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  • Grouping from the Personal Effects of Benjamin Read Wales 42nd & 45th Massachusetts & 1st U.S. Colored Troops Ca. 1861

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    Grouping from the Personal Effects of Benjamin Read Wales 42nd & 45th Massachusetts & 1st U.S. Colored Troops Ca. 1861  - Inventory Number: GRO 009

    Recruiting Broadside, Commissions, Inscribed Gold Cane, and Ephemera Relating to Benjamin Read Wales 42nd & 45th Massachusetts & 1st U.S. Colored Troops Ca. 1861.    

    Gold Cane Belonging to: Benjamin Read Wales  of the 42nd, 45th, and 1st U.S. Colored Troops.  Nicely engraved monogram “B.R.W.”

    Commission of Benjamin Read Wales to Second Lieutenant of the 1st U.S.C.T. signed by the Secretary of War Charles A. Dana

    Boston Newspaper From the Personal Effects of: Benjamin Read Wales. Volume XXXI, number 9551, dated January 30, 1864

    Boston Newspaper From the Personal Effects of: Benjamin Read Wales. Volume XXX, number 9442.  

    Recruiting Broadside for the 45th Massachusetts Infantry, printed by Smith and Porter of Boston.  "RALLY! RALLY! RALLY!" MEN WANTED"  

    The regiment trained at Camp Meigs in Readville, Massachusetts before traveling to North Carolina, where they fought in the Battle of Kinston in December 1862, and in skirmishes in and around New Bern, North Carolina in the spring of 1863. They suffered heavy casualties in battle and due to fever. In June they returned to Boston, where they patrolled the streets to quell any draft riots, and were discharged on July 21. They were commanded by Colonel Charles R. Codman.

    Gemtype Photographic Album From the Personal Effects of: Benjamin Read Wales (Containing 40 Photographs of family including soldiers).

    Hardtack and Coffee From the Personal Effects of: Benjamin Read Wales (1st Printing in 1887 – Presentation on fly page to his nephew).  "S Walter Wales Jr. from his aunt Augusta in memory of his uncle Capt. Benjamin Read Wales.  Died August 31, 1901."

    Albumen Photograph of U.S. Naval Officer From the Personal Effects of: Benjamin Read Wales

    Commission of Benjamin Read Wales to Second Lieutenant of the 1st U.S.C.T. signed by the Secretary of War Charles A. Dana

    Charles Anderson Dana (August 8, 1819 – October 17, 1897) was an American journalist, author, and senior government official. He was a top aide to Horace Greeley as the managing editor of the powerful Republican newspaper New York Tribune until 1862. During the American Civil War, he served as Assistant Secretary of War, playing especially the role of the liaison between the War Department and General Ulysses S. Grant. In 1868 he became the editor and part-owner of the New York Sun. He at first appealed to working class Democrats but after 1890 became a champion of business-oriented conservatism. Dana was an avid art collector of paintings and porcelains and boasted of being in possession of many items not found in several European museums.

    Muster and Descriptive Roll of the Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry

    Several Documents from the Massachusetts Volunteer Militia, Head Quarters First Regiment Infantry - Order Number 15, M. D. M. "Camp at Framingham, Adjutant Generals Office, Head Quarters First Regiment Infantry - Order Number 6.  

    Additional photos available upon request.  

    Benjamin Read Wales, 1842- 

    From American Series of Popular Biographies. Massachusetts Edition. This Volume Contains Biographical Sketches of Representative Citizens of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Boston: Graves & Steinbarger, 1891. 

    CAPTAIN BENJAMIN READ WALES - Graduated from the Dorchester High School, after which he entered Harvard College with the class of 1863. At the close of his Junior year he enlisted in September, 1862, in Company G, Forty-fifth Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, Cadet Regiment, as a private, but later serving as a non-commissioned officer until the expiration of his term of enlistment, July, 1862. The regiment formed part of the First Brigade, First Division, Eighteenth Army Corps, performing duty in North Carolina and participating in the engagements of Whitehall, Goldsboro, and Kinston. After his return he made up his studies, in 1864 receiving his bachelor's degree from Harvard. Going then to Washington, he passed an examination for the position of an officer in the United States Colored Troops, but owing to a temporal disability discovered by the surgeon he was put in the second class. While he was waiting, President Lincoln called for short term troops, and Mr. Wales, with two assistants, raised a company of which he was elected Captain. He and his men, forming Company K of the Forty-second Regiment, were assigned to general guard duty in Virginia. In November, 1864, his term of enlistment having expired, Captain Wales returned to Dorchester; and in the following April, the day after the surrender at Appomattox, his much-longed for commission as Lieutenant in the First United States Colored Troops arrived. 

    The Captain remained with his parents six years, taking charge of the estate until 1872, when he was appointed clerk in the Custom House, Boston. In 1884 he was transferred to the appraiser's office, a department in which he has since remained. Captain Wales still continues his residence in Dorchester, and is now living on land that has been owned by the family since the early settlement of the town. 

    Captain Wales belongs to many of the more prominent fraternal organizations of this locality including the following: Post No. 68, G.A.R.,* of Dorchester, of which he is ex-Commander (having been department inspector for three years, assistant inspector-general three years, and being now special aid on patriotic instruction in schools); the Massachusetts Commandery of the Loyal Legion; Dorchester Council; Royal Arcanum; to the Roxbury Military and Historical Society; is vice-president of Boston Chapter, Sons of the American Revolution; to the American Art Society and Old Boston School Boys' Association. From 1872 until 1877 he was an officer in the Roxbury Artillery, then called the Roxbury City Guards, serving first as Lieutenant and afterward as Captain. He is a Republican in politics and a member of the Second Church, of which he is one of the assessors. He takes great interest in genealogy, and is now president of the Wales Association. 

    On October 14, 1874, Captain Wales married Augusta Anne, a daughter of Jason Reed, of Bucksport, Me. 

    *G.A.R. Grand Army of the Republic


    The 45th Regt. Mass. Vol. Mill, or Cadet Regiment, was one of the new militia regiments raised in response to the call of Aug. 4, 1862, for nine months troops.  It received the title by which it was commonly known because of the fact that over forty of the commissioned officers of the regiment were former members of the Boston Cadets.  Its commander, Col. Charles R. Codman, had served as Captain and Adjutant of the Boston Cadets during their period of service at Fort Warren in the early summer of 1862.

    Organized at Camp Meigs, Readville, in the early fall of 1862, the first eight companies of the 45th were mustered in on the 26th day of September, and the other two, "I" and "K", on the 7th of October.

    On Nov. 5, the regiment embarked on the steamer MISSISSIPPI for Beaufort, N. C., arriving at its destination on the 15th.  Transported by rail to Newbern, it was here assigned to Amory's Brigade of Foster's Division.  The regimental camp was established on the banks of the Trent River near Fort Gaston.  Here the 45th remained, following the regular routine of camp life, until Dec. 12, when it set out with Gen. Foster's expedition to Goldsboro. Only eight companies took part in this expedition, Co. "C" having been sent on special duty to Morehead City, and Co. "G" to Fort Macon.

    At Kinston, Dec. 14, the regiment had its first taste of real war, losing 15 men killed and 43 wounded.  At Whitehall, Dec. 16, it was again engaged, losing 4 killed and 16 wounded. At Goldsboro on the 17th the 45th was not in action, and on the following day it began its return march to Newbern, arriving at its former camp Dec. 21.

    On January 17, 1863, the 45th started on a reconnaissance to Trenton, returning on the 22d.  From Jan. 26 to April 25 it served as provost guard in the city of Newbern.  During this period, on March 14, occurred the Confederate attack on Newbern, of which the 45th was an interested spectator but was not called into action.

    On April 27 it started with Amory's Brigade on an expedition to Core Creek on the railroad toward Goldsboro.  On the following day it was sharply engaged, taking a Confederate work which crossed the railroad near its intersection with the Dover Road, and losing one man killed and four wounded.


    This expedition being ended, the regiment returned to its last camp, near Fort Spinola, just below Newbern, on the Trent.  Here it remained until June 24, when it proceeded to Morehead City, a suburb of Beaufort, N. C., and there took transports for Boston.

    Arriving at its destination June 30, the regiment was formally welcomed, then proceeded to its old camp at Readville where it remained until its muster out of the service July 8.


    The 42d Regiment preserved its identity as a militia unit after the close of its nine months' service, and in July, 1864, was reorganized with some changes in companies and mustered into the service for one hundred days.  It was used for guard and garrison duty during the late summer and fall, in order that the older and more experienced troops which had been performing this duty might be relieved and sent to the front.

    The companies which were to constitute the 42d Regiment began to assemble at Camp Meigs, Readville, early in July, and were mustered into the service between the 14th and 22d of the month.  On the 24th the command set out for Washington under Lieut. Col. Joseph Stedman.  About this time Col. Burrell was released from captivity, returned and rejoined his regiment at Alexandria, and resumed command.

    The regiment did guard and patrol duty, one detachment being sent to Great Falls, Md., while others were employed in guarding supply trains moving to and from the Shenandoah Valley.  After completing its term of enlistment the regiment was mustered out of the service Nov. 11, 1864.

    Inventory Number: GRO 009