Thomas Coffield

Thomas Coffield, a Civil War veteran, was enlisted in the 18th

Massachusetts Infantry. During his time in Civil War, Coffield fought in

many important battles, including Antietam. Coffield spent a lot of his time

in the Civil War moving around different towns to fight. This was the way of

the 18th regiment Coffield was enlisted to. The 18th regiment played a key

role in the Civil War and the Union. Thomas Coffield, son of John, put forth

effort and heart into the Civil War.

               Coffield’s regiment consisted of volunteers and companies

from Norfolk, Bristol, and Plymouth counties. By August 20th, 1861, eight

companies formed at Readville. Shortly after, Coffield and his men left for

Washington, D.C where they arrived August 30th.  Colonel James Barnes was

the commander of this regiment and also a graduated West Point student. He

would lead his troops into the first battles they had witnessed so far.

              Now, right outside of Washington, D.C, Coffield and his fellow

men encamped at Fort Corcoran. After that and until March 1862, the 18th

regiment was encamped at Hall’s Hill. Here they were known as Army of the

Potomac because the Potomac river was right outside of where they were

staying.On March 21, 1862, the regiment moved to the peninsula, ending up at

Old Point Comfort. Here, the 18th regiment was present at the Siege of

Yorktown.

             Being present at the siege, Coffield was safe along with the

rest of his regiment. Now belonging to Martindale’s Brigade, General

Stoneman was in charge. The 18th regiment first real battle was at the

Battle of Bull Run. Here the regiment lost 169 officers, whom 54 were killed

or wounded badly. This massive number did not include Coffield while he was

still standing strong.

             Coffield and the 18th regiment’s next battle would occur at

Antietam. On September 17th the 18th regiment wasn’t engaged, but on

September 20th they crossed the Potomac hoping to drive back Confederate

soldiers. On Dec. 13, 1862, at Fredericksburg, Col. Barnes still commanding

the brigade, and other generals commanding the division and the corps, the

18th regiment took part in a battle on Marys's Heights. Here the regiment 

lost 134 men. In May 1863, the 18th regiment was under the command of

Colonel Hayes while General Meade was now commanding the 5th Corps. Coffield

is still in the 18th regiment at this point being one of the 139th men that

re-enlisted for three years over the winter.

            In 1864, with the Army of the Potomac being reorganized, the

18th regiment advanced to open the battle of the Wilderness. The regiment

lost many men during this battle including Colonel Hayes who was wounded

fatally. Other small battles in which the regiment lost more men occured

shortly after. On July 20th, men who’s time was expiring soon were ordered

to Mass. Here, Thomas Coffield was honorly discharged after giving time in

the Civil War.