On this day ~ January 21, 1861 ~ Sixth Massachusetts Volunteer Regiment Organized

This is a repost from last year… but an important reminder of the formation and role of the Sixth Massachusetts with many volunteers who were Lowell millworkers.

MassMoments reminds us that on this day – January 21, 1861 – the Sixth Massachusetts Volunteer Militia was formally organized. In early January 1861, as civil war approached, the men of Massachusetts began to form volunteer militia units. Many workers in the textile cities of Lowell and Lawrence were among the first to join a new infantry regiment, the Sixth Massachusetts Volunteer Militia, when it was formally locally organized on January 21, 1861. The men met regularly to drill. In March, they were issued uniforms and Springfield rifles and told to be ready to assemble at any time. When Fort Sumter was attacked on April 12th, the men of the Massachusetts Sixth knew their days of drilling were over. And the rest is history – the history that is being remembered now as the Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War. There have been many posts on this blog about Lowell and the Civil War as part of the remembrance.

On This Day...

…in 1861, the Sixth Massachusetts Volunteer Militia was formally organized. With war approaching, men who worked in the textile cities of Lowell and Lawrence joined this new infantry regiment. They were issued uniforms and rifles; they learned to drill. They waited for the call. It came on April 15th, three days after the attack on Fort Sumter. They were needed to defend Washington, D.C.. The mood when they left Boston was almost festive. When they arrived in the border state of Maryland three days later, everything changed. An angry mob awaited them. In the riot that followed, 16 people lost their lives. Four were soldiers from Massachusetts. These men were the first combat fatalities of the Civil War.
Read the article here at MassMoments.com.

One Response to On this day ~ January 21, 1861 ~ Sixth Massachusetts Volunteer Regiment Organized

  1. Daniel Patrick Murphy says:

    A Civil Musing

    My great-grandfather, Pa Murphy, (an immigrant from Ireland who was, at the time, fleeing famine), fought in Gettysburg and three other major battles of the ‘Civil War.’ He was a strong man. Pa wanted to forget history. He was doomed to repeat it, as the saying has it.
    History and war are not my strong suits, unless they’re personal. My great-grand Pa Murphy lived in a shack in Lowell—the South End—where the Bishop Markham stands today. He was a blacksmith. The Civil War paid more than his trade. And, the evangelism of the time was seductive for someone who wanted to forget the past and assimilate into a new land.
    I used to wonder how any war is named civil? Who called it thus? One man or a cadre of men? Perhaps a group of institutions such as the inquisition invented the term? But, that’s heresy.
    It makes me wonder.
    In recent years, one of my sons, Daniel, and I found his gravesite at St. Patrick’s Cemetery. I also found his death certificate. He died as an “indigent.” A synonym for indigent is “beggary” or “destitute” or “impoverished.” He had been used to beggary in the Old Country, the Nation of Beggars.
    He was wounded three times in the Civil War. He came ‘home’ to the South End in Lowell.
    I wonder why he died an indigent? Perhaps Ken Burns knows the answer for his “sacrifice.”
    I doubt it.
    I bet Tim Pat Coogan knows. He’s a historian. Recently, he wrote a book entitled, The Famine Plot. Read it. It’s good to know about history. You wouldn’t want to repeat it.