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  • 23rd Massachusetts Infantry 18th Corps Badge

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    23rd Massachusetts Infantry 18th Corps Badge - Inventory Number:  INS 293

    Silver 18th Corps badge engraved “F / 23RD / MASS / VOLS.” The 23rd Massachusetts Infantry formed part of the “Star Brigade” along with the 25th and 27th Massachusetts, 9th New Jersey, 89th New York, and 55th Pennsylvania, which played a prominent role at Drewry’s Bluff and Cold Harbor. The pin measures 1” and has an engraved star at the center, representing the Star Brigade, partially filled with red enamel. The badge has an uncleaned silver patina and is complete with T-bar attachment pin. A very scarce example. 


    The 23d Regt. Mass. Vol. Inf. was composed of six companies from Essex County and one each from Bristol, Plymouth, Middlesex, and Worcester. Several were recruited by men who had had service in three months organizations between April and July, 1861. The companies assembled at Lynnfield, Mass., in September, 1861, and many of the men were mustered in September 28, though some were not mustered until December 5, after their arrival at Annapolis, Md. John Kurtz, an old militia officer, was commissioned colonel of the regiment. On Nov. 11, 1861, it left the State for the seat of war. Arriving at Annapolis three days later, it there established Camp John A. Andrew, where it remained until January, 1862, when it was attached to the Burnside Expedition and embarked for the coast of North Carolina. It now formed a part of Foster's Brigade, Burnside's Coast Division. It was present with loss at Roanoke Island, Feb. 8, and suffered a much greater loss at Newbern, March 14, among the killed being Henry Merritt, lieutenant colonel of the regiment.

    In May, 1862, three divisions were formed, and the 23d became a part of Amory's (1st) Brigade, Foster's (1st)Division. The regiment was stationed in or near Newbern, N.C., during the summer and fall of 1862, engaging in two or three skirmishes with small loss. On Dec. 10, it joined the Goldsboro expedition, being slightly engaged at Kinston, Dec. 14, and heavily engaged at Whitehall, the 16th, where it lost 16 in killed and mortally wounded. It continued on to Goldsboro, but was not in the action at that place. From the middle of January to the middle of April the regiment was absent on an expedition toward Charleston, S. C.,now forming a part of Heckman's Brigade. After its return in April it formed a part of an expedition sent to the relief of Little Washington, and in July was sent on another expedition to Trenton.

    On October 16, 1863, it left Newbern en route to FortMonroe, which place it reached October 19, and encamped near Newport News. Here in the early winter over 200 officers and men re-enlisted for three years. On Jany. 23, the regiment took steamer for Portsmouth and occupied fortifications about three miles outside the city. From here it made an expedition to Smithfield in April where on the 16th of the month it was engaged with loss. Gen. Heckman's command was now known as the Star Brigade -1st Brigade, 2d Division, 18th Corps-and was ordered up the James to Bermuda Hundred. It was in action at Port Walthall Junction, May 6 and 7, and at Arrowfield Church, May 9.  At Drewry's Bluff (also spelled Drury's Bluff), May 16, the Star Brigade was outflanked in the fog which enveloped the field, Gen. Heckman was taken prisoner, and the 23d lost 23 killed and mortally wounded, 20 wounded, and 51 prisoners.  Among the fatally wounded was Lieut. Col. John G. Chambers.

    Soon after Drewry's Bluff the 18th Corps was transferred to the north side of the James and joined the Army of the Potomac near Cold Harbor. Heckman's Brigade was here commanded by Gen. George J. Stannard. In the assault of June 3 the 23d Regt. lost 10 killed or mortally wounded, 39 wounded, and 2 missing. Recrossing to the Petersburg front the regiment remained before that city until August 25, suffering frequent losses from sharpshooters Crossing to the north side of the Appomattox and proceeding to Bermuda Hundred the regiment embarked, Sept. 4, for Newbern again and on the 10th of the month the men were again in the familiar trenches on the Trent River. In the latter part of September the men who had not re-enlisted were sent home to be mustered out. During the autumn and winter the yellow fever raged in Newbern and the regiment suffered severely from its ravages.

    On March 8, 1865, at Wise's Forks near Kinston the regiment fought its last battle losing 3 killed and 10 wounded. It now remained near Kinston until May when it returned to Newbern where it acted as provost guard until June 25, when it was mustered out of the service. Returning to Massachusetts on July 5, at Readville, the men received their pay and their final discharge.

    Source:  Massachusetts Soldiers, Sailors & Marines in the Civil War

    Comes housed in a 5 x 6 inch display case with black velvet backing and descriptive card.

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     Inventory Number:  INS 293