April 1861- Sixth Massachusetts Regiment


The Bandbox, Houghton Bldg, Old Burying Ground, Congregational Church

First to offer its services- first to reach its State’s capital- first to reach the nation’s capital -first to inflict suffering on traitors- first to attest its sincerity with its blood was the Sixth Massachusetts Regiment of Militia* 

April 2011 marks the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.  Like other Massachusetts communities,  when Abraham Lincoln called, Littleton sent 4 men in the Sixth Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers to protect Washington DC.

6th Regiment Infantry, M.V.M.   (3 months)   Company E


Tuttle, Daniel   Capt            Acton                   

Battles, Edward D.      23    Littleton        

Durant, James L         26    Littleton              

Reed, Charles W        21    Littleton           

Reed, George A          18    Littleton                                      

  ….from  Mass Soldiers, Sailors and Marines in the Civil War

Commonwealth of Massachusetts Adjutant General’s Office Boston April 15 1861 

Colonel Jones 

Sir I am directed by His Excellency the Commander in Chief to order you to muster your regiment on Boston Common forthwith in compliance with a requisition made by the President of the United States.   The troops are to go to Washington By order of His Excellency the Commander in Chief 

WM SCHOULER Adjutant General”

The members of the regiment when its numbers were fully made up were scattered over four counties Middlesex, Essex, Suffolk, and Worcester and in more than thirty towns and yet with but a few hours notice the bulk of them mustered early on the morning of the 16th and the rest within a few hours after- making in all about seven hundred men and officers ready at this first call to don the armor of actual war.

The Groton Acton and Lawrence companies received most enthusiastic farewells, the several communities being roused to the intensest pitch of excitement and bidding good bye to their friends, the men hastened to the rendezvous in Lowell, where, with the four Lowell companies they made up the Sixth.*

Company E Sixth Massachusetts Regiment Minute Men of 61 M.V.M. (Massachusetts Volunteer Militia)

Davis Guards 

COMPANY E SIXTH REGIMENT Organized in 1857 At six o clock on the evening of April 15 1861 orders were received by the Guards to join their Regiment to go to Washington.   About daylight the next morning they started for Lowell in open wagons and in a heavy rain reaching Lowell at 7.30 am 

Daniel Tuttle Capt Acton 

William H Chapman 1st Lieut             

George W Rand 2d Lieut

Silas P Blodgett 3d Lieut

John E Ames 1st Sergt

Luke Smith 1st Sergt

Henry W Wilder Sergt Stowe

George W Knights Sergt

Battles Edward D Littleton

Blood George F Acton                      

Bray Henry L                                    

Brooks Charles A

Brown John A Stowe

Durant James L Littleton 

Farrar Abel Jr Acton 

Fletcher Aaron J 

Gilson Henry 

Goss Nathan 

Gray William H 

Handley Charles H Acton 

Handley William S 

Hosmer Gilman S 

Jones George 

Lazell Henry W 

Littlefleld Waldo Boxboro 

Morse Charles Marlboro 

Moulton Charles Acton 

Moulton James 

Putnam John 

Reed Charles W Littleton 

Reed George A   Littleton

Reed William Acton

Reed William B 

Robbins Varnum F 

Robbins Luke 

Sawyer Andrew J 

Smith Ephraim A 

Tarbell Edwin 

Wayne John 

Wheeler Hiram Concord 

Whitney John Quincy 

Whitney William F B

Whitney John HP

Wilson Samuel

George Reiser Musician Baltimore

George F Campbell Musician

Granville W Wilder Sergt

Charles Jones Corp Acton

John F Blood Corp

Aaron S Fletcher 4th Lieut

Luke J Robbins Corp

Levi H Robbins Corp

Wood Eben

The Sixth Massachusetts gathered with other regiments in Boston on April 16th. The Lowell Daily Courier published one soldier’s letter home: “We have been quartered since our arrival in this city at Faneuil Hall and the old cradle of liberty rocked to its foundation from the shouting patriotism of the gallant sixth. During all the heavy rain the streets, windows, and house tops have been filled with enthusiastic spectators, who loudly cheered our regiment . . . The city is completely filled with enthusiasm; gray-haired old men, young boys, old women and young, are alike wild with patriotism.”

The Sixth Massachusetts Volunteers boarded trains the next day. One soldier reported, “Cheers upon cheers rent the air as we left Boston . . . at every station we passed anxious multitudes were waiting to cheer us on our way.” In Springfield, Hartford, New York, Trenton, and Philadelphia, bells, fireworks, bonfires, bands, booming cannon, and thousands of supporters greeted the Massachusetts men as their train passed through. *

The Baltimore Riot

The Sixth Regiment reached Baltimore on the 19th of April 1861.    A peculiar Baltimore ordinance called for all passing trains to stop at the President Street Station, have the railroad cars slowly pulled along the tracks by horses, then hooked back up to steam locomotives at the Camden Station ten blocks west to continue their journey. It was while the nervous troops, packed into their railroad cars, were being pulled those ten blocks by horses along Pratt Street that the crowd attacked. 

Six of the railroad cars made it through before the crowd blocked off the track and the horses could go no farther. The remaining men, around 250, had to get out and march to Camden Station. The howling mob descended upon them, and the riot quickly turned into a bloody battle.  Four soldiers and twelve civilians were killed.  

Four ” Minute Men ” will follow the flag no longer for stretched on the pavement of the Monumental City lie the bodies of Ladd, Needham, Taylor and Whitney, the first offerings in that terrible holocaust of war which for long years, was to consume the best the nation had to give. Night beholds them camped within the Nation’s Senate Chamber and as Abraham Lincoln grasps each Massachusetts man by the hand, he proclaims his gratitude that all the people have not become unnerved by the spirit of trade and that there were yet men who were willing to offer themselves for the defense of their country, and the ” Minute Men ” slept with the comforting assurance that their arrival had rendered safe the seat of the National Government.

When the news of this day’s doings reached the ears of Governor Andrew, he telegraphed the Mayor of Baltimore thus:—”I pray you have the bodies of our Massachusetts soldiers, dead in battle, to be immediately laid out, preserved in ice and tenderly sent forward by express to me.   All expenses will be paid by this Commonwealth.” Could any words more fittingly indicate the true nature of this great hearted man? “ *

The Sixth Regiment was the first to arrive in Washington completely uniformed and equipped for service.  It was at first quartered in the Senate Chamber in the Capitol.   Mustered into the service April 22, it was soon transferred to the Relay House near Baltimore.  In the occupation of Baltimore and in doing guard duty at or near the Relay House, the regiment was occupied until July 29, when it entrained for Massachusetts.  Reaching Boston on the 1st of August, on the following day it was mustered out of service   ….Source:  Massachusetts Soldiers, Sailors and Marines in the Civil War

The regiment was dismissed by the following order from the executive:

“The Sixth Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteer Militia, Col. Jones, has returned home. It was the first which went forward to the defense of the national capital.  It passed through Baltimore, despite the cowardly assault made upon it, and was the first to reach Washington.

It’s gallant conduct has reflected new lustre upon the Commonwealth,and has given new historic interest to the 19th of April.  It has returned, after more than three months of active and responsible service.  It will be received by our people with warm hearts and generous hands.

The regiment is now dismissed till further orders.

Company E, the Davis Guard, was welcomed to Acton.  The town voted the funds for a fine celebration and a military, civic, and popular procession was got up; and four military companies- three of which were organized for the occasion- added to the interest of the day- one of the most joyous in the annals of Acton.*

Thirty-seventh Congress of the United States, at the First Session, in the House of Representatives, July 22, 1861.

Resolved, That the thanks of this House are due, and are hereby tendered, to the Sixth Regiment of the Massachusetts Volunteers, for the alacrity with which they responded to the call of the President, and the patriotism and bravery which they displayed on the 19th of April last, in fighting their way through the city of Baltimore, on their march to the defense of the Federal Capital.                  Galusha  A. Grow, Speaker of the House of Representatives


Em. Etheridge, Clerk*


Sixth Regiment men credited to Littleton


Edward Delos Battles

Edward Delos Battles was born in Boxboro 5 April 1838 to Josiah and Mehitable (Shumway) Battles.  Josiah Battles was born in Oxford, Massachusetts.   He married Mehitable Shumway 30 November 1829 in Oxford and sometime between 1830 and 1838 they moved to Boxboro.   He is listed in the Boxboro1840 census with one male child under 5 years old.  In the 1850 Boxboro census,  Josiah and Mehitable are listed with William H  9 years old but not Edward.  However, there is a 12 year old child named Edward Battles living with Martin Woods in Littleton, Ma.   

On 23 December 1872 at Acton,  Edward married Adelia Bennett, daughter of John and Sarah (Jones) Bennett.    His birth is listed as Littleton, his residence is Acton and he is a farmer.  Sarah was born in Burlington, Vermont.  By 1880 they are living in Waterbury, Vermont and have at least 2 children William E and Frank.  Edward died 1896.  The following information was found on Ancestry.com which indicates his continued service to the Union after being mustered out of the 6th Regiment.  

Edward Battles was deaf, made so by being hit on the head by a round, unexploded cannon ball which made a dent in his skull. An egg could be placed on the top of his head and it would stay there. As proven by his son Chester Battles. + Enlisted into the service at the age of 24 in Boston, MA. He was a private in Company E. 33rd reg. etc. and served 3 years. He was promoted to corporal May 13, 1865. He was honorably discharged on June 11, 1865 near Washington, D.C. He was discharged honorably as physically unfit for further duty. + Received Massachusetts’s Minute Men’s Medal after he died. This award was given to men who answered President Abraham Lincoln’s first call for Volunteers. + Edward Battles was wounded as follows: + Wounded at the Battle of Bull Run + Gettysburg, July 3, 1863 – head wound + Gettysburg, September 11, 1863 – gunshot wound to the right side of his head, caused by shell + November 1, 1863 – treated for abscess + June 24 to July 7, 1864 – gun shot wound to his right thigh. Sent to Marietta, furloughed September 20 to October 20, 1864. Returned to duty November 15, 1864. + He was in the hospital for 10 months at one time”  Source: Tracey Family tree Ancestry.com

George A Reed


“Hon George A Reed was born at Concord Mass September 10  1842  Enlisted in Company E Sixth MVM went with the Regiment through Baltimore April 19 1861 as private.   September 5 1861 enlisted in the Twenty Sixth Massachusetts Regiment served under command of General BF Butler in Louisiana as Corporal and Sergeant.   January 14 1864 re-enlisted in the Twenty Sixth Massachusetts Regiment was mustered out September 25 1865. Was with General Grant at City Point Va with General PH Sheridan in the Shenandoah Valley November 1 was appointed Special Mail Messenger for Generals Sheridan and Hancock was commissioned as Second Lieutenant .  After returning to Massachusetts made his home in Framingham was elected three years on the Board of Selectmen and in 1889 served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives was elected a member of the State Senate in 1895 and re-elected in 1896.   has been in the employ of the Boston and Albany Railroad thirty four years and as train conductor 29 years is a Past Commander of Post 142 GAR Past President of the old Sixth and Twenty Sixth Massachusetts Regimental Associations member of the various Masonic bodies Aleppo Temple N of M Shrine Boston”*



South Framingham, Aug 11- Yielding to the desires of his many friends,Hon George A. Reed of Saxonville announces that he is a candidate for renomination for the state senate.  Representing the 4th Middlesex district for two years past, he comes a candidate in the new 1st district, whose principal cities and towns are Newton, Marlboro, Framingham, and Natick.  Senator Reed’s name has been mentioned in connection with the nomination to congress in the 4th district, to succeed Mr. Apsley, but he announces that he is in no sense a candidate for that position.

Article in Lowell Sun 15 October 1922

Hon and Mrs. George A Reed will receive their friends at their home, 110 Danforth St. Saxonville, from 3 to 5 tomorrow on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of their wedding.  The affair will be entirely informal, owing to the condition of Mrs. Reed’s health.  Mr. Reed for about 45 years was trainman and conductor of the Saxonville branch train, retiring in 1919, when he reached the age of 70.  He has been selectmen and represented Framingham in the lower house of the General Court in 1889 and in 1895 and 1896 represented the old Fourth Middlesex District in the Senate.  He is a Civil War veteran, and commander for several years of Gen. Burnside Post G.A.R.

He died in Saxonville 11 May 1923

Charles W. Reed 

Obituary  Lowell Sun  13 May 1910

Chas. Reed of Westford

Killed Last Night

Charles Reed, aged 65, a well known Westford farmer, was the victim of a fatal accident while driving home about 9 o’clock last evening.  He was thrown from his wagon into an excavation, his horse falling in on top of him.  He lived but a few minutes after the accident and was dead when taken out of the excavation.  For the past week workmen have been settling a catch basin in the street directly in front of John C. Abbott’s residence.  While passing this point last evening the horse which Mr. Reed was driving shied suddenly to one side, throwing the driver from his seat into the excavation.  In its effort to get away the animal attempted to jump the hole and fell in on the unfortunate man, crushing him severely and causing internal injuries which resulted in his death a few moments later.   The horse struggled and finally released itself from the wagon and reached the surface again.  The commotion attracted the attention of several people and they removed the body of Mr. Reed to a nearby house and a physician was called.  Undertaker D. L. Greig took charge of the body.  It was said that several lanterns were placed about the excavation so that to drive into the hole unknowingly would be quite impossible.  Deceased was a veteran of the Civil War and had no living relatives, so far as is known.

Funeral -Lowell Sun 17 May 1910

Reed- The funeral services of Charles W. Reed, who was thrown from his carriage last week and instantly killed, were held from his home in Westford at 2 o’clock Sunday.  There was a large attendance of relatives, neighbors, and friends.

Rev David W. Wallace of the Union Congregational church was the officiating clergyman.  The bearers were George A. Reed, William E. Reed, Murray Lynds, Harry Weston, George Voter, and Sumner Lyncoln.  Undertaker David L. Greig was in charge.  Burial was at Littleton.

Deceased was a member of the old Sixth Massachusetts regiment, Company E, and afterward reenlisted and served during the remainder of the war in the 35th Massachusetts regiment.  He is survived by a widow, one brother Hon. George A. Reed, of Framingham, Mass and four sisters, Mrs. L.A. Rhoads of Ayer, Mrs. N. R. Gerald of Cochituate, Mrs. W.H. Swallow of Campden, NJ and Miss Mary Reed of Cochituate.

Among the floral offerings were: spray, feverfew and pinks, from wife; spray lillies and sweet peas, from Mrs. Lucy Rhoads; crescent of roses and pinks, Mr. and Mrs. George Reed; bouquet of white roses, Mrs. Gerald and Miss Mary Reed; spray narcissus, Mr. and Mrs. J. M. Lynds; spray pinks and roses, Dr. and Mrs. W. Reed; spray of palms and pinks, Dr. and Mrs. H. Weston; spray pinks, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Davis and son; spray of pinks, Mr. and Mrs. Kahlo and Mr. and Mrs. Krouse; wreath, Mr. and Mrs. Albert Jeune; bouquet of pinks, Mrs. Weston and Mrs. Mothrup; spray of pinks Mr. and Mrs. W. M. Wright; wreath, Mr. and Mrs. Stephenson.

James Lewis Durant

James Lewis Durant was born in Littleton  26 May 1835 to Reuben and Hannah Durant.   James deserted 20 April 1862 at Carlisle Bks PA.  He died in Shirley 4 April 1902.



The body of the unknown man found dead in R.F. Colburn’s field Monday night, still remains uncalled for at the undertaking rooms of J.F. Brown.  It was thought the deceased was Frank Durant, who lives in Pepperell near Fitch’s bridge, and the Groton and Pepperell town line.  The selectmen of Pepperell sent Police Officer Gogging and another man to identify the remains, but when about two miles from Pepperell they met on the road the said Frank Durant alive and well who said he was not the man and the officers returned home.  Later it was thought the remains were those of a man who worked for Granville Fairbanks in Lunenburg last fall.  Wednesday night, Mr. Fairbanks, accompanied by one of his men, William Robbins, viewed the body and were quite sure he was a man who worked for Mr. Fairbanks  leaving his employ about Christmas time, 1901, and who gave his name as J.L. Durant, and was called James or “Jim” by fellow workmen.  It is not known where his home is, if he had any.  Several Durants are living in Leominster and he may be some relation to them.   A James L. Durant once lived in Littleton, was a soldier in the Civil War and was a son of Reuben Durant of that place who resided there 40 or more years.  Parties telephoned Wednesday, from South Framingham saying that a man was missing from that place but it was not learned who he was.  A strange coincidence is that the remains tally with both Frank Durant of Pepperell and James L. Durant of Littleton.  Each was short in stature, bald head, heavy brown moustache, weight about 140 pounds, and each wore overalls turned up and each had a brother William, called “Bill”.  Each worked chopping wood and other farm labor and they are not known to be related to each other.  Both served in the Civil War and lived in Groton and adjoining  towns at different periods….. Fitchburg Daily Sentinel 11 April 1902


  • ……..from the History and complete roster of the Massachusetts regiments, minute men of By George Warren Nason
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