Researcher: Danielle Sicard
Nathan Clark was born to Alfred and Polly Clark on June 6, 1842. He was born in Franklin, Massachusetts where his parents were farmers. At the age of 19 Clark mustered as a Private in the 18th regiment of the Massachusetts Infantry under the command of Colonel, James Barnes of Springfield. He was placed in Company I under the command of Captain Frederic D. Forrest of Wrentham, MA. On August 24, 1861, along with other men from Bristol, Norfolk and Plymouth counties Clarke’s regiment met in Readville and Boston ready to make their way to Washington D.C. In D.C. the regiment had duty at Fort Corcoran and assigned to General Martindale’s Brigade. Then on the 26th they were crossed the Potomac to Hall’s Hill where the men were on picket and outpost duty until March of 1862.
Nathan Clark was present at the Siege of Yorktown but no losses from the 18th were suffered. On August 30, 1862 at The 2nd Bull Run or the Battle of Manassas was when the 18th regiment first experienced combat. Now under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Ingraham after Martindale was made Washington’s military governor, and Captain Thomas after Captain Hayes fell ill to sickness, Clark along with other Massachusetts men participate in the attack of Porter’s Corps on Jackson’s position. 169 officers and men were lost, of which 54 were killed and the rest severely wounded.
Major Hayes returned to the regiment and they began the march to the Antietam. Though the 18th did not take part in the actual action of this battle they stayed on the east side of the creek incase they were needed for more support. The regiment then crossed the Potomac to Shepherdstown, where the two brigades led by Barnes and Skyes encountered four times the number of Confederates. Only three killed, and eleven wounded and one missing the 18th retired in good order. The 18th stayed in Sharpsburg for the next six weeks. Now October they marched toward Harper’s Ferry and made camp on the way. It was not until December 13th of 1862 when the 18th was called to join the battle at Fredericksburg. The regiment took part on the assault on Mary’s Heights losing 134 officers and men, 27 killed or fatally wounded.
Clark spent the winter in camp until May of 1863 when the 18th took part in Chancellorsville and Gettysburg under command of Colonel Hayes and General Meade without any major losses. The 18th participated in the capture of Rappahannock in November of 1863.The regiment spent the winter's headquarters near Beverly Ford. In May of 1864 after loosing many men who were only serving for three years the 18th regiment joined part of Bartlett's Brigade, Griffen's Division, Warren's 5th Corps. During the battle of Wilderness the first infantryman was lost (Charles Wilson of Wrentham, Ma), as well as Colonel Hayes who was severely wounded. The 18th proceeded to experience losses at Laurel Hill and Cold Harbor. Then on September 2, 1864 the regiment was mustered out in Massachusetts. In October Nathan Clark along with other men left from the 18th consolidated with the 32nd regiment of Massachusetts on October 21, 1864. The 32nd regiment was involved in Hatcher's Run and Five Forks. Then from May to June 29th it was on duty in Washington. The regiment was sent back to Massachusetts and mustered out. Clark was discharged on July 11, 1865 leaving the military as a Private having served for four years. It is sure that Nathan Clark lived past 1880 because his name shows up in the census.