The Civil War in the East

28th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment "Faugh-A-Ballaugh*"


According to Fox's 500 Fighting Regiments, the 28th Massachusetts ranked seventh in losses for Union regiments in the Civil War. It lost 15 officers and 235 enlisted men killed or mortally wounded and 1 officer and 136 enlisted men to disease. It is honored with a monument at Gettysburg.


* Faugh-A-Ballaugh - Gaelic for "Clear the way"

Monument to the 28th Masachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment at Gettysburg


December 12

Organized at Cambridge and Boston under Colonel William Monteith, Lieutenant Colonel McLelland Moore and Major George W. Cartwright

December 28

The regiment received a green flag of patriotic and irish slogans that would be carried in the place of its state colors.


January 11

Left State for New York and duty at Fort Columbus, New York Harbor

February 14

Sailed on Steamer "Erickson" for Hilton Head, S.C.

February 23

Arrived Hilton Head amd attached to Dept. of the South

April 7

Moved to Dafuskie Island, S.C. and duty there; attached to 1st Brigade, 2nd Division, Dept. of the South.

April 18-May 6

Companies A and K detached at Jones and Bird Islands

May 12 - May 28

Companies A, C, D, F and K moved to Tybee Island

May 20

Colonel Monteith was placed under arrest for drunkeness and other violations of regulations. He would be court-martialled, and resigned in August. Lieutenant Colonel McLelland Moore took command, but soon resigned due to feuds between various factions in the regiment. Major George W. Cartwright took command of hte regiment was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel effective 7/26.

May 28

Companies B, E, G, H and I moved to Dafuskie Island and to Hilton Head

June 1-28

Operations on James Island, S.C.

June 3-4

Skirmishes on James Island

June 16

Battle of Secessionville

The regiment suffered 67 casualties in a charge through an impassible bog, including Sergeant John J. McDonald, carying the colors.

June 28-July 7

Evacuation of James Island

July 14-18

Moved from Hilton Head to Newport News. Va. Attached to 1st Brigade, 1st Division, 9th Army Corps, Army of the Potomac

August 3-6

To Aquia Creek and Fredericksburg

August 6-16

Operations in support of Pope

August 16-
September 2

Pope's Campaign in Northern Virginia

August 29

Battle of Groveton

August 30

Second Battle of Bull Run

The regiment suffered 135 casualties, including Lieutenant Colonel George W. Cartwright, who was wounded, and Lieutenant William Flynn, who was killed. Captain Andrew A. Caraher of Company A took command of the regiment.

September 1-2

Battle of Chantilly

The regiment took part in a charge led by General Isaac Stevens that ended in a torrential thunderstorm, with General Stevens killed. It suffered 99 casualties, including Lieutenant Alexander Barrett, who was mortally wounded.


Maryland Campaign

September 14

Battle of South Mountain

September 16-17

Battle of Antietam

Commanded by Captain Andrew A. Caraher, the regiment lost 18 killed, 40 wouned and 1 missing in fighting near Burnside's Bridge, including Lieutenant Nicholas Barrett, who was killed.

September 19-October 2

March to Pleasant Valley and duty there

October 18

Colonel Richard Byrnes was appointed Colonel by Governor Andrew. The appointment of an outsider led seven officers to resign in protest. Colonel Byrnes immediately tightened discipline in the regiment, relieving the sergeant major and quartermaster sergeant and instituting daily drills and inspection.

October 25-
November 19

Movement to Falmouth, Va.

November 15

Captain Caraher of Company A was promoted to major.


Assigned to 2nd Brigade, 1st Division, 2nd Army Corps, Army of the Potomac, the Irish Brigade. The 28th was swapped for the 29th Massachusetts, a Yankee regiment.

December 12-15

Battle of Fredericksburg

The regiment lost 32 killed, 116 wounded, 1 captured and 11 missing of the 416 men engaged in the attack on Marye's Heights, including Lieutenents Edwin Weller, William Holland and John Sullivan killed and Major Andrew Caraher and Captain Charles Sanborn, wounded.


After the charge General Edwin Sumner rebuked a soldier for not being in company formation. The soldier responded, "This is all my company, sir."


January 20-24

"Mud March"

January - April

At Falmouth

Lieutenant Colonel Cartwright returned to the regiment after recovering from his Bull Run wounds. Ten captains and lieutenants resigned due to the ongoing discipinary struggle with Colonel Byrnes, who had brought in several replacement officers from outside the regiment.

April 27-May 6

Chancellorsville Campaign

May 1-5

Battle of Chancellorsville

The regiment suffered 26 casualties, mostly in helping to save from capture the guns of the 5th Maine Battery.


Assgned to 1st Brigade, 1st Division, 2nd Army Corps

June 11-July 24

Gettysburg Campaign

July 2-4

Battle of Gettysburg

The regiment was commanded by Colonel Richard Byrnes. It brought 265 men to the field, losing 8 killed, 57 wounded and 35 missing in fighting in the Wheatfield and around the Stony Knoll, including

July 7 - 15

Left Gettysburg for Faling Waters via Taneytown, Frederick and Crampton's Gap

July 18

Crossed the Potomac

July 24

Arrived at Manassas Gap after marching through Snicker's Gap, Bloomfield and Ashby's Gap

July 31

Went into camp at Morrisville to rest and refit

August 31

Marched to United States Ford in support of the cavalry, then returned to camp

September 10

Received 175 draftees from Massachusetts, bringing the regimental strength over 300 men.

September 13-17

Advance from the Rappahannock to the Rapidan

October 9-22

Bristoe Campaign

October 14

Auburn and Bristoe

The regiment suffered six casualties in skirmishes during the retreat from Auburn Hill

November 7-8

Advance to line of the Rappahannock


2nd Brigade, 1st Division, 2nd Army Corps

November 26-
December 2

Mine Run Campaign

November 29

Skirmish at Robinson's Tavern along Plank Road

The regiment lost nine men charging taking a line of rifle pits

December 5

Arrived at Stevensburg and established winter quarters

December 31

157 Veterans reenlisted, quaifying the 28th as a Veteran Volunteer Regiment and earning a thirty day furlough as well as a $402 Federal bounty and a $325 state bounty.


February 6-7

Demonstration on the Rapidan

February - May

Colonel Byrne and four other officerss return to Massachusetts and recruit 288 new men for the regiment, bringing its strength to over 500 men. Many of these recruits were not Irish and many not from Massachusetts; 90 were Canadian.


Campaign from the Rapidan to the James

May 5-12

Battles of the Wilderness and Spottsylvania

Commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Cartwright, the regiment lost 24 killed, 81 wounded and 8 missing, including Cartwright, who was severly wounded, and Captains James McIntyre and Charles Smith, who were killed. Major Andrew Lawler asumed command.

May 10

Po River

The regiment lost 3 killed, 5 wounded 2 captured and 1 missing to artillery fire while digging in after crossing the river.

May 12-21

Spottsylvania Court House

The regiment lost 21 killed, 74 wounded, 8 captured and 3 missing, including Captain James Magner, who was killed.

May 12

Assault on the Salient

The regiment lost 62 men in the attack on the "Mule Shoe"

May 18

Second Assault on the Mule Shoe

The regiment lost 42 men, including Major Lawler and Captains William Cochrane and James Magner, all killed or mortally wounded.

May 20

Colonel Byrnes returned to the regiment but assumed brigade command as senior colonel. The regiment had been reduced to 315 men.

May 23-26

North Anna River

May 26-28

On line of the Pamunkey

May 28-31


Under the command of Captain James Fleming, the regiment lost 13 men in picket skirmishing.

June 1-12

Cold Harbor

Under the command of Captain James West, the regiment lost 48 men, including Captain West, who was killed. Colonel Byrnes, commanding the brigade, was mortally wounded, dying in a Washington hospital on June 12. After the battle the regiment had less than 100 men fit for duty commanded by Lieutenant John B. Noyes, with only one other lieutenant.

June 16-19

Before Petersburg

The regiment lost 19 men.

June 16

Siege of Petersburg begins

June 20

The Irish Bigade had been reduced in strength to a handful of men commanded by Captain Richard Moroney of the 69th New York, and was broken up. The 28th was assigned with a number of other shattered 2nd Corps regiments to the 1st Brigade, 2nd Division, 2nd Corps, the only Irish Brigade regiment to remain in the field.

June 22-23

Jerusalem Plank Road

The regiment lost 12 men repulsing a Confederate attack.

July 27-29

Demonstration on north side of the James

July 27-28

Deep Bottom

Commanded by Captain Fleming, the regiment led the brigade in turning the Confederate left flank, capturing four 24pounder Parrott Rifles while suffering only founr men lost.

August 13-14

Strawberry Plains, Deep Bottom

The regiment lost 15 men in a demonstration against a Confererate battery, including Captain Nolan, who was killed.

August 16

Charles City Cross Roads

The regiment lost 18 killed and 22 captured

August 25

Ream's Station

The regiment lost 10 killed and 24 captured or missing after repulsing three Confederate attacks, being forced back from its breasworks, and then regaining them in a counterattack.

October 27-28

Boydton Road, Hatcher's Run

December 19

One officer and 20 men returned to Massachusets, the only survivors of the original 1861 members who had not reenlsted as Veterans. The regiment had lost 408 men and eight commanding officers in 1864, with only one commissioned officer surviving unscathed. The remaining 185 members of the 28th were reorganized as a five company battalion.


February 5-7

Dabney's Mills, Hatcher's Run

March 25

Watkin's House

March 28-April 9

Appomattox Campaign

March 31

Hatcher's Run or Boydton Road and White Oak Road

The battalion lost 17 men killed and 53 wounded capturing outer Cofederate picket lines in preparation for a breakthrough attack, including Major Fleming, who was wounded, and Lieutenant Thomas Parker, who was killed. Captain Patrick Black took over the battalion.

April 2

Sutherland Station and fall of Petersburg

The battalion lost Captain Black and five other men wounded in its last action of the war, capturing 150 Confederate prisoners, two cannon and a battle flag.

April 6

Sailor's Creek

April 7

High Bridge and Farmville

April 9

Appomattox Court House. Surrender of Lee and his army.

April 10 - May 2

At Burkesville

May 2-15

March to Washington, D.C. under Captain Patrick Bird.

May 23

Grand Review

May 24

Duty at Washington

June 29

Mustered out

July 5

Discharged at Readville, Massachusetts

About the Author • ©2015 Steve Hawks