Massachusetts 27th Infantry Regiment

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The history of the Massachusetts 27th Infantry Regiment is a long and glorious one.  The following was taken from a nine volume set entitled, "Massachusetts Soliders, Sailors, and Marines in the Civil War."  It was published by the Adjudant General's office just after the end of the war and describes the Massachusetts 27th Infantry Regiment's history from its beginnings in Springfield, MA, to its ending in Readville, MA:

"The 27th Regt. Mass. Vol. Inf. was raised in the western counties of Massachusetts by Horace C. Lee of Springfield, who became its colonel. The companies reported at Camp Reed, Springfield, between the 19th and 24th of September, and three quarters of the regiment had been mustered in by September 27. On November 2 the regiment entrained for Annapolis, Md., where it arrived on the 5th. January 9, 1862, as a part of Foster's Brigade, Burnside's Coast Division, it embarked with the Burnside expedition to North Carolina. It was engaged with loss at Roanoke Island, Feb. 8, and with greater loss at Newbern, March 14.

In May, 1862, Burnside's force was organized into three divisions, the 27th becoming a part of Stevenson's (2d) Brigade, Foster's (1st) Division. Expeditions or reconnaissances were made to Batchelder's Creek, Trenton, Washington, and almost to Tarboro during the summer and fall. Plymouth was visited Nov. 10, and on Dec. 3, the regiment returned to Newbern. From Dec. 11 to Dec. 21, the 27th was on the Goldsboro expedition, but suffered only slight loss. The winter was without event of importance after the return from Goldsboro.

From March 30, 1863, to April 16, eight companies were shut up in Washington, N.C., which was then besieged by Gen. D. H. Hill. The siege being raised, they returned to Newbern, April 25. Two days later they were sent to Core Creek on the Gum Swamp expedition, again returning to Newbern where the regiment stayed most of the time until October.

On October 17, the regiment embarked under orders to proceed to Newport News, Va., arriving on the evening of the 18th. Here it became a part of Heckman's Star Brigade, 2d Division, 18th Corps, Army of the James. During the early winter of 1863-64, 220 members of the regiment re-enlisted and on Jany. 15 went home on a veteran furlough, remaining until Feb. 19. During the winter months 213 recruits joined the regiments, so that it entered the spring campaign with 933 officers and men.

After fruitless expeditions to Yorktown and Williamsburg in May, 1864, the regiment returned to Fort Monroe and embarked May 5 for Bermuda Hundred. It was engaged at Port Walthall Junction, May 6 and 7, losing 22 men, 5 of whom were killed or mortally wounded, also at Arrowfield Church, May 9, with a loss of 38, of whom 10 were killed or mortally wounded. At Drury's Bluff, May 16, in the dense fog of early morning the regiment was outflanked and lost over 300 officers and men, 17 of whom were killed or mortally wounded and 259 taken prisoners, many of them dying in Andersonville. In this action Gen. Heckman, their brigade commander, was captured. Transferred to the north side of the James, the regiment was engaged at Cold Harbor, June 2 and 3, losing 104, of whom 30 were killed or mortally wounded. In the four weeks ending June 3 the regiment suffered 488 casualties, 62 being officers and men killed or mortally wounded.

The 27th now re-crossed to the Petersburg front, being in action June 15, on the very day of its arrival, and again on the 18th, when it lost 11 killed and 28 wounded.

August 25 it was withdrawn to the Bermuda Hundred region. In September 179 men whose term of service had expired were sent home to Massachusetts. The rest of the regiment was transferred to North Carolina, where it had seen its first service. After various experiences at Carolina City, Williamston, Newbern, and elsewhere, early in March, 1865, the regiment proceeded to Southwest Creek near Kinston, where it was surrounded by the Confederates March 8, losing 7 killed, 40 wounded, and the rest of the regiment numbering over 200 taken prisoners. The prisoners were taken to Libby Prison in Richmond, Va., and soon paroled and sent home. A fragment of the regiment still performed guard duty at Newbern until June 26, 1865, when it was mustered out and sent home. The survivors reached Readville, Mass., July 7, and on the 19th were paid off and discharged.

Of the members of this regiment who were taken prisoners, mostly at Drury's Bluff and Southwest Creek, 142 died in Confederate prisons."

Following is another history (I'm in the process of trying to find the source so it can be properly credited):

"The 27th Mass. Infantry was recruited in the western counties of Massachusetts by Horace C. Lee, afterward colonel of the regiment, in September and October, 1861. Most of the men being mustered in September 27, and the line officers on October 25, it left the State Nov. 2, 1861, and encamped near Annapolis, Md.

It was assigned to the 1st Brigade, General Burnside's forces, November 27, and, leaving Fortress Monroe for South Carolina Jan. 11, 1862, took part at the battle of Roanoke Island February 8. It was engaged with loss at New Berne March 14, and, encamping in the vicinity, it shared from time to time in outpost duty at Batchelder's Creek. In July a reconnaissance was made toward Trenton, N. C. It remained with headquarters at New Berne during the summer, and in the autumn served in detachments on outpost duty at Washington, N. C., Newport Barracks and Batchelder's Creek.

Forming part of the 3d Brigade, with colonel Lee as brigade commander, the regiment, under Lieutenant-Colonel Lyman, took part in the Tarboro' expedition in November, and later in the Goldsboro' expedition. In January, 1863, it was posted at Washington, N. C., and was active there in the engagements in March and on duty in the town during the siege, returning to New Berne April 25. Companies G and H, stationed at Plymouth during that time, were engaged at Rocky Hoc Creek near Winfield in March.

The regiment, reunited and stationed with headquarters at New Berne until October, moved on the 16th of that month to Newport News, and, becoming part of General Butler's forces, served during the winter as provost guard at Portsmouth and Norfolk. At this time 343 members of the regiment re-enlisted; 220 returned January 15 from a month’s furlough in Massachusetts. The command moved, April 27, 1864, to Yorktown, and reaching Bermuda Hundred May 5, formed part of Heckman’s Red Star Brigade, 18th Army Corps, and was engaged near Port Walthall May 6 and 7, at Swift Creek May 9 and at Drewry’s Bluff May 14 to 16; many were taken prisoners, including Colonel Lee.

Under command of Maj. William A. Walker it joined the Army of the Potomac at Cold Harbor June 1, and took part in the movements and engagements of the following days, losing heavily in the assault of June 3, when Major Walker was killed. It was actively engaged under Major Moore before Petersburg June 15 and 18, and took part in the siege until withdrawn from the front August 25. On September 17 it moved to Portsmouth, and those whose term of service had expired left Fortress Monroe on the 23d, and were mustered out at Springfield, Mass., Sept. 29, 1864. The regiment returned to Beaufort, N. C., September 21, and was stationed in the vicinity until the spring of 1865, engaging in service at Plymouth from December 17 to January 8.

In March the regiment moved towards Kinston, and was engaged at South West Creek March 8. It remained afterward on duty at New Berne until its muster out, June 26, 1865. Reaching Massachusetts July 7, it was paid off and discharged at Readville July 19, 1865."

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