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44th Massachusetts Infantry (USA), US Civil War

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  • Samuel M. Gilley (1840 - 1863)
    A member of the 44th Massachusetts Infantry in the US Civil War. Age at enlistment 23. He was from Boston. He was in Company D. Died at Marblehead, Massachusetts on November 14, 1863 of service related...
  • De Forrest L Safford, Sr (1840 - 1914)
    Grave marker indicates he served in the Civil War in the 44th Massachusetts Infantry unit formed in Boston and sent to the Carolinas for 9 months. He also wrote a book about his experiences: "The Bay S...
  • Sgt Maj. William H. Bird (1830 - d.)
    Sergeant Major William H. Bird served on the Field and Staff of the Massachusetts 44th Regiment in the Civil War.He was a Non-Commissioned Officer enlisting from Roxbury when the unit was formed in 186...
  • George L. Babcock (1836 - d.)
    George L. Babcock came from Boston. He enlisted in the 44th Massachusetts Civil War unit as a Musician and given the rank of Drum-Major. He was age 25 in 1862 when the unit was formed. He is mentioned ...
  • Charles H. Demeritt (c.1843 - 1936)
    Cited in the History of the 44th Massachusetts Infantry in the Civil War. Company D. Enlisted from Boston, age 19. Last residence East Caanan, Connecticut, around 1900. Married a woman who befriended h...


44th Massachusetts Infantry

The 44th Regt. Mass. Vol. Mil., the second New England Guards Regiment, was one of the new militia units raised to fill the quota of Massachusetts under the call of Aug. 4, -1862, for nine months troops. Its nucleus was the 4th Battalion Infantry, M. V. M., which by Special Order No. 597, dated Aug. 7, 1862, was authorized to recruit to the full size of a regiment.

Organized at Readville and mustered in September 12, 1862. Moved to Newberne, N. C., October 22-27. Attached to 2nd Brigade, 1st Division, Dept. of North Carolina, to January, 1863. 2nd Brigade, 4th Division, 18th Army Corps, Dept. North Carolina, to May, 1863. Lee's Brigade, Defences of Newberne, Dept. North Carolina, to June, 1863.

SERVICE -- Expedition from Newberne November 2-12, 1862. Action at Rawle's Mills November 2. Demonstration on Newberne November 11. Foster's Expedition to Goldsboro December 11-20. Kinston December 14. Whitehall December 16. Goldsboro December 17. At Newberne until February 10, 1863. Moved to Plymouth, N. C., February 10, and duty there until March 15. (Cos. "B" and "F" detached on outpost duty at Batchelor's Creek February 10 to May 1.) Skirmishes Deep Gully, Newberne, March 13-14 (2 Cos.). Regiment moved to Washington March 15. Siege of Washington March 30-April 20. Skirmish at Washington March 30 (Cos. "A" and "G"). Skirmishes at Washington April 3 and 15. Expedition from Newberne to relief of Little Washington April 7-10 (2 Cos.). Regiment moved to Newberne April 22-24, and duty there until June 6. Expedition toward Kinston April 27-May 1. Dover Road April 28. Moved to Boston, Mass., June 6-10. Mustered out June 18, 1863.

This unit drew many college and university students and graduates into its ranks. Men from Harvard and Tufts, and other local Boston area schools joined the regiment.

When the Massachusetts 54th regiment was in being formed a call went to the 44th for the very best officers they could recommend. These few men became the foundation of experienced personnel that helped the 54th succeed as the first integrated unit in the US Army. Among the men transferred to the 54th were Captain Cabot J. Russel, from Boston, a Harvard graduate who was killed in action at Fort Wagner. Also Captain William H. Simpkins, from West Roxbury, was killed in action at Fort Wagner while tending to his wounded friend Cabot Russel.

Primary Source: Record of the Service of the Forty-Fourth Massachusetts Volunteer Militia in North Carolina, Boston 1887, Privately Printed.

44th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment

See link for letters about a soldier's service in the Mass 44th:

See link for a short essay about the New England Guards from which the 44th Mass descended:

See: Haines, Zenas T. Letters from the Forty-Fourth Regiment M.V.M.: a Record of the Experience of a Nine Months' Regiment in the Department of North Carolina in 1862-3. Boston: Printed at the Herald Jobs Office, 1863.; This chronicle of the writer's nine months in action in the Carolina's is the best description of what being in the Civil War was like for an enlisted man. Reprinted by the University Press of Florida and edited by William C. Harris in an edition of 1999 under the Title "In The Country Of the Enemy". Highly recommended for learning the details of the men in the Massachusetts 44th and their lives and deaths in action.

The Acton Massachusetts Public Library has a file: