Thirty-Second Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry
Three Years (Re-enlisted)


Acton men who served in the 32nd Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry:

Robert C. Conant (as Robert C. Chaffin), Co. G. (wounded twice)

Charles A. Hanscom, Co. B. (discharged for disability)

Isaiah S. Leach, Co. I (discharged for disability)

James A. O'Brien, Co. G

Augustus W. Wetherbee, Co. B

James M. Wright, Co. B (died of disease)


Regimental history from Massachusetts Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines in the Civil War, compiled and published by the Adjutant General:

    The 32d Regt. Mass. Vol. Inf. was the outgrowth of the First Battalion, Massachusetts Infantry which was organized in November, 1861, to garrison Fort Warren, Boston Harbor. Major Francis J. Parker, commander of the battalion, became the first colonel of the regiment. The members of the original battalion, Co.'s A, B, C, D, and E, were mustered in mostly in November and December, 1861, those of Co. F in February, 1862, and those of the other companies during the following summer.
     The first six companies left for the seat of war May 26, 1862. They were encamped near Washington City until June 30, and were here given a regimental status. Taking boat for Fort Monroe on the above date, they arrived July 2.
     Proceeding at once to Harrison's Landing the regiment was assigned to Griffin's Brigade, Morell's Division, Porter's (5th) Corps, Army of the Potomac. During the six weeks of its stay here the regiment suffered much from malarial diseases. Aug. 15 it started to join Pope's army near Culpepper, proceeding via Yorktown, Aquia Creek, and Stafford Court House to Barnett's Ford on the Rappahannock. Though within hearing of the second battle of Bun Run, Aug. 29 and 30, it was not engaged. Retiring with the army to the outskirts of Washington, it was encamped at Miner's Hill where it received the remaining companies of the regiment.
     It participated in the Maryland campaign of September, 1862, but was not engaged either at South Mountain or Antietam. After the Confederate army had recrossed into Virginia and Gen. Burnside had succeeded Gen. McClellan in command of the Army of the Potomac, the 32d regiment went into winter quarters at Stoneman's Switch near Potomac Creek. On Dec. 13, 1862, it participated in the assaults on Marys's Heights at Fredericksburg, losing 35 officers and men, of whom 6 were killed or mortally wounded. It then returned to its old camp at Stoneman's Switch.
     At Chancellorsville early in May, 1863, the 32d was present but little engaged. At Gettysburg, July 2, 1863, the regiment was heavily engaged while supporting the 3d Corps in the Devil's Den region. Here out of 227 men taken into action the 32d lost 81, of whom 22 were killed or mortally wounded. The regiment was engaged in the autumn campaign in the region of the Rappahannock, in the latter part of September receiving 180 recruits, mostly drafted men. After the Mine Run campaign the regiment went into winter quarters at the hamlet of Liberty near Bealton on the Orange and Alexandria railroad. Here during the early part of the winter most of the members of the regiment re-enlisted and were sent to Massachusetts on veteran furlough remaining from Jany. 17 to Feb. 17.
     With the opening of the spring campaign of 1864, Gen. Sweitzer commanding the brigade and Gen. Griffin the division, the 5th Corps under Gen. Warren opened the battle of the Wilderness on the Orange pike, May 5. Here the 32d suffered slight loss. Moving to Spottsylvania May 8, on the 12th the regiment was heavily engaged near Laurel Hill, losing 103 men including five color bearers, 46 being killed or mortally wounded. It was present at North Anna River, May 23, at Shady Grove Road, May 30, and at Bethesda Church near Cold Harbor, June 3, losing in the last two engagements named 52 men of whom 23 were killed or mortally wounded. On June 10 it received 170 re-enlisted men and recruits from the 9th Mass. Regt., and at other times detachments from the 12th, 13th, 18th, 22d, and 39th Mass. Regts. These were largely consolidated into two extra companies, L and M. of the 32d.
     Before Petersburg it was in the assault of June 18, meeting with severe loss including Colonel Prescott, mortally wounded. At Jerusalem Road, June 22, Weldon R. R., Aug. 21, and Poplar Spring Church, Sept. 30, it was engaged with loss. The winter was spent in the trenches before Petersburg. On Feb. 5 it was engaged with loss at Hatcher's Run, on March 31 at Dinwiddie Court House, and on April I at Five Forks. It was among the troops that overtook Lee at Appomattox, and was one of the regiments detailed to accept the arms and colors at the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia, April 9, 1865. Transferred to Washington, it was mustered out June 28, the men receiving their final discharges and payment at Galloup's Island, Boston Harbor, July 11.



Regimental history from A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion, by Frederick Dyer:

    Organized as a Battalion of 6 Companies for garrison duty at Fort Warren, Boston Harbor, November 25, 1861. Duty at Fort Warren till May, 1862. Moved to Washington, D. C., May 26-28. Attached to Military district of Washington to July, 1862. 1st Brigade, 1st Division, 5th Army Corps, Army of the Potomac, to September, 1862. 2nd Brigade, 1st Division, 5th Army Corps, to October, 1864.

    SERVICE--At Capital Hill, Defences of Washington, till June 24, 1862. Moved to harrison's Landing, Va., June 25-July 3. (1 Co. join at Harrison's Landing July 23, and 3 Cos. at Minor's Hill, Va., September 4, 1862.) At Harrison's Landing till August 15. Movement to Fortress Monroe, thence to Centreville August 15-28. Pope's Campaign in Northern Virginia August 28-September 2. Battle of Bull Run August 30. Battle of Antietam, Md., September 16-17. Blackford's Ford September 19. At Sharpsburg, Md., till October 30. Reconnoissance to Smithfield, W. Va., October 16-17. Movement to Falmouth October 30-November 19. Battle of Fredericksburg, Va., December 12-15. Expedition to Richards' and Ellis Fords December 29-30. "Mud March" January 20-24, 1863. At Falmouth till April 27. Chancellorsville Campaign April 27-May 6. Battle of Chancellorsville May 1-5. Gettysburg (Pa.) Campaign June 11-July 24. Battle of Gettysburg July 1-4. Pursuit of Lee July 5-24. At Warrenton and Beverly Ford till September 17. At Culpeper till October 11. Bristoe Campaign October 11-22. Advance to line of the Rappahannock November 7-8. Mine Run Campaign November 26-December 2. At Bealeton, Va., till May, 1864. Campaign from the Rapidan to the James May-June. Battles of the Wilderness May 5-7; Laurel Hill May 8; Spottsylvania May 8-12; Spottsylvania Court House May 12-21. Assault on the Salient May 12. North Anna River May 23-26. Jericho Mills May 23. On line of the Pamunkey May 26-28. Totopotomoy May 28-31. Cold Harbor June 1-12. Bethesda Church June 1-3. Before Petersburg June 16-18. SIege of Petersburg June 16, 1864, to April 2, 1865. Mine Explosion, Petersburg, July 30, 1864 (Reserve). Six-Mile House, Weldon Railroad, August 18-21. Poplar' Springs Church September 29-0ctober 2. Boydton Plank Road, Hatcher's Run, October 27-28. Expedition to Weldon Railroad December 7-12. Dabney's Mills, Hatcher's Run, February 5-7, 1865. Appomattox Campaign March 28-April 9. Lewis Farm, near Gravelly Run, March 29. White Oak Road March 31. Five Forks April 1. Appomattox Court House April 9. Surrender of Lee and his army. March to Washington, D. C., May 1.12. Grand Review May 23. Duty at Washington till June 29. Mustered out June 29, and discharged July 11, 1865.

    Regiment lost during service 5 Officers and 139 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and 2 Officers and 143 Enlisted men by disease. Total 289.


See also:

James, Henry B. Memories of the Civil War. New Bedford, Mass.: Franklin E. James, 1898.

Parker, Francis J. The Story of the Thirty-second Regiment Massachusetts Infantry. Higginson Book Co., 1998. Originally published by C.W. Calkins, 1880.  Geneal Coll/973.744/P239.
Digital edition: