Civil War Records of Captain Aaron Chaffin Handley

Captain Aaron C. Handley, AML archives 66.4.1


Co. Regiment / Ship From To Residence/ Credit Occupation Notes
E 6th MVI (9 months) Captain; comm. April 4, 1862; must. Aug. 31, 1862 must. out June 3, 1863 Acton butcher

age 39

MASSCW, 1:413

Service Record (select pages from the National Archives): x
Service Ledger (Town of Acton): page 32-33 (PDF)


Co. Regiment Date Filed Type App. No. Cert. No. State Beneficiary/Remarks
E 6th MVI July 23, 1890 Invalid 831 211 628 875 Mass.  
Nov. 20, 1896 Widow 643 813 508 855 Mass. Lydia W. Handley

Pension File (select pages from the National Archives):  3 pages  (PDF*)

Grand Army of the Republic

Recorded as member no. 25 in the membership roster of Isaac Davis Post No. 138 G.A.R., Acton, Massachusetts (Acton Memorial Library archives, 92.2.1). 

G.A.R. Personal War Sketch


Date November 15, 1896
Place Acton, Mass.
Age 73
Obituary Concord Enterprise, November 12, 1896
Burial Woodlawn Cemetery, Acton, Mass.
Survived by Lydia W. Handley

Additional Information

Aaron C. Handley portrait

from: Souvenir of the Celebration of the 120th Anniversary of the Concord Fight, p. 8.


Text from "Not Afraid to Go", exhibit at the Acton Memorial Library:

Captain Aaron C. Handley had served as commanding officer of the Davis Guards prior to the Civil War. On April 15, 1861, he was at the South Acton railroad station to receive the note from Colonel Jones regarding the mobilization of 6th Massachusetts in response to Lincoln’s call for volunteers. After carrying the note to Captain Daniel Tuttle, he rode off to notify the Wilder brothers, sergeants in the company who lived in a nearby town and rode with them back to Acton, arriving late in the evening.

After returning home in August 1861, the 6th Massachusetts Volunteer Militia was designated by the governor to be retained to respond to sudden calls for trained troops. The men of its Company E, under Handley’s command, enlisted on August 25, 1862, for nine months. They were called up and participated in engagements on the Blackwater River in Virginia, Deserted House, and the siege of Suffolk, Virginia. Prior to the siege, the regiment was assigned to building fortifications in the area. They also scouted and destroyed railroads belonging to the Confederacy.

Handley was 39 years of age at the time of enlistment and worked as a butcher in South Acton. His grandfather served in the Revolutionary War and his father saw military duty during the War of 1812. He and his three brothers served in the Civil War for a combined period of ten years; his brother Frank died from disease at Fort St. Philip near New Orleans.

In 1868, Handley was chosen as a member of the committee charged by a special town meeting to stop the withdrawal of West Acton from the town. Promoters of the plan wanted to annex West Acton to Boxborough to create a new municipality. The railroad through West Acton and the attendant commercial interests were the major factors in Boxborough’s support for the plan.

Captain Handley represented the 30th Middlesex District in the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1855. He was again elected to represent the town in 1863, 1889, and 1890.

On April 19, 1875, Handley led the company of Acton militia at the 100th celebration of the Concord fight.



Aaron Chaffin Handley is recorded as a 31 year old marketman in the 1855 Massachusetts State Census for Acton, in household (dwelling no. 295) with Herriet Handley, age 29, and Harriet Elizabeth Handley, age 3  (Lainhart, 1855 and 1865 Massachusetts State Census for Acton: 37).

Aaron Handley, age 36, a butcher (born Mass.) is recorded as an inhabitant of South Acton in the 1860 federal census, in household with Harriet Handley, age 34, and two children, Harriet age 8, and Emma, age 3. ("1860 United States Federal Census,"

Aaron Chaffin Handley is recorded as a 41 year old marketman in the 1865 Massachusetts State Census for Acton, in household (dwelling no. 269) with Harriet Handley and three children  (Lainhart, 1855 and 1865 Massachusetts State Census for Acton: 72).

Spouse Harriet Handley and daughter Carrie Etta Handley died of diptheria in June, 1865 ("Massachusetts Vital Records, 1841–1910,"

Aaron C. Handley is recorded in the 1890 special veterans census as a resident of Acton" (1890 Veterans Schedules,"

The Name Capt. Aaron C. Handley is recorded on the Acton Memorial Library Soldiers' Tablet, "The Men of Acton Who Fought For The Union."


See also:

Letter from Aaron C. Handley to Capt. Daniel Tuttle, April 28th, 1861, Letters from Acton 1861: 12-13.

"Aaron Chaffin Handley (b. October 07, 1823, d. November 05, 1896),"



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