The Week The 19th Volunteer Infantry Left Lynnfield

Troops set out from Camp Stanton in town this week in 1861.

Between now and 2015, we're going to see numerous instances of it being the 150th anniversary of this or that event from the Civil War.

The first official shot of the Civil War came on April 12, 1861 when Confederate forces began shelling Fort Sumter in Charleston, S.C., harbor.

Within several months, soldiers and armaments were being mustered throughout the Union - and Lynnfield was one of the staging grounds.

Camp Stanton, also known as Camp Schuyler (and sometimes spelled Camp Schouler), was located near Green Street just off Route 1 North, close to the Holiday Inn that sits right over the Peabody line.

According to this historical resource, the 19th Regiment Mass. Volunteer Infantry formed at Camp Schouler, consisting of soldiers from Boston as well as the 1st Batallion Rifles. They left for Washington D.C. on August 30, 1861.

The 19th Regiment is noteworthy for the sheer volume of significant Civil War actions its members participated in. Examples include the Siege of Yorktown (1862, not to be confused with the far more illustrious one in 1781), and the battles of Antietam, Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, Spottsylvania and the Appomattox campaign leading up to the surrender of Robert E. Lee and his army on April 9, 1865. Between those battles, the 19th Regiment participated in several dozen other military actions. This link provides a full timeline of their actions.

Another website tells the story of the 40th Massachusetts Infantry, which was also organized at Camp Stanton and which left for Washington on September 8, 1862.This group would lose about 198 out of 1,067 men in various actions that included the pursuit of Lee's army after Gettysburg.

"On account of its high repute for excellence in drill and discipline, it was equipped as mounted infantry at Hilton Head in Jan., 1864," states this historical account.

The 41st Massachusetts Infantry also started out at Camp Stanton but moved to Boxford and later became a cavalry unit.

Finally, this clip from Google Books provides an account from The Register of the Lynn Historical Society, with some great background information/commentary that helps to illustrate this era in local history. Of all of these, this one may be the best to check out.

"At no other time in its history did the Turnpike or the locality ever witness so large gatherings or intense earnestness of human masses as in the strenuous days of the Civil War from 1861 to 1865," states the Lynn Historical Society register.

Information About Individual Soldiers

There's more than just historical data out there when it comes to Camp Stanton and the soldiers who trained there. This link leads to the diary of Sergeant Henry W. Tisdale, who writes fairly short entries on events that happened between 1862 and 1865.

Also, here is a letter sent by recent Harvard graduate Joseph Burridge to his family soon after his arrival at Camp Stanton in July, 1862. He found the place rather lacking in washing amenities, and also kind of cold - but noted that there was plenty of music.

This link tells the story of Lieutenant John J. Ferris, an immigrant from Country Derry, Ireland, who served in the 19th, trained at Lynnfield and was killed at the Battle of Spotsylvania Courthouse in 1864. Today he lies in the national cemetery in Fredericksburg, Virginia.

Finally, here is a profile of another soldier, Thomas Flannery, who trained at Lynnfield and went on to Gettysburg and Chancellorsville.

Those who would like to learn more about individual regiments from Massachusetts that fought in the Civil War can start by checking out this online resource.

Local residents may also be interested in the current "South Reading in the War of the Rebellion" exhibit from the Wakefield Historical Society. The photo included with this article shows an 1863 painting entitled Camp Schouler by Wakefield artist Franklin Poole, which is part of the current exhibit in that town.

Editor's Note: The camp's name later changed yet again to Camp Houston, and it closed down for good during the World War I era. Here is a reference to the camp during that particular era. Also, This Google Books link has a couple of pictures of the old training camp around 1917. Looking ahead, I will keep my eye out for the opportunity to follow up with something that talks about Lynnfield during World War I. If you know some things about that topic, email me at william.laforme@patch.com.


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