Company Organization

Fort Independence in the 1850's

This picture of Fort Independence circa 1855 is from the Boston Public Library, Print Department.  
The following information comes from "Three Years in the Army by Charles E. Davis Jr.,  Boston; Estes & Lauriat; 1894.


Table of Contents

Introduction

    The information on this page for the most part, is transcribed from the official history of the 13th Regiment, "Three Years in the Army," by Charles E. Davis, jr., Boston, Estes & Lauriat, 1894.  Additional information regarding the Natick and Westboro Rifle Companies was found in two books,  "The History of Middlesex County" by Duane Hamilton Hurd, Philadelphia, J.W. Lewis & Co. 1890, and "The History of Westborough, Massachusetts," by H.P. DeForest and E.C. Bates, Published by the town, 1891.

    The page begins with the story of Massachusetts Governor John Andrew's struggles with Secretary of War Simon Cameron, over the number of troops Massachusetts would supply to the war effort, and how the regiment got the designation '13.'

PICTURE CREDITS:  The portrait of Colonel Leonard was shared with me by a private collector, the uniform of the 4th Battalion was downloaded from www.cowanauctions.com;  the graphic of Fort Independence & the photo of Nassau Hall are from the Boston Public Library Print Division; Captain Henry Whitcomb's portrait is from the archives of the Berlin, Massachusetts Historical Society; James Gibson & William L. Clark are from the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center, Mass MOLLUS Collection, Carlisle, PA; Westboro Town Hall is from "Commemorative Booklet," Westborough's 250th Anniversary, 1967, Reporter Press, North Conway, N.H.; Charles Roundy's portrait was downloaded from the internet, , & Moses Palmer's portrait was shared with me by a private collector. The graphic map of Massachusetts was created by the author;  All Images have been edited in Photoshop.


How They Got the Number '13.'

    The information in the following essay is derrived from "The Life of John A. Andrew:  Governor of Massachusetts, 1861 - 1865," by Henry Greenleaf Pearson, Houghton, Miflin & Company, Boston, 1904.

    When President Lincoln put out the call for Volunteers to serve a term of 3 years rather than 3 months, upwards of 10,000 men in Massachusetts organized into nearly 200 rifle companies.

    Massachusetts Governor John AndrewGovernor John Andrew [pictured] wrote repeatedly to Federal authorities in Washington, urging them to take advantage of this enthusiasm and to accept at least six regiments of infantry from Massachusetts.

    The attitude of the War Department at this time was lukewarm. They did not wish to appear eager to bring troops to bear from one state against another. The administration still hoped to bring the rebellious states back into the Union with gentle persuasion.  Secretary of War Simon Cameron put off Governor Andrew and refused to set a quota of troops for Massachusetts.

    “Governor Andrew was at a standstill.  “The militia companies pressed forward to the State authorities to be accepted as volunteers for 3 years but the Governor could not accept them" until Washington approved.

    During this time of uncertainty some established militia companies such as the New England Guards and the 4th Battalion of Rifles went into camp in the forts in Boston Harbor.

    Governor Andrew finally received notification on May 22nd that the Massachusetts Federal quota would be 6 regiments. Three regiments had already been promised service. That left Governor Andrew the difficult task of selecting just 30 companies to form 3 new regiments from nearly 200 that were organized across the state.   In just 3 weeks the ranks were filled leaving many eager volunteers to seek enlistments elsewhere.  Six companies left the state and enlisted in New York Regiments; that state having a larger quota to fill.  In all 3,000 citizen volunteers enlisted in regiments outside of Massachusetts before its quota was increased.

     At the end of the three weeks, Horace Greeley, influential Republican editor of the New York Tribune, urged Governor Andrew to submit “his views on the war to General Hiram Walbridge, “one of the most decided and radical democrats” of New York, who was doing his utmost to get the government to call for more troops.”  Walbridge’s efforts had effect, and when Governor Andrew commented in a letter that he could offer 10 fully equipped regiments in 40 days the Lincoln Administration yielded.  On June 17, another 10 regiments was added to the Massachusetts quota.

    “Andrew had decided that in the designation of regiments the numbers belonging to the militia should not be duplicated in the volunteer force. Accordingly the first group of six regiments consisted of the 1st, the 2nd, the 7th, the 9th, the 10th and the 11th.” The Webster Regiment (organized independently by Fletcher Webster with assurances from friends in Washington that his regiment would be accepted), was the 12th. “The regiments in the group of ten were numbered consecutively from 13 to 22 inclusive.”

Return to Top

Companies A, B, C & D; The Fourth Battalion of Rifles.

     The first four companies A, B, C, and D were known as the Fourth Battalion of Rifles and were raised in Boston.  On the 21st of September, 1821, Governor John Brooks, on the petition of John S. Tyler and others, authorized the formation of a military company in the then town of Boston, and this company was called the Boston City Greys, subsequently changed to the Boston City Guards, by which name it was known at the breaking out of the war.  It passed through the various vicissitudes of military companies until the year of 1860.  In the month of July of that year, a committee consisting of James A. Fox, W. F. Davis, D. H. Bradlee, N.S. Dearborn, and A. N. Sampson were appointed to nominate a captain and third and fourth lieutenants to fill vacancies caused by resignations.

    At this time the company had been reduced in numbers so that it was felt to be highly important to select a man as captain whose reputation as an officer would invite young men to enlist under his command. The “Boston Light Infantry (Tigers),”  the “New England Guards,” and the “Boston City Guards” formed a part of the Second Massachusetts Militia Regiment.  Boston was an exception to the large cities of the country in not having a regiment of its own.  The Second Regiment, Massachusetts militia, was commanded by Col. Robert Cowdin, and consisted of only seven companies.

    Samuel H. Leonard had transferred his residence from Worcester to Boston, and was obliged to resign his commission as brigadier general, as an officer could not hold a commission outside the limits of the district where he resided.

Photo of Colonel Leonard

    He was an officer of wide reputation as one of the most skilful and thorough drill-masters in the State. He had long wanted to form a rifle battalion of which he should have the command.  At musters and parades a rifle battalion had the right of the line, except when the Boston or Salem Cadets were present; hence the particular interest in a rifle battalion.

    The committee appointed by the Boston City Guards waited on General Leonard and offered him the captaincy of their company.  He accepted the offer upon the condition that they would agree to enlist a second company, to be joined with the City Guards, thus forming a battalion, and changing the arms from muskets to rifles.  This was agreed to, and General Leonard petitioned the Governor and Council to set off the City Guards from the Second Regiment for this purpose, and authority was given him to form a rifle battalion, using that company as a nucleus thereof.  The City Guards was called Company A in the new battalion, and on the 15th of December, 1860, preceded to an election of officers with the following result:

Captain  Samuel H. Leonard
First Lieutenant James A. Fox.
Second Lieutenant William F. Davis
Third Lieutenant Charles S. Chandler.
Fourth Lieutenant   George H. Bush.

                    Immediately following this election, privates Thomas J. Little and Augustus N. Sampson, with fifty–one others petitioned the Governor and Council for leave to form a new company, which was subsequently known as Company B.  As soon as a sufficient number of men had been enlisted, an election of officers was had on March 29th 1861 with the following results:


Captain  N. Walter Batchelder.
First Lieutenant Joseph S. Cary.
Second Lieutenant David H. Bradlee.
Third Lieutenant John G. Hovey.
Fourth Lieutenant  Augustus N. Sampson.

     On the 23d of April, Lieutenant Bradlee was elected adjutant of the battalion, Horace T. Rockwell was elected Fourth Lieutenant and Messrs. Hovey and Sampson were each promoted.

    While this work was going on John Kurtz and others were engaged in recruiting a third company, which was subsequently known as Company C, with an election of officers which occurred on the 19th of April, 1861, as follows:
Captain John Kurtz.
First Lieutenant William H. Jackson.
Second Lieutenant  William H. Chase.
Third Lieutenant  Joseph S. Cook.
Fourth Lieutenant Walter H. Judson.

     Company D was organized as follows:

     In the spring of 1854 Augustine Harlow was elected captain of a Boston Militia Company known as the “National Guard” which originally began as a company of Massachusetts veterans of the Mexican War.  Captain Harlow resigned in July, 1860.

    April 15, 1861, he was requested to form a new company, and he proceeded at once to do so. The free use of a room in the Adams House was granted him by the proprietors, and in a few days the required number of names was obtained for organization, which was completed by the election of the following officers:

Captain  Augustine Harlow.
First Lieutenant  Samuel N. Chamberlain.
Second Lieutenant William H. Cary.
Third Lieutenant Charles H. Hovey.
Fourth Lieutenant  James H. Mayo.

     4th Battalion Uniform, soldier unknownIt should be borne in mind that in raising these companies the impetus given to enlistments by the startling events already described made it quite easy to obtain all the men needed to complete the organizations to the maximum number required. As a matter of fact, so many men offered to enlist that it was decided to accept only those who were voted in and who were willing to pay $12.50.  This sum, added to money received by subscription, was expended in the purchase of uniforms, each man being measured to ensure their fitting.  The jacket was tight-fitting, with a short skirt. The shoulder-knots and trimmings were red, and the uniform gray.  The cap was gray trimmed with scarlet and surmounted with a pompom.  It made a handsome, serviceable uniform, and gave a very effective appearance to the battalion.

    Pictured is an unknown soldier dressed in the uniform of the Boston 4th Battalion of Rifles.

     As some time elapsed before the uniforms were finished, we were daily drilled in citizen's clothes at the armory, then at 344 Washington Street, but now (1893) 576.  We were taken out on the streets every day and taught to march in step, to the no small amusement of boys who gathered about to watch our transformation from raw recruits to soldiers.  The people, however, were in earnest, and every encouragement was offered to young men to enlist.  At this time every man was looked upon as a hero who enlisted.

    Nassau Hall, Boston The armory at 344 Washington Street being too small to accomodate so large a number of men, Nassau Hall, corner of Washington and Common Streets, was procured, and our effects transferred to that building.  Here we found a commodious hall well fitted for drilling, and hours were spent each day by squads of raw recruits in attempting to order arms in unison.  It seemed so easy a thing to do when the order was given, that we were at a loss to understand why each gun should fall at a separate moment, making a clatter like the rattle of a drum, sorely trying the patience of our drilling masters.  "Now, the next time I give an order I want you to follow my count.  'Shoulder arms !  one, two, three !'  That's better."  "Present arms !  one, two."  Then it was, "Forward, march !  one, two; one, two, halt !"  "About face ! Forward,  march !  one, two; one, two."  "Mark time, march !  one, two; one, two, halt!"

       It seemed extraordinary that it took so much time in learning to do these simple things together, yet it took days and days before we could make a creditable appearance in public.  It seemed very odd to us, that, having acquired a reasonable degree of proficiency under one officer, we could do nothing but bungle under the commands of another, until we realized how rare was a drill-master who could infuse into men the precision necessary for good soldiers.  (photo of Nassau Hall; Boston Public Library, Print Division)

     As soon as we acquired skill enough to "order arms" together, we longed for the time when we could march through the streets in our uniforms.  With a month's continuous daily work, we naturally felt that we would make a fine appearance as we paraded through the streets.  Just prior to the war the people of Boston had an opportunity of witnessing the wonderful skill exhibited by Ellsworth's zouaves.  The remarkable exactness and concert of their every movement was never excelled by any body of men, and excited a spirit of emulation among officers and soldiers in the vicinity of Boston.  Some of us whose heads were easily turned by our small success began to think we had acquired a pretty good degree of excellence in the manual of arms.

Top of Page

Company E.

    Company E, known as the Roxbury Rifles, was organized about the 25th of April, 1861, by the election of Dennis S. Bartlett as captain, Charles R.M. Pratt as first lieutenant, and Joseph Colburn as second lieutenant.  After its organization, the company was quartered in Bacon’s Hall, Roxbury, the boys obtaining their meals at a restaurant near by.  From this time on until Sunday, the 12th of May the company was daily drilled in citizen’s clothes.  On that day the company appeared for the first time in new uniforms furnished by the State, and attended divine service at the Dudley-street Baptist church, at completion of which service each man was presented with a Testament.

     Drilling was continued daily without interruption until the company joined the Fourth Battalion of Rifles, and with it went to Fort Independence.

Roxbury City Gazette, May 15, 1861.

Roxbury Rifle Company.

     Mrs. Dr. Henry Bartlett, and other ladies associated with her have presented to the Roxbury Rifle Company, Seventy-five flannel shirts, one hundred and fifty pairs of stockings, and many other useful articles.  Money has been received by them in the following amounts:  Dr. Barstow, $50; Co. A. D. Hodges, $25; Theodore Otis, Esq., $10; Arthur W. Fuller, $10; Donald Kennedy, $10.  Dr. Cotting gave Capt. Bartlett an excellent rubber coat, and Mr. Henry White, Apothecary, gave a package of medices, for the use of the soldiers.  Various other useful articles werre received from Dr. Cotting and Mrs. Bradford, including bed-sacks, bandages, &c. 

[digital transcription by James Burton; downloaded from the former website "Letters of the Civil War."]

Top of Page

Company F.

Captain Henry Whitcomb, Co F

     Company F had the honor of being the oldest chartered company in the regiment.  It was organized in 1819 as the Marlboro’ Rifles, and continued its organization without interruption until it became a part of the Thirteenth Regiment.  During all this time its armory was located in the town of Marlboro’.

     For several years prior to 1861 it was known as Company A, First Battalion of Rifles, the other companies being Company B from Sudbury and company C from Natick; the latter being assigned to the Thirteenth and known as Company H.  The battalion was commanded by Major Ephraim Moore, of Sudbury.  Major Moore died March, 1861, and was succeeded by Captain Henry Whitcomb, of the Marlboro’ Rifles, who was elected major of the battalion.

Captain Henry Whitcomb, pictured.

     On the 25th* of June the First Battalion of Rifles was ordered to Fort Independence.

    The Sudbury Company was disbanded.

     The officers of the Marlboro’ Company, which became Company F, were:

Captain Abel H. Pope.
First Lieutenant John T. Whittier.
Second Lieutenant Charles F. Morse.
Fourth Lieutenant Donald Ross.

*Companies F, G, H, I, & K arrived at the Fort June 29th.


Excerpt from the memoirs of Charles H. Roundy, Company F.

Roundy Manuscript Cover      Charles Roundy, was encouraged to set down his war record for posterity at a speech given by Judge George W. Kelley of Rockland at meeting held December 18th 1907 at the Grand Army Hall in Abington, Mass.  His hand written document with  color illustrations, is in the collection of the U.S. Army Heritage & Education Center in Carlisle, PA; part of the Carlisle Military History Institute.  It is titled "Reminiscences and Recollections of the Civil War  1861 - 1864 by Charles H. Roundy, Private, Company F, 13th Massachusetts Volunteers, Samuel H. Leonard, Colonel."



How I enlisted

    During the winter of 1860 and the spring of 1861 I lived in Berlin, Mass. – my work was pegging childrens shoes by hand, and 60 pairs was considered a days work.

    When settlement day came for every dollar we had earned we received 75 cents.

    I called it a backward spring in this respect but forward enough in other respects.

The Firing on Fort Sumpter

    The newspapers were filled with talk of war, all was excitement and all business was paralyzed, so I went to Charlestown to see my mother and I found Boston wild with excitement – seething and bubbling.

    It was my good fortune to witness the departure of the 6th and 8th Regiments, and the excitement of those days is beyond my powers of description, it left me with a firm determination to enlist as soon as I could find some other than total strangers to go with

    Since revolutionary days, Boston had witnessed no such excitement and commotion.  Companies arriving from all the depots, with bands playing and colors flying – citizens joining or falling into the rear of the companies as they passed along the streets, eager to join.

    The old Worcester depot was a busy place, the distributing of uniforms – the leave takings and  - Good Bye’s – of fond mothers – wives – sweethearts – fathers – brothers and friends made a picture never to be forgotten, and few were the lookers on but found a mist before the eyes or a bunch in the throat.



    Charles Roundy I had tramped the city over and over – following the Bands – eager to go.  But of all the vast throngs I knew no one. So I went home to Berlin to see what could be done.

    A Grand War Meeting was held that night to see if the town could raise a company for the war.

    After the speaking the moderator asked, “Now who will volunteer ?”

    And, the first name on the muster roll was Charles H. Roundy. – others followed – but the attempt was not a success, so a few weeks later another scheme was devised – to have a gala day – lots of enthusiasm – and march to our neighboring town of Northboro’ and try to raise a company between both towns –

    Again I was the first to sign the rolls, and was selected to command the second platoon on our march to and from Northboro.  I had no sword – but a rammer from a rifle.

    This also fell through.



    One Friday evening just before supper, I was standing near the Well Curb when a man drove up and asked for water for his horse, and while waiting he said to me –

   

James Gibson       “Say  - would you like to enlist?”

       “Would I – well, you bet I would – I’ve signed the rolls twice but it don’t stick.”   

       “Say – look here, young fellow, my name is Gibson – Jim Gibson. – I’m color bearer in the Feltonville Rifles, and I can get you a chance to go. – We are going – and we are going to morrow morning. – last Saturday we paraded before Governor Andrew, and he promised that we should be the first to go, so to-morrow morning we are going to Boston and to Fort Independence.”

       Now – if you mean business you come down to Feltonville this evening and inquire at the Armory for Jim Gibson. (James Gibson, pictured) I will introduce you to Captain Pope and I think you will go through all right – sign the Muster Roll – get your uniform say good by to your friends and be in Fort Independence to-morrow afternoon.”

     Enlisted

       I got a man to take me to Feltonville – found Sergeant Jim Gibson – was introduced to Captain Abel Pope, - signed the rolls – then was taken by the Captain to the Surgeon who looked at my rosy cheeks – looked at my teeth – and said – pass on – while at the same time he was picking a sick looking candidate to pieces.

I selected my uniform and went back to Berlin that night – said good bye, and was taken to Felonville next morning in my uniform, and there in the hubbub of preparation – among almost total strangers I took my place at the left of the company, among the short boys, as a soldier, subject to the muster into the United States Service later on.


Top of Page

Map of Massachusetts

Company G.

     In the early days of April the citizens of Stoneham took measures for raising a company, and by the seventeenth of that month it was recruited to its full number.  J. Parker Gould was chosen to the captaincy, which he retained until the departure of the regiment to the seat of war, when he was appointed major in the regiment.  Eben W. Fiske was commissioned captain in his place. Although the company was ready thus early, such was the eagerness of the people to spring to their county’s defense, that the different companies could not be accepted as fast as they were offered, and it was not until the 25th* of June that it was ordered into service at Fort Independence.

     During the time it was waiting to join some regiment the town of Stoneham liberally contributed to its support, appropriating nearly four thousand five hundred dollars for that purpose.  A uniform was also presented to each man at a cost of twelve dollars, and a full set of equipments to each of the officers by the citizens.

     On its departure for Fort Independence hundreds of citizens volunteered as escort.

*Companies F, G, H, I, & K arrived at the fort June 29th.

Top of Page

Company H.

Captain William L. Clark

     In the early part of 1859 the young men of Natick formed an independent company, with Henry Wilson, who had been brigadier-general in the militia, as captain and instructor.  Captain Wilson’s senatorial duties calling him to Washington in December of that year, he was succeeded by Lieut. Charles Bigelow, who was subsequently chosen as captain.  The company was regularly drilled until the summer of 1860, when a charter was granted by the State, where-upon it was assigned to the First Battalion of Rifles as Company C.  It attended the annual muster at Chelmsford in September of that year, and took part in the parade of the militia, on Boston Common, in October following, in honor of the Prince of Wales.  When the call of Governor Andrew was made in the spring of ’61, it offered its services for three years and on the 25th* of June went to Fort Independence with the First Battalion of Rifles.  It was commanded by Perry D. Chamberlain, with Frank Z. Jenks as first lieutenant, and William H. Brown as second lieutenant.  It became Company H of the Thirteenth, with William L. Clark as captain.  William L. Clark, pictured.

*Companies F, G, H, I, & K arrived at the fort June 29th.

The following is from "The History of Middlesex County" by Duane Hamilton Hurd, Philadelphia, J.W. Lewis & Co. 1890.

Beginning Of The Great Rebellion Movement.— April 3, 1854, the town had adopted the following resolutions, reported by its committee, John W. Bacon, chairman :

Whereas, the bill now before Congress for the organization of the Territories of Kansas and Nebraska proposes to repeal so much of the Act of March 6, 1820, as forever prohibiting slavery north of 36 30' In the Louisiana purchase — Be It therefore

    " Resolved, That the inhabitants of Natick in town-meeting assembled do solemnly protest against the passage of said bill because

    "1st. It will violate the plighted faith of the nation.

    "2d. Because it will allow African Slavery to enter into 480,000 square miles of territory, from which it has been excluded for thirty years.

    "3d. Because It will tend to keep out of these territories the farmers, mechanics and workingmen of the free States and the poor men of the stave States now oppressed and degraded by African Slavery who would rear in these territories free Institutions for all.

    "4th. Because it will tend to increase the influence of Slavery over the policy of the national government.

     Thus early did this town commit itself to the cause of human liberty against the encroachments of slavery, in the fearful contest which the wisest and most patriotic all over the North and West foresaw was impending.

April 29, 1861, the town appropriated $5000 to be expended under the direction of the selectmen, for the benefit of the families of such citizens of the town as may serve in the impending war.

     The selectmen at that time were Willard Drury, William Edwards and C. B. Travis.

     Leonard Winch, Deacon John Travis and John Cleland, Jr., were chosen a committee to consider "the wants of those citizens who may volunteer their services for the impending war." May 7, 1861, the town authorized the selectmen to pay for the uniforms of the Mechanic Rifle Company, of Natick, to the amount of $1000. It was also voted that each volunteer soldier should be furnished with one rubber camp blanket, and one pair of woolen stockings and each commissioned officer and musician with a revolver. Also the town appropriated $500 to furnish arms, equipments and clothing to volunteers, if called into actual service. July 17, 1861, the town voted to raise the sum of $10,000, in aid of the families of volunteers, and at the same time appropriated $1400 to meet expenses already incurred and to carry out contracts already made with volunteers.

Top of Page

Company I.    

 Photo of Moses Palmer     In response to the call of Governor Andrew, Messrs. Moses P. Palmer, William Barnes, David L. Brown, Samuel D. Witt, Alfred G. Howe, Frank Stetson, and others, proceeded to form a second company in Marlboro’, and enlistment papers were procured from the State for that purpose.  In a few days the signatures of ninety-eight of the best young men in Marlboro’ and vicinity were obtained, and on the 6th of May the company was organized by the choice of the following officers:


Captain  Moses P. Palmer.
First Lieutenant David L. Brown.
Second Lieutenant Alfred G. Howe.
Third Lieutenant  Samuel D. Witt.
Fourth Lieutenant  Samuel W. Fay.

     On the 10th of May the committee appointed for the purpose reported a constitution and by-laws, which were unanimously adopted.  The preamble was as follows:

     We who have enrolled our names upon the volunteer militia enlistment roll of Massachusetts, and have organized ourselves into a company of riflemen agreeably to the laws of the State, say, one and all, that whereas a certain portion of our countrymen have rebelled and have taken up arms against our constitutional government and have refused to obey its just laws, under which they, as well as we, have enjoyed so many blessings, that we have so acted because we truly believe it to be our duty, which we owe to our country, to humanity, and to God; and we further say that we pledge our fortunes and our sacred honor to help maintain and defend the flag of our glorious Union from traitors at home or foes from abroad; and we do agree to do and submit to such orders, rules, and regulations as the law requires, and such as shall be adopted by the company from time to time.

     On the 20th of May the company voted unanimously to offer their services to the United States for three years or during the war.

     The town of Marlboro’ furnished all the members of the company with a good gray uniform, and Hollis Loring, Esq., gave the company the use of a hall in the Exchange Building, free of all charge.

     The months of May and June were spent in drilling and preparing for service.

     The company was assigned to the Second Battalion of Riflemen, but shortly after was ordered to report for duty at Fort Independence, which it did on the 25th* of June, and became Company I, of the Thirteenth.

*Companies F, G, H, I, & K  arrived at the fort June 29th.

Top of Page

Company K.

     Company K was raised in Westboro’, and was known as the Westboro’ Rifle Company.

     On the 17th of April, 1861, a warrant was issued by G.  B. Sanborn, B. B. Nourse, and S. B. Howe, selectmen of the town, calling for a town meeting to be held on the 25th of the same month, for the appropriation of money to be expended for the raising of a military company in the town.  In accordance with this call the meeting was held, and T. A. Smith, C. P. Winslow, J. F. B. Marshall, Benjamin Boynton, and John Bowes were chosen a committee to consider the matter of raising a company and to report the amount necessary to defray the expenses thereof; whereupon they presented the following resolutions:

Old Town Hall Westboro     Resolved, That the town appropriate five thousand dollars, to be expended in the purchase of uniforms, pay of men while drilling, and for pay in addition to the amount paid by the Government, when called into active service.

     Resolved, That a committee of five be chosen, whose duty it shall be to attend to the expenditure and disbursement of all moneys hereby appropriated; and no bills shall be contracted for or paid without the approbation and approval of said committee.

     These resolutions were unanimously adopted, and an appropriation of five thousand dollars made in accordance therewith.

     A committee, consisting of G. B. Sanborn, B. B. Nourse, and S. B. Howe, selectmen, and J. F. B. Marshall and Patrick Casey, was then appointed and empowered to raise a company.  This committee organized by the choice of B. B. Nourse as chairman and J. F. B. Marshall as secretary.

     The work of recruiting was begun at once, and by the 29th of April a list of seventy-nine names was obtained, when a petition was presented to the Governor and Council asking for a charter for a company, to be called the Westboro’  Rifle Company, and the same was granted.  Before going into camp, information was received that the Government would not accept any more volunteers for three months’ service.  The company was then reorganized with a view to enlisting for three years. By this change the company lost about half its number, but from day to day recruits were added, so that when the time arrived for its departure it had one hundred and one men, classified as follows : Westboro; furnished fifty-six men ; Southboro’, eighteen ; Upton, nine ; Shrewsbury, nine : Hopkinton, eight : and Northboro’, one.

     The work of drilling was carried on daily, and marches made to surrounding towns, where the company was entertained by sumptuous dinners and patriotic speeches.

     In the meantime the work of preparing uniforms was undertaken by the women.

     On the 26th of April, the day following the town meeting, another meeting was held in the Town Hall to organize a “Soldiers’ Sewing Society.”  After prayer by the Rev. Mr. Cummings of the Unitarian Church, Mr. Marshall explained the objects of the meeting, whereupon it was voted to organize the society by the choice of Mrs. E. M. Phillips as president and Miss J. M. Marshall as secretary. Mrs. J. F. B. Marshall Mrs. S. B. Lakin, Mrs. A. N. Arnold, Mrs. J. A. Fayerweather, and Mrs. Salmon Comstock were chosen directors.

     In accordance with a notice read in all the churches on the previous Sunday, two hundred ladies with needles, thimbles, etc., met in the Town Hall Tuesday morning April 30, and began the work of making garments, and in a few hours they had made four dozen flannel shirts and four dozen pairs of drawers, which were immediately distributed.

     As it was important that the company be provided with uniforms, the ladies of this society devoted their energies to the accomplishment of this task, and by the 20th of June the work was completed.  In addition to the uniform, each man was provided with a fatigue-suit, havelock, thread-bag, towels, handkerchief, soap and comb.

     Calvin Chamberlain, a resident of California, a native of Westboro', showed his interest in the company's welfare by presenting each member with a dagger, while the Hon. William Knowlton provided each man with a drinking-tube.  It reported at Fort Independence, under the command of the following officers:


Captain Rev. William P. Blackmer.
First Lieutenant Charles P. Winslow.
Second Lieutenant               Ethan Bullard.
Third Lieutenant John W. Sanderson.
Fourth Lieutenant Abner R. Greenwood.


Top of Page



Page Updated January 4, 2014.



13thmass logo