Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Henry Warren Howe

As I begin documenting the history of the Eastern Bay State Regiment, perhaps the most prominent figure in the unit (from a documentation point of view) is Henry Warren Howe.  Howe's service in the war began several months before the formation of the EBS Regiment.  He ended up on Gen. Ben Butler's staff in his expedition into North Carolina in 1861, and as the EBS Regiment was formed, he was given the position of Quartermaster Sergeant (and would one day make it to a much higher rank).  Without a doubt, the best and most useful source of information that I have ever come across for the 30th Massachusetts is a book that was published from the diary and collected letters of Mr. Howe.  He also threw in some other compiled information on the regiment and its officers, and what is of more use (to some of us) is very detailed information on the colors carried by the regiment into battle and throughout the duration of the war.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Eastern Bay State Regiment

Image from The Daily Journal for 1862
kept by Captain Richard A. Elliot.
Placed online by the Center for Lowell History,
University of Massachusetts Lowell Libraries.
Between September 25th and December 31st of 1861 the Eastern Bay State Regiment was being recruited and trained at Camp Chase in Lowell Massachusetts.  Almost 5 years, 2 redesignations, and many battles later the regiment was finally mustered out of Federal service on July 5th 1866...making it the last volunteer regiment from a state to leave the Federal service.

Whether being referred to as the Eastern Bay State Regiment, the 30th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment, or its final designation of the 30th Massachusetts Veteran Volunteer Infantry Regiment, the unit is not a well known regiment within the community of museums, historians, or even living historians.  To date it has had no major claims to fame like some of its predecessors (the 28th and 29th regiments both belonged to the Irish Brigade at one point in time or another), it has not had a movie made about it (like the 54th), and it did not have a colonel who went on to famous deeds that wrote constantly about the unit and engrained them into popular history (like the 20th Maine).  The regiment was composed of average Union men who no doubt joined the ranks for the same reasons as countless other federal soldiers did from 1861-65.