Samuel C. Hunt
When Abraham Lincoln called for his citizens to enlist in the army to combat the newly formed Confederacy of the United States, hundreds of willing applicants flooded to enlist to help preserve the Union. This excitement to serve spread as far as to our town of Franklin, where young man, Samuel C. Hunt enlisted into the military sometime near September 1862. He was soon enrolled into the 45th MA, company C under Col. Codman as a Private. The regiment stood as a nine month militia between September 26, 1862 and July 8, 1863.
In December of 1862, General John G. Foster of North Carolina’s 1st division led the expedition on Goldsboro to disrupt the Wilmington & Weldon Railroad. The 45th joined up with the expedition, along with many other forces. The first battle of the expedition occurred on December 14, 1862 at Kinston Bridge. Evans’s Brigade, a Confederate unit, attempted to stop the mission, but was outnumbered by the Union troops and withdrew to the North of the Neuse River, but not until a total of 685 men, thirteen from the 45th, had been killed.
The second battle occurred at Whitehall two days after the battle at Kinston. As Foster led the Union troops into Whitehall Ferry, Beverly Robertson’s Brigade was found defending the North bank of the Neuse River. A portion of Foster’s Expedition was left to battle Robertson, including the 45th MA, while Foster, with the rest of the troops, proceeded to the railroad. The 45th, along with other regiments, was able to distract Robertson, with a total of 150 deaths, three being from the 45th, while Foster moved on to eventually destroy the tracks at the Wilmington & Weldon Railroad.
After the Battle at Whitehall, the 45th MA made a swift solo mission at Gun Swamp, in which they charged and took a rebel earthwork. One man was lost and three were wounded. In mid March of 1862, Union troops battled against Confederate defenders to overtake nine forts and forty one heavy guns in New Bern. The victory would grant the union control of North Carolina’s coast, bottle up the Neuse River, cut North Carolina’s railroads, and establish the Union a strong base for attack on North Carolina. After the Union troops stood victorious, they sought to occupy the territory throughout the war. To preserve Union control of New Bern, regiments were stationed there to defend the territory throughout the entire war. The 45th MA finished their service defending New Bern from May to June, 1863.
On July 1, 1863, the 45th Regiment of Massachusetts returned home after nine months of service. They were met by independent cadets, the brigade band, past members of the corps, friends of the regiment, the Massachusetts Rifle Club with Gilmore’s Band and the Roxbury Reserve Guard. The Mayor welcomed the men home, congratulated them on their accomplishments, extended thanks, and mourning for those lost. The 45th MA actually suffered the most of any other 9 month regiment in Massachusetts. With a total loss of 51 men, 19 in action and 32 by disease, the regiment was met by one the most earnest cheers of any Massachusetts regiment as they made their way to Reedville to finish their service.