Researcher: Kate Philipps
It can be said that the Civil War was the darkest time in American history, but during times of darkness there are always those who are wiling to step up and do what they have to in the name of something they believe in. Even though those who lived in Franklin, Massachusetts never saw the true affects of war, many were still compelled to sign up and fight, all in the name of their country. Josiah OC Wood is no exception to this. Born to Alonzo and Abigail Wood in 1841 they raised their family in Wrentham, MA. Alonzo, born in 1811 was born in Franklin and Abigail Glidden who was born in Maine was born in 1807. Alonzo and Abigail were married by William Makepeace. They had six children, including Josiah. There was Horace, Josiah, Joseph, Adina, Francis, and Emma who all lived and worked on the family farm with the exception of Horace, who was already grown and had left the household by 1860. Josiah was working for his father as a farm laborer at the age of 20 when the Civil War began.
Josiah volunteered to join the Union army the same year it began. He was mustered into duty on September 20, 1861. They were then organized and he became part of the 27 Massachusetts Infantry in Company D coming in as the rank of private. They initially moved to Annapolis where they stayed until November. Under General Burnside, the 27th Massachusetts became his Coast division and stayed mostly in North Carolina. They undertook part of the Anaconda plan, the strategy of the Union on defeating the Confederates where the Union would slowly choke the South of all it’s supplies and surrounding them and dividing them until the Union won. As Burnsides Coast division Josiah and his company undertook the job of taking the coast of the south. This not only cut off the South from trade with other countries, thereby helping destroy their economy, but it also played a part in fully surrounding the Confederacy. Josiah saw his first action when he and his infantry took an expedition to Hatteras Inlet and Roanoke Island in North Caroline from between January and February of 1862. The battle of Roanoke occurred on February 8th. Burnside lead the troops to the island where
Confederates were positioned. They were stationed there because Roanoke controlled the inland seas of North Carolina. With the capture of this island, the Union could control the Carolina coast. Josiah and the Union troops did just that, and quickly subdued and defeated the Confederates there. Unfortunately for the 27th they lost many men in the capturing of the island. Josiah and his company then moved to New Berne between March 11-13 and then on the 14th there was the Battle of New Berne. In another Union win, they were able to make the Confederates retreat to take over the capital of North Carolina and Union soldiers stayed there for the rest of the war. Josiah stayed there until May. On July 28th in a special expedition that his company D and companies G and H took part in, they went to the Neuse River road. He did not see real war action for quite awhile during this time he and his company worked around North Carolina until December. On December 14 he fought in the battle of Kinston. Once again the Confederates were outnumbered and retreated. The Union soldiers continued their march and on December 16th fought at Whitehall and then followed by Goldsboro the next day. The Union marched right through the Confederates winning and taking a Confederate bridge. Josiah and his infantry then moved to Washington North Carolina and stayed on duty there until April of 1863. There were many expeditions around North Carolina until in October Josiah and his infantry moved to Newport News, Virginia. Then his specific company D moved with A and K to Portsmouth where they stayed for duty until March 22, 1864. Josiah and his infantry continued to move and stayed in Yorktown briefly. The next battle Josiah took part in was in May at Port Walthall Junction where he and fellow soldiers defeated the Confederates again and were able to destroy the railroad in that area. This was followed by Swift Creek where Union soldiers once again destroyed railroads. Josiah met his first defeat at Fort Darling later that May. Then later that May they engaged in the battle of Cold Harbor which gave the Confederate another win. Then Josiah and his infantry they went to Petersburg at around June but unfortunately it gave the Confederacy yet another win. These were the last battles that Josiah took place in. He was quite successful throughout his military career though, and he left the army with the rank of Corporal.
Though Josiah Wood was never involved in many of the major battle that truly defined the war, it is because of him and others like him that the war was really won. He was involved in battles that brought about the capturing of North Carolina’s coast and it’s capital. He and his infantry thereby help complete the Anaconda plan to take the coast of the South which eventually succeeded. Even though they do not change things all at once, the wins built up and it changed the face of the war. He was a brave man who faced war, death and destruction and prevailed against it. He was a true hero of this American Civil War.