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23rd Massachusetts Infantry
in the Civil War

Regimental History
Twenty-third Infantry. — Cols., John Kurtz, Andrew Elwell, John W. Raymond; Lieut. -Cols., John Kurtz, Henry Merritt, Andrew Elwell, John G. Chambers, John W. Raymond, Henry T. Woodbury; Majs., Henry Merritt, Andrew Elwell, John G. Chambers, Ethan A. P. Brewster, Daniel W. Hammond. This regiment was mustered in at Lynnfield for three years from Sept. 28 to Oct. 24, 1861, and was mustered out on Sept. 28, 1864, the reenlisted men and recruits continuing in service under the same regimental name until mustered out at New Berne, N. C, June 25, 1865. The total strength was 1,393. Co. C came from Gloucester ; Co. D, New Bedford ; Co. E was made up of Davis Guards ; Co. F, from Salem, and Co. G, Beverly. The 23d started on Nov. 11 for Annapolis and joined the "Burnside expedition." The first expedition was against Roanoke island in Feb., 1862, and was a success. Then followed the movement to New Berne, and several engagements in that vicinity. The Goldsboro expedition in December was next undertaken, in which the enemy was encountered at Southwest creek, Kinston, Whitehall and Goldsboro, where the railroad bridge was burned and parts of the Wilmington railroad destroyed, the main objects of the expedition. It next moved to Carolina City, thence to Hilton Head, and went into camp at St. Helena island, where it remained until April 3, 1863, when it embarked, expecting to go to Charleston, but was sent back to Hilton Head. Finally, however, it was ordered to the relief of Little Washington and arrived at New Berne after the siege was raised. The winter of 1863-64 was spent at Fortress Monroe and Portsmouth, Va. On April 13 an expedition was commenced which took the 23d up the James river to Smithfield. On April 26th it was sent to Yorktown and engaged the enemy at Port Walthall Junction, Hickman's farm and Arrowfield Church. At the battle of Drewry's bluff the losses were heavy and the army fell back to Bermuda Hundred. At Cold Harbor the regiment again lost a sad number but its advance in the face of the enemy's fire was most gallant. From this time till late in August of the same year the regiment was on duty before Petersburg, but was then ordered to New Berne, where it remained until March 3, 1865. At New Berne it suffered from yellow fever which caused great mortality. In March the regiment moved to Kinston, in which vicinity it engaged the enemy several times and finally routed them. This closed its active service, of every part of which they might justly be proud, and for which they received well-earned praise.

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

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