History of the 13th Massachusetts Volunteers
Summary of Service
The year would be a difficult one. The long awaited advance into Virginia began with high hopes on March 1st 1862, when the army of General Nathaniel Banks crossed the Potomac River. The 13th in the vanguard, were the first Union troops into Martinsburg, and Winchester, Virginia. They soon split off from Banks and marched over the Blue Ridge Mountains to Warrenton where their new Brigade commander, Brigadier-General John J. Abercrombie placed their camp in a dismal fever swamp. The hospital began to fill up with sick men. In early May, General George Lucas Hartsuff replaced the retiring Abercrombie and immediately moved the camp to a much better spot, high on a windy hill at Catlett’s Station. Thus began a mutual feeling of fondness and admiration between the new brigade commander & his troops that would last a life time. Hartsuff was a disciplinarian and reigned in the spirited men of the 13th. General Irvin McDowell was the division commander and Corps commander. McDowell greatly reduced the wagons that carried their supplies; large Sibley tents were replaced with pieces of canvas called shelter tents; and the men conducted marching drills with full equipments on, in weather frequently near 100° F. Gen. McDowell was seen as the root of all evils and remained unpopular.
McDowell planned to link up his force of 40,000 men, with Gen’l. George McClellan’s forces around Richmond, but when Confederate General Stonewall Jackson showed up in the Shenandoah Valley and drove Gen’l. Banks back across the Potomac, President Lincoln ordered McDowell to divert some of his force to the valley to protect Washington from a potential attack, and to (hopefully) assist in trapping Jackson. This turned into a fatiguing campaign with the men exposed to a week of constant heavy rain, little food & no shelter tents. Then on June 6th, near Front Royal, two men of the regiment, left behind with a dozen others two days earlier when a bridge was washed away, drowned while trying to cross the swollen Shenandoah River in a small skiff. Jackson was able to out wit & out maneuver the Federal troops pursuing him at Cross Keys & Port Republic. He eventually left the valley June 17th when Lee called him back to Richmond. The '13th Mass' which was held in reserve at Front Royal returned to Manassas June 17th. General John Pope took command of the newly formed Army of Virginia June 26th.
Pope advanced his little army to the line of the Rapidan River in August. The battle of Cedar Mountain ensued, Aug. 9th. The 13th listened to the battle all day not far off & wondered when they would be brought up in support. Early in the evening they arrived on the battlefield. The enemy began shelling them. They changed position and watched from behind a hill as the Union batteries exchanged fire with the enemy, eventually silencing the Confederate artillery. The next day the Confederate troops slipped away.
General Lee brought his forces west from Richmond to re-enforce Jackson in hopes of destroying Pope's army, now outnumbered and precariously positioned between two rivers, the Rapidan & the Rappahannock. When Pope learned of the Confederate re-enforcements he beat a hasty retreat north of the Rappahannock, August 19th. Lee followed up and the two armies faced each other in a stand off along the river for several days. On Aug. 25th & 26th while General James Longstreet diverted Pope's attention with several feints along the Rhappahannock, Stonewall Jackson (again Jackson) using the Blue Ridge Mountains as a screen, circled around Pope’s right flank and showed up in his rear, sacking Pope’s headquarters & capturing his supply lines at Manassas Junction. On August 27th Pope pulled his disorganized army back toward Manassas in hopes of bagging Jackson, but glaring blunders and failure to acknowledge reports of enemy movements culminated in the routing of his army at 2nd Bull Run Aug. 30th. On that day, Gen’l. James Longstreet made a sweeping attack across Pope’s weak left flank at Chinn Ridge.
Re-enforcements were rushed to Chinn Ridge to bolster what little troops where there trying to stave off the waves of Confederate grey. The '13th Mass' was among those sent in. Private John B. Noyes, Co. B, guessed about 500 men of 580 went into the fight, the rest skulking, shirking and doing whatever to avoid the battle. They fought (in a jumbled & confused line) about 20 minutes flanked on three sides. Thirty-eight men of the regiment were killed, many were captured. Those that got away stood in line of battle at Chantilly two days later on Sept. 1st. The fiasco ended with General Pope resigning and General McDowell relieved. General Joseph Hooker took command of their division and then the corps, thereby boosting morale.
Two and one-half weeks later at Antietam, the 13th made a gallant stand at the Miller Corn field early in the morning of Sept. 17th. Lt. Charles Barnard Fox of Company K, carefully made out the casualty list of killed and wounded. Partly protected by the east woods the regiment’s casualties were somewhat lighter than others in their brigade, but still high at 45%. They took 301 men into the fight and brought out 165. The battle of Fredericksburg was still ahead, but there, acting as skirmishers for the Grand Left Division of General Burnside’s army, the casualties of the regiment were remarkably light in that bloody battle. They lost 4 men killed. The year ended in winter camp at Falmouth, Va.; the men cold hungry and demoralized.
Jan. 1st - Williamsport; Co. K has its first dress parade. New Years day celebrations for some of those detached at Hancock.
Jan. 2nd - Co. K has its first drill since Fort Independence. Companies A, B, E & H take canal boats from Hancock to Williamsport arriving 9 p.m. They stay in town arriving at camp the next morning.
Jan. 4th - General Stonewall Jackson attacks Hancock; (as a rear guard action to his Romney campaign). Confederates drive the 39th Illinois out of Bath, Va. to Hancock. No '13th Mass' troops are at Hancock at this time, but a detachment is ordered there in support.
Sunday, Jan. 5th - Jackson shells Hancock. Companies C, D, I & K are ordered to march there from Williamsport, under command of Lt. Col. N. Walter Batchelder. They leave in a blizzard that night arriving 2 a.m. the next morning and report to General Frederick Lander.
Jan. 6th - Jackson decides to abandon plans to take Hancock and focuses on Romney to the southwest.
Jan. 10th - Companies C, D, I & K return to Williamsport from Hancock, Md. staying over night at Clear Spring. It is a muddy march.
Jan. 9th – 10th - Jackson takes Romney, W.Va.
Jan. 16th - Second-Lieutenant Elliot C. Pierce is promoted to First-Lieutenant, jumping the line of ten Second- Lieutenants. He is Col. Leonard’s friend and favoritism is suspected by the officers outside the Colonel’s circle. Pierce will serve 3 years and receive a Major’s commission with the regt. before muster out. He proves a capable officer.
17th - 22nd
rainy and stormy weather in camp.
Jan. 27th - Capt. Charles R. M. Pratt, Co. E, resigns. Harvard educated private John B. Noyes writes home that Col. Leonard, who has been away, is “attending to the officers of late.”
Jan. 29th - Pay day.
Jan. 31st - First-Lieutenant John G. Hovey is promoted to Captain, Company E. Second-Lieutenant George N. Bush, Company A, is promoted to First-Lieutenant.
Sunday, Feb. 2nd - Chaplain Noah M. Gaylord preaches on the subject that the men will see active service soon.
Feb. 3rd - A New England style snow storm blows through camp all day long.
Feb. 4th - The '13th Mass' Glee Club gives a 2nd performance in Hagerstown at Lyceum Hall. Performers are Osgood W. Waite, tenor, Michael Dagney, alto, John Green, alto and, John White, bass. Lt. Edwin Frost and Sgt. Walter H, Wentworth who were members of the Glee Club.Feb. 6th - Lt. Perry D. Chamberlain, Co. H, resigns. Orders to march are handed out at 4 p.m. but there is no march.
Feb. 7th - Dress parade in the evening. Second-Lieutenant William H. Cary is promoted First-Lieutenant.
Sunday, Feb. 9th - Company D is on duty at Hagerstown as guard, relieving a company of Maryland Home Guard, from this day until February 27th. Chaplain Gaylord preaches on the "Temptations of a Soldier." After the service Major Gould, just back from Washington D.C., speaks to the men. He says the '13th Mass' stands first in the Army. Many men are sick with severe colds at this time.
Feb. 10th - The non-coms of Company I, hold a dance at the Globe Inn at Williamsport.
Feb. 11th - An escaped slave arrives in camp. His wife drowned when their boat capsized crossing the Potomac River.
Feb. 12th - A rehearsal for the "Grand Concert of the Young Ladies" is held at Williamsport resident Dr. Weissel's home.
Feb. 13th - A second rehearsal is held at the Williamsport Presbyterian Church. News of Burnside's success in North Carolina, and the taking of Fort Henry in Tennessee arrives. There is joy in camp; Major Gould orders 3 cheers.
Feb. 14th - On this day the 'old rummies,' former sailors among the ranks of the regiment, are transferred to the Navy and marched off. In the evening the Grand Concert takes place. Performers include the '13th Mass' Band, which played "Spanish Retreat" among other tunes; Lt. Elliot Pierce played guitar and sang accompanying a Miss Laura Shoop; Corporal Russell, Corporal Robert Armstrong and John H. White were the principle performers, songs including "Mother Dear," "Moon Behind the Hill" & "The Sexton." The concert was attended by Col. Leonard, Adjt. David Bradlee, Capt. Joe Cary, Lt. A.N. Sampson, and many prominent citizens of Williamsport.
Feb. 15th - The 2nd night of concert performances.
Feb. 17th - News of the capture of Fort Donelson is received.Feb. 20th - Charles A. Holmes, age 22, (Co. G) dies of disease.
Feb. 22nd - In honor of Washington's birthday a 34 gun salute is given. There is a battalion drill in town.
Sunday, Feb. 23rd - Religious Services are held at 11 a.m.
Feb. 24th - The regiment is under orders to march with five days rations and two cooked. A fierce gale blows through camp. The orders are later countermanded.
Feb. 25th - Lt. A. N. Sampson, Co. B, leads 25 men on a scout across the river. Some rebel cavalry are spotted.
Feb. 26th - Edwin Rice writes the band gave a concert in the Lutheran church for the benefit of the local society this evening. The 12th Indiana band was also there, and the glee club from the regiment.
Feb. 27th - Commissary Sergeant Melvin Smith is promoted Second-Lieutenant.
Feb. 28th - Another fierce gale blows through camp. Orders are issued to be ready to march the next morning at 8 a.m., with 7 days rations.
March 1st - The regiment crosses the Potomac River with part of the army of Major-General Banks. It is the beginning of the long awaited advance. At dusk the regiment marches 12 miles to Martinsburg, (now W. Va.) arriving in the center of town around midnight. Co. K arrives first and stacks arms. Moments later there is some confusion in the ranks as Company A, which has circled around the town and entered from the south, opens fire on what they believe to be retreating rebel troops. It is a Yankee courier. The mistake is discovered before anyone is hurt. This prompts members of the country companies (sometimes derided by the Boston boys in the 4th Battalion) to inquire "Who took Martinsburg?" Answer : "Co. A."
Sunday, March 2nd - Company B does provost duty in town with some members of the 12th Indiana.
March 3rd - Battalion drill in the mud.
March 4th - George Dickey (Co. F) dies at Williamsport, Md.
March 5th - Their brigade (Hamilton's) marches 10 miles to Bunker Hill. Co. D remains behind guarding the wagon train.
March 6th - Gen'l. Banks visits the brigade.
March 7th - A detail of men who were left at Williamsport are ordered up to the regiment.
March 11th - The troops march 6 miles to Stephenson's Depot. The assault on Winchester, Va. is planned for the next day. There is some harassment of their advance by Confederate Colonel Turner Ashby's cavalry.
Occupation of Winchester, Virginia, March 12th - 20th
March 12th - The '13th Mass' are deployed as skirmishers leading the advance to Winchester. Col. Ashby Turner tips his hat to them in front of the the Taylor Hotel, and rides off as they enter the town.
March 15th - Lt. Col. N. Walter Batchelder leads a reconnaissance in force to Newtown, 8 miles away. Thomas Rathburn (Co. F) dies at Winchester, Va. Thomas J. Little is promoted Second-Lieutenant (Co. C). Sergeant-Major Thomas J. Little is promoted Second-Lieutenant.
Sunday, March 16th - Chaplain Noah M. Gaylord preaches from the Courthouse steps to the citizens of Winchester on the "Evils of Secession." The crowd is not impressed. Charles Stone (Co. D) dies.
March 18th - Companies B & K stay in town as the rest of the regiment moves camp 2 miles away. They are attached to General John Abercrombie's Brigade. Horace Crocker (Co. I) dies of fever at Centreville, Va.
March 19th - Companies B & K re-join the regiment in camp just outside Winchester.
From March 21st to March 25th they leave Winchester and march over the mountains from Berryville to Aldie, but are ordered back to Berryville in anticipation of an attack by Gen'l. Stonewall Jackson.
March 22nd - They buy supplies at Berryville, cross the Shenandoah River on a pontoon bridge and march up the mountain to Snicker's Gap and make camp.
Sunday, March 23rd - They march to Aldie, and spend the night there. Orders received to return to Berryville.
March 24th - They march 18 miles back to Snicker's Gap, where they were on the 22nd.
March 25th - They continue to march west to the Shenandoah River, cross it, heading towards Berryville, but an order from Gen. Banks sends them back up the mountain toward Aldie at 3 p.m. They sleep for the third time at their previous camp ground at Snicker's Gap.
March to Warrenton Junction, March 26th – April 2nd
March 26th - They march toward Aldie & make camp at Goose Creek. Gen'l Abercrombie orders them not to take fence rails for their fires. The general places his tent right in front of a rail fence and stands guard. As he disappears inside some members of the 13th dash up and grab the fence rails. Gen'l Abercrombie comes out of his tent and yells "Put down those rails!" to little effect. They don't like Gen'l Abercrombie and dub him 'Aunt Abby.'
March 27th - They make a 6 mile reconnaissance to Middleburg with the 16th Indiana. (12 miles round trip).
March 28th - March 18 miles to Pleasant Valley.
March 29th - March 7 miles to Blackburn's Ford in the rain, passing through Centreville where they take a look at some rebel huts. One man counts 70 dead horses. The field, they comment, looks like a graveyard.
Sunday, March 30th - They bivouac at the Bull Run Battlefield during a rainstorm.
March 31st - March 5 miles to Manassas. 45 new recruits join them. The total distance marched this month was 142 miles.
April 1st - The new recruits are assigned to their respective companies. O. C. Livermore (Co. A) is promoted Sergeant-Major.
April 2nd - They march 14 miles through mud to Warrenton Junction. Some try marching on the railroad tracks. Patrick Cleary (Co. K) dies at Manassas. Company A, remains at Manassas Junction doing guard duty under command of Lt. Neat, who is appointed provost-marshal. Company A remains until April 17th.
Camp Misery, Warrenton Junction, Va., April 2nd - May 3rd
Gen'l Abercrombie has them make camp in what is called a 'dismal swamp.' They are on duty guarding the Orange & Alexandria Railroad until May 18th.
Sunday, April 6th - Chaplain Gaylord preaches, "Follow the Flag."
April 10th - The name of the camp is changed to 'Camp Starvation.' The water is very bad.
April 12th - James Dunn (Co. E) dies at Williamsport.
April 14th - Brigade review by Gen'l. Abercrombie ('Old Crummy').
April 17th - Company A is relieved from guard duty at Manassas Junction and returns to the regiment.
April 18th - Pay day.
April 23rd - Lists are drawn up of men thought to be too frail to continue with the regiment for the hard service that is soon expected.
April 28th - 19 guns are fired in honor of the capture of New Orleans. It is expected the war will be a short one.
April 29th - William W. Claflin of Marlboro, Mass., joins the regiment as Assistant Surgeon.
April 30th - Second-Lieutenant Francis Jenks is discharged.
May 1st - 'Old Crummy' is relieved and Brigadier-General George Lucas Hartsuff takes command of the brigade. The new general is a disciplinarian but they learn to like him very much. He immediately moves the camp to a much better spot on a high hill. Assistant-Surgeon J. Theodore Heard is promoted to Brigade Surgeon.
Camp at Catlett's Station, May 4th - May 12th
General Hartsuff relocates their camp to a beautiful spot at Catlett's Station. Once again they take to decorating the camp like they did at Darnestown.
5th - The two Indiana regiments in their brigade
leave for home.
May 9th - The band of the '12th Mass' goes home. read more about General Abercrombie.
March to Falmouth, Va., May 12th – June 5th
They move to Falmouth, Va., en route to hook up with General McClellan's Army near Richmond. They are anxious to get into the fight.
May 12th - Their overcoats are packed away and sent to Boston. March 6 miles in the hot sun to Elk Run.
May 13th - It's 100° F. - they march 18 miles to Falmouth. There are some cases of sun-stroke.
May 14th - March 8 miles to Headquarters in the rain.
May 16th - The 11th PA joins the brigade.
May 17th - Move camp. Major-General Edward O. C. Ord assumes command of their division.
Sunday, May 18th - Brigade religious services are held. Co. D acts as Gen. Ord's body-guard.
May 20th - Corps review of 40,000 men by Gen'l. McDowell. The cheering for McDowell stops as he rides by the line of the '13th Mass,' who remain conspicuously silent.
May 21st - Gen. McDowell schedules a 'Marching Drill' with full equipments.
May 23rd - Review by President Lincoln & Secretary of War Stanton.
May 24th - They are called out on a march for no apparent reason. It begins to rain. They return to camp and find their Sibley tents have been taken from them and replaced with shelter tents, or dog tents. They provide little relief from the weather this day as the new small shelter tents are soaking wet.
Move by Transports and Rail to Front Royal, Virginia, May 25th - May 31st
Sunday, May 25th - At 4 p.m. march 15 miles to Acquia Creek and arrive at 1 a.m. First-Sergeant William B. Kimball, Company K, promoted Second-Lieutenant.
May 26th - Take steamer John Brooks to Alexandria, Va.,
May 27th - At 3 a.m. march to the Railroad Station at Alexandria and board freight cars for Manassas Junction.
May 29th - At 6 a.m. march to Haymarket 12 miles arriving at 10 a.m. They board cars and are transported to the west side of Thoroughfare Gap where they camp.
May 30th - At 5 a.m. march past Salem, Va., 3 miles, for a total of 15 miles. There is a severe thunder shower in the afternoon.
May 31st - At 5 a.m. they march 5 miles to Piedmont, where they leave their equipments behind. They ford the Shenandoah River and continue to Front Royal, Va. (25 miles total) arriving at 1 a.m. It rains all day.
Sunday, June 1st - At noon, they march 2 miles toward Strasburg and halt. Generals Shields and Ord ride by and are cheered. The cheering stops for General McDowell. Regimental historian Charles Davis, Jr., writes, "He must have felt this very keenly." General Shields' Division is on its way up the Shenandoah Valley to pursue Stonewall Jackson. The '13th Mass' are held in reserve at Front Royal. It rains in the afternoon and into the night.
June 2nd - At noon, march 5 miles toward Strasburg and bivouack. It begins to rain. Rations are getting short.
June 3rd - Advance 2 miles across the North Fork of the Shenandoah River and halt. Hard rain at night.
June 4th - They quickly form a line in the morning and march rapidly back across the swollen river. They barely get across when the bridge is swept away. About a dozen of the regiment don't make it across and are stranded without rations on the other side of the river. They continue the march back to Front Royal.
June 5th - The equipments and supplies left behind at Piedmont on May 31st arrive in camp, thoroughly soaked through. Ninety-four men are sick in the hospital, 600 men are on duty.
June 6th - A beautiful day. The sutler arrives in camp. Two men, John F. Fuller (Co. B) and Charles B. Cushing (Co. C) members of the 'pioneers' who were stranded on the island June 4th, drown while trying to cross the flooded Shenandoah River in a skiff.
Sunday, June 8th - Division Commander General Ord is relieved and replaced by Brigadier-General James B. Ricketts.
June 9th - Paid off.
June 10th - Hard rain all day.
June 12th - Company I sent to Front Royal as provost-guard.
June 13th - The regiment reports 600 men on duty. (Down from the original strength of 1,000 which left Boston).
June 17th - They leave Front Royal this day, arriving by rail at Manassas Junction that afternoon where they make camp near the Bull Run Battlefield.
The close proximity of the camp to Washington allows friends and officials to visit the soldiers in camp during this time. Visits are made to the famous Bull Run Battlefield.
June 26th - the Army of Virginia, commanded by Major-General John Pope is created.
June 28th - First-Lieutenant Samuel Neat, Company A, is promoted Captain. Second-Lieutenant A. N. Sampson, Company B, is promoted First-Lieutenant. Sergeant-Major Oliver C. Livermore, Company C, promoted Second-Lieutenant.
July 4th - A planned celebration is canceled by an 8 a.m. order to march. They proceed 11 miles toward Warrenton.
Camp at Warrenton, Va., July 5th - July 21st
July 5th - They march 8 miles to Warrenton, Va., and make camp in a fine spot. At this time the doctor is able to report 'no men sick in the hospital.'
July 16th - The first anniversary of their enlistment. General Banks pays them a visit and is greeted enthusiastically. They are hoping to return to General Bank's Corps.
Camp at Waterloo, Va., July 22nd - August 4th
July 22nd - March to Waterloo, Va., 10 miles and make camp. It rains before they arrive putting them in a worse mood for having to leave their fine camp ground at Warrenton. First-Lieutenant John W. Sanderson resigns. Second-Lieutenant Edwin R. Frost is discharged.
July 23rd - Second-Lieutenant Charles F. Morse, (Commissary Dept.) is promoted First-Lieutenant. Sergeants Oscar F. Morse, Co. H, Morton Tower, Co. B, Jacob A. Howe, and David Whiston, Co. A, are all promoted Second-Lieutenants.
July 24th - Capt. William H. Clarke, Co. H, is discharged.
July 25th - Camp moved to a better spot at Carter's Run. First-Lieutenant William B. Bacon is discharged. He joins another regiment as Captain and dies in the Battle of Fredericksburg. Col. Leonard's friend, First-Lieutenant Elliot C. Pierce, is promoted to Captain, Company H. Second-Lieutenant David L. Brown, Co. I, is promoted First-Lieutenant.
July 26th - Second-Lieutenant John H. Foley, Company G, is promoted First-Lieutenant.
Jan. 30th - Captain Charles R. M. Pratt, Co. E, is discharged.
July 31st - Brigade inspection by Major-General Pope. The death of former President Martin Van Buren is announced causing an English born soldier in the ranks to ask "Who in h--l is Van Buren?" James L. Harriman, of Marboro, Mass., joins the regiment as Assistant Surgeon.
Advance to Culpeper, Va., August 4th - 9th
August 4th - At 5:30 a.m. they leave their pleasant, healthy camp at Waterloo and march 11 miles toward Culpeper.
Aug. 5th - March 12 miles to Culpeper Court House and camp in site of the town.
August 8th - Sudden orders received to march in the afternoon. They halt near Pony Mountain, 4 miles distant.
August 9th - After marching a couple miles south, they halt and lay under arms as General Banks Division continued past them and became engaged with Stonewall Jackson. Until 4 p.m. they heard the battle ahead and wondered when they would be sent forward. It was nearly dark when they arrived on the battle field after the fighting had stopped. Enemy shells began to come in and they were ordered to change position. Col. Leonard orders the regiment to ‘trail arms’ before moving so the moonlight wouldn’t reflect off their bayonets. They make the move unharmed. Other regiments in the brigade fail to do this and several men are killed. They take cover from the enemy shells behind a ridge and watched their own batteries return the fire. The '13th Mass' is the only regiment in the brigade with no loss. The next day Colonel Leonard is ordered before incredulous Brigade Commander General Hartsuff to explain this anomaly in his report. General Hartsuff is impressed with the Colonel's performance.
Camp near Mitchell's Station, Virginia, August 10th - 18th
Aug. 11th - They march 7 miles to the Rapidan River and make camp.
Aug. 14th - Captain James A. Fox, Co. A, is discharged.
Aug 15th - First-Lieutenant Moses P. Palmer is finally promoted Captain; Company I. Palmer helped organize the company and was the original captain at Fort Independence, but he was bumped down a rank when the state appointed R. L. Schreiber to command the company. Capt. Schreiber left the regiment in the fall of 1861 and joined the First Maryland Cavalry. He was eventually kicked out of the service for fraud. First-Lieutenant Palmer had been acting Captain ever since.
Aug. 16th - Second-Lieutenant Charles B. Fox, Company K, is promoted First-Lieutenant. Sergeant Calvin H. Carter, Co. F, soon wounded at 2nd Bull Run is appointed Second-Lieutenant. He declines the commission and musters out of the service in November.
Sunday, Aug. 17th - March 4 miles down river to near Mitchell's Station.
Aug. 18th - A batch of new recruits arrive. At 11 p.m. the long roll sounds and the regiment forms a line.
Aug. 19th - From midnight until 9 a.m., they stand in-line, on the road waiting for the wagons to pass so they can move out. General McDowell himself, is arduously helping with the work of trying to clear the traffic jam of wagons.
Retreat to Rappahannock Station, August 19th - 23rd
Aug.19th (cont'd) - They hurridly retreat 20 miles to Rappahannock Station with the enemy closely following. Gen. Hartsuff compliments them on their hard work. They cross to safety on the north side of the Rappahannock River about 8:30 p.m.
Aug. 20th - They are immediately sent back across the river to the south side to occupy two small hills in front, Companies D & K acting as skirmishers. The 11th Pa., soon arrives as their relief. Mathew's battery Co. F, 1st Pa., is with them too. They build breastworks for protection.
Aug. 21st - They continue work on the trenches while the Rebel battery fires shells over their heads. General McDowell visits them daily.
Aug. 23rd - Heavy rains of the 22nd cause Gen'l McDowell to order the troops back across the Rappahannock River to the north side, in case the bridge is washed away. At 4 a.m. they pack their duds. As soon as they crossed a heavy artillery duel commenced. A rebel charge to the hills they had just evacuated was repulsed. In the afternoon they leave Rappahannock Station & march toward Warrenton.
Retreat from the line of the Rappahannock River
Sunday, Aug. 24th - They march back and forth all day between two roads that led to Warrenton, until night when they moved to a spot about 3 miles beyond that town and drew rations and halted.
Aug. 25th - rested until 5 p.m. then marched to the Waterloo road and went into camp. General Hartsuff is ordered to the hospital on account of old wounds received in the Seminole wars. Colonel John W. Stiles of '9th NY' (83rd NY Vols) assumes command of the brigade.
Aug. 26th - At 7 a.m. they march back to the spot they left last night, waited an hour, then marched back to the Waterloo road and camped. At night Rebel General J.E.B. Stuart made a raid on General Pope's Headquarters at Manassas Junction.
Aug. 27th - In the afternoon they begin a slow tiresome march of only 8 miles on the Gainesville Road going into camp at 2:30 a.m.
Aug. 28th - They resume their march toward Manassas but at Haymarket they are delayed, ordered to leave their knapsacks and proceed to Thoroughfare Gap. The brigade arrives there in the afternoon, moments after Longstreet’s Confederate Corps arrives from the other (west) side and gains the high ground. Skirmishing occurs until dark. Two men of Company E are killed; Corporal Daniel R. Jackson, & private George Clark. Two others are wounded.
Aug. 29th - At 5 a.m. they march to Bristoe Station, 5 miles, and rest until 3 p.m. They resume the march to Manassas and hear the sounds of battle ahead of them.
Aug. 30th - This is the first major engagement for the regiment. They are in reserve the first half of the day. In the afternoon they are lead into the maelstrom on Chinn ridge, on the left of the Union lines, where Longstreet’s Corps is making a sweeping attack around Gen'l. Pope's left flank. Surrounded on three sides, the fighting is as fierce as any that will be seen during the war. The fight is a delaying action which buys time for General Pope to move his army to the rear, preventing its annihilation. The 13th’s fight is brief, about 20 - 30 minutes. Thirty-eight men are killed. The Confederate’s overrun this position. Private John B. Noyes, Co. B, in a letter home to his father estimated 500 men of the 13th Mass went into the fight, another 80 or so, skulking in the rear of the lines.
Sunday, Aug. 31st - The regimental band is mustered out.Read more about the 13th Mass., at 2nd Bull Run
Engagement at Chantilly, Va., September 1st
September 1st - Move to Chantilly as a reserve, they stand in line of battle all night but aren't engaged. The falling rain helps to keep them awake.
Retreat and Camp around Washington D.C., September 2nd - 10th
Sept. 2nd - They march to Hall's Hill about 5 miles from Washington and make camp on elevated ground from which they can see the Capitol. Major-General Pope asks to be relieved. Major-General George B. McClellan is placed in command of the fortifications of Washington and all the troops for the defense of the city.
Sept. 3rd - The regiment remains at Hall's Hill. For the first time in 2 weeks they sleep in the same place two nights in a row.
Sept. 4th - Their wagons, which they hadn't seen since August 18th, arrive.
Sept. 5th - The Sutler arrives in camp and brightens spirits with quantities of canned foods and fruit.
Sept. 6th - 7th - At 8 p.m. they begin a long all night march without halts, through Washington and Georgetown and out on the Baltimore road. They halt at daylight, Sept. 7th.
Sunday, Sept. 7th - They halt at daylight, after the all night march, then resume at 9 a.m. proceeding another 5 miles, then camp. During the march Division Commander General James B. Ricketts announces General McDowell’s replacement by General Joseph Hooker. Cheers ring out despite the rain. Morale improves with the change in commanders.
Sept. 8th - They are half way between Washington & Darnestown, the place they encamped a year earlier when their strength was 1,000 men.
Sept. 9th - March 8 miles to Mechanicstown, Md.
Sept. 10th - Another batch of recruits joins the regiment.
General McClellan’s Maryland Campaign
Sept. 11th - At 9 a.m. they march in a slow tedious manner all day, 12 miles toward Frederick, Maryland.
Sept. 12th - After inspection they continue 7 miles to Ridgeville, and camp.
Sept. 13th - At 1 p.m. they march 12 miles toward Frederick.
Battle of South Mountain, September 14th
Sunday, Sept. 14th - At 5 a.m. they break camp and march all day with frequent uncertain halts, passing through Frederick and Middletown. At about 6 o’clock Hartsuff’s Brigade is placed in 2nd line of battle, in the center of the line, and marched up the slope of South Mountain. Enemy bullets pass over their heads. The left of the line is more heavily engaged than the '13th Mass.' They lay on their arms all night.
Sept. 15th - March at daylight with 2 companies thrown out front as skirmishers. Upon reaching the top of the mountain they can see the Rebel army retreating through Boonsboro. They pursue, through that town and on to Keedysville without overtaking them. Boonsboro and Keedysville were decorated with Union flags.
Sept. 16th - At 3:30 p.m. they march across a bridge toward the village of Bakersville on the Hagerstown and Sharpsburg turnpike, turning to the left after crossing a country road, also leading to Sharpsburg, moving parallel to it nearly half a mile under a heavy artillery fire from the enemy. They zig-zag their way forward to evade the enemy artillery shells.
Sept. 17th - They are up early the morning of the 17th and are the second brigade to advance to the Miller Cornfield. General Hartsuff is wounded early during the advance while doing reconnaissance, so Colonel Coulter leads them into the fight, Major J. Parker Gould commands the 13th troops. They stand their ground under a heavy fire for over 30 minutes before retiring to the rear to replenish their ammunition. 301 men go into the fight, 165 come out, for a loss of 45%. 26 men are killed.
September 22nd - President Lincoln announces the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation. It will be signed into law, January 1st, 1863.
September 29th - General Hooker being wounded at Antietam, Major-General John F. Reynolds assumed command of the First Corps, Army of the Potomac.
October 8th - Brigadier-General Nelson Taylor takes command of Hartsuff's Brigade.
Sunday, October 26th - Break camp at 4 p.m. and march through Sharpsburg, across a bridge and toward Keedysville, where they turn right, and march up South Mountain and camp for the night.
March South to Rappahannock Station, October 27th - November 8th
Oct. 27th - At 8 a.m. march through Crampton's Gap to Burkettsville, Md., and camp.
Oct. 28th - March at 9 a.m. and march 6 miles to Berlin. The view is superb coming down the mountain side.
Oct. 29th - Remain at Berlin.
Oct. 30th - Cross the Potomac River on a pontoon bridge and march 7 miles south into Virginia in the afternoon.
Sunday, Nov. 1st - Start at 7 a.m. and march 7 miles to Purcellville. The weather is pleasant.
Nov. 2nd - Remain camped until about midnight when they turn out, load wagons, and form a line to march. But they don't go.
Nov. 3rd - At 1 p.m. following the eastern slope of the Blue Ridge Mountains, they march 10 miles to Bloomfield, Va.
Nov. 4th - They march 5 miles. First-Lieutenant A. N. Sampson, Co. B, is discharged.
Nov. 5th - They march another 5 miles on a road obstructed by wagons, and camp near Middleburg, Va. Second-Lieutenant Melvin S. Smith, Commissary Dept., is promoted First-Lieutenant. Quartermaster-Sergeant Thomas R. Welles, promoted Second-Lieutenant.
Nov. 6th - They march 14 miles toward Warrenton, Va. Chaplain Noah Gaylord returns to the regiment from Boston.
Nov. 7th - Heavy snow storm. They march 11 miles camping near Warrenton, Va. At Night, Major-General Ambrose Burnside receives President Lincoln's letter offering him the command of the Army of the Potomac. Burnside reluctantly accepts. Burnside and the messenger proceeded to General McClellan's tent at Army Headquarters, reaching there about 11:30 at night and notify the General he has been relieved.
Nov. 8th - At 4:30 p.m. the regiment marches 16 miles to Rappahannock Station, halting around midnight. A wrong turn causes them to re-trace their steps and adds 6 miles to the 10 mile distance.
Camp at Rappahannock Station, Nov. 9th - Nov. 18th
Sunday, Nov. 9th - Snowed hard this day. At 6 a.m. they fall in and stand in line, tired and sleepy, in readiness to support cavalry which crossed the river on a scout. At 8 a.m. they march to the Rappahannock River to cover a bridge and a river ford. Then, they are sent out on picket for 24 hours, company K remaining to guard the ford.
Nov. 11th - The order removing Gen. McClellan from command is officially announced. Major-General Ambrose Burnside takes his place.
Nov. 18th - Still at Rappahannock Station, they leave, about 5 p.m. and march 7 miles in mud.
March to Fredericksburg, November 19th - 23rd
Nov. 19th - They resume their march in the rain and mud and camp near Morrisville.
Nov. 20th - Leave camp in the rain and march to Stafford Court House, 10 miles away. The roads are impassable due to the mud so they make their way through woods. The roundabout march makes the distance longer.
Nov. 21st - Laid in camp all day.
Nov. 22nd - Second-Lieutenant Walter H. Judson, Company C, is officially dismissed from the service. Judson has been ill a long time with heart disease.
Sunday, Nov. 23rd - At 8 a.m. they leave Stafford Court House and march to camp near Brook's Station about 4 p.m. A wrong turn adds 2 miles to the march. They staid here until December 3rd. Sergeant Henry W. Washburn, Co. D, promoted Second-Lieutenant.
Camp at Brooks Station, November 23rd - December 3rd
Nov. 27th - Thanksgiving Day. They ask, "For what ?"
Nov. 28th - Captain Henry Whitcomb, Co. F, wounded at 2nd Bull Run, is discharged.
Nov. 29th - Sutler arrives in camp, the first they have seen of him since October. First-Lieutenant Abel H. Pope, Company F, is promoted Captain. Pope was in the hospital at the time recovering from wounds received at Antietam. He never returned to the field and died shortly after the war ended. Second-Lieutenant Thomas J. Little is promoted First-Lieutenant. Sergeant Charles W. Whitcomb, Co. I, promoted Second-Lieutenant.
Dec. 1st - Assistant Surgeon William W. Claflin is discharged.
Dec. 3rd - They move their camp 1/2 mile in the direction of Falmouth, Va.
Move Camp 1/2 Mile Closer to Falmouth, December 3rd - 9th
Dec. 4th - The boys start to build log huts in hopes of going into winter quarters. A large supply of clothing & shoes arrives in camp. The regiment numbers about 300 men.
Dec. 5th - Snow and rain.
Dec. 6th - Boxes from home arrive in camp also one thousand dollars worth of goods collected by the chaplain are distributed among the troops, including drawers, gloves, stockings & handkerchiefs. The boxes were accidentally shipped to Newbern, NC first so many of the contents were spoiled by the time they arrived.
March to Fredericksburg, December 9th - 10th
Dec. 9th - Break camp at 8 a.m. and march 3 miles across Potomac Creek.
Dec. 10th - March 3 - 4 miles to a point near the Fitzhugh place, not far from where they were the 17th of May. Sixty rounds of ammunition are handed out to each man.
Dec. 11th - Roused up at 3 a.m. At 4 a.m. following breakfast they march to the Rappahannock River expecting to cross, but the pontoon bridge wasn't completed. They bivouac in a woods nearby. Heavy cannonading heard up river so some of the boys go check it out. The Union artillery on Stafford Heights is bombarding the town of Fredericksburg.
Dec. 12th - The '13th Mass' crosses the pontoon bridge & marched along the river bank in an easterly direction for about 1/2 mile. Gen. Gibbon asks Col. Leonard to deploy the whole regiment (300 men) as skirmishers. On their right was a Vermont regiment, to their left a Pennsylvania regiment. These 3 regiments were the skirmish line of the "Left Grand Division." They reached the Bowling Green road at night and remained there.
Dec. 13th - They advance from the road at about 9 a.m. as skirmishers. When the artillery start dueling they are caught between two fires and ordered to lie down, protecting Hall's Maine battery, firing shells into the enemy from a slight elevation to their rear. The shells clear the prostrate soldiers by only about 1 foot. A protest is made to Capt. Hall to raise his guns. One of the boys is indeed struck by a shell fragment from Hall's battery. George Bigelow of Company C dies a few days later. At about One o'clock a general advance of Gibbon's Division is ordered. They advanced as skirmishers with their division until the firing became too thick for them to be of any use, (they are out of ammunition) so they laid down to let the division pass over them. They are withdrawn to the Bernard mansion (Mannsfield) to replenish ammunition. Losses were 4 men killed, including Bigelow, one officer and 12 men wounded.
Sunday, Dec. 14th - At about 2 A.M. they are sent to the left to support Gen'l. Doubleday's division. They extinguish an approaching grass fire during the day to prevent some unexploded shells lying about the field from going off.
Dec. 15th - The 11th Pa. & '13th Mass' provide 250 men for picket duty.
Dec. 16th - At 2 a.m. they are notified by a cavalryman that the rest of the army had abandoned Fredericksburg and re-crossed the Rappahannock River. They had to pass within a few rods of the enemy on the 2 mile journey to the bridge without being noticed. After they crossed, the bridge was immediately ordered to be taken up by Gen'l. Franklin. The regt. marched 2- 3 miles and bivouacked with the brigade.
Read more about the '13th Mass' at the Battle of Fredericksburg.
Winter Camp, December 19th - End of Year
Dec. 19th - They march 12 miles to Fletcher's Chapel where they make winter camp.
Dec. 29th - Captain Eben W. Fiske, Co. G, is discharged.
Dec. 30th - General John C. Robinson takes command of the division. Brigade Commander, General Nelson Taylor resigns shortly after. First-Lieutenant William H. Cary, originally of Company D, is promoted Captain, Company G. Second-Lieutenant O.C. Livermore is promoted First-Lieutenant, assigned to Company C. First-Sergeant Samuel C. Whitney, Company G, promoted Second-Lieutenant.
December 31st - Private George Gates, of Company K, after participating in General John Pope's Summer campaign, took sick while on the march through Maryland in September, 1862. He accordingly stopped at a Hospital in Frederick, MD to recuperate. He closed out his diary for the year with the following entry for December 31st :Read More About The Year's End, 1862.
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