Part 2. The Union-New England
The Civil War was not fought by professional soldiers-there were only 16,000 of them available in 1861-but by men recruited in their hometowns into regiments or smaller local units. Whether volunteers or conscripts, the experiences of the Putnam Guards, the "Wooden Nutmegs" (the threemonth Connecticut brigade), the Concord Artillery, the "Old Sixth" Massachusetts regiment, the "Flying 12th" Regiment Rhode Island Volunteers, and others became part of hometown history.
In New England, as in other parts of the country, local recruitment of complete military units had an overwhelming impact on the farm communities, towns, and cities from which the men came. All citizens, even those who did not go to war, were affected. Besides providing guns and other military equipment, banks lent money, women made uniforms at home or at volunteer sewing bees, and businesses donated everything from camp beds to underwear for the local regiment. Many of the more than 186,000 African Americans in the federalized United States Colored Troops or state militias were recruited in the New England states. Many were already freedmen, others were former slaves who had fled to the North. Histories of the famed Massachusetts 54th regiment
that stormed Fort Wagner near Charleston are included in the collection, as well as histories of African American regiments from Connecticut and other New England states.