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  • Identified Civil War Soldier's Prayer Book / SOLD

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    Identified Civil War Soldier's Prayer Book - Inventory Number: IDE 082 / SOLD

    Prayer book carried through the Civil War by Union Soldiers.  Presented by the United States Christian Commission and printed by the Boston Y.M.C.A. Inscribed on the fly page: “Donald McPhee, Charlestown, Mass.” 

    Donald McPhee resided on Prince Edward Island, Canada; listed as a 26-year-old Bootmaker.  He enlisted on 8/30/1861 as a private in the 20th Mass.  Infantry, Co. “H”. He was wounded severely on 12/11/1862 at the Battle of Fredericksburg, VA (Severe wound in left forearm, amputated) He was discharged for wounds on 9/21/1863.

    Donald McPhee:

    Residence Prince Edward Island, Canada; a 26 year-old Bootmaker.

    Enlisted on 8/30/1861 as a Private.

    On 8/31/1861 he mustered into "H" Co. MA 20th Infantry

    He was discharged for wounds on 9/21/1863

    He was listed as:

    * Wounded 12/11/1862 Fredericksburg, VA (Severe wound in left forearm, amputated)



         The 20th Regt. Mass. Vol. Inf. was recruited at Camp Massasoit, Readville, in July and August, 1861.  The main part of the regiment was mustered in August 28.  Its colonel, William Raymond Lee, had once been a cadet at West Point.  The regiment left Camp Massasoit Sept. 4, and on the 7th reached Washington. Assigned to Gen. Lander's Brigade, Gen. Stone's Corps of Observation, it was stationed near Poolesville and was occupied in picketing the Potomac.  October 21 it was engaged at Ball's Bluff, where it lost 194 officers and men, of whom 38 were killed or mortally wounded.  The regiment also lost Col. Lee as a prisoner.  Now under Lieut. Col. F. W. Palfrey it remained at Camp Benton, near Poolesville, during the rest of the fall and winter picketing the Potomac from Edward's Ferry to Seneca Mills.

         In March, 1862, the 20th, forming a part of Dana's Brigade, Sedgwick's Division, was sent to the Shenandoah Valley, but before the end of the month it was ordered to the Peninsula, becoming a part of Sumner's (2d) Corps.  It participated in the siege of Yorktown in April, the battles of Fair Oaks, May 31, Allen's Farm, June 29, Glendale or Nelson's Farm, June 30, and was slightly engaged at Malvern Hill, July

    1.  After six weeks stay at Harrison's Landing the regiment was brought back to Alexandria and early in September joined the advance toward Frederick, Md.  At Antietam, Sept. 17, it was severely engaged in the West Wood, losing 141 officers and men, 20, including Asst. Surg.  Revere, being killed or  mortally wounded.  At Fredericksburg it was one of the regiments of Hall's Brigade, Howard's Division that crossed the river in boats on the 11th of December and fought in the streets of the city.  Here its losses were very severe. In the assault on Marye's Heights on the 13th it again suffered severely, its total casualties on both days amounting to 200, of whom 48 were killed or mortally wounded.  The winter of 1862-63 was spent at Falmouth.

         During the Chancellorsville campaign in May, 1863, Gibbon's Division, including the 20th Regt., remained in Fredericksburg in cooperation with Sedgwick's (6th) Corps, and suffered small loss.  At Gettysburg, July 3, it was heavily engaged near the Union left center, losing Colonel Revere and 43 officers and men killed or mortally wounded.  On Oct. 14, the 20th was in action at Bristoe Sta., and was in the Mine Run campaign in late November.  The winter was spent near Stevensburg.  Here during December, 1863, 173 of the original members of the regiment re-enlisted.

        At the Wilderness, May 6, 1864, as a part of Webb's Brigade, Gibbon's Division, Hancock's (2d) Corps, the 20th was heavily engaged on the Plank road losing Maj. Abbott and 35 officers and men killed or mortally wounded.  At Spottsylvania it was in action near Laurel Hill, May 10, in the assault on the Bloody Angle, May 12, and in the general assault, May 18.  In this last assault Capt. John Kelliher was most severely wounded, but survived, returned to the regiment, and served many years after the war in the Regular Army.

         The 20th was engaged at North Anna, May 23, lost heavily at Cold Harbor, June 3, and moved on to the front of Petersburg.  Here on the 22d of June, when the 2d Corps was outflanked and the men of the 15th and 19th regiments were largely made prisoners, the 20th changed front to the left and stopped the enemy's progress.  About July 18 the men, present and absent, about 60 in number, whose time was about to expire were sent to Boston to be mustered out.

         After being engaged in both movements to Deep Bottom in July and August, at Reams' Sta., August 25, the regiment suffered great disaster, being outflanked and all but one officer and ten men made prisoners.  This fragment, increased by recruits and returned convalescents to a battalion of three companies, was engaged at Boydton Road, after which it went into winter quarters near Fort Emory. Feb. 5, 1865, it was in action at Hatcher's Run, and April 2, in the assault on Petersburg, then joined in the pursuit toward Appomattox.

         Returning to Washington it received 223 men from the 37th Regt., and on July 15 was mustered out of the service. On the17th it left for Massachusetts and was assembled for the last time at Readville, July 28, when the men were paid off and discharged.

    Inventory Number: IDE 082 / SOLD