top of page

Henry J. Ward

Researcher: Caileigh Grove

          Born on May 28, 1839 in Connecticut to father Reuben Ward and mother Parizada Smith, Henry J. Ward was the second of six children. All of his siblings were born in Massachusetts. His older brother, William, was born in 1835. His younger brothers and sisters, in order from oldest to youngest, were George, Julia, Martha, and Samuel. His parents were married on March 25, 1832. Henry remained single for his entire life. He took after his father, and worked as a bonnet presser. However, when the Civil War started, his occupation changed drastically.

          Lincoln made a call for nine months troops on August 4, 1862. E.J. Minot was authorized to recruit a company for the 45th Massachusetts regiment. This regiment was under the control of Colonel Charles R. Codman, who was previously Captain and Adjutant of the Boston Cadets. On September 26, 1862 Henry made the decision to leave his family and risk his life for his country, when he was mustered in as a private. He joined Company C, a Franklin quota of 38 men, which was under the command of 2nd Lieutenant Lewis R. Whitaker.

          Henry left with his company for Camp Meigs, Reedville, which was located in Norfolk County, and they were the third company to arrive. Henry participated in drilling by squad or company from 8:30 to 11 A.M. and 2 to 4 P.M. On October 29th a case of viriloid appeared in the camp and Henry, along with all of the other men, had to go to the hospital and receive the lancet and virus in the arm.

          On November 1st each man’s Springfield rifle was stamped with a number to identify it as his special charge to keep, and to maintain in prime order and a high state of polish. Then, on November 5th they marched to the tunes of “Auld Lang Syne” to the station, where the train took them to Battery Warf. Along with the 46th regiment, they traveled to Beaufort Harbor, North Carolina on the iron steamer “Mississippi” with Captain Baxter. The men spent nine days in narrow quarters and many of them became seasick, so it was a long trip. Immediately after they arrived, they filed into platform cars and started on a forty mile ride to New Berne. They finally settled in at a former cotton plantation they would forever call Camp Amory on the Trent.

           Company C under Captain Minot was sent on special duty to Morehead City, a Confederate city in North Carolina where Shepherd’s Point intersected with the Newport River and Beaufort Inlet. They were defending the coast, so they were part of the blockade part in the Anaconda Plan, which was a three part plan where the Union soldiers planned to take over the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia, blockade the coast, and split the Confederacy in two by moving down the Mississippi. The North Carolina Railroad connected Goldsboro to Shepherd’s Point in 1858, and with this means of transportation the area seemed destined for rapid development as a major port. Henry and his army helped disrupt this progress. On January 3, 1863 Company I under Captain Rich relieved Company C, who then returned to the camp on the Trent just in time to go on the Trenton expedition with brigade commander Colonel Amory.

          In Trenton, they scouted all night and learned that the Confederates had burned a bridge across the Trent, eight miles up the road. Then, the Union soldiers set a pile of lumber to fire so the enemy would not be able to use it to rebuild the bridge. At Young Cross Roads, they captured a Confederate army wagon and a few prisoners. Their return march to New Berne on January 22nd was named the Mud March because it was nineteen miles in the rain through sticky mud or red clay.

          From January 26 to April 25, 1863 Henry and his regiment were on provost duty in New Berne. Their jobs were to preserve order in the town, make sure no enlisted man passes unless they have written permission signed, endorsed, and dated, prevent fast riding or driving in the streets, and act as guards at the railway station and the wharves.

          Henry went along with Amory’s Brigade on an expedition to Core Creek on April 27th. Colonel Codman sent Company C and H under command of Major Sturgis up the Atlantic and North Carolina Railroad to find out the strength of the Confederate forces, but not to drive in the pickets or engage in any action. On April 28th Henry and his company joined the regiment again and when they were waiting for help from the 58th Pennsylvania, the Confederates opened fire. There was quite a serious engagement and in the end the regiment planted a State Flag of Massachusetts and the day was won with one man killed and four wounded.

          Through May and June, Henry and his regiment camped near Fort Spinola, just below New Berne on the mouth of the Trent River. Then, on June 24th they traveled to Morehead City and from there embarked for Boston. When they arrived in Boston on June 30th they were welcomed with the cheering of at least twelve thousand people, streamers, and flags. The men marched to the state house, where Governor Andrew thanked them for their service. At the end of the day the men took the cars back to their old camp at Reedville. Henry was impatient to return home and was finally mustered out of service on July 8, 1863 along with the rest of his regiment. He was honorably discharged as a private. 

bottom of page