**SOLD** Cdv of 55th Massachusetts (Black) Infantry Officer (54th Mass sister Regiment)
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.


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 Promotions: * 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, lieutenant colonel.

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 evening.

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, March 10.

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 disbanded.

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 service.

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,

A.S. HARTWELL, 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.]