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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Civil War History: Massachusetts Irish Regiment Musters on December 13, 1861

(Image courtesy of 28th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry)

The 28th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry - comprised of Irish-Americans and Irish emigrants - officially mustered into service on December 13, 1861 at Camp Cameron in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Governor John A. Andrew appointed Colonel William Monteith leader of the regiment.

About 1,000 men were mustered on this day, the majority of them Irish-Americans and Irish emigrants.  They joined the state's other Irish fighting battalion, the 9th Regiment, and distinguished themselves in battle throughout the course of the American Civil War, fighting at Second Bull Run, Gettysburg, Frederickburg and Antietam. 

One of the main supporters and fundraisers behind the formation of the 28th Regiment was Patrick Donahoe, publisher of the Boston Pilot newspaper.   In his book, Civil War Boston, Professor Thomas O'Connor writes that the soldiers voted to informally call themselves The Donahue Guard in honor of their benefactor.

In 2011 Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick issued a proclamation in honor of the 28th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry.

Today, a non-profit re-enactment group - the 28th Massachusetts Voluntary Infantry - carries on the history and traditions of the regiment by participating in Civil War re-enactments and providing educational opportunities for citizens to learn about this important aspect of American history.

You can follow the 28th on facebook

For more information on Boston's Irish history, visit IrishHeritageTrail.com.