RARE PRESENTATION CIVIL WAR FLAG STAFF OF COMPANY A, 10TH MASSACHUSETTS INFANTRY

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This presentation flag staff, measuring 62 ½” in length and 1 ½” in diameter, bears an attached silver plate upon which is inscribed, “Presented by Mrs. Artemas Bigelow / Gt Barrington Mass May 28 / 1861”. Though now tarnished with the passage of time, the inscription is clearly legible.

Judith Stoutenburgh Bigelow (1800/1802 – 1875) was the wife of Artemas Bigelow (1800-1872). Her involvement with the presentation of a new flag to Company A on May 28, 1861 is detailed in Annals of the 10th Regiment, Massachusetts Volunteers in the Rebellion. Some of the highlights from the text concerning Mrs. Bigelow and the flag as follows:

 

“After the exercises at the hall, the company formed, and with martial music were escorted by a company of horse, of twenty-four citizens of Barrington, led by David Leavitt, Esq., to the residence of Mrs. A. Bigelow, who was to present them with a flag.”

“….the generous and patriotic impulses of this lady friend, Mrs. Bigelow, have prompted her to present you this beautiful and suggestive testimonial.”

“The flag was a splendid emblem and piece of workmanship, about six feet long and three feet wide, made of silk of the finest texture, with a rich gloss, gilt stars and bordered with bright golden fringe. The staff had a silver plate, with appropriate inscription, and surmounted with a golden ball and American Eagle, with a couple of bullion tassels hanging therefrom.”

“On motion of the captain, the company drank the health and long life of Mrs. Artemas Bigelow, the donor of the beautiful flag of the company.…”

 

The colors and Mrs. Bigelow are mentioned again upon the muster out of those remaining survivors of Company A; unfortunately no mention is made of what became of the flag itself.

“A toast to Mrs. Bigelow received such heart approbation….Color-Sergeant Bishop…alluded to the beautiful and expensive colors presented to the company by their benefactress…”

 

A small research file compiled by Nancy Dearing Rossbacher regarding the history of the flag and its accompanying staff may be found here.

Mr. and Mrs. Bigelow are both buried in Mahalwe Cemetery in Great Barrington.  [ld]

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The 10th Regt. Mass. Vol. Inf. was composed of companies from the Connecticut Valley and the western part of the State.  Five of these companies were in existence before the Civil War broke out, and five were recruited in May and June, 1861.  The  regiment rendezvoused at Hampden Park, Springfield, Mass., and Henry S. Briggs, a Pittsfield officer who had commanded a company in the 8th Regt. Mass. Vol. Mil., was made its colonel.

The regiment was mustered into the service June 21, 1861.  On July 10 it was reviewed by Gov. Andrew, and on the 15th received its colors presented by the ladies of Springfield.  July 16 it entrained for Medford, Mass., where it remained at Camp Adams until the 25th, when it proceeded to Boston and took boats for Washington.

Arriving at the capital on the 28th, it first encamped at Kalorama Heights, Georgetown, where it remained until August 6, when it was brigaded with the 7th Mass., 2d R. I., and 36th N.  Y. Inf., and two days later removed to Brightwood.  Col. Darius N. Couch, formerly commander of the 7th Mass., now

commanded the brigade.  At Brightwood the regiment spent most of the winter of 1861-62.  Here it assisted in building Fort Massachusetts, later known as Fort Stevens.

On March 27, 1862, the regiment left Washington by boat for Hampton Roads.  On the 29th it disembarked at Hampton, Va., and soon joined in the advance toward Yorktown.  During the

succeeding weeks it participated in the Peninsular campaign, losing heavily at Fair Oaks and Malvern Hill.  Here it formed a part of Devens' Brigade, Couch's Division, Keyes' (4th) Corps.

Recalled from Harrison's Landing the last of August, on Sept. 1, it arrived at Alexandria and united with Gen. Pope's army at Chain Bridge on the following day.  About the middle of the month it joined in the advance toward South Mountain and  Antietam, but did not reach these fields until the fighting was

over.  Later in the fall it became a part of the 2d Brigade, 3d Division, 6th Corps, and remained with this corps until its termination of service.  It was present without loss at Fredericksburg, Dec. 13, 1862, then went into winter quarters between Falmouth and White Oak Church.

Early in May, 1863, it took part in the operations of the 6th Corps near Fredericksburg in cooperation with Hooker's flank movement to Chancellorsville.  On May 3, it assisted in the capture of Marye's Heights, and had a part in the battle at Salem Heights on the same afternoon.  Its loss in these

engagements was very heavy.  Its colonel, Henry L. Eustis, now became commander of the brigade.

The 10th participated with the rest of the 6th Corps in the Gettysburg campaign, suffering only slight loss.  After being present at the battle of Rappahannock Station, Nov. 7, and participating in the Mine Run campaign during the latter part of the same month, the regiment retired to Brandy Station

and went into winter quarters.  It now belonged to Eustis' (4th) Brigade, Getty's (2d) Division, Sedgwick's (6th) Corps. Colonel Parsons now commanded the regiment.

On the first day of the battle of the Wilderness, May 5, 1864, Getty's Division, detached from its corps, held the crossing of the Plank and Brock roads and performed most gallant service, the 10th suffering severe loss.  On the 8th, 10th, 12th, and 18th of May it was engaged at Spotsylvania, suffering very severely on the 12th, when it helped to support Hancock's assault on the Bloody Angle.  Between May 5 and May 18, the regiment lost 220 officers and men, 45 of these being killed or mortally wounded.

After participating with slight loss in the operations around Cold Harbor, the regiment crossed the James River, June 16, and advanced toward Petersburg, being engaged for the last time June 18 with slight loss.  On the 19th it was withdrawn from the front, and its recruits and re-enlisted men were

transferred to the 37th Regt.  On June 21 it began its voyage homeward.  Washington was reached June 22, and Springfield, Mass., on the 25th.  On July 1 and 6, 1864, the regiment was mustered out of the United States service.

Source:  Massachusetts Soldiers, Sailors & Marines in the Civil War

 

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