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21st Massachusetts Infantry
in the Civil War

Regimental History
Twenty-first Infantry. — Cols., Augustus Morse, William S. Clark; Lieut-Cols., Albert C. Maggi, William S. Clark, Joseph P. Rice, Theodore S. Foster, George P. Hawkes, Henry H. Richardson, Solomon Hovey, Jr.; Majs., William S. Clark, Joseph P. Rice, Theodore S. Foster, George P. Hawkes, Henry H. Richardson, Solomon Hovey, Jr. This regiment was mustered into the U. S. service for three years at Worcester from July 23 to Aug. 19, 1861, and was mustered out in Aug., 1864, the recruits and reenlisted men being then transferred to the 36th Mass. infantry. The total number of members was 989, of whom 138 were killed or died of wounds. A beautiful flag was presented to the regiment by the women of Worcester and on Aug. 23, 1861, the regiment left for the front. It was soon ordered to North Carolina and fought in the battles of Roanoke Island, New Berne and Camden. On July 6, 1862, it moved to Fortress Monroe and went into camp at Newport News. At the second battle of Bull Run it escaped with only slight loss but at Chantilly in an encounter with the enemy in a thick wood, and later in resisting a charge, it suffered severely. At South mountain, Antietam and Fredericksburg it had its share of fighting, after which it went into camp at Falmouth and remained there till Feb. 9, 1863, when it proceeded to Baltimore, via Newport News, thence to Cincinnati, Covington, Ky., and Mount Sterling. The last place it garrisoned till July, when the news of Morgan's raid took it to Lexington. After two months spent at Camp Nelson it marched 185 miles to Knoxville, Tenn. It met the enemy at Blue springs but exposure more than fighting formed the hardship of that autumn. Constantly on the march, barefooted, with insufficient food and no tents, its lot was not enviable. In the siege of Knoxville the regiment was constantly on duty, and pursued the Confederates after the siege, repeating its experience of marching in the cold without sufficient food and clothing. Nevertheless at this trying time nearly all the members reenlisted for three years. Such was the devotion of the 21st to the Union cause. Feb., 1864, was spent in Massachusetts on furlough and the next active duty was in the Wilderness campaign. At the Wilderness, Spottsylvania and Bethesda Church the regiment was in action and the rest of the term was spent at Petersburg.

Regimental history taken from "The Union Army" by Federal Publishing Company, 1908 - Volume 1

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