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**SOLD**Signed Irish "fighting Ninth" Massachusetts Infantry officer cdv-Killed in action
Signed cdv of Irish "fighting Ninth" Massachusetts Infantry officer Captain William A. Phelan, who was killed in action at the Battle of the Wilderness in May of 1864.
Boldly signed on the back, Hawes, Boston photographers b/m.


The 9th Regt. Mass. Vol. Inf. was recruited in April and May, 1861, by Thomas Cass, formerly commander of a Massachusetts militia organization known as the Columbian Artillery. The regiment was composed almost wholly of men of Irish birth, and Cass became its first colonel. It was made up of six companies from Boston and one each from Salem, Marlboro, Milford, and Stoughton.

Through May and a part of June the regiment was at Camp Wightman on Long Island in Boston Harbor. Here on June 11, 1861, the regiment was mustered into the service, and on the 25th of the month it left for the seat of war. In addition to the national and state colors it carried an Irish flag.

Arriving at Washington it was placed in camp at Emmart's farm near 7th Street in the suburbs of the city, where it remained until after the battle of Bull Run. It was then transferred to Arlington Heights on the Virginia side of the Potomac, where it built Fort Cass. From August 4 to August 20 the brigade to which it was attached was commanded by Brig. Gen. William T. Sherman.

About the 29th of September the regiment was transferred to Miner's Hill, where it remained in winter quarters until March 10, 1862. Embarking at Alexandria, Va., March 21, on the 23d it reached Fort Monroe. Here it was assigned to Morell's (2d) Brigade, Porter's (1st) Division, Heintzelman's (3d) Corps. After the siege and capture of Yorktown, General Porter having now been promoted to the command of the 5th Corps, the 9th Massachusetts became a part of Griffin's (2d) Brigade, Morell's (1st) Division, Porter's (5th) Corps and served with it through the Peninsular campaign. It was engaged at Hanover Court House, May 27, at Mechanicsville, June 26, Gaines' Mill, June 27, and Malvern Hill, July 1. In the two last-named battles the regiment lost in killed and mortally wounded alone 111 officers and men, including Col. Cass, who was mortally wounded at Malvern Hill and died eleven days later at his home in Boston.

So severe were its losses at Gaines' Mill and Malvern Hill that the 9th was held in reserve at Second Bull Run, Antietam, and Fredericksburg, and suffered only slight losses in those engagements. The winter of 1862-63 was spent in camp near Falmouth, Va.

In the spring and summer of 1863 the regiment was present at Chancellorsville and Gettysburg, but met with no serious loss. After the Mine Run campaign in late November, 1863, the regiment went into winter quarters at Bealton Station on the Orange and Alexandria railroad.

In May, 1864, with Gen. Sweitzer in command of the brigade, Gen. Griffin of the division, and Gen. Warren of the corps, the 9th entered upon the Wilderness campaign. It suffered severe loss on the Orange turnpike in the Wilderness, May 5, 1864, and at Spottsylvania on the 8th and 12th, in these two engagements losing 78 men in killed and mortally wounded. At North Anna River and Bethesda Church near Cold Harbor the regiment was engaged but with comparatively slight loss.

On June 10, the period of its enlistment having expired, the regiment was withdrawn from the lines and sent home via White House Landing, Chesapeake Bay, and Washington, its recruits and re-enlisted men having been transferred to the 32d Regt. Mass. Veteran Volunteers. Arriving in Boston June 15, on the 21st of the month the regiment was mustered out of the service.

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