Digital Commonwealth

Records of the Westborough Rifle Company, 1861-1870

Westborough Public Library

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The Westborough Rifle Company was organized on April 29, 1861 and, when it departed to serve in the American Civil War, it included fifty-six men from Westborough and forty-five men from the surrounding towns of Southborough, Upton, Shrewsbury, Hopkinton, and Northborough. The Company was mustered into service at Fort Independence in Boston on July 16, 1861, where it became Company K, 13th Regiment, Massachusetts Infantry. On July 29, the Company left Fort Independence and, as the train carrying the regiment to the war front rolled through Westborough, hundreds of Westborough citizens showed up to wave and cheer on the soldiers.

Westborough men continued to join the war effort and served in Company C, 34th Regiment; Company E, 51st Regiment; Company B, 57th Regiment; and with the Brigade Band, Corps d'Afrique. Soldiers from Westborough saw action at Newbern, Bull Run, Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, Wilderness, North Anna River, Cold Harbor, Antietam, Chancellorsville, Mine Run, Spotsylvania, Totopotomy, and Petersburg.

A total of 337 soldiers from Westborough served in the American Civil War. Sixty-two of the men were wounded and twenty-five died (fourteen from wounds, three from disease, and eight in Southern prisons). Only five of the dead made it back to Westborough for burial.

The collection includes meeting minutes, personnel records, financial accounts, bills and receipts, and payroll records, as well as a letter by Capt. William P. Blackmer from Harper's Ferry on October 4, 1861 that refers to the abolitionist John Brown. The Company included men from Southborough, Upton, Shrewsbury, Hopkinton, and Northborough, and some of the records in this collection contain information on soldiers and administration that relate to these surrounding towns of Westborough.

Locations in this Collection: