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.
http://library.uml.edu/clh/all/el1.pdf
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.




Purpose
Under normal circumstances I am not the type of person that is so inclined to create a "blog".  I find the idea of a personal blog about my life or anyone else's to be somewhere between silly at best and at worst, uninteresting.  I think at one point I may have even sworn that I would never try to create such a thing.  But over the last year I have been formulating the idea of a blog not about myself, but about an historical topic...one that does not seem to have been looked into in any great detail.  At the same time, it would also help keep me motivated to write on a topic if I had some sort of personal involvement or connection with the subject.  Also, what better time to start writing on a subject of historic significance than throughout the sesquicentennial of the American Civil War?

This is where the 30th Massachusetts comes into the story.  These last few days, and the next several weeks mark the 150th anniversary of this regiment being formed near Lowell, and I am descended from one of its members.  Since I was about 10 years old I have spent a great deal of time researching not only my relative, but the history of the 30th Mass.  Through years of research I have seen that information on this regiment is not as forthcoming as any number of other regiments North and South that served during the war.  By writing a blog about the history of my relative and the regiment as a whole, I hope that I am not only preserving the accounts and information I have for myself, but hopefully for others who have also tried researching this unit and have not had as much luck as I have.

It is my overall goal here to create a history of the 30th Massachusetts that will compile a number of different sources that will help tell the history of the unit for historians and buffs of the Civil War, and also for those that might be searching for an ancestor who served within the ranks of the 30th.  I do have quite a large amount of information that I have put together over the years, such as diary accounts, official reports, images, & pensions that I will try to organize to the best of my ability into a form of narrative.  What I'm hoping this will become is a day-to-day compilation of sources bringing us from the formation in Lowell in 1861 to the mustering out and return home in 1866.

With that in mind, the long term goal is to keep the addition of this information as a work in progress from roughly the next 5 years.  What this will not be is a simple listing of what happened on this day in history (i.e. Today in 1861 blahblahblah...and on this day in 1862 blablabla).  I will always be willing to share any information I have about events all throughout the war with anyone that would like to send me a message, but to the best of my ability I would like to post everything chronologically, as close to real time (plus 150 years) as possible.

Sources
To make this project of worthwhile use to myself and to others, I will be creating a list of sources, images, and every reference that I have come across over the years.  There are quite a lot of sources I have gathered from so far, and keeping them all organized may turn out to be as large a project as keeping a timeline of events.  I do not expect this part of the project to be finished anytime soon either.  I will try to create a list of sources as a separate page here, and as I present new information I will try to update the source list to reflect it.

I do not expect this list to be useful to only those researching the 30th Massachusetts.  I hope that I will be able to list enough sources and possibly even show off a few researching techniques that will be useful to anyone searching for records on a relative in any Massachusetts regiment, or for that matter a regiment from any state in the Civil War.  If I have provided something that can be used to help others track down records from the war and find the history of an individual or unit that was previously unknown, then I will consider this project a success!

More Information
If you are someone that stumbles upon this blog because you are searching for more on this unit please feel free to contact me, I may have information that might help you.  If you have found this blog and you have more information and would like to share it please let me know.  If you have a diary from a relative, or perhaps just a small clip from a pension that tells what happened to your relative on such-and-such date and would like me to include it in the blog, I would be more than happy to.  I hope that sooner or later at least a few people will stumble onto this site and find it of interest in one way or another.  Over time we may be able to amass a large collection of useful information that can help not only with research, but to tell the story of a little known regiment and its experiences throughout the war.


*Since as I have never run a blog before (as I mentioned), and also since my skills at running a website have not been used in several years and are a bit rusty...I ask any who do find this blog early in its existence to be patient while I solve a number of creative and formatting issues.  Hopefully I will finalize the look and feel of the blog before too long, and without any changes becoming too distracting.  Also note I have done some backdating (and may again in the future) to fit some references into the correct date and time when they happened (weather I missed them to begin with, or they were from a new source that just came to light).

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