Duane Newell was involved in the Civil War as a young man. The son of Alfred V. Newell and Pattie M. Newell, Duane lived in Franklin, Massachusetts. He spent four years in the Union army where he had fought in numerous battles with the Forty-Fifth Infantry Militia and the Third Regiment Heavy Artillery. Both of these companies started up in Fort Meigs at Reedville, Massachusetts. There they had trained in how to fight in the war, by learning strategies of how to defeat the Confederates from the south.
The Forty-Fifth Infantry Militia has suffered more than any Massachusetts nine months regiment in the department of North Carolina. Newell’s role in this infantry was to fire cannons at far distances towards their opponents. In the expedition to Goldsboro it took an important part in the war. Losing at Whitehall three killed and sixteen wounded, and at Kinston thirteen killed and forty four wounded. Since these expeditions the only other action in which the Forty-Fifth has engaged was at Gun Swamp. On December 16, 1862, Foster's Union troops reached White Hall where Beverly Robertson's army was holding the north bank of the Neuse River. The Federals demonstrated against the Confederates for much of the day, attempting to fix them in position, while the main Union army continued toward the railroad in North Carolina. Also Duane in 1862 traveled with the army to the railroad at Goldsboro. The advance was led by Evans’s brigade near Kinston Bridge on December 14, but the confederates were out numbered and withdrew north of the Neuse River in the direction of Goldsboro. The Union army once again won this battle and advanced there lead over the Confederates in the war.
In 1864, Newell took another position of becoming a member of the Third Regiment Heavy artillery. In this regiment Duane became a private for company C. He was no longer behind cannons, now he was with the lines of men on the battle field, commanding them. There were many battles Newell had fought in like Irish Bend, Henderson Hill, Cane River, Port Hudson, Sabine-cross Roads, Muddy Bayou, Piney Woods, Fisher's Hill, Snag Point and Winchester where Duane had died in the line of duty on the battle field.