Sixth Massachusetts Volunteer Regiment Organized ~ January 21, 1861

From the archive:

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

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

  1. Bob (McCarthy KA '58) says:

    Bravo Richard on your many efforts to preserve LowellLand!!! I received an email today the 21st (love coincidences!) pointing to a website featuring uncommon pics made from glass-plates of the Civil War. In forwarding it to friends, I found your Ladd/Whitney video to add a bit more “color” and tourist attention to Lowell.
    ~ Say, isn’t Lowell ready to be in another movie? Isn’t it Ms. Mercier who is Lowell’s Hollywood Connection. Next time you’re rubbing shoulders, consider suggesting she use her pull to get ‘them’ to make “Call the Darkness Light”** into a film or TV series in LowellLand!
    Who could pull off Sabra, the heroine’s role, needing both timidity and ‘true grit’ while having some affinity for LowellLand? Both Amy Adams (per The Fighter) and Jennifer Garner (per The Invention of Lying) touted how great the people of Lowell were when they filmed in the City, i.e. when they made the rounds of TV shows doing promos. Both can still physically look young and timid….but can switch if you saw Garner kick-butt in the Alias series, let alone Adams in The Fighter? Certainly Mz. Rita could bring in the National Park Service for some weight and if nothing else PBS’ Masterpiece Series might find it of interest…might it even vie to follow up Downton Abbey’s run? Geesh with the working looms room in the Boott, the Boarding House next door, clothing (costumes) in Mogan center and the Amer.Textile museum, remnants of mills to simulate the Pemberton collapse in Lawrence, empty store fronts on Merrimack/Central ‘tricked-up’ to be the shoppes of olde, etc., half the scene backdrops are there to be a cost savings enticement! Wow, talk about your generating a tourist attraction much like Breaking Bad has done here in Albuquerque where there are tours as well as maps of various settings around town!
    ** What? What is “Call…” you ask lest you have not read it? Please go here and don’t miss the Comment-Reviews, .e.g ’50s Guy. (It’s available at Pollard Library as well. Say, check out a connection to Jackie K per this as well, albeit Reporter Winship apparently didn’t read the book as the heroine avoided advocating re working conditions.)