Thursday, September 20, 2012

Chiefly About War Matters

In the July 1862 issue of The Atlantic Monthly, a piece appeared written by a "Peaceable Man" (actually Nathaniel Hawthorne). The piece was met with great controversy, as it opposed the Civil War.

The piece came about in the early months of the Civil War. Hawthorne wanted to view the effects of battle firsthand or, as he wrote, "to look a little more closely at matters with my own eyes"  The war distracted Hawthorne and he had problems writing, and after consulting with his friends Franklin Pierce and Horatio Bridge, he decided to visit Washington. Publisher William Ticknor accompanied Hawthorne, and the two embarked via train from Massachusetts to New York City, then onto Philadelphia and then to Washington.

While traveling, Hawthorne witnessed heavy military presence, including guards at railroad depots and scattered military encampments. As he wrote to his wife, "The farther we go, the deeper grows the rumble and grumble of the coming storm, and I think the two armies are only waiting our arrival to begin." During the visit, Hawthorne met with Major General George B. McClellan, the commander of the Army of the Potomac, and then on March 13th, met with President Abraham Lincoln at the White House. The group Hawthorne was present President Lincoln with an ivory handled whip, and Hawthorne made several side trips, including one to Harper's Ferry, Virginia.

When Hawthorne arrived back to his home in Concord, Massachusetts, he wrote the piece in a month and sent it to publisher James Fields. Fields approved it without reading it, to the disappointment of Hawthorne, who wrote to Ticknor, "I wanted to benefit of somebody's opinion besides my own, as to the expediency of publishing two or three passages in the article." Fields soon regretted the decision as well and asked for changes. He tactfully wrote to Hawthorne, "I knew I should like it hugely and I do. But I am going to ask you to change some of it if you will."

In particular, Fields asked to soften the description of Lincoln, whom Hawthorne referred to as "Uncle Abe", as homely, coarse, and unkempt: 

The whole physiognomy is as coarse a one as you would meet anywhere in the length and breadth of the States; but, withal, it is redeemed, illuminated, softened, and brightened by a kindly though serious look out of his eyes, and an expression of homely sagacity, that seems weighted with rich results of village experience. A great deal of native sense; no bookish cultivation, no refinement; honest at heart, and thoroughly so, and yet, in some sort, sly,—at least endowed with a sort of tact and wisdom that are akin to craft, and would impel him, I think, to take an antagonist in flank, rather than to make a bull-run at him right in front. But, on the whole, I like this sallow, queer, sagacious visage, with the homely human sympathies that warmed it; and, for my small share in the matter, would as lief have Uncle Abe for a ruler as any man whom it would have been practicable to put in his place.

Though Hawthorne acquiesced to the editorial cuts, he lamented, "What a terrible thing it is to try to let off a little bit of truth into this miserable humbug of a world!" He believed the section was "the only part of the article really worth publishing." In its place, Hawthorne included a footnote which said, in part, "we are compelled to omit two or three pages, in which the author describes the interview, and gives his idea of the personal appearance and deportment of the President."

Many readers of The Atlantic Monthly were offended by Hawthorne's essay, and the magazine received "cruel and terrible notes". The concern was partially because it was somewhat pro-southern, but also because it was antiwar. Hawthorne also offended New Englanders by criticizing Ralph Waldo Emerson's view on John Brown. Emerson had referred to John Brown's execution as making "the Gallows as venerable as the Cross!"and instead called John Brown "blood-stained fanatic", and Hawthorne concluded that "nobody was ever more justly hanged."

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Shaw Memorial Vandalized

Sad to say, that at around 4:00 PM this afternoon, the Colonel Robert Gould Shaw Memorial on Beacon Street in Boston was allegedly vandalized by a woman who claimed that she was upset with the way it depicted history.


As you can tell from the photograph, yellow paint was splashed on the monument. Boston police say that Rosemine Occean, 38, of Quincywas arrested after she parked her car on Beacon Street around 4 P.M., got out and began dousing the century-old memorial with yellow paint, even hitting nearby pedestrians in the process.

According to Capt. Stephen Owens of the state Bureau of Ranger Services, which oversees the nearby State House, one man whose daughter was splashed stopped the woman from leaving until police arrived. “She was just sitting there on the bench with a can of paint in her hand, talking to police,” Owens said. He said the woman was spotted just weeks earlier trying to break a sword from the statue and today indicated to authorities that she was upset with how the memorial depicted history.

 The monument in better days

A Boston police spokesman said Occean is expected to be arraigned tomorrow at Boston Municipal Court on charges of willful and malicious destruction to city property.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Governor John Andrew to Francis Shaw

On January 30th, 1863, shortly after the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect, Governor John Andrew wrote a letter to prominent abolitionist Francis Shaw, inquiring about the raising of a regiment of African Americans.

Francis G. Shaw, Esq., Staten Island, N.Y.
Boston, January 30, 1863.

Dear Sir:
As you may have seen by the newspapers, I am about to raise a Colored Regiment in Massachusetts. This I cannot but regard as perhaps the most important corps to be organized during the whole war, in view of what must be the composition of our new levies, and therefore I am very anxious to organize it judiciously in order that it may be a model for all future Colored Regiments. I am desirous to have for its officers- particularly for its field officers- young men of military experience, of firm Anti Slavery principles, ambitions, superior to a vulgar contempt for color, and having faith in the capacity
of colored men for military service. Such officers must be necessarily gentlemen of the highest tone and honor, and I shall look for them in those circles of Educated Anti Slavery Society, which next to the colored race itself, has the greatest interest in the success of this experiment.
Reviewing the young men of the character I have described, now in the Massachusetts service, it occurs to me to offer the Colonelcy of such a Regiment to your son, Captain Shaw of the 2nd Mass.
Infantry, and the Lt-Colonelcy to Capt. Hallowell of the 20th Mass. Infantry, the son of Mr. Morris L. Hallowell of Philadelphia. With my deep conviction of the importance of this undertaking, in view of the fact that it will be the first Colored Regiment to be raised in the Free States, and that its success
or its failure, will go far to elevate or to depress the estimation in which the character of the Colored Americans will be held throughout the World, the command of such a Regiment seems to me to be a high object of ambition for any officer. How much your son may have reflected upon such, a subject
I do not know, nor have I any information of his disposition for such a task except what I have derived from his general character and reputation, nor should I wish him to undertake it, unless he could enter upon it with a full sense of its importance, with an earnest determination for its success, and with the assent and sympathy and support of the opinion of his immediate family. I therefore beg to enclose to you the letter in which I make him the offer of this commission, and I will be obliged to you, if you will forward it to him accompanying it with any expression to him of your own views, and if you will also write to me upon the subject.

My mind is drawn towards Captain Shaw by many considerations. I am sure that he would attract the support, sympathy and active co-operation of many besides his immediate family and relatives.
The more ardent, faithful, true Republicans and friends of Liberty would recognize in him, a scion for of a tree whose fruit and leaves have alike contributed to the strength and healing of our generation.
So, also is it with Captain Hallowell. His father is a quaker gentleman of Philadelphia, two of whose sons are officers in our regiments, and another is a Merchant in Boston. Their house in Philadelphia is a hospital almost, for Mass. officers, and the family are full of good works; Mr. H. being my constant advisor in the interest of our soldiers, when sick or in distress in that city. I need not add that young Captain H. is a gallant and fine fellow, true as steel to the cause of Human Nature, as well as to the
flag of the Country.
I wish to engage the field officers and then get their aid in selecting those of the line. I have offers from "Oliver T. Beard, of Brooklyn, N.Y. Late Lt.-Col. 48th N. Y. V.", who says he can already furnish 600 men, and from others, wishing to furnish men from New York and from Conn., but I do not wish to start the regiment under a stranger to Massachusetts. Still I have written to Col. H.E. Howe to learn about Col. Beard, since he may be useful in some contingency hereafter. If in any way, by suggestion or otherwise, you can aid the purpose which is the burden of this letter, I shall receive
your cooperation with the heartiest gratitude.
[The handwriting shifts at this point. The previous sections were most likely written by a member of the Governor's staff, the following lines and signature were written by John A. Andrew.]

I don't want the office to go begging; and if this offer is refused I would prefer its being kept reasonably private. Hoping to hear from you immediately on yr receiving this note,
I am, with high regard,
Your obdt servant and friend,
John A. Andrew.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Lieutenant Henry Ropes Letter

On September 15th, 1862, while in camp near Middletown, Maryland during the Antietam Campaign, 2nd Lieutenant Henry C. Ropes of Company K, 20th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry wrote this letter to his father.
                                                                                      Camp 20th Regiment near Middletown, Md.
Monday September 15th, 1862
6 A.M.

My dear Father,

We came here late last night, having marched very far to the North during the day. We marched from Rockville to Frederick City via Clarksburg and Middlebrook, and camped day before yesterday close to Frederick. The people show every sign of joy at our arrival.

There was a severe battle here yesterday before we came up, about which I have not yet heard much, but we drove the Rebels at last. All quiet as yet this morning, so I suppose they have retreated in the night. I hear the 35th Mass. was engaged. Genl. Reno is killed_his body was carried by us. The houses were filled with wounded when we passed up. We are about 2 miles from the position the Rebels occupied last night.

My foot is well. All the Regiment safe and well, except Lieutenants Abbott, Murphy and Beckwith who are ill and left at Frederick. I do not think Abbott is much ill, but it would have hurt him to march and we persuaded him to stay behind for a day or two. Received letter from mother of the 8th. No other letters.

Please do not send on the pistol if there is no fixed ammunition to fill it. Love to Mother and all. Shall try to write soon. Our force here is very large and we are in reserve and in all probability shall not be engaged in case another battle takes place in a few days.

In great haste

Your affectionate Son

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Louisa May Alcott Civil War Journal Excerpt

Today, March 8th, is International Women's Day. In honor of this day, I thought I'd present an excerpt from Louisa May Alcott's journal, written while she was a nurse during the Civil War.

January 1863

Union Hotel Hospital, Georgetown, D.C.

Monday, 4th … .

Till noon I trot, trot, giving out rations, cutting up food for helpless “boys”, washing faces, teaching my attendants how beds are made or floors are swept, dressing wounds, … dusting tables, sewing bandages, keeping my tray tidy, rushing up and down after pillows, bed-linen, sponges, books, and directions, till it seems as if I would joyfully pay down all I possess for fifteen minutes' rest. At twelve the big bell rings, and up comes dinner for the boys, who are always ready for it and never entirely satisfied. Soup, meat, potatoes, and bread is the bill of fare. Charley Thayer, the attendant, travels up and down the room serving out the rations, saving little for himself, yet always thoughtful of his mates, and patient as a woman with their helplessness. When dinner is over, some sleep, many read, and others want letters written. This I like to do, for they put in such odd things, and express their ideas so comically, I have great fun interiorally, while as grave as possible exteriorally. A few of the men word their paragraphs well and make excellent letters. John's was the best of all I wrote. The answering of letters from friends after some one had died is the saddest and hardest duty a nurse has to do.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Private Orrin Cook - A Case of Civil War PTSD?

When one usually thinks of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), we usually picture veterans of the Vietnam War, or our current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

However, the Civil War was no different from Vietnam, or Iraq, and soldiers even then suffered combat stress reaction. In fact, in 490 BC, Greek historian Herodotus described an Athenian soldiers from the Battle of Marathon who suffered no wounds, but became blind after he witnessed the death of a fellow soldier.

One such case that occurred after the Civil War was that of Private Orrin Cook, of Company B, 22nd Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. Cook was born on 26 January 1841,in Winchester, New Hampshire. Orrin was sent to a series of public schools until 1858. In 1858, he attended Cold River Union Academy in Paper Mill Village, NH; followed by a stint in 1859 at Westmoreland Valley Seminary, in Westmoreland NH. Orrin's scholastic training led him to be a particularly literate fellow for the time, as can be seen in his diaries and letters home.

In December of 1859 after leaving Westmoreland, Orrin took a job briefly working for the Vermont Times in Bellows Falls Vermont; followed by a stint as a teacher back home in Winchester in 1860, where he had charge of public school District #9. He didn't remain long in Winchester, taking to travel in eastern Massachusetts in 1861, traveling through Boston and Winchendon, before settling in Springfield where he took a job as a clerk for a local lumber concern. He worked there through the early years of the Civil War, until in July of 1863, he was drafted into the army. His father offered to pay for a replacement for him, but Orrin appears to have declined, and mustered into Company B of the 22nd Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry as a replacement for the horrendous losses the regiment had taken in 1862 and 1863.

Joining the 22nd Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry in the fall of 1863, he arrived in time to participate in the Battle of Rappahannock Station, though his diary of 1863 did not survive to allow him to relate the tale. With the 22nd, he moved south in Grant's Overland Campaign of 1864, where on May 5 in the Battle of the Wilderness, Orrin was wounded twice by a single minie ball through both legs, and again by another while he lay on the ground.

Cook was taken captive by the Confederate forces and miraculously recovered from his wounds, largely while in their care. In September of 1864, he was one of the soldiers sent to Fortress Munroe and Annapolis as part of one of the last of the prisoner exchanges; and spent the balance of the war and his terms of enlistment working as a clerk in the Maryland hospitals.

Orrin Cook returned to Springfield at the end of 1865, and in February, married his sweetheart, Hattie, who provided him the diary which he had been writing in since 1864 and settled at 12 Stearns Square, having two girls with Hattie; Jennie (born 1869) and Mary (1871). He worked as a clerk and bookkeeper for his old lumber concern, then for A. N. Mayo, a rag and paper dealer. After a period of 21 tempestuous years, owing in no small part to what Mary Cook's daughter Frances cited as what could be called 'shell shock' on the part of Orrin, Hattie and Orrin separated. Hattie moved out in 1887, taking the girls with her to her new residence. From that point, Orrin and his wife and daughters rarely spoke; and the acrimonious split was made final with a divorce in 1911. Hattie died in 1920 of bronchial pneumonia.

Orrin Cook died in his sleep at home in West Springfield on the 16th of November, 1929. His will donated the vast majority of his estate, valued at more than $100,000, to charity; including $500 to the Connecticut Valley Historical Society (along with his war diary), $3000 to the American Humane Education Society, $10,000 to the Springfield Home for Old Men, and around $70,000 to the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Jeff Lawrence has a wonderful website dedicated to his portrayal of Orrin Cook, and has searched extensively through Cook's diaries. On September 9th, 1864, Cook writes

My sleep is broken, uneasy and full of dreams lately. Last night I dreamed that war was declared between the old folks and me, and that Una had turned against me. I have dreamed the former a dozen times. It was more than a dream years ago when I was a little fellow and got the abuse of both because I was not sufficiently submissive to my booby brother. I never yielded then, and have never forgotten the injustice of both.
Cook also seems to have compared himself to an outsider. When he joined the 22nd Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry in 1863, they had already seen action on the Peninsula, Fredericksburg, Antietam, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg, and had suffered horrendous losses. Cook writes on August 25th, 1864

I don’t know why I am such an Ishmael; I don’t know what it is in me that makes me to odious to everybody, whether it is my looks, or my ways, or both, or neither. Of the fact that I have every day new and painful proof. If any one would tell me why I am so generally regarded with aversion, he would do me a very great favor.

Private Robert Carter writes of the new recruits (although not singling out Cook)

Our conscripts, two hundred in number, have arrived, and we are having great times in this region; our class of men is very good on the whole; a few scatterings, however, betoken a rough element. It is very amusing to see how some of them enter upon their new duties. Last nigh, for the first time since the recuits joined at Hall’s Hill, our quiet camp was changed into a perfect bedlam– shouting, music, talking, gambling and sich were the amusements, and such a clashing I never heard; it made us old soldiers stare

After being wounded and captured, Cook was tended to at the Locust Grove Field Hospital, where he mentions that the nurses were amazed that despite numerous wounds, neither bones or arteries were hit. While recovering, Cook wrote a series of poems concerning his thoughts on mortality. One poem dated May 12th, 1864, named “The Death of the Wounded Captive,” describes the death of a soldier from the 20th Maine Volunteer Infantry who dies with no identification - as this was before dog tags were issued to soldiers - and thus, the soldier's family back home would have no idea of his fate.

Cook writes an entry in his diary concerning his family and his fate, writing “Likely my folks are ignorant of my fate. Possibly I may have been reported “missing” in the [Springfield] Republican and some one have seen it. Anyhow they will begin to apprehend something after a time, hearing nothing from me and knowing of the battles."

Eventually Cook was released from captivity and served as a clerk at the Naval School Hospital in Annapolis, Maryland, While there, he receives something of a scare when he hears that he will be reassigned to Company L, 32nd Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. Cook replies that his "legs are hardly fit for the field yet."

His postwar life is interesting as well. It seems his mood improved after his discharge from service, and Cook and Hattie are married. Cook became successful in business until the Financial Crisis of 1879. Cook lost his job in the crisis, and Hattie's dressmaking business becomes the family's sole source of income. Hattie moved her business into the home to save money, and Orrin became obsessed with tracking funds and expenditures; with every penny accounted for in extreme detail.

Orrin's granddaughter Frances indicates that Orrin was prone to fits of rage, although he was never violent towards the family. He also showed a love for animals - as indicated in his will - and especially to horses. He would travel around Western Massachusetts and view horses. Frances also indicates that although Hattie and Mary (Frances' mother) were no allowed blankets and candy, Orrin's horse was allowed them.

Finally, in 1887, Hattie left Orrin. Frances writes that

This abuse was not caused by drink rather if I may use the term brain-storms. May be in this day it might be called a result of shell-shock. No man ever had a better or truer wife, capable and industrious, pure. She lived with him as long as her life was safe, since a loaded revolver was always in the house.
Orrin and Hattie remained separated for the remainder of their lives. Orrin seems to have played no role in his daughter's lives, for when each was married, much was made in the papers about Hattie being the mother of the bride, but no mention of Orrin appears. He appears to wage war on the women in his life in the local papers. Under the nom de guerre of “Heman Wilkins”, Orrin wrote a number of letters to the editor decrying the influence of women over the affairs of men. In addition to these, as “Hasseky March”, Orrin wrote against tariffs and economic policies.

In 1908, Hattie, in failing health, filed a claim for $3,000 in spousal support (they were still legally married), writing "Said respondent utterly deserted your petitioner, and has since failed, neglected and refused to support her in any way; that said respondent was guilty of cruel and abusive treatment of your petitioner."

Orrin immediately filed for divorce and contested the spousal support claim. In his testimony., Orrin claims

the daughters inherit the character and disposition of their mother. When young, they were disobedient and insolent, taking their cue from their mother and encouraged in it by her

Orrin also claims his daughters were of no service or comfort to him.

In 1911, Orrin sold his home and moved to another home at 9 King's Highway in West Springfield. He shared the home with a housekeeper, Olive Pentland. Orrin continued his abusive ways with Olive, throwing her plants out of the windows of the home, while Olive would lock herself in her room, and ride out the storm in silence until the fits of rage died down.

Orrin remained isolated from the community - his home in West Springfield was bare with no furniture or decorations, in contrast to the home on Stearns Square which were filled with books and knick-knacks. He seems to have become bitter and morose, entitling a page in his diary "My Acquaintances Who Have Kild Themselves" which was maintained regularly. He was also considered an odd and eccentric character in the community, as a newspaper article from the 1920's shows Cook with his favorite pet - a rooster - perched on his head, standing beside his beloved horse.

Although one cannot definitively diagnose Orrin Cook as having PTSD, it seems, based on the evidence, that something may have occurred with his mental pysche during and following the war, made worse by his financial difficulties. His physical wounds may have healed, but his mental ones may not have. For a young man that served only for a brief period of time in the war and was effected this way, what effect did the war have on those that served for longer periods of time?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

A Closer Look at a Famous Photo

It is one of the most iconic images of the Civil War - a photograph of thirteen officers of the 28th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry and a civilian. The photograph, likely taken in June of 1865, has been reproduced in numerous books on the Civil War and the Irish Brigade.

But who are the men in the photograph? For years, many of them had been misidentified. The original photograph is housed at the Huntington Library in California, and the names identified in the photograph is based on a piece of paper attached to the photograph.

So, who are the men in the photograph.

The officers standing are from left to right are listed on the paper as 1st Lieutenant Michael Powderly, 1st Lieutenant Thomas Cook, 1st Lieutenant John Knight, the civilian named Mr. McParland, 2nd Lieutenant George Beattie, 1st Lieutenant John Miner, 2nd Lieutenant William McCarthy, Assistant Surgeon Albert Chase, and 2nd Lieutenant John McGlim.

Seated officers from left to right are listed as Captain John Miles, Captain Patrick Black, Lieutenant Colonel James Flemming, Captain Patrick Bird, and Captain John Coriness.

However, looking at the roster of the regiment, one can determine that some of the names and even ranks are incorrect with the original roster listed in Massachusetts Soldiers, Sailors and Marines in the War of the Rebellion.

So, let us take a closer look at the men in the photograph.

The first officer standing on the left is 1st Lieutenant Michael Powderly. Powderly was a 22 year old shoemaker when, on September 28th, 1861, he enlisted as a Corporal in Company D. Powderly made it through the early battles of the regiment without being wounded, and re-enlisted on January 1st, 1864 with the rank of Sergeant. Powderly was wounded on May 18th, 1864 at Spotsylvania and was commissioned a 1st Lieutenant on July 21st, 1864. While awaiting his mustering at the rank of 1st Lieutenant, Powderly served as the regiment's Sergeant Major from September 1st to November 11th, 1864. On June 30th, 1865, Powderly was mustered out of service with the rank of 1st Lieutenant of Company D.

The next officer is Thomas Cook, identified as a 1st Lieutenant. This is misleading, as Thomas Cook, a Boston printer, was actually a 2nd Lieutenant at the time of the photograph. He had been commissioned as a 1st Lieutenant on April 26th, 1865, but was never mustered in at that rank, and thus he ended the war as the 2nd Lieutenant of Company E when he was mustered out on June 30th, 1865. Cook had enlisted on January 23rd, 1862 and was wounded at Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, Spotsylvania, and Deep Bottom, Virginia.

1st Lieutenant John Knight was a 21 year old varnisher from Boston when he enlisted in Company B on December 13th, 1861. On September 17th, 1862, he was wounded at Antietam, Maryland, and, upon re-enlisting on February 20th, 1864, he had been promoted to Sergeant. He was commissioned a 1st Lieutenant on July 19th, 1864, but, before mustering in, was wounded and captured on August 25th, 1864 at Ream's Station, Virginia, but was paroled soon after, and remained in a hospital in Baltimore, Maryland until he was either exchanged or recovered to rejoin his regiment. Knight was mustered out on June 30th, 1865.

The civilian identified as Mr. McParland is unknown. Perhaps he was a local civilian, or a civilian agent from Massachusetts, the Christian Commission, or the Sanitary Commission.

2nd Lieutenant George Beatty has the misfortune of having his surname misspelled as Beattie. Beatty was a 19 year old tinsmith when he joined as a Private in Company B on January 6th, 1862. Somewhere along the road, he was promoted to Sergeant, and in the Spring of 1864, he was promoted to 1st Sergeant. On May 9th, 1864, he was wounded at the Po River, commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in Company D on February 24th, 1865 (mustering in on March 15th), and was wounded on April 2nd, 1865, at the South Side Railroad - the regiment's last action. He was mustered out on June 30th, 1865.

John Miner was 24 and a cloth printer from Worcester when he enlisted as a Corporal in Company B on October 9th, 1861. On November 1st, 1862, he was promoted to Quartermaster Sergeant and served at that rank until he was commissioned a 1st Lieutenant in Company E on May 22nd, 1864. On June 30th, 1865, he was mustered out. He is one of three officers in the photograph who had avoided being wounded in action.

William McCarty (not McCarthy) was a 25 year old carpenter from West Roxbury. On October 11th, 1861, he enlisted in Company A, and seems to have made it through all the early engagements of the regiment without injury. He re-enlisted on January 1st, 1864, and on May 12th, 1864, was wounded during the attack on the Mule Shoe at Spotsylvania. On July 18th, 1864, he was promoted to Quartermaster Sergeant (taking over probably for Miner). In February of 1865, he was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in Company C, was mustered in at that rank on March 15th, 1865. On July 19th, 1865, he became one of the last members of the regiment to muster out.

Assistant Surgeon Albert Chase was from Meredith, New Hampshire. He was one of the newcomers in the regiment, having been commissioned as an Assistant Surgeon on April 7th, 1865. The regiment had not been with an Assistant Surgeon since July 30th, 1863, when Assistant Surgeon Peter Hubon resigned. Chase was mustered out on June 30th, 1865.

The last officer standing is 2nd Lieutenant John McGlinn (spelled McGlim on the paper). McGlinn was an 18 year old laborer from Boston when he joined Company C at Fort Columbus, New York Harbor on January 28th, 1862. Upon his re-enlistment on January 1st, 1864, he was promoted to Corporal. On April 16th, 1864, he was promoted to Sergeant, and served in that rank through the Overland Campaign and Petersburg. On January 14th, 1865, McGlinn was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in Company A and was mustered the following month. On June 30th, 1865, he mustered out, never having been wounded.

The officer sitting on the left is Captain John Miles. Miles was a 22 year old carver from Boston who enlisted as a Corporal in Company E on October 2nd, 1861. By his re-enlistment on January 1st, 1864, he had been promoted to 1st Sergeant of Company E. Miles was wounded on May 5th, 1864 at The Wilderness, and two weeks after his wounding, he received a commission to 1st Lieutenant. However, before he mustered as a 1st Lieutenant, he was promoted to Captain of Company E on August 7th, 1864, and was wounded on August 25th, 1864 at Ream's Station. Miles returned to the regiment in time to pose for the photograph, and was mustered out on June 30th, 1865.

Captain Patrick Black previously served in the 9th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, the first Irish regiment formed in Massachusetts. Black was a central figure in the recruiting/commission scandal in 1864. Colonel Richard Byrnes, the commander of the 28th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, was on recruiting duty in Boston when he met Black. Byrnes was impressed with Black's prior service and offered Black a commission as a 2nd Lieutenant. The state records indicated that Black was paid a bounty payment, which he was not entitled too, and suspicions arose that Byrnes was selling commissions to friends. Black was never actually paid a bounty, and an inquiry brought by Governor John Andrew cleared Black and another man of any wrongdoing and Black was allowed to retain his commission. On May 5th, 1864, Black was commissioned a 1st Lieutenant. On July 21st, 1864, Black was promoted to Captain of Company D and mustered the following November. Black was commissioned a Major on April 9th, 1865, but never mustered at that rank, and he mustered out of service on July 22nd, 1865.

Lieutenant Colonel James Fleming had his name incorrectly spelled as Flemming. Fleming was a 19 year old upholsterer from Boston when he enlisted as a 1st Sergeant in Company B on October 4th, 1861. On August 9th, 1862, Fleming was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant, and then commissioned a 1st Lieutenant on November 15th, 1862. Fleming was wounded at the Battle of Fredericksburg, but returned to the regiment in time to be commissioned a Captain on May 29th, 1863. Fleming was wounded on May 18th, 1864 at Spotsylvania, and when he returned to action, he assumed command of the regiment, and on July 21st, 1864, was promoted to Major. Fleming was commissioned a Lieutenant Colonel on November 30th, 1864, and assumed formal command of the regiment on December 19th, 1864, following Colonel George Cartwright's discharge. On March 25th, 1865, Fleming sustained his third wound while in action at Hatcher's Run. Fleming's wound kept him out of action for the remainder of the war, as Black was in command of the regiment when the regiment returned to Washington on May 15th, 1865. Fleming was mustered out on July 19th, 1865.

Captain Patrick Bird was an 18 year old carriage painter from Chelsea when he enlisted in Company B on January 10th, 1862. He was wounded at Second Bull Run while serving as a Corporal, and was a Sergeant when he was wounded at Fredericksburg. When he re-enlisted on January 1st, 1864, he was a 1st Sergeant, and was thereafter promoted to Sergeant Major. On May 22nd, 1864, he was commissioned a 1st Lieutenant of Company A, was wounded a third time at Cold Harbor. On August 16th, 1864, Bird was promoted to Captain, and was wounded a fourth time on April 2nd, 1865 at the South Side Railroad. Bird was mustered out on June 30th, 1865.

Captain John Connor had the misfortune of having his surname misspelled as Coriness. He was an 18 year old farmer from Boston who enlisted as a Private in Company D on December 2nd, 1861. When he re-enlisted on January 1st, 1864, he was promoted to Sergeant, and on May 22nd, 1864, Connor was commissioned a 1st Lieutenant of Company C. Connor was wounded at Cold Harbor, and was advanced to the rank of Captain on August 16th, 1864. On March 25th, 1865, he was wounded at Hatcher's Run, and was mustered out on June 30th, 1865.