Third Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Heavy Artillery
Three Years

Acton men who served in the 3rd Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Heavy Artillery:

William H. Boss, Co. D

Martin L. Clark, Co. E (discharged for disability)

James Connolly, Co. F

Waldo G. Dunn, Co. D (discharged for disability)

Daniel H. Elliott, Co. M

George Feather, Co A (deserted)

Frederick A. Norris, Co. B/M

William F. Wood, Co. K

Edward Willis, Co. K

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

During the year 1863, eight companies of heavy artillery were recruited for use in garrisoning the forts on the Massachusetts coast. These companies were at first desig­nated by numbers and were mustered into the United States States service as follows­ --  the 3d Company in January, 1864, the 6th Company in May, the 7th, 8th, and 9th Com­panies in August, the 10th Company in September, the 11th Company in October, and the 12th Company in November.

They were distributed at first for the most part at the forts and islands in Boston Harbor, the 6th Company, however, being at New Bedford, the 11th at Gloucester, and the 12th at Salem.

In the spring of 1864, these eight companies were transferred to Washington, D. C., where they were assigned to do guard and garrison duty in the defenses of the capital, thereby releasing the more experienced troops, who had been performing that service, for duty at the front. Their places were taken in the forts on the Massachusetts coast by the unattached companies of infantry, whose history has been recited in an earlier portion of this work.

When these first eight companies were raised it was quite distinctly stated in handbills and verbally by those engaged in the work of recruiting that they would be used only for garrison duty in Massachusetts. Hence a great deal of dissatisfaction was caused by their transfer to the defenses of Washington, and many letters and petitions of protest against that transfer were made, numbers of which are still on file in the archives of The Adjutant General's Office.

Governor Andrew was very anxious that these companies should be given a regimental status, and in order to carry that into effect four more companies, the 13th, 14th, 15th, and 16th were raised and mustered into the service, the 13th in February, 1864, the 14th and 15th in May, and the 16th in August. Finally, the proper authorization having been obtained from the War Department, by Special Order No. 1087, dated Sept. 8, 1864, the 3d Regt. Mass. Vol. Hy. Arty. was organized, the companies being arranged in their numerical order and being lettered from" A" to "M" respectively.

The regiment was commanded by Col. William S. Abert, a graduate. of West Point, and was divided into three battalions commanded respectively by Majors John A. P. Allen, George S. Worcester, and Lyman B. Whiton. With the exception of Company “I” the duties performed by the various units were not materially different from. what they had been before they were given a regimental status. They were scattered in the forts around Washington, D. C., and there remained until their muster out.

Company" I", nominally a part of the 3d Battalion, had an experience entirely different from that of the other companies. It was recruited largely from mechanics employed at the National Armory in Springfield, Mass., and was employed as an engineer corps. It never served with the rest of the regiment, but was at once assigned to duty under Capt. F. N. Farquhar, U. S. Corps of Engineers, and was placed in charge of the pontoons of the Army of the James. After a few weeks of drill and practice the men of Company "I" became expert pontooniers.

They built two pontoon bridges across the Appomattox River, connecting the Armies of the Potomac and the James, two across the James River below Chaffin's Bluff, and in April, 1865, constructed the pontoon bridge at Farmville, which was used by the 2d and 6th Corps in the pursuit of Lee's fleeing army. It later built the bridge at Richmond by which the Union armies crossed the James River on their way to Washington after the war was done. In addition it ran captured saw mills, built wharves and roads, and performed engineer duty in general.

Company" M" was mustered out June 17, 1865. Ten more companies were mustered out on the 18th of September, but Company "I", the engineer company, was held in service until the 26th of September.


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

    Organized for one year August, 1864, by consolidation of 3rd, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th and 16th Unattached Companies Heavy Artillery. Attached to 2nd Brigade, Hardin's Division, 22nd Army Corps, Dept. of Washington, and engaged in garrison duty in the Defenses of Washington, north of the Potomac, to September, 1865. (For Co. "I," 13th Unattached Company, see 13th Unattached Company.) Mustered out September 18, 1865.

    Regiment lost during service 2 Enlisted men killed and 1 Officer and 38 Enlisted men by disease. Total 41.

See also:

United States National Archives and Records Service. Compiled Records Showing Service of Military Units in Volunteer Union Organizations.  MASSACHUSETTS Third Heavy Artillery Fourth Heavy Artillery Twenty-ninth Co., Unattached, Heavy Artillery Thirtieth Co., Unattached, Heavy Artillery First Independent Battery, light Artillery through Sixteenth Battery, light Artillery Maj. Cook's Co., light Artillery First Sharp Shooters, Volunteers Second Sharp Shooters, Volunteers First Infantry Second Infantry