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38th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry

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38th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry

The 38th Regt. Mass. Vol. Inf. was recruited in towns in the vicinity of Boston and in Plymouth and Bristol Counties. Companies A, B, and C rendezvoused at Camp Day North Cambridge, while the other seven companies were organized at Camp Stanton, Lynnfield. These latter companies were mustered in Aug. 20 to 22, the former at various times in July and August, 1862.

About the last of August the regiment was sent to Baltimore, Md. Here on September 3 Col. Timothy Ingraham took command. The 38th remained in Maryland until Nov. 10, when it embarked on the S. S. BALTIC as a part of the Banks Expedition to Louisiana. Ship Island was reached Dec. 13, and Carrollton, near New Orleans, on New Year's Day, 1863. Here the 38th was assigned to Gooding's (3d) Brigade, Paine's (3d) Division, Banks' 1864. (19th) Corps.

Early in March, 1863, the regiment proceeded to Baton Rouge, La., and later in the month cooperated with the Navy in the passage of the batteries at Port Hudson. About April 1 the regiment was transported down the Mississippi River to Algiers opposite New Orleans where it joined the Teche Expedition, taking train for Brashear City, April 9. At Fort Bisland, April 12, the regiment had its first combat experience, losing 6 killed and 29 wounded. It then pushed on to Opelousas and thence proceeded by a forced march of four days to Alexandria on the Red River, which place was reached May 8. Here the fleet was found in possession of the town. After a week's rest at Alexandria the 38th, with the rest of Emory's Division, returned by the same road as far as Cheneyville where it diverged to the eastward to Simmsport on the Atchafalaya River, reaching there May 18. On the following day the troops started for the Mississippi, reaching that river near Morganza Bend on 22d. From here transports bore them to Bayou Sara some miles above Port Hudson.

On May 25 the regiment was engaged at Sandy Creek with slight loss. In the first assault on Port Hudson, May 27, the regiment lost Lieut. Col. William L. Rodman and two enlisted men killed and 14 wounded. In the second assault, June 14, it lost 7 killed and 84 wounded, 15 of these fatally. After the surrender of Port Hudson, July 9, the regiment accompanied an expedition to Donaldsonville, returning to Baton Rouge, Aug. 1. Here the regiment remained in camp through the fall and ensuing winter doing little active duty.

In March, 1864, the 38th became a part of Sharpe's (3d) Brigade, Grover's (2d) Division, Franklin's (19th) Corps. It started with the Red River Expedition in the latter part of March, proceeding as far as Alexandria, La., by boat and debarking there on the 25th. Here the 3d Brigade was left to guard supplies while the rest of the force continued on toward Shreveport.

On April 12, the regiment embarked on the MITTIE STEVENS and went to meet the main force which was now in retreat. The following day it met this force at Grand Ecore, and on the 21st of April the expedition left that place on its return to Alexandria. In a skirmish near the crossing of Cane River, April 23, the 38th lost five killed and six wounded. Alexandria was reached April 26, and was occupied until the 14th of May, when the army continued its retrograde movement through Marksville and Simmsport to Morganza Bend which was reached May 21. On the 2d of May, while the expedition was at Alexandria, Brig. Gen. William H. Emory succeeded General Franklin in command of the l9th Corps. Some skirmishes with guerrillas during the month of June marked the end of the combat service of the 38th Regiment in Louisiana.

Ordered to Algiers early in July, on the 20th of the month the regiment embarked on the KARNACK for Fort Monroe, the 19th Corps having been ordered to Virginia. Arriving on the 28th, the regiment was immediately sent to Washington City. Proceeding thence through Harper's Ferry to Halltown, W. Va., it here became a part of the Army of the Shenandoah, to which the 19th Corps was now attached. After some maneuvering it advanced to a position near Berryville where it remained until the morning of Sept. 19, when it crossed the Opequan and participated in the battle of Winchester. Here it lost 8 killed and 38 wounded, several mortally. It was present at the battle of Fisher's Hill, Sept. 22, suffering only slight loss. At Cedar Creek, Oct. 19, the regiment was among those surprised in Early's morning attack, and took part in the Union counter attack on the afternoon of the same day. Here it lost 5 killed, 14 wounded, and 35 captured or missing.

The 38th remained in camp, first at Cedar Creek and later near Kernstown until Dec. 20 when it was transferred to Winchester where it served for a short time as provost guard. On Jany. 6 it marched to Stephenson's Depot where it entrained for Baltimore reaching its destination next day. Here with two other regiments of its brigade the 38th took transport for Savannah, Ga. embarking Jan. 13, and arriving at its destination on the 19th. Here it remained until March 4 when it embarked for Morehead City, N. C. Reaching this place March 8, it entrained for Newbern but returned the following day to Morehead City. Here it remained handling and guarding supplies for Sherman's army until April 8 when it entrained for Goldsboro. Here it did guard duty until May 2, when it returned to Morehead City and two days later again took transport for Savannah, Ga.

The war now being at an end the following seven weeks hung heavily on the men of the 38th. Finally on June 30, the recruits and re-enlisted men having been transferred to the 26th Mass. Regt., the remnant of the 38th took boat for Boston arriving at Galloup's Island, Boston Harbor, July 7. Here, July 13, 1865, the regiment was paid off and mustered out of the United States service.

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

The men of the 38th Massachusetts:
Regimental Staff
Company 'A'
Company 'B'
Company 'C'
Company 'D'
Company 'E'
Company 'F'
Company 'G'
Company 'H'
Company 'I'
Company 'K'

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