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  • Stencil Kit of John F. Keyes, 2nd Massachusetts Heavy Artillery / SOLD

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    Stencil Kit of John F. Keyes, 2nd Massachusetts Heavy Artillery - Inventory Number:  IDE 190 / SOLD

    Brass and tin stencil, privately purchased and used to mark a soldier’s personal effects and equipment, owned by John F. Keyes on Company C, 2nd Massachusetts Heavy Artillery. Keyes was a wheelwright that enlisted as a private in July 1863. In March 1864 he was promoted to Artificer, a duty that entailed the maintenance and repair of the battery’s carriages, limbers, and caissons. Keyes’ captain noted in his company’s descriptive book that he was “a very good soldier, always performing his duties in a prompt and faithful manner.” The stencil measures 5” by 1 ¾” and is accompanied by the original tin carrying case and two brushes for applying ink. A nice complete set. 

    John F. Keyes - Residence Bolton MA; a 28 year-old Wheelwright. Enlisted on 7/20/1863 as a Private. On 8/4/1863 he mustered into “C” Co. MA 2nd Heavy Artillery. He was Mustered Out on 9/3/1865 at Wilmington, NC. Promotions: Artificier. Other Information: Born in Berlin, MA. Member of GAR Post # 175 (Washburn) in Lancaster, MA. Died 4/20/1920.


         The recruiting of the 2d Regt. Mass. Vol. Hy. Arty. was authorized by Governor Andrew as early as May, 1863, and Major Jones Frankle of the 17th Regt. Mass. Vol. Inf. was designated as its colonel.  It was originally intended as a veteran regiment to be recruited from the members of nine months organizations whose terms of service were about to expire, but in the end its recruits were gathered from a much wider field.

         At its rendezvous, Camp Meigs, Readville, recruiting proceeded slowly through the summer and fall of 1863.  In July and August, Companies "A", "B", "C", and "D" were enlisted and mustered into the service, and on Sept. 5, these four companies sailed from Boston on the steamer GUIDE bound for Newbern, N. C.  Companies "E" and "F" were mustered largely in October and were sent, Nov. 7, to the same destination.  The remaining six companies, "G", "H", "I", "K", "L", and "M", were mustered in December, and were sent to Fort Monroe to report to General Butler.

         The six companies sent to Newbern were assigned to do guard and garrison duty at various places in eastern North Carolina, while the last six were held during the fall and winter in the vicinity of Norfolk.  The monthly reports for March, 1864, show that Companies "A" and "D" were stationed at Fort Macon, N. C., Company "B" at Newport Barracks, Company "C" at Morehead City, Companies "G" and "H" at Plymouth, N.C., and Companies "I", "K", "L", and "M" at Norfolk, Va.

         After a brave resistance Companies "G" and "H" at Plymouth, N. C., were made prisoners almost to a man on April 20 by a Confederate force under General Hoke, about 275 being carried into captivity, a very large majority of whom died in Confederate prisons.

         In May, 1864, of the eight companies in North Carolina, all were at Newbern excepting Company "B", which was still at Newport Barracks, while the companies in Virginia were stationed near Portsmouth.  The headquarters of the regiment were now at Newbern.  In July all the companies with the exception of "B" and "K" were at Newbern.

         During the months of August and September a large number of recruits arrived, raising the total number of men in the regiment to nearly 2000.  By various orders of the War Department, issued during the winter of 1864-65, all the men in excess of the legal maximum standard, about 435 in number, were transferred to the 17th Regt. Mass. Vol. Inf.

         In the fall of 1864 an epidemic of yellow fever visited Newbern, and the 2d Hy. Arty. lost a large number of men who contracted the disease while doing guard duty in the stricken city.


         At the beginning of the year 1865 six companies, "B", "C", "F", "G", "I", and "M", were in the vicinity of Newbern, N. C., four, "A", "D", "E", and "H", were at Plymouth, N. C., while Companies "K" and "L" were in Virginia.  These two companies joined the main body at Newbern in April.

         Meanwhile on the 8th of March, 1865, Companies "B", "C", "F", "I", and "M" had participated in the battle of South West Creek, near Kinston, losing five men killed, 20 wounded, and two missing.

         June, 1865, found the entire regiment at Camp Chattanooga, near Newbern.  In July it was transferred to Wilmington, N. C., and during the month of August it garrisoned Fort Fisher and other defenses of the Cape Fear River.

         On Sept. 2 the regiment was ordered home, and on the following day, Sept. 3, it was mustered out of the service and embarked for Boston.  Arriving at Galloup's Island, Boston Harbor, Sept. 15, on the 23d the regiment was disbanded and the members departed for their homes.

    Comes housed in an 8 x 12 inch display case with black velvet backing and descriptive card.

     Inventory Number:  IDE 190 / SOLD