Hampden County, MA - Civil War
The 31st Infantry

The organization afterward known as the 31st Massachusetts infantry volunteers was raised by Gen. Benjamin F. Butler under authority direct from the war department at Washington, and was at first designated as the Wester Bay State regiment.  It gathered at Pittsfield, the recruits coming from all of the western portion of the state, with many from Vermont and New York.  Hampden county furnished 175 enlisted men, and the following commissioned officers:

Leaving the state on the 20th of February, 1862, the regiment went to Ship Island, where the forces for General Butler's expedition against New Orleans were being gathered, and was the first organization to land at New Orleans on the occupation of that city.  Until the following spring the companies composing the regiment were on garrison duty at various points in and near the city.  in the active operations of the spring of 1863 the regiment took some part, without being seriously engaed until the seige of Port Hudson, in which 62 enlisted men were killed or wounded.  After the surrender of that stronghold the regiment was engaged in various excursions through the surrounding country, but without any serious engagements.

During December, 1863, the men were mounted and trained in cavalry tactics, and the regiment was from that time commonly spoken of as the Sixth Massachusetts cavalry, though its official designation was never changed.  In the Red River campaign of the following spring it bore an arduous part, and in the battle of Sabine Cross Roads, April 8, under command of Captain Nettleton, it made a gallant charge against an overwhelmingly superior force of the victorious enemy, losing 62 men, but failing to more than temporarily check the adverse forces of the day.  In the subsequent operations in the department the regiment was kept constantly busy, scouting, skirmishing, and in guard duty, a battalion of re-enlisted men and recruits remaining in the service after the expiration of the original term of enlistment, and taking active part in the operations against Mobile in the spring of 1865.  The command was mustered out of the United States service September 9, 1865.

During its servce the regiment lost 52 enlisted men killed or mortally wounded in action, and 3 officers and 150 men died from disease and accidents, making a death loss of 205 from a total enrollment of 1,343.

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The 34th Infantry

This regiment was provided for by Governor Andrew's order of May 29, 1862, which directed that ten of the thrity companies then called for should be raised in the five western counties of the state, forming a regiment to encamp on the Agricultural grounds at Worcester.  Under this arrangement Companies D and G were practically Hampden county organizations, as the former had 98, and th latter 86 enlisted men from this county, while enough Hampden county men were scattered through the other companies to raise the total to 217, in additon to the following commissioned officers:

The 34th left the state on the 15th of August, 1862, and went to Washignton, remaining on duty in the defenses of that city until July 9, 1863, when it was ordered to the vicinity of Harper's Ferry, where it remained until late in April, 1864, making occasional excursions up the Shenandoah Valley, engaging in some skirmishing and occasional fighting, but was not heavily engaged until the advance of General Siegel's forces up the valley and the battle of New Market, May 15, 1864.  From that time the regiment was constantly active, suffering seriously at the battle of Piedmont, June 5, participating in the terrible scramble of General Hunter's forces through the mountains of West Virginia, returning to take a horoic part in the subsequent operations in the valley during the following month, winning great credit for its effective work at the battle of the Opequan on the 19th of September, as well as in the later engagements in that region.  In December the regiment with its division was transferred to the scene of operations in front of Petersburg, and in the sitrring events of the spring of 1865, witnessing the overthrow of the rebellion, it well maintained the prestige won on so many hard fought fields.  [When the war ended] the remnant of the command was mustered out of the United Sttes service on the15th of June, 1865.  Its record is an especially honorable one when it is borne in mind that its battle losses were nearly all sustained within less than a year, and in fact much the larger portion of them inside of six months.  Of a total enrollment of 1,306 members, the regiment lost 7 officers and 128 enlised men killed or mortally wounded in action, and 2 officers and 132 men died from disease and other causes, making a total death roll of 269.

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The 36th Infantry

The 36th was a Worcester County regiment, with the exception of Company E, which had 65 men from Hampden County, mostly representing the towns of Palmer and Monson, while scattered through the other companies were enough Hampden county men to bring the total up to 84 for the regiment, in addtion to the following officers:

This regiment left camp at Worcester September 2, 1862, going to Boston and thence by water to Washington, where it was assigned to the Ninth corps, which it joined soon after the battle of Antietam.  It participated in the battle of Fredericksburg, went with its corps to Kentucky in February, 1863, reinforced General Grant's army before Vicksburg early in June, after the surrender following Johnston's army in Mississippi, and returned to the old camp in Kentucky in August, having suffered terribly from sickness.  Thence the regiment moved with its corps to Tennessee, returning to rejoin the army of the Potomac in the spring of 1864, with which its fortunes were identified from the opening of the campaign in the Wilderness, during the operations against Petersburg, until the close of the war in the following spring.  It was mustered out of the national servce June 8, 1865.

Of a total enrollment of 1,317 members, the regiment lost 6 officers and 105 men killed or mortally wounded in action, while 3 officers and 160 men died of disease or accident, making a ttotal death roll of 274.

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The 37th Infantry

This regiment was organized at Pittsfield, under the president's call fo July 1, 1862, for 300,000 volunteers to serve for three years.  It was composed principally of men from the four western counties of  the state, Hampden county furnishing 130 enlisted men, in addition to the following officers commissioned at the organization of the regiment, several of whom attained to higher rank:

The regiment left Pittsfield for the front September 7, 1862, and after a short encampment on Arlington Heights joined the army of the Potomac, then encamped in Maryland, a few miles from the battlefield of Antietam.  It participated in the subsequent movements of that army, forming a part of the Sixth corps, until July 31, 1863, when it was ordered to New York as one of the four select regiments for duty during the draft.  This duty was very creditably performed, and the regiment returned to the army in October, where it served with distinction until the close of the war.  Its service was especially valuable at the battle of the Wilderness, at Spottsylvania, at the battle of the Opequan, in the final assault upon Petersburg, and the battle of Sailor's Creek.  From August, 1864, it was armed with the Spencer repeating rifle, making it a very formidable organization in active service.  The fighting at Sailor's Creek was hand-to-hand, and rated as among the most desperate of the war.  Four battle flags were captured by the 37th during the term of its service, and four of its members received Congressional medals of honor for distinguished gallantry in action.

Of a total enrollment of 1,314 members, the regiment lost 4 officers and 165 enlisted men killed or mortally wounded in action, while 92 enlisted men died from disease, accident, or in confederate prisons, making a total death roll of 261.  The regiment took mpart in the following battles and engagements:

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 Ellen Pack
Hampden County, MAGenWeb Project
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