Fortieth Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry
Three Years

Acton men who served in the 40th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry:

John Callahan, Co. F (discharged for disability)

Samuel L. Dutton, surgeon

John Wall, Co. B (wounded)

James D. Wright, Co. B



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

    The 40th Regt. Mass. Vol. Inf. was recruited at Camp Edwin M. Stanton, Lynnfield, in August, 1862, Lieut. Col. Joseph A. Dalton being in command during the recruiting period. The companies were mustered in on various dates from August 22 to September 5. Major Burr Porter, U. S. A., who had won distinction while serving on the staff of Gen. John C. Fremont, was commissioned colonel, but did not join the regiment until after its arrival in Washington, Sept. 11, 1862. Here the 40th occupied Fort Ethan Allen near Chain Bridge, and during the fall and winter did guard and picket duty Dear Miner's Hill, Mills' Cross Roads, and Hunter's Chapel.
     During this period it was attached to Cowdin's (2d) Brigade, Abercrombie's Division. About Mar. 4, Col. Porter succeeded Col. Cowdin in command of the 2d Brigade, and Lieut. Col. Dalton took command of the regiment.
     On April 15, 1863, the 40th was ordered to Alexandria, Va., and there took transport for Suffolk, which city was menaced by a Confederate force under Gen. Longstreet. Here as a part of Keyes' (4th) Corps it took part in several reconnaissances prior to May 4, on which date, the siege having been raised, the regiment was ordered to West Point, Va., where it arrived May 7. After various movements in the vicinity of Yorktown, Williamsburg, Jamestown, and White House Landing, the regiment proceeded to Baltimore Cross Roads. Near this place on the night of July 2 it was engaged but without loss.
     Having advanced to within 15 miles of Richmond the regiment returned to Yorktown where it took transport for Washington From here it was sent immediately to Frederick, Md., arriving July 11. Temporarily attached to the 11th Corps it joined in the pursuit of Lee into Virginia.
     Early in August it was again detached and ordered back to Alexandria where on the 7th it embarked for Charleston, S. C., arriving on the 13th at Folly Island, and going Into the trenches in front of Fort Wagner. Here during the days immediately following the regiment lost one officer, Lieut. Webb, killed and five men wounded. On Nov. 10 Col. Guy V. Henry took command, and immediately afterward the regiment took part in an expedition to Kraivah and Seabrook Islands, returning to Folly Island where it remained until Jany. 16, 1864, when it took transport for Hilton Head, S. C.
     At Hilton Head it was reorganized as a regiment of mounted infantry, and on Feb. 4 embarked for Jacksonville, Fla. Here the 40th became a part of the so-called Light Brigade, having associated with it the Independent Battalion of Massachusetts Cavalry (Comp. "I ", "K", "L" and "M" 1st Regt. Mass. Cav.), and Baty. " B " let U. S. Art., Col. Henry being in command as acting brigadier.
     The Florida campaign which followed lasted from Feb. 8, when the advance began, until about Mar. 20, and was marked by engagements at St. Mary's Creek, Feb. 10, Olustee, Feb. 20, and Cedar Run, Mar. 1. The Light Brigade wits their broken up and the 40th became an infantry regiment again. It now proceeded by transports to Hilton Head and thence to Gloucester Point, Va. Here it was assigned to Henry's (1st) Brigade. On May 6, it reached Bermuda Hundred, now being organized as a part of Alford's (1st) Brigade, Turner's (2d) Division, Gillmore's (10th) Corps. May 9 the regiment proceeded with the 2d Division to Cheater Station, an important railroad junction between Richmond and Petersburg, to assist in destroying the station buildings and railroad at that place, but was ordered to Swift Creek, near Arrowfield Church, in support of Heckman's Brigade of the 18th Corps on the afternoon of the same day. Three days later it joined in the advance of the Army of the James toward Richmond and on the morning of May 16 participated in the battle of Drury's Bluff, losing 10 killed, 42 wounded, and 22 missing. The killed and most of the wounded were left on the field. Four days later, May 20, the regiment was engaged near Bermuda Hundred in repulsing a Confederate attack on the Union picket line, losing six killed and 16 wounded.
     On May 28 the regiment was sent by transport to White House arriving on the 30th. Here it was attached to Smith's (18th) Corps as a part of Henry's (3d) Brigade, Brooks' (1st) Division. Joining the Army of the Potomac near Cold Harbor, June 1, it was immediately ordered into action losing Lieut. Col. Marshall and 11 men killed and a large number wounded. It participated in the general assault on the Confederate lines on the morning of June 3 losing 10 killed and many wounded. On the 12th it was withdrawn from the Cold Harbor lines and transferred via White House, Bermuda Hundred, and Point of Rocks to the front of Petersburg. On the 15th in conjunction with Wild's Division of colored troops it drove the Confederates into the main line of fortifications at Petersburg. Posted on the extreme Union right near the Appomattox River, it assisted in the repulse of Hagood's Confederate Brigade June 24, suffering slight loss. On the east front of Petersburg, in the Bermuda Hundred lines, and in the vicinity of Fort Harrison north of the James the regiment was actively engaged during the summer, fall, and early winter of 1864. In December the 40th became a part of Roberts' (3d) Brigade, Devens' (3d) Division, Gibbon's (24th) Corps. In March, 1865, the brigade was sent to Fredericksburg where it did provost duty for a short time and assisted in destroying the railroad to Richmond near Hamilton's Crossing. Another expedition up the Yeocomico River to Kinsale Landing was made later the same month. On March 26 the regiment returned to Signal Hill on the Richmond front where it remained until after the city fell. It was one of the first Union regiments to enter the city on the morning of April 3 after the evacuation.
     It now camped in various places near Richmond for about five weeks -on Mayo's plantation, on the Benson estate near Manchester, and elsewhere. On June 17 it was mustered out of the service and started for Massachusetts. June 21 found the regiment at Readville, Mass., where it remained in camp until its final payment and discharge, June 30.


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

    Organized at Lynnfield August, 1862. Moved to WashIngton, D. C., September 8-11. Attached 2nd Brigade, Abercrombie's Division, Military District of Washington, to February, 1863. 2nd Brigade, Abercrombie's Division, 22nd Army Corps, Dept. of Washington, to April, 1863. 1st Brigade, 3rd Division, 7th Army Corps, Dept. of Virginia, to May, 1863. 2nd Brigade, 2nd DIvision, 4th Army Corps, Dept. of Virginia, to JulY, 1863. 2nd Brigade, 1st Division, 11th Army Corps, Army of the Potomac, to August, 1863. 2nd Brigade, Gordon's Division, South End of Folly Island, S. C., 10th Army Corps, Dept. of the South, to January, 1864. 2nd Brigade, Gordon's Division, Folly Island, S. C., Northern District, 10th Army Corps, Dept. South, January, 1864. 1st Brigade, District of Hilton Head, S. C., 10th Army Corps, to February, 1864. Light Brigade, District of Florida, Dept. of the South, to April, 1864. 1st Brigade, 2nd Division, 10th Army Corps, Dept. of Vi,.ginia and North Carolina, to May, 1864. 3rd Brigade, 1st Division, 18th Army Corps, to December, 1864. 3rd Brigade, 3rd Division, 24th Army Corps, Dept. of Virginia, to June, 1865.

    SERVICE--Duty in the Defences of Washington, D. C., till April, 1863. Expedition to Mill's Cross Roads after Stuart's Cavalry December 28-29, 1862. Picket duty on the Columbia Pike February 12 to March 30, 1863, and at Vienna till April 11. Moved to Norfolk, thence to Suffolk April 15-17. Siege of Suffolk April 17-May 4. Siege of Suffolk raised May 4. Moved to West Point May 5, thence to Yorktown May 31. Raid to Jamestown Island June 10-13. Dix's Peninsula Campaign June 24-July 7. Expedition from White House to Bottom's Bridge July 1-7. Baltimore Cross Roads July 2. Moved to Washington, D. C., July 10-11. March in pursuit of Lee, to Berlin, Md., July 13-22. Moved to Alexandria August 6, thence sailed to Folly Island, S. C., August 7-13. Siege operations on FOlly and Morris Islands against Forts Wagner and Gregg, and against Fort Sumpter and Charleston, August 15-November 13. Expedition to Seabrook Island November 13-15. Duty at Folly Island till January 16, 1864. Moved to Hilton Head, S. C., January 16. Expedition to Jacksonville, Fla., February 4-7, and to Lake City, Fla., February 722. Ten Mile Run near Camp Finnegan February 8. Barber's Place February 10. Lake City February 11. Gainesville February 14 (Cos. "C," "G," "H"). Battle of Olustee February 20. McGirt's Creek March 1. Cedar Creek March 1. Duty at Jacksonville till April 22. Moved to Gloucester Point April 22-28. Expedition to West Point April 30-May 5. Butler's operations on south side of James River and against Petersburg and Richmond May 5-28. Swift Creek or Arrowfield Church May 9-10. Operations against Fort Darling May 1216. Battle of Drewry's Bluff May 14-16. On Bermuda Hundred Front May 17-28. Moved to White House, thence to Cold Harbor May 28-June 1. Cold Harbor June 1-12. Before Petersburg June 15-18. Siege operations against Petersburg and Richmond June 16, 1864, to April 2, 1865. Hares Hill June 24 and 28. Mine Explosion, Petersburg, July 30, 1864 (Reserve). In trenches before Petersburg till August 27. Moved to Bermuda Front August 27, thence to Bermuda Landing August 28, and provost duty there till September 29. On the Bermuda Front till October 24. Moved to Chaflin's Farm on north side of the James; and duty there till March, 1865. . Expedition to Fredericksburg March 5-8, and up the Potomac River to the Yecomico, and to Kinsel's, Landing March 11-13. thence to White House March 13-18. March to Signal Hill before Richmond March 24-26. Occupation of Richmond April 3. Moved to Manchester April 25 and provost duty there till June 16. Mustered out June 16, and discharged at Reedville, Mass., June 30, 1865.

    Regiment lost during service 5 Officers and 67 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and 125 Enlisted men by disease. Total 197.

See also:

United States National Archives and Records Service. Compiled Records Showing Service of Military Units in Volunteer Union Organizations]. Washington: National Archives and Records Service, n.d.