Field & Staff---NCO Staff---Band---Unassigned
Organized at Wenham and mustered in October 29, 1862. Moved to New York December 27. Embarked on Steamer "Constitution" and sailed for New Orleans, La., December 29, arriving February 1, 1863. Moved to Baton Rouge, La., February 3. Attached to 1st Brigade, 1st Division, 19th Army Corps, Dept. of the Gulf, to August, 1863.
SERVICE.--Reconnoissance toward Port Hudson March 13-20, 1863. Duty at Baton Rouge until May 18. Operations against Port Hudson May 18-24. Action at Plain's Store May 21. Siege of Port Hudson May 25-July 9. Assaults on Port Hudson May 27 and June 14. Surrender of Port Hudson July 9. Moved to Donaldsonville July 9-10, and duty there until August 1. Action at Cox's Plantation, Donaldsonville, July 12-13. Moved to Boston, Mass., via Cairo, Ill., August 9-23. Mustered out September 3, 1863.
Regiment lost during service 2 Officers and 17 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and 50 Enlisted men by disease. Total 59.
The 48th Regt. Mass. Vol. Mil. was originally intended
to be an Essex County regiment, and its units began to assemble at Camp Lander,
Wenham, in September, 1862. Hon. Eben F. Stone of Newburyport, the
commandant of the camp, later became colonel of the 48th Regiment. Recruiting
proceeded slowly, and when on Dec. 4 the regiment was transferred to Camp Meigs,
Readville, only eight companies had been organized and mustered into the
At the time of this transfer two of these companies, which had been raised in Lawrence, were detached from the 48th and assigned to the 4th Regiment, the six remaining companies becoming Co's. "A ", "B ", "C ", "D ", "E ", and "F" of the 48th.
Contemporaneous with the organization of the above units, six companies, having the same company letters and composed mostly of men of Irish birth or parentage, had been recruited by Mr. James O'Brien at Camp Joe Hooker, Lakeville, with the purpose of forming a new Irish regiment to be known as the 55th. There being urgent need for the 48th Regiment to form a part of the Banks expedition to Louisiana, the six companies raised by Mr. O'Brien were transferred to Readville, and there by a special order dated Dec. 13, 1862, they were consolidated into four companies and assigned to the 48th, becoming Co's. "G ", "H ", "I ", and "K" of that regiment.
This consolidation and transfer caused great dissatisfaction in the companies thus affected and resulted in the resignation of several commissioned officers and the desertion of a considerable number of enlisted men. Mr. O'Brien, who had raised the Lakeville companies, showed throughout a most excellent spirit, accepted the lieutenant colonelcy of the 48th Regiment, and, as we shall see, died a most gallant soldier's death in the first assault on Port Hudson.
Under command of Colonel Stone, on Dec. 27, the regiment left for New York, and there two days later embarked on the steamer constellation bound for New Orleans, which place was reached Feb. 1. From New Orleans it was shortly sent to Baton Rouge where it was assigned to Col. Chapin's (1st) Brigade of Genl. Augur's (1st) Division, the 49th Mass. Regt. being in the same brigade.
About the middle of March the 48th took part in a demonstration against Port Hudson in cooperation with the attempt of Admiral Farragut to pass the batteries with his fleet. Returning to Baton Rouge, March 20, the regiment remained there doing guard duty until May 18 when it was attached to Col. Dudley's (3d) Brigade and joined in the expedition to Port Hudson. At Plains Store, May 21, the 3d Brigade was sharply engaged, supported by the 1st Brigade, the 48th losing two killed, seven wounded, and eleven prisoners.
On May 24, the regiment arrived in front of Port Hudson. An assault having been ordered for the 27th, in response to a call for volunteers to lead the storming party, Lieut. Col. O'Brien and 92 officers and men of the 48th responded. In the assault, which took place in the mid afternoon of the 27th, the storming column and the main line became intermingled, confusion ensued, and the attack failed, Lieut. Col. O'Brien and six others of the 48th being killed and 41 wounded.
From June 5 to 13, the regiment was again at Plains Store. It was then ordered to the Union left and temporarily attached to Emory's (3d) Division with which it took part in the assault of June 14 losing two killed and eleven wounded. On the day following the assault it returned to the 1st Brigade and with it did duty in the trenches in front of Port Hudson until July 9 when the city surrendered.
On July 13, the 48th was engaged on Bayou Lafourche a few miles from Donaldsonville losing three killed, seven wounded, and twenty-three prisoners. The prisoners were soon paroled by the enemy and four days later rejoined the regiment at Donaldsonville. On August 1, it returned to Baton Rouge.
At this place the regiment remained in camp from August 1 to 9, when it boarded the transport sunny south, and started for Cairo, 111., where it arrived on the 17th. Here it entrained for Boston where it arrived August 23. The men were now furloughed until the 3d of September when they reassembled at Camp Lander, Wenham, and were mustered out of the service.