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Saturday, June 7, 2014

Massachusetts Fighting 9th Regiment Mustered into Service in June 1861

The famous Massachusetts Fighting 9th Regiment, which fought in all of America's wars, from the Civil War to the Korean War, was mustered into service on June 11, 1861.  

The regiment was headed by Colonel Thomas Cass, an Irish immigrant who organized the Irish immigrant squad after the Battle of Fort Sumter on April 15, 1861, when President Abraham Lincoln . issued a proclamation calling for 75,000 volunteers to defend the Union

Massachusetts Governor John Andrew commissioned Colonel Cass to lead the Fighting 9th Regiment, who proudly carried flags of the United States and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and the regiment was also permitted to carry its own Irish flag, which was donated by Mrs. Harrison Gray Otis. The flag is now part of the Hall of Flags at the Massachusetts State House.   

The 9th Regiment left Boston on June 25, 1861 and headed south to the war zone.  Cass led the regiment into battle and died from his wounds at the Battle of Malvern Hill.  

The Fighting Ninth fought in Cuba during the Spanish-American War, and in World War I, when it was renamed the 101st Infantry Regiment and led by Colonel Edward L. Logan of South Boston, for whom Logan International Airport is named. In World War II the regiment, still known as the Fighting Irish, was led by Colonel Paul G. Kirk, whose son, Paul G. Kirk, Jr. became the Massachusetts U.S. Senator in 2009 after the death of Senator Edward M. Kennedy. 

The Fighting Ninth was phased out on May 1, 1959, with its final review taking place on Boston Common on April 26, 1959.  

statue of Colonel Cass stands in the Public Garden along Boylston Street.  Cass is buried at Mt. Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge.  

Find out more about Boston's Irish history by visiting  

Information excerpted from the book,  Irish Boston: A Lively Look at Boston's Colorful Irish Past