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1st Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry

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Date: 1861 to 1864
Location: Bostonmap
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1st Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry

The 1st Regt. Mass. Vol. Inf. was the outgrowth of the 1st Regt. Mass. Vol. Mil., commanded by Col. Robert Cowdin, who became colonel of the 1st Inf. when its organization was completed. To the five companies of the 1st Regt. Mass. Vol. Mil. were added five others of volunteers raised in April, 1861. Four companies were mustered into the service May 23, four others May 24, and one each on May 25 and May 27. On June 1 the regiment assembled at Camp Ellsworth on the banks of Fresh Pond in Watertown. Twelve days later it was transferred to Camp Cameron in North Cambridge.

Leaving Massachusetts June 15, on the 17th it reached Washington. Assigned to Richardson's Brigade of Tyler's Division, it remained in camp near Washington until the advance to Bull Run where it participated in the battle at Blackburn's Ford, July 18, three days before the main battle of Bull Run.

In August it became a part of the famous Hooker Brigade. During the fall it was encamped for some time at Bladensburg, did duty on the Potomac above Washington, built Fort Lincoln, moved to Budd's Ferry, and was variously engaged until spring when it became a part of Grover's Brigade, Hooker's Division, Heintzelman's (3d) Corps, and was transferred to the Peninsula.

On April 6 it was in action before Yorktown, and on May 5 it suffered heavily at Williamsburg. It was encamped in the White Oak Swamp region until June 25 when it was engaged with loss at Fair Oaks. During the Seven Days battles it lost heavily at Glendale, June 30, its major, Charles P. Chandler being killed. After the battle of Malvern Hill it retired to Harrison's Landing where it remained until August when it was ordered back to the defenses of Washington.

Joining Gen. Pope's army near Warrenton Jc., as a part of Grover's Brigade, Hooker's Division, it was in action at Bristoe Station, Aug. 27, and again near Groveton (Manassas), Aug. 29, where it assaulted the celebrated railroad embankment and suffered severe loss. After the campaign was ended the regiment remained in or near the defenses of Washington until the last of October. About this time Gen. Carr succeeded Gen. Grover in command of the brigade. After Fredericksburg, where the regiment suffered slight loss, it went into winter quarters at Acquia Creek on the Potomac.

As a part of Carr's Brigade, Berry's Division, Sickles' (3d) Corps, it lost heavily at Chancellorsville, May 3, 1863, and still more heavily at Gettysburg, July 2, while defending the line of the Emmittsburg road. At Wapping Heights, July 23, in New York City during the late summer and fall, at Kelly's Ford, Nov. 7, and during the Mine Run campaign in the latter part of November the regiment performed valuable service with few casualties. The following winter was spent in camp near Brandy Station.

When the 3d Corps was broken up in the early spring of 1864 the 1st Regt. became a part of McAllister's Brigade, Mott's Division, Hancock's (2d) Corps. With this command it participated in the battles of the Wilderness and Spottsylvania, its last combat service being in Hancock's assault on the Bloody Angle, May 12, 1864.

Transferring its recruits and reenlisted men to the 11th Mass. Inf., about May 20 it left the front and returned to Boston where it was mustered out on May 25, after fully three years of service.

Source: Massachusetts Soldiers, Sailors & Marines in the Civil War

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