Note: Okay, some would call this cheating, but I decided to rerun a post that first ran three years ago, on November 13, 2006. If you read it you'll see that it's wholly appropriate for today, being that it's Friday the 13th, when superstitions run high and we all make a concerted effort to avoid cracks in sidewalk, refrain from walking under ladders, steer clear of black cats lying in wait, and throw salt over our right shoulders if we knock over the shaker.
Here's a promise though. Me and the "dead guys" will be back with a brand new post on Sunday, the day when our thoughts run deepest and usually get blown out of the water by depth charges.
So, do you remember what you were doing on this day, November 13th, last year? Five years ago? Twenty years ago? Me neither, except my guess is, without looking at the calendar, that I was probably working. There is always work. The 18th Massachusetts remembered, however.
Wednesday, November 13, 1861
The Regiment was encamped at Camp Barnes, Hall’s Hill, VA, which is in present day Arlington and across the Potomac River from Georgetown. Corporal Harrison O. Thomas of Company D described the day as beautiful and the evening as very pleasant, mentioning that the Regiment played football, the teams comprised of the right wing of the Regiment captained by Lt. Col. Timothy Ingraham and the left wing by Major Joseph Hayes.
Captain Joseph Collingwood of Co. H thanked his wife Rebecca and the ladies of Plymouth, MA for sending a box to the Company, which contained not only food, but socks and blankets which he was planning on distributing to his men. Collingwood related that the biggest fear of soldiers was not the danger they faced on the battlefield, but the dread of becoming ill and having to be admitted to the hospital.
Thursday, November 13, 1862
The Regiment was in camp near Warrenton, VA. Lt. Col. Joseph Hayes, who was commanding, issued General Order No. 40 informing the Regiment that Gov. John Andrew had approved the promotion of 1st Lt. Benjamin F. Meservey to Captain of Company K. The Regiment was still reeling from the reading of McClellan’s farewell address on the 10th, while the previous day, the 12th, Fitz-John Porter had been stripped of his Fifth Corps command. Second Lieutenant George Barnard confided to his mother the belief that spies in Burnside’s Ninth Corps had brought McClellan down, cautioning her to maintain confidentiality. According to Barnard, “The army looks like a grand funeral party.”
The reality of a protracted war was settling in for Sgt. Lorenzo Brown. In a letter to his mother he wrote, “But I suppose we are to see a great many more bloody battles before we are to see the end of this unholy rebellion.” Brown had additional concerns. He was flat broke, as the Regiment had not received pay for months, and was out of tobacco.
Friday, November 13, 1863
The day before the Regiment was engaged in battle at Rappahannock Station, Gardner Tufts of the Massachusetts Military State Agency continued his feud with Lt. Col. Joseph Hayes over the ownership of the Chasseur Au Pied uniforms awarded to the Regiment two years before, following a review of troops at Bailey’s Crossroads. Tufts position was that the uniforms were gifts of the citizens of France to the Regiment and therefore property of the men and not the government as Hayes contended. Hayes would have the last word when he threatened to arrest and charge any man attempting to ship the uniforms home with theft of government property. That put a stop to the activity, but not before some, like Nathan Weeks of Co. C, had sent theirs home via express mail. Weeks’ uniform, minus the shako, is now in the hands of a private collector, who stated he paid $8,000 for it at auction.
Sunday, November 13, 1864
Pvt. Charles Simpson, who had been transferred from the 18th Massachusetts to Co. B of the 32nd Massachusetts, stated that the weather was cold and snow fell in the Petersburg, VA area.
November 13, 1901
Private Edmund Whalley of Co. B, whose left leg was amputated six inches below the knee due to a gunshot wound received at Fredericksburg, died at age 66 at Madbury, N.H.
November 13, 1922
Corporal Nehemiah D. Davis of Co. D, who saw action with the Regiment at the siege of Yorktown, Second Bull Run, Antietam, Shepherdstown, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Rappahannock Station and the Wilderness, died at age 88 in Wareham, MA. Davis was one of ten men of Company D cited for their courage at the battle of Fredericksburg. Davis also saw action with the 32nd Massachusetts, suffering amputation of his right forefinger after being wounded at Hatcher’s Run.
November 13, 1925
Private Henry H. Lawton of Co. D, who had been mustered as a Fifer and later served as a cook for the Regiment’s hospital before his transfer to the Veterans Reserve Corps, and who later became disabled by heart and kidney disease, rheumatism, and fading eyesight, died at age 88 in Ada, Oregon.