Western Mass Civil War Series ~ February, 1862

Last Fall I wrote a blog post about  a series launched by the Springfield Republican that was to chronicle  the role of Springfield, Massachusetts  in the Civil War and  of how the community and environs weathered the difficult years of the War.  Springfield native and local historian Wayne Phaneuf  – who is in charge of all editorial operations at The Republican – is writer of the series. It seemed time to catch-up with Springfield – its men in the Civil War and the happenings on the home front.

February, 1862 was all about the severe weather – “A vicious winter had stranded local rail traffic in deep drifts and in one instance frigid temperatures actually cracked the wheels of a locomotive.” And of the dispatches about actions of the 27th  at Roanoake Island in North Carolina and the later information of  “their friends and loved ones, who were fighting and dying in one of what would become a string of “Glorious Union Victories” over the next few weeks both in North Carolina and the west.” And of important social issues in a series on emancipation written by United States Senator Charles Sumner as well as their editorializing on the side of Catholics who were protesting a Protestant-backed bill in the Legislature to force them to read the King James version of The Bible in school. The editorial argued: “These narrow-minded Protestants do not see their course justifies Catholics in the same abuse of power whenever and wherever they find themselves in the majority.”

This chronicle is well-worth a read to get the flavor of life in western Massachusetts at that time and of how their local military men were faring in their Civil War battle.

Link to the article here: http://www.masslive.com/history/index.ssf/2012/02/civil_war_february_1862_1st_battle_of_the_27th_massachusetts_a_glorious_victory.html?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter