Tell me more! Epaulets of Wm. D. Morris, Boston City Guard and 22nd Massachusetts Infantry

bobinwmass

Corporal
Joined
Jul 14, 2019
Location
Western Massachusetts
One of the things I like most about collecting is finding an identified item, doing research in an attempt to verify the item and its relationship to the owner, and then learn as much about the owner as possible. Presented here is a pair of militia epaulets in a japanned tin epaulet case that I bought from The Horse Soldier a few years ago. The epaulets are light gray with blue trim, tops of which are in nice condition and display well. The undersides show some deterioration of the cloth lining with age and rust stains likely caused by the metal strips inside the epaulet to make them rigid. While one epaulet is missing its button, the other has an 1850’s Boston City Guard cuff button loosely attached. That same epaulet has an ink ID on the bottom “Wm. D. Morris, BCG, July 1st​, 18__”. Some of lettering is faded and obliterated by the staining and damage on the lining. I only recently got around to contacting the Massachusetts Archives to request a search of the Adjutant General’s records to verify if Wm. D. Morris is listed on the rolls of the Boston City Guard prior to the Civil War. (I must say, my experience in requesting information from the Massachusetts Archives has been exceptional. They can be contacted via email through the Secretary of State’s office, and their responses have always been timely, informational, and have included digital copies of documents attached to reply emails or in one case when many documents were forwarded, photo copies were mailed to me. This is definitely one service I do not mind my tax dollars supporting.) Their reply and digital copy of the record arrived earlier this week and confirmed that Wm D. Morris is listed on the 1857 Roll of Company E, 1st​ Regiment Infantry (Boston City Guard). Since 1821 the Boston City Guard was one of the elite militia companies in Boston, membership catering to the cream of the young men in Boston society. Originally known as the Boston Grays, within a few years they assumed the name Boston City Guard. In 1837, when the companies of the regiment were on review on Boston Common and the newly formed Irish company of Montgomery Guards paraded onto the field, the Boston City Guard, in an act of insubordination, turned and marched off the field, followed by several other companies. The City Guard was disbanded, but promptly reorganized as the City Grays (thus their buttons and insignia with the initials “CG” would still be appropriate). Within a few years they resumed using the name City Guard. At the beginning of the Civil War, the current officers and men of the Boston City Guard formed Company A of the 13th​ Regiment Massachusetts Infantry. Many former members of the company volunteered their services and served as officers in other Massachusetts regiments. I do find a Wm. D. Morris of Boston listed as a 26-year-old 2nd​ lieutenant in Co. B, 22nd​ Regiment Massachusetts Infantry. He was commissioned on October 1st​ 1861. The 22nd​ Regiment participated in McClellan’s Peninsular Campaign. The only information I was able to find about Morris was that he was slightly wounded at Yorktown and either resigned or was discharged on June 14, 1862. If anyone has access to anymore information regarding Morris, I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you.

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