Cdv of 55th Massachusetts (Black) Infantry Officer, Lieutenant (George) Wylly Gannett, who served in Companies E & B. He began the war in the 24th Massachusetts Infantry, before being promoted to 2nd Lt. in the 55th in June of 1863. He served with the 55th until the end of the war.
He was assigned to be a provost marshal in Charleston near the end of the war, & served until late 1865.
Gannett, a nephew of the distinguished Unitarian clergyman of Boston, was a prolific writer of sketches of travel and sea stories.
The cdv is in very good condition with wear as shown. Black, Boston photographer's b/m. See below for a view of the back.
$295.00 plus shipping
Here's his HDS record:
Residence St Louis MO; a 24 year-old Seaman.
Enlisted on 9/4/1861 as a Sergeant.
On 9/23/1861 he mustered into "K" Co. MA 24th Infantry
He was discharged for promotion on 6/10/1863
On 6/18/1863 he was commissioned into "E" Co. MA 55th Infantry
* 2nd Lieut 6/17/1863 (As of Co. E 55th MA Inf)
* 1st Lieut 6/19/1863 (As of Co. B)
Intra Regimental Company Transfers:
* 6/19/1863 from company E to company B
The 55th Regt. Mass. Vol. Inf. was the second military
organization composed of men of African descent to be raised
in Massachusetts. Its nucleus was the men left over from the
recruits of the 54th. The recruits began to arrive at
Readville early in May, 1863. Five companies were mustered in
May 31, two more on June 15, and the remaining three June 22.
Lieut. Col. Norwood P. Hallowell of the 54th was commissioned
colonel, and Capt. A. S. Hartwell of the same regiment,
The 55th broke camp at Readville, July 21, proceeded to
Boston, and embarked on the transport CAHAWBA for Morehead
City near Beaufort, N. C., arriving on the 25th and proceeding
thence to Newbern by rail, reaching their destination the same
On the 2d of August the 55th embarked for Folly Island,
below Charleston, S. C. Here it became a part of Wild's
Brigade, Vogdes' Division, Gilmore's (lOth) Corps. During
August and September it furnished large detachments for work
on Morris Island, building intrenchments and performing all
kinds of fatigue duty, many of these detachments being
constantly under fire from Forts Gregg and Wagner.
In September, Colonel Hallowell, who suffered severely
from an old wound received at Antietam, resigned, and Lieut.
Col. Alfred S. Hartwell was promoted to colonel in November.
The amount of fatigue duty required of the regiment diminished
during the latter part of the fall of 1863, and until the
middle of the winter the regiment enjoyed comparative quiet,
remaining in camp on Folly Island.
Early in February, 1864, the 55th was ordered to Florida
to join the expedition under General Seymour. Three companies
under Lieut. Col. Fox embarked Feb. 13, on the steamer PECONIC
while the remaining seven under Colonel Hartwell boarded the
COLLINS, the two detachments arriving at Jacksonville on the
14th and 15th respectively. On the l9th six companies marched
inland as far as Barbour's in support of General Seymour's
main column which, on the 20th, fought the battle of Olustee.
On the 22d the entire force was back in Jacksonville, the 55th
having suffered no loss.
On Feb. 28, Lieut. Col. Fox with Companies " B " and
" I " proceeded to Yellow Bluff, half way to the mouth of the
St. John River, where Companies " K" and " G " later joined
them. Here they built a signal tower, erected fortifications,
abatis, etc., and remained until April 17.
On March 11, the rest of the regiment was sent to
Palatka, some distance up the St. John. Here under Colonel
Hartwell the men threw up a large system of defensive
earthworks, spending a pleasant five weeks period. Palatka
and Yellow Bluff were both abandoned about April 17, and the
whole command returned to Folly Island.
The 55th was variously engaged on the islands south of
Charleston until July 2, when it was heavily engaged at James
Island, losing 11 killed and 18 wounded. After a somewhat
uneventful fall, on Nov. 26, eight companies of the 55th were
ordered to report at Hilton Head where they were assigned to a
brigade commanded by Colonel Hartwell, the 3d Brigade in
Hatch's Coast Division. On Nov. 30, the 55th was engaged with
the enemy at Honey Hill, losing Captain Crane, Lieut. Boynton,
ton, and 31 men killed, and Colonel Hartwell and 108 officers
and men wounded, several mortally, the heaviest loss of the
regiment in any one action. It retired to Boyd's Neck a week
later, where it remained until Jany. 11, 1865, when it
embarked on transports bound for Savannah, Ga. Here it was
occupied doing garrison duty at Forts Jackson, Bartow, and
other points until Feb. 1, 1865, when it embarked for Hilton
Head. It there boarded the steamer LOUISBURG and went on an
expedition up the Edisto River. This expedition was without
results worthy of note, and on the 6th of February the
regiment was ordered back to its old camp near Stono Inlet.
On the 10th it was sent to James Island where it was engaged
without loss. The following day it was sent to Bull's Bay,
ten miles north of Charleston, and after much difficulty in
landing, disembarked Feb. 18. The following day it received
news of the evacuation of Charleston by the Confederates, and
on the 20th the regiment advanced and entered Mount Pleasant,
a suburb of the city. The city proper was entered the
following day. After two days in the captured city, on Feb.
22, the 55th was attached to Potter's Division and sent
on an expedition into the interior of the State as far as St.
Stephen's Depot on the Santee River, returning to Charleston,
About March 17, it was sent back to James Island to do
guard duty. April 5 it accompanied an expedition under
General Hartwell into the interior of the State. On the 21st
of April the cessation of hostilities was announced, the
regiment at this time being at St. Andrew's. Here it remained
until May 7 when it was sent to Summerville, twenty-one miles
up the Ashley River. From this place on the l9th it was sent
to Orangeburg where its headquarters remained, though the
regiment was scattered in small detachments at various points.
In this vicinity it remained until Aug. 24 when it
proceeded to Charleston, and on the 29th was mustered out of
the United States service at Mount Pleasant. Six companies
started for Boston, Sept. 6, on the steamer KARNAC, arriving
at Galloup's Island on the 13th. The rest of the regiment
sailed Sept. 14, on the BEN DEFORD, arriving Sept. 23. On
the 25th the entire regiment was paraded on the Common and
The soldiers of the 55th Regiment had the same struggle
to secure the full pay of $13 per month that had agitated the
men of the 54th. On several occasions they were offered $10
per month by the government paymaster, and as many times it
was refused. When the legislature of Massachusetts voted to
make up the difference of $3 per month, this also was refused.
Near the close of September, 1864, justice long delayed was at
last done to the regiment and its men were paid in full at the
regular rate of $13 per month from the date of muster into the
Source: Massachusetts Soldiers, Sailors & Marines in the Civil War
Report of Bvt. Brig. Gen. Alfred S. Hartwell, Fifty-fifth Massachusetts
Infantry, of operations April 5-15.
HEADQUARTERS PROVISIONAL BRIGADE,
No. 8 Meeting Street, Charleston, S.C., April 15, 1865.
CAPT.: The following is respectfully submitted as the report of
the expedition to the Santee River, under my command:
In pursuance of orders received from Brig. Gen. John P. Hatch, I
caused, on the 5th of April, the Fifty-fourth New York Veteran Volunteers
and Fifty-fifth Massachusetts Volunteers to cross from James
Island and assemble with a section of the Third New York Artillery
at the Four-Mile Tavern on the State road. Starting early on the
morning of the 6th instant, I reached Goose Creek at nightfall, and
went into bivouac eighteen miles from this city. From this point I
sent back for the surplus ammunition. On information from a contraband
that there were from thirty to forty rebel cavalry at a place called
Dean Hall I sent, at 5 p.m. two companies to attempt to surprise this
party. During the night I was notified that these two companies had
been misled by the guide, and were awaiting orders near the Twenty-five
Miles House, on the State road. April 7 at 7 a.m. I started to
Mr. Cain's, near Black Oak, Santee Canal, some twenty-two miles,
sending a detachment to Biggins' Bridge, who rejoined the column at
night, together with the two companies from the Twenty-five Mile
House. Thirty cavalry were in my front, having gone from Dean Hall
around my flank. I sent two companies to deploy and surround the
house in which they were reported to be, and surprise them. The
enemy, however, got notice of our approach in season to escape, leaving
several blankets and guns, and their supper ready cooked. Mr. Cain
had several sons in the rebel army; he had entertained those who had
just gone, and had recently given them a grand dinner; his barn, accidentally
or by some unknown incendiary, was burned.
Marched at 7 a.m. on the 8th of April, and halted at noon in Pineville
for dinner. Reached Mexico at nightfall, and went into bivouac
there. Distance marched, about twenty-miles. The people in Pineville
implored our protection from the negroes, who were arming themselves
and threatening the lives of their masters. Mr. Reno Ravenel
requested me to take him with me to save his life. The negroes flocked
in from all sides. At Mexico I found that Mr. Mazyck Porcher had
made his house the headquarters of the rebels in the vicinity. While
I was on his grounds his property was protected, but was burned to
the ground immediately on my leaving, I think, by his field hands.
April 9, started for Eutaw Creek, thirteen miles distant. Some skirmishing,
occurred; but dispersed the enemy with a few shells. From
Eutaw Creek I sent two companies to Nelson's ferry, was sent me
word at night that Gen. Potter had gone up the Santee in transports
the day before, and that they had burned forty or fifty bales of cotton
that night on the opposite shore. During the night a contraband
reported to me that Gen. Potter had encountered the enemy at Manningsville,
and had had a skirmish there. He was advancing, however,
to Sumterville. A certain Lieut. Pettus, commanding some rebel
cavalry in our vicinity, come in on a flag of truce at my request. I
told this officer that he would not quarter in or near houses, or fire
from houses, if he cared to save them from destruction. I also sent by
this officer a note to Gen. Ferguson, suggesting the propriety of his
recalling his scouts from attempting to coerce the slaves to labor.
April 10, sent parties to Vance's Ferry and vicinity to gather corn and
rice together to feed the contrabands which had congregated together
on the march. Marched at 5 p.m., taking the cross-road to the State
road. At about 10 p.m. we encountered twenty-five or thirty rebel
cavalry. Shots were exchanged and they disappeared, leaving a gun,
some blankets and hats, &c; bivouacked fifteen miles from starting
point at midnight. April 11, marched at daylight down the State road;
found that the bridges over Cypress Swamp were in bad condition, and
was delayed by the falling through of a limber and chest. From this
delay, and my column being encumbered by the train of refugees, I did
not take the Ridgeville road, which was reported very heavy, but
marched to the Twenty-five Mile House, and there bivouacked. April
12, marched to Goose Creek, leaving there two companies and the train
of refugees. The rest of my command I marched to the Four-Mile
Tavern, where they still remain. The companies left at Goose Creek
have since rejoined them there.
I remain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Col. Fifty-fifth Massachusetts Vols., Bvt. Brig. Gen. of Vols.
Capt. L.B. PERRY,
Asst. Adjt. Gen., Northern Dist., Department of the South.
Source: Official Records
CHAP. LIX.] THE CAMPAIGN OF THE CAROLINAS. PAGE 1042-98
[Series I. Vol. 47. Part I, Reports. Serial No. 98.]