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Edward H. Freeman

Researcher: Emily Pegoraro


            Edward H. Freeman was part of the 45th regiment of the Massachusetts Infantry (Militia) during the Civil War which started during the year of 1861. He was part of the Company C which were in some major battles that included the Battle of Kinston, Foster’s Expedition, the Battle at Goldsborough, etc. The 45th regiment of the Massachusetts Infantry traveled to many different places but mainly kept in the boundaries of North Carolina and Virginia.

            One of the battles that was fought by the 45th regiment that included Edward H. Freeman was Foster’s Expedition. Foster’s Expedition took place on December 14, 1862. The plan of Foster’s expedition was to destroy the railroads between Goldsborough and Charleston. This was accomplished and there was a total of five men killed, four men wounded, and there were seven prisoners of war. The next day the Union and the Confederacy met at Kinston and another three were killed. The Union did not leave their sites of St. Helena Island until April 9, 1863 when they parted for Edisto Inlet, South Carolina. The results of Foster’s Expedition left the Union with a victory and two hundred and twenty casualties all together.

            Another battle that the regiment faced was the Battle at Kinston. This battle took place on December 16, 1862. Kinston is located near the Lenoir County in North Carolina where the Union troops were under the command of Brig. Gen. John G. Foster (US) and Brig. Gen. Nathan Evens (CS). This was a very short battle. This battle took place because of Foster’s Expedition. The Union one this battle again and there was an estimated 685 men lost in battle.

            Next, the Battle at Goldsborough was when the 45th regiment of Massachusetts marched 12,000 soldiers toward Trenton. Their main goal was to burn the rail road and bridge just below present day Mar Mac. With excellent force and strong leaders, they were able to accomplish their goal.

            The last major battle that the 45th regiment was in was the Battle of Whitehall. This battle took place in Wayne County and it was led by Brig. Gen. John G. Foster (US) and Brig. Gen. Beverly Robertson (CS). In mid December, Foster’s troops reached Whitehall where Robertson’s brigade was holding at the north bank of the Neuse River. The Federals were against the Confederates for the most part of the day while the Union continued to the railroad to cut off all means of transportation. With all of this there was an estimated 150 casualties.

            As one can see, the Civil War life was very intense and a person never knew when they would speak their last words or fire their last shot. For the 45th regiment of the Massachusetts Infantry (Militia) it was very cut throat. People did not get the correct type of food and water and often died of malnutrition and pneumonia. The weather was very unpredictable. They were marching to a different place every single day and their boots would get torn and they wouldn’t have anything to get them replaced with. They were in the same uniform for the entire period that they were serving their country for. Being in the army was a privilege because they got to defend their side of the nation but as said before it had its downfalls.

            Edward H. Freeman of the 45th regiment of the Massachusetts Infantry (Militia) helped serve the Union and bring many wins for the North. While fighting for his country he also helped to reunite it at the same time. The 45th regiment was one small part of the Civil War and he was one person out of millions, but without his contribution, our history would be completely different. 

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