Albert L. Brock
Researcher: Kelly Canesi
Albert L. Brock was born in 1841 to Sanford W. Brock and Mary E. Brock. He grew up in his town of birth, Blackstone, Massachusetts, for an estimated time of 20 years. At the age of 21, Albert decided to join the country in the fight against the Confederate states in the Civil War. He became a member of the 21st Regiment of Massachusetts, as well as Reno’s Brigade of Burnside’s Coast Division, and the Army of the Potomac. The regiment was a part of the Union’s infantry troops, and Albert himself was a private throughout the whole war.
On February 8th 1862, the 21st Regiment took part in one of its first battles. Commanded by Brig. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside, the Federals attacked and drove out Confederates from Roanoake Island. This victory for the Union helped increase confidence and was a major part of reinforcing the blockade that had been established as the first part of the “Anaconda Plan”. Following this, the regiment was included in battles at New Berne and South Mountain, both of which were Union victories. On September 17th 1862, the regiment was also involved in the well-known battle of Antietam led by Maj. Gen. George E. McClellan, famous for his caution in attacking the Confederates. Although the result was overall inconclusive, the Union army was able to force the Confederates to retreat after three days worth of fighting.
The regiment began to deal with major losses at the battle of Fredericksburg. Led by Brig. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside, the Federals marched across a bridge over the Rappahannock River on December 13th 1862 intending to attack the Confederates. However, they received a shock when they were pushed back through the muddy river on what was later called the “Mud March”. After this embarrassing defeat, Burnside was replaced by Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker. Also, the regiment suffered numerous casualties and defeats during battles at Wilderness, Spotsylvania, and Petersburg, all located in Virginia.
Later in the war, the Union was able to pull back from a string of losses at the battle of Weldon Railroad on August 19th, 1864 led by Maj. Gen. G.K. Warren. The Union attacked and forced the Confederate army to retreat. Although both sides were entrenched at one point, the Union’s strong defense and reinforcements assisted them in the win. Albert’s regiment was also involved in battles at Bull Run, Chantilly, Shady Grove Church, and Bethesda Church. Near the end of the war, the remaining members of the regiment, including Albert, were moved to the 56th Regiment until July 12th 1865.
Upon return from several years of battle, Albert Brock moved to Franklin, Massachusetts. He married Mary J. Britton on November 26th 1868 soon after his return from the war, and had only one son named Arthur L. Brock, who was born in 1881 and unfortunately died the same year. Albert lived with his wife on 64 School Street, and worked as a mechanic at Ray’s Mills on Grove Street. Albert was also a member of the Grand Army of the Republic, a society for Civil War veterans in Franklin. In addition to this, he was involved in the Ancient Order of United Workmen, where he held the position of Postmaster. Albert died in 1920, followed by his wife in 1933. He is buried in the Davis Thayer Cemetery in Franklin, Massachusetts.