout the day and night, played out as if it were a continuous film loop, was of a landscape surrendered to tear streaked skies and desolation.

Note: to find out what David C. Meechan of Co. E was up to on this date visit his Facebook page.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Note: the 18th Mass. remains at Fairfax Court House

An officer and detail from each Company was sent back to Hall's Hill to supervise moving baggage and property from camp to Fort Corcoran where it would all be stored. While it was known they'd be headed toward Alexandria, the Regiment's ultimate destination was a mystery. Some speculation centered around Richmond. Others were convinced the Division was being shipped further south, perhaps even to South Carolina.

Suspicious activity centered around mail. Letters weren't arriving at their intended Massachusetts destinations, while many envelopes bore evidence of having been picked open at time of delivery in camp. "It is a scoundrely piece of robbery but every mail bears such a mark about that comes here." Some missives that did arrive sounded alarm about rumors that officers were drinking heavily. 1st Lieutenant Erastus Everson shot back at one correspondent. "I do not think there is near so much drinking in the Army in proportion as there is out of it. As for our Regt. with one exception no officer gets tight & many never drink."

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Note: the Regiment marches to Centreville from Fairfax and back.

On a day that felt more like summer than late winter, the Regiment marched to Centreville. Prisoners, who were described as "good stout looking fellows," Secesh wagons, and contrabands passed them headed in the opposite direction toward Farifax. Lt. Stephen Drew didn't accompany the Regiment. He headed instead for Manassas where he picked up an "old fashioned sabre" from the ground as a souvenier.

Upon their return to camp promotions, certified by Gov. John Andrew of Massachusetts, were awarded to now First Lieutenant Samuel H. Bugbee of Co. I, a 31-year-old Jeweler from Wrentham, newly minted 21-year-old Second Lieutenant John D. Isbel of Naugatuck, Connecticut, and Edward Richards of Dedham, who succeeded Isbel as Quartermaster Sergeant for the Regiment. All were to be "obeyed and respected accordingly."

Monday, March 12, 2012

Note: the Regiment remains encamped at Fairfax, VA.

Anxious the army hadn't pushed on to Centreville by now, word leaked out that the rebels had evacuated that town as well as the intended target, Manassas, burning bridges, tearing up railroad track, and setting off explosions in their wake. "Yes! 150,000 Rebels fairly frightened out of their senses." The Union army was ordered not to pursue, but to continue to hold at Fairfax for the next few days.

The Regiment spent the afternoon sprucing up their equipment and uniforms in preperation for an evening review of the First Brigade by McClellan and his staff. All went smoothly. The Regiment looked sharp and "Georgie," as he was affectionately called, had his ego stroked by enthuiastic cheers.

After the expected confrontation with the Confederate army had fizzled into nothingness, the only apparent casualty was McClellan, who was still wiping the egg of embarrassment from his face after discovering part of the “formidable” defenses at Manassas had consisted of wooden logs masquerading as mounted cannon. Confederate General Joseph Johnston had simply left the so called “Quaker” guns behind as a welcoming gift for his adversary. As would later be confirmed during the Peninsula campaign, while Confederates were expert players, McClellan wasn't very good at the game of Charades.

What McClellan was particularly good at in this stage of the war, however, was securing loyalty. Convincing rumors swirled that he was going to adopt Fitz-John Porter's Division of the Third Corps, which included the 18th Mass, as his own personal body guard. It was true, or so many believed, the young Napoleon was going to form his own "sort of Imperial Guard." McClellan, of course, probably would have answered that he had no idea how those rumors got started.

"Quaker" Guns at Manassas.  Library of Congress photo.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Note: the 18th Mass. is encamped at Fairfax Court House, VA

Curiosity drew men into Fairfax village for a look around. What they saw was a “pretty place,” its streets lined with a number of “handsome houses” mostly of brick construction, the best of which had been appropriated for headquarters usage by generals. While most of “Rebeldom” had fled the Union army’s approach "six or seven families" still occupied an estimated fifty homes which comprised the town. Those soldiers respectful of property belonging to others simply peered in the windows and doorways of an abandoned iron factory, steam mill, tannery, courthouse, meeting house, and jail, while others, left unchecked, targeted stores. Dry goods and especially foodstuffs were stripped from shelves. Most valued though were the fences. Whole sections were seen being carried away to fuel fires.

Encamped with 60,000 other troops in a field about a quarter of a mile outside the village, Col. James Barnes was not content to have his men standing idly by. He ordered them to drill, in full view of thousands who gathered as spectators. Many in the admiring crowd admitted to mistaking the 18th for regular army troops.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Note: the Regiment marches from Halls Hill to Fairfax Court House, VA.

Fully packed and operational the 18th Massachusetts, along with the rest of the First Brigade, marched off to war. Leaving Hall's Hill at seven in the morning under a steady rain, the Regiment waded through muck that was reported knee deep in some places. The 18th finally halted fourteen mud splattered miles later just outside Fairfax Court House "in good spirits and full of fight." One member of Co. I wrote he was soaked clear to the bone and estimated his felt overcoat weighed 15 pounds by march's end.

While other regiments were reported to have littered the side of the road with stragglers, including the 22nd Mass. which "left 300 along the route," the 18th had arrived at their destination intact. General Daniel Butterfield was impressed. "He never saw a Regt. make such a march as we did."

Note: to find out what David C. Meechan of Co. E was up to on this date visit his Facebook page.

Friday, March 09, 2012

At 11 p.m. orders confirmed that George McClellan had finally adopted the Post Office motto as his own and announced the Army of the Potomac would quit lying quietly along the Potomac, break camp, and push toward Manassas on Monday morning. Hurrah! Boys Hurrah!

There was little to remind anyone it was Sunday. Capt. Joseph Collingwood, who had been in Washington supervising the return of Horace Dramell's body to Massachusetts, described the scene in the city: "Troops are continualy marching through, drums beating, colors flying, and long trains of Army wagons rumbling through the streets, and crowds of people moveing about."

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Not only was McClellan being prodded into action by Abraham Lincoln's pitchfork, better known as "War Order No. 1," which had called for the Army of the Potomac to get off its collective duff and launch an offensive against the Rebels on Washington's birthday, "War Order No. 2, issued on March 8th, essentially told "Georgie," as his men affectionately called him, leadership in Washington knew more about organizing an army than he did.

Through mandated adoption of a Corps system, the 18th Massachusetts now found itself assigned to the First Brigade, of the First Division, of the Third Corps. The chain of command now began with Col. James Barnes, West Point class of 1829, who was under command of Brigadier General John H. Martindale, West Point class of 1835, who was subordinate to Brig. Gen. Fitz-John Porter, West Point class of 1845, who, in turn, reported to Samuel P. Heintzelman, who had graduated from the Academy in 1826.

The rest of the First Brigade was rounded out by 2nd Maine, the 13th and 25th New York, and U.S. Senator "Henry Wilson's Regiment," the 22nd Massachusetts. The 2nd Maine and 13th New York were already combat tested, both regiments having "performed admirably" at Bull Run the previous July.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Note: the 18th Mass. is encamped at Hall's Hill, Arlington, VA

The worst fear among men in the Regiment, dying in the hospital, continued to be realized when Horace Damrell, at 19, and the youngest Sergeant in the Regiment, succumbed to Typhoid Fever only three days after its onset, at Seminary Hospital in Georgetown.

The son of a former U.S. Congressman and a graduate of Dedham High School, Damrell, as one of the "Boys of '61," responded to the surrender of Fort Sumter by enlisting with the 9th Massachusetts on April 20th. "A young man of fine promise and unflinching courage," he had reportedly been one of two men from his regiment who had remained to guard 1st Lt. John Trout Greble's battery at the battle of Big Bethel when all others sought retreat. Damrell was survived by his mother, a brother William, who was a Sergeant in the 13th Massachusetts, and another brother, Andrew, who was a Cadet at West Point. Accorded the full honors of a military funeral, Damrell would be laid beside his father, William Shapleigh Damrell, at Forest Hills Cemetery in Jamaica Plains, now a Boston neighborhood.

While Horace Damrell was breathing his last, the Regiment marched 15 miles on a morning so cold that water turned to solid ice in canteens in order to relieve the 3rd Vermont Infantry, who were on picket duty near Vienna. Extending his pickets an additional mile and a half forward of the reserve, Capt. Joseph Collingwood found two houses occupied by Rebel pickets and ordered them torched. "They did not stop to smell the smoke."

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Note: the 18th Mass. is encamped at Hall's Hill, Arlington, VA

Orders were issued for the third time in a week that the Brigade should be ready to march at first light the following morning, this time for Manassas. The general consensus was that McClellan was feeling heat from the White House to stop lollagagging. The further consensus from Porter's staff was that the 18th Mass. excelled all other regiments of the Division in the bayonet exercise. Sgt. Solomon Beals of Co. D credited the men themselves for achieving such proficiency.

"They have given themselves up to discipline and attained a proficiency in drill that is marked and acknowledged by our generals. It has given us confidence and we are or shall be much more willing to meet an enemy now than we should have been last fall."

Monday, March 05, 2012

Note: the 18th Mass. is encamped at Hall's Hill, Arlington, VA

Under orders to march at any moment, the Regiment had kept their knapsacks packed for the past week, unrolling their blankets only at night. Each Company was further directed to form platoons of two Corporals and 20 privates each.

Sgt. Solomon Beals of Co. D was ready for any forward movement. In addition to his "short rifle" he planned to carry a short sword and navy revolver in his belt.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Note: the 18th Mass. is encamped at Hall's Hill, Arlington, VA

Surgeon William Holbrook formally requested in writing that four men, detailed as nurses in the Regimental Hospital, be returned to the ranks due to heavy drinking. Holbrook had already dismissed the men, but protocol demanded he clear it with Col. James Barnes. Holbrook trusted Pvt. James W. Hyde's ability to maintain sobriety and requested he be assigned as a replacement.

Capt. Joseph Collingwood explained the meaning of "First Families of Virginia," or "F.F.V." to his wife Rebecca, who had been puzzled by the term in a previous letter.

"They are supposed to have better blood than the rest of mankind. They neither associate nor marry with the common herd. They are supposed to be descended from the old English Cavaliers. Some of them are poor, but it matters not if they only have noble blood. Sometimes in getting information from them we ask them about a certain family, who perhaps are a great deal better off than they are. They will say, ah, they are nobody, their father was only a mechanic."

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Note: the 18th Mass. is encamped at Hall's Hill, Arlington, VA

In preparation for an impending move, Company Sergeants stepped up bayonet drills and more time was devoted to target practice.

Company D, comprised of men mostly from Middleboro, and considered one of the best in the Regiment, was positioned on the right of the line, a tip of the military cap to their Captain, Stephen Thomas, who ranked all his peers in seniority.

Thomas was a skilled iron worker used to working with men under his direct supervision, not only while on the job at the Taunton Locomotive Manufacturing Co , but from pre-war experience as a militia Colonel with the 3rd Regiment of Light Infantry. A rotund figure of Falstaffian proportions, he was a died in the wool "Swamp Yankee," who spoke with a nasal twang, pronouncing words, such as what one put on their feet, as "storkings." As one Boston blueblood wrote, "He can make himself understood, I suppose, and that is the main thing." What he may have lacked in the way of a formal education he more than made up for through native intelligence and was characteristically described as "sharp," and "a smart officer," all of which was accompanied by a pleasant, friendly and gentlemanly demeanor.

Married and the father of six children, only half of whom survived infancy, Thomas was evidently partial to females whose first names ended with the letter A. His wife and first born were named Almira, while three other daughters were baptized as Zilpha, Garafelia, and Ruana. His sons, on the other hand, were given the rather unimaginative appellations of James and Benjamin.

As will be referenced in future posts in the "Down With The Traitors" series, Thomas would command the Regiment during the Second Battle of Bull Run while still a Captain and subsequently rise to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel before suffering a crippling leg injury during the retreat from Chancellorsville to Falmouth in May 1863, an injury which would curtail his military career and return him to his pre-war work of molding iron for an industrializing America.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Note: the 18th Mass. is encamped at Hall's Hill, Arlington, VA

Three months before her eldest child enlisted in the Army, an event that occurred a week after the firing on Fort Sumter, Elvira (Cram) Stevens rejoiced for her son Nelson's soul and his expressed desire to surrender his life to Jesus Christ.

" yearning desire [is] that you may be a meek, devoted Christian. My heart is tremulous with hope my precious boy, and grateful tears start to my eyes, because of your determination to be a disciple of my blessed Jesus. Oh may you accept the blessed offer of salvation."

Fourteen months after Elvira Stevens' letter was posted through the mail, Captain Charles W. Carroll of Co. F, with a heaviness of purpose, wrote of a life that had surrendered its place in this world.

Halls Hill, Va.
March 2, 1862

My dear [Mr. Stevens],

It becomes my painful duty to announce to you the sad event which deprives you of your son [Nelson R. Stevens]. He sank away quietly and without pain last night at nine o’clock. He had suffered but little pain during his sickness, and as I saw [Nelson] after the spirit had flown, he seemed like a child asleep, so calm and peaceful were his features.

We have his funeral this morning, and immediately after it his remains will be sent to Washington on their way to Massachusetts. It is all that we can do to return the mortal part of the son whom you are thus called upon to give up, hoping that it may gratify you to behold the form once more even though the spirit does not assoicate it.

I shall write to hereafter at greater length. Time will not admit of it now.

I am truly yours,
CW Carroll

Riding in a coffin placed alongside that of Stevens' on a northbound baggage car was the body of 19-year-old Isaac Harlow. One year older than Stevens, Harlow, a Private in Co. C, like Stephens, had died of Typhoid Fever on March 1st. It was through the generous contributions of their comrades that they were embalmed and returned home for burial; Harlow to South Carver and Stevens to West Dedham. A grim group of nine men from the Regiment, their uniforms adorned with black crepe as symbols of mourning, rode ahead in a passenger car as an escort.

This excerpt from the eulogy for Isaac Harlow, which would later appear in the Middleboro Gazette, made known to all the genuine heartfelt appreciation for the 18th Massachusetts.

Solemn and appropriate religious services were holden over his body in the P. Methodist Chapel in So. Carver on the 7th inst., by Revs. E.W. Barrows and S.Y. Wallace, in presence of the largest concourse of people ever known here to have assembled before on such an occasion. Text, Hebrews, 13th, 14th, “For we have no continuing city, but we seek one to come.” Prominate [sic] amid the large concourse was seen the members of the Division to which he belonged. They came bearing the badge of sorrow – not only so the sadness of the countenance gave testimony to the sincerity of their professions toward a brother beloved. But the last and leave taking was still more touching. He had been lowered to his resting place and each member past slowly by and looking down upon him said in mournful cadence, “Brother Farewell!”

The undersigned beg leave to tender their warmest thanks and gratitude to the Captain, Lieutenant, officers and men, of Co. C, 18th Reg. Mass. Vol., for the liberality, humanity and kindness to them in the person of their dear son, who died in their midst, and by them was sent to us, that we might have the mournful satisfaction of seeing him ere he was covered from sight.

Benjamin Harlow
Lydia J. Harlow

In Dedham, the Gazette ran the following article on page two of its March 15th edition:

Nelson Roland Stevens

This promising young man, who was well known to the citizens of this town, as a worthy member of Company F, 18th Regiment (Dedham Volunteers) died at Hall's Hill, Va. a few days since of typhoid fever. His funeral took place on Sunday last. His parents reside in West Dedham.

The following communication addressed to the editior of this paper by one of his comrades in arms, attests to the warm regards which was entertained towards him by his fellow soldiers:

Died in camp at Hall's Hill, Va., Private N.R. Stevens of Company F, 18th Regiment Mass. Infantry of typhoid fever, after a few days illness. His remains have been sent to his bereaved parents at Dedham, Mass. This young man was distinguished by his devotion to literary pursuits, and gave promises of excellence which is now disappointed. He was active in establishing in the Regiment a literary association, and was himself one of the most prominent of its members.

Photo of Roland Stevens grave by Jack Stevens Photo of Isaac Harlow's grave by Donald Thompson

Note: a special thanks to Jack Stevens, the great-nephew of Roland, for his invaluable contributations to this blog post.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Note: the 18th Mass. is encamped at Hall's Hill, Arlington, VA

The sun rose and the sun set, as did the anticipation level and gungho attitude of the entire Regiment, before Col. James Barnes explained that the intended movement had been cancelled after Nathaniel Banks' forces, who Porter's Division had been designated to support, waltzed their way into Winchester, Virginia without firing a shot.