The Trials and Travels of the

15th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment

1861 1862 1863 1864

In 1862

Jan 1 An NCO Examination Board is held, presided over by the wounded Lt. Col. George H. WARD, Major John H. KIMBALL, and Capt. Charles H. WATSON.
Jan 13 from the Worcester Spy (Volumed 91 # 2):  Books for The Fifteenth - Reverend Mr. Scandlin is gathering a collection of books, for the use of the fifteenth regiment, and any of our citizens who have books of almost any description will do good service by leaving them at Lieut. Jorgensenís recruiting office, Lincoln House Block, for the library of the fifteenth regiment.
Jan 15 from the Worcester Spy (Volumed 91 # 3): Fifteenth Regiment News - Recruiting For the Fifteenth: "In conformity with a late order from the war department in relation of the recruiting service, Col. Devens has detailed from the regiment Lieut. Col. Ward, and Lieut. H. P. Jorgenson, as recruiting officers for the term of six months, subject to the orders of Lieut. Col. Day of the regular army, who is general superintendent of the recruiting service for the state of Massachusetts."
Jan 25 A letter to the editor of the Chelsea Telegraph and Pioneer, January 25, 1862, Pg. 2, Col. 5. from Emerson BICKNELL, of the 1st Andrew Sharpshooters, at Patterson's Creek, Va.  
Feb 9 A letter to the editor of the Chelsea Telegraph and Pioneer, February 8, 1862, Pg. 2, Col. 5.. from Emerson BICKNELL, of the 1st Andrew Sharpshooters, at Camp Hooker, Budd's Ferry, Md..  
Feb 21 A letter to the editor of the Chelsea Telegraph and Pioneer, February, 21, 1861, Pg. 2, Col. 4.. from Emerson BICKNELL, of the 1st Andrew Sharpshooters, at Paw Paw, Va.  
Feb 22 Gen. John Sedgewick appointed division commander and Gen. Willis Gorman brigade commander.
Feb 24 An article appears in the New York Times about POW's returned to the north -- including men of the 15th.
Feb 25 Regt. leaves Poolsville, MD.   (Read an article from the Worcester Spy about this march.)
Feb 26 Reached Adamstown and boarded train cars.
March 2-13 Actions near Berryville and Winchester.
March 13 Second Corps organized. Gen. Edwin Sumner commander.
March 22 Marched to Sandy Hook, took train cars for Washington.
March 26 Took train cars for Alexandria.  
March 29 Embarked on steamers Argo and John Farron during a snowstorm. destination Hampton, VA
April 1 Landed at Hampton
April 3 A letter to the editor of the Chelsea Telegraph and Pioneer, April 12, 1862, pg. 2, col. 5. from Emerson BICKNELL, of the 1st Andrew Sharpshooters, at Camp near Fortress Monroe, Va.  
April 4, Fri Started for Yorktown
April 5, Sat The Siege of Yorktown, VA begins. The 1st Co. Andrew Sharpshooters attached to the 15th MVI during this time. Chain of Command = 1st Bgd. under W. Gorman; 2nd Div. under J. Sedgwick; 2nd Corps under E. Sumner; A of P under G. McClellan. 
April 6 15th Regt. reached Yorktown. (First reconnaissance balloon used by the Union.)
April 16 Supported a R.I. Battery and got shelled.
April 20-28 Picket duty, building fortifications, and supporting battery.
April 28 Gen. Devens leaves to command 3rd Brigade, 3rd Division, 4th Corps. Colonel Devens was promoted Brigadier-General of Volunteers, and left the regiment to take command of a Brigade, when at Yorktown .  He was succeeded by Colonel (then Lieutenant- Colonel) George H. Ward. (MA AG 1863, p. 626-637)
April 29 George WARD promoted to Col., Major KIMBALL to Lt. Col., and Chase PHILBRICK to Major
May 3 Confederate troops open bombardment, then stop and pull out of Yorktown.
May 4 McClellan occupies Yorktown.  Siege of Yorktown ends.
May 6 Boarded the Eagle and Robert Morris bound for West Point, VA.
May 7 Arrived at West Point, VA, amid heavy firing, formed a line of battle
May 14 Army of the Potomac reaches advance base on Pamunky River, two miles from Richmond, VA. McClellan waits.
May 15 15th Regt. continued march up the peninsula toward Richmond, VA.
May 16-21 Continued marching towards the Chickahominy finally reaching Bottoms bridge on the 21st
May 22 Day of rest.
May 23 Reached the Chickahominy, camped near the Tyler House
May 27 15th Regt. Put to work rebuilding the burnt Bottom’s Bridge to permit the crossing of supplies to Savage Station.
May 28 BG Erasmus Keys and the IV Corps are isolated south of the Chickahominy at Fair Oaks.
May 30 The worst thunderstorm in many memories. Some soldiers killed by lightning, which many called "Hell’s Artillery."
May 31 Battle of Fair Oaks. 15th MVI crosses the swollen Chickahominy river with Sumner’s Corpos at Grapevine Bridge at 15:00, reaching Fair Oaks at 17:30. Regimental loss 5 killed, 17 wounded
June 1 Fighting continues, but comes to a draw at 11:30. Sumner’s Corps defended valiantly but did not counter attack.
June 3 Lt.Col. John W. KIMBALL wrote his report on the Battle of Fair Oaks.
June 10 Article from the Worcester Aegis and Transcript, about Sword Presentations: George Ward, June 10, 1862.
June 14 Article about the Wounded of the 15th Regiment, June 14, 1862 
A follow-up article about the Wounded of the 15th Regiment, June 14, 1862 
Early June For the 15th MVI, picket duty etc. Both sides building earthworks. Sumner’s Corps (incl. The 15th MVI) is between Fair Oaks Station and the river.
June 25 Battle of White Oaks Swamp. 15th MVI not involved.
June 26 15th MVI stationed along the barricades did not participate in the Battle of Mechanicsville.
June 27 Crossed river to support Gen. Smyth of the Sixth Corps at Golding farm
June 28 Sporadic skirmishes; bridge building and beginning of retreat over White Oak Swamp to the James River. The rear guard (Sumner’s Corps, including the 15th MVI) ordered to start pulling back to Savage Station.
June 29 Battle of Savage Station Magruder’s Confederate forces strike Sumner’s Corps (and the 15th MVI) at the Peach Orchard on Allen’s Farm at 9:00. Many Union wounded left for capture.
June 30 Battles of White Oak swamp and Glendale (Nelson's farm) Retreat to the James River. Wounded who can walk at all move out so as not to be left for capture as on the day before.
July 1 Malvern Hill. In reserve but under artillery fire. Casualty reports from June 25 to July 1 include 11 wounded 27 captured or missing, with many more reporting sick.
July 2 By daylight, McClellan’s Union forces are well on the way, the 8 miles to Harrison’s Landing. Rain in torrents for the next 24 hours. Retreat>stampede>rout>a mov. Every man for himself.
July 5 Lt.Col. John KIMBALL wrote his Report on the Battle of Seven Days from camp at Harrison's Landing.
Aug 3-7 Advance to Malvern Hill.
Aug 16 March down the peninsula begins, reaching Newport News on the 22nd
Aug 25 Embarked on the steamer Mississippi
Aug 27 Reached Aguia Creek
Aug 28 Second Battle of Bull Run. 15th MVI not involved.
Aug28 Reached Alexandria. Losses from Fair Oaks to Antietam listed as 37 killed and 93 disabled
Aug 29 Marched toward Chain Bridge
Aug 30 March to Fairfax. In the afternoon, Sumner’s Corps was in motion from DC to Centerville. Deployed to cover the retreat of Pope’s troops, with Sumner’s troops cheering the downfall of McClellan’s rival. Note that Sumner’s Corps (and the 15th MVI) was never removed from McClellan’s command.
Aug 31 Forced march to Centerville
Sept 1 March back to Fairfax
Sept 2 Regiment shelled while in line of battle
Sept 3 Crossed Chain bridge. Gen. McClellan reinstated as commander of the Army of the Potomac. Beginning of the Maryland Campaign.
Sept 5 15th MVI reached Rockville, MD.
Sept 8 Recruits from Worcester Co. joined regiment.
Sept 10 Reached Clarksburg
Sept 11 Reached Hyattstown
Sept 12 Reached Urbana
Sept 13 Reached Frederick City (McClellan passes regt...) Picket duty at night
Sept14 Forced march toward Middleton the Turners Gap
Sept 17 Battle of Antietam (Antietam on the Web) - Regt comprised of 24 officers and 582 men including 1st Andrews Sharpshooters. 606 men engaged in battle, which resulted in 320 killed or wounded, and 24 missing, for a 56% loss. No regiment suffered greater loss for the day, and only 3 other regiments lost more killed in a single engagement ( 108 ) during the entire Civil War. 
Sept 18 Only 174 men answered roll call ( company C had but 17 men )
Sept 20 John Kimball wrote his report on the 15th MVI at Antietam.
Sept 22 Forded the Potomac at Harper's Ferry
Sept ? President Lincoln reviews the troops at Bolivar Heights
Oct 12-27 Regt. on picket duty.
Oct 30 Started south along the Blue Ridge towards Falmouth, VA.
Nov. 1 Gregory's Gap
Nov 2 Snickers Gap
Article from a Worcester National Aegis and Transcript, pg. 2, col. 2., The Fifteenth Massachusetts, Nov 2, 1862,  
Nov.4 Ashby's Gap - 15th in advance, companies A and B as skirmishers
Nov 7 " Snowstorm "
Nov 10 Regt witnesses McClellans last farewell near Warrenton, VA.
Nov 12 Lt. Col. KIMBALL promoted to Col. of the 53rd Mass. (Col. Kimball’s fascinating correspondence about his promotion is shown in his biography section.)
Nov 13 Chase PHILBRICK promoted to Lt. Col. and George JOSLIN to Major. Gen. Gorman transferred to command District of Arkansas. Gen. Alfred Sully promoted to Brigadier and the 19th ME is added to the brigade. Gen. O. O. Howard commands the division, Darius Couch is the new corps commander. Ambrose Burnside becomes the new commander of the Army of the Potomac
Nov 15 March south continues.
Nov 17 Regiment reaches the Falmouth area. The Army of the Potomac is organized into 3 Grand Divisions, each with 2 Corps. Sumner’s Right Grand Division (including the 15th MVI) arrived opposite Fredericksburg, which was held by the Confederate troops.
Nov 29 A general report on the MA Regiments at , in front of Fredericksburg in the Boston Herald, December 4, 1862, (Pg. 1, Col. 6).  
Dec10. Captain Watson reports -- 287 men and 16 officers, including the 1st Co. Andrew Sharpshooters
Dec 11 Howard's division crosses the Rappahannock River that night.
Dec. 12 Battle of Fredericksburg. Formed line of battle on Princess Anne St. 
Dec 13 Reformed line of battle on Fauquier St. On this march, shells killed Surgeon HAVEN. Lt. Col. PHILBRICK was later wounded. Captain John MURKLAND of company G takes command.
Dec 15 On Picket Duty
Dec 16 Charles H. Watson writes the report on the actions of the 15th MVI at Fredericksburg.
Dec 19 Capt. ROCKWOOD assumes command. The rest of the Ball's Bluff prisoners return.
Dec 20 The Bombardment of Fredericksburg is reported in the Chelsea Telegraph and Pioneer; December 20, 1862; (Pg. 2, col. 3)  

The regiment went into winter-quarters near Falmouth , Va. , on the same ground occupied by it previous to the battle of Fredericksburg . The regiment was subjected to a heavy detail for picket duty during the winter and spring; nothing worthy of note occurring until the spring campaign under General Hooker commenced. (MA AG 1863, p. 626-637)

© Copyright 1997 by B. Ducharme & S. Harnwell

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