2nd New Hampshire Volunteer Infantry

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2nd New Hampshire Volunteer Regiment
Active 1861 - August 1864
Country United States of America
Allegiance New Hampshire & Union
Type volunteer infantry
Size 900 (approx.)
Engagements Bull Run, Williamsburg, Fair Oaks,
Second Bull Run, Malvern Hill,
Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, Cold Harbor
Commanders
Notable
commanders
Colonel Gilman Marston

2nd New Hampshire Volunteer Regiment was the longest-serving volunteer regiment of the State of New Hampshire in the American Civil War. The 2nd New Hampshire was organized in early 1861 and mustered in June 4, 1861. The 2nd NH fought from First Bull Run until the occupation of Richmond approximately four years later. The regiment was led by Colonel Gilman Marston, a future United States congressman who represented the state in the 51st Congress (1889-1891).

The 2nd New Hampshire wore Union gray uniforms with "spiketail" dress coats trimmed in red cord, and "jaunty forage caps" with "2NH" on the crown. The 2nd New Hampshire wore their gray uniforms for the entire war, refusing to switch to the Union blue.[citation needed]

Of the 900 who fought in the regiment's first battle at the First Bull Run, seven were killed, 56 wounded (seven mortally), and 46 missing (many of them wounded and all of them captured by Confederates). Marston had his arm shattered and refused amputation. He went on to recover and lead the 2nd New Hampshire at the battles of Williamsburg.

At Gettysburg, the 2nd New Hampshire entered battle with 353 soldiers. In under three hours, 47 were killed, 136 wounded and 36 men went missing; of the 24 officers, only three were not killed or wounded. Due to their high losses, the 2nd New Hampshire was assigned to guard duty at Point Lookout, Maryland, with the 5th and 12th New Hampshire Volunteer Regiments. The 2nd New Hampshire returned to battle in time for the Battle of Cold Harbor where it suffered heavy casualties of nineteen killed and 54 wounded.

Shortly after Cold Harbor, 223 had completed their enlistments and returned home. Of the original members, 70 reenlisted and with recruits, continued to be the 2nd New Hampshire. However, many who returned home enlisted in other units. During the Civil War the regiment had 178 men killed or mortally wounded in action and another 172 deaths by disease, accidents, or as a result of being prisoners of war.

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Further reading[edit]

  • Waite, Otis F. R., New Hampshire in the Great Rebellion. Claremont, NH: Tracy, Chase & company, 1870.