Specializing in Authentic Civil War Artifacts
  • “Camp Art” / Sold

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    "Camp Art" - Inventory Number: SCU 045 / Sold

    Keepsake box containing 20 hand carved sections of driftwood by a civil war soldier in camp.

    Private Henry A. Bridges

    Company “E” 31st Mass Infantry

    A 31 year old teamster from Williamstown, Mass. Enlisted on December 10th, 1861 – Discharged for disability on Sept. 26th 1862. Stationed on Ship Island Mississippi March 23rd 1862, until late April 1862.

    “Whittled from drift wood by Mr. Bridges while stationed on Ship Island on the gulf of Mexico some time during the Civil War” 

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

    Henry Bridges:

    Residence Williamstown MA; a 31 year-old Teamster.

    Enlisted on 11/17/1861 as a Private.

    On 12/10/1861 he mustered into "E" Co. MA 31st Infantry

    He was discharged for disability on 9/26/1862 at New Orleans, LA



         The 31st Regt. Mass. Vol. Inf. was raised by Gen. Butlerin the fall of 1861 and early part of the winter following.  It was first known as the Western Bay State Regiment.  It was organized at Camp Seward, Pittsfield, and its members were mustered into service mostly during November and December.  A contention having arisen between Governor Andrew and Gen. Butler over the latter's authority to raise troops in Massachusetts, the 31st was at first in charge of Acting Lieut. Col. Charles M. Whelden of Pittsfield.  About Feb. 1, 1862, the regiment was transferred to Camp Chase, Lowell, and on the 20th it embarked for the seat of war.  After delays at Fort Monroe and Port Royal, on March 23 it reached Ship Island in the Gulf of Mexico.  The questions in dispute between Governor Andrew and Gen. Butler having been settled, Oliver P. Gooding, formerly first lieutenant in the 10th U. S. Inf., was commissioned colonel to date from Feb. 8, and most of the other field and staff and line officers were commissioned to date from Feb. 20.  The regiment was now officially known as the 31st Mass., and was assigned to Gen. Thomas Williams' (2d) Brigade.

         After the fall of Forts Jackson and St. Philip it was sent to New Orleans, where it was the first regiment to land.  During the summer and fall it did guard and provost duty at New Orleans and the forts.  With the organization of the 19th Corps in January, 1863, seven companies of the 31st became a part of the 3d Brigade, 3d Division, the three other companies being stationed at Fort Pike.  The main body of the regiment now joined the forces at Baton Rouge and in the middle of March cooperated with the fleet in its passage of the batteries at Port Hudson.

         It now proceeded to Algiers and joined the Teche expedition, Col. Gooding being in command of the brigade.  It was engaged with loss at Fort Bisland, April 13, then advanced through Opelousas to Alexandria on the Red River. Returning thence via Simsport and Bayou Sara to Port Hudson it was present during the siege, losing 64 men mostly in the assault of the 14th of June, 18 being killed or mortally wounded.

         After the formal surrender, July 9, it accompanied Gen. Weitzel's expedition to Donaldsonville, returning to Baton Rouge, Sept. 2. On the 9th, it was rejoined by the three companies from Fort Pike, and now became a part of the 2d Brigade, 1st Division.

         In December, 1863, the 31st was armed and equipped as cavalry and stationed at Carrollton, being commonly known as the 6th Mass. Cav. During the winter 330 men re-enlisted and were re-mustered Feb. 23.  The regiment now formed a part of the 4th Cavalry Brigade under Col. N. A. M. Dudley.

         Feb. 9, 1864, it crossed the Mississippi to Algiers and proceeded up the Mississippi to Donaldsonville, thence via La Fourche Bayou to Thibodeau.  Turning west and northwest it followed its old route of April and May, 1862, through Opelousas to Alexandria on the Red River, reaching the latter place March 20.  Advancing from here up the Red River toward Shreveport, on April 8 it met the enemy at Sabine Cross Roads above Natchitoches, where the main Union force was defeated, the 31st losing 62, of whom 11 were killed or mortally wounded.

    Retreating southward it was engaged with loss at Cane River, Hudnot's Plantation, Moore's Plantation, and elsewhere in the neighborhood of Alexandria.  Diverging toward Simsport it was engaged at Yellow Bayou just north of that city May 18, losing 32 men of whom nearly half were killed or mortally wounded.  Arriving at Simsport on the 19th, three days later the regiment reached Morganzia on the Mississippi.  On July 3 the regiment returned to Algiers, the re-enlisted men proceeding thence to Cairo and homeward to Massachusetts on veteran furloughs, starting from Algiers July 21, and returning September 19. Before leaving for home they turned in their horses, but on their return they were again equipped as cavalry.  They were then stationed opposite Donaldsonville to keep down the guerrilla bands, and were later engaged in the operations against Mobile, Ala., occupying that city after its surrender until the close of the regiment's service.

         It was mustered out Sept. 9, 1865, transported to New Orleans, and from there sent to Massachusetts.  Boston Harbor was reached Sept. 24, and on the 30th the regiment, since February only a battalion of five companies, was paid off and discharged.

    Inventory Number: SCU 045 / Sold