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Thomas Coffield

          Thomas Coffield, a Civil War veteran, was enlisted in the 18th Massachusetts Infantry. During his time in Civil War, Coffield fought in many important battles, including Antietam. Coffield spent a lot of his time in the Civil War moving around different towns to fight. This was the way of the 18th regiment Coffield was enlisted to. The 18th regiment played a key role in the Civil War and the Union. Thomas Coffield, son of John, put forth effort and heart into the Civil War.

               Coffield’s regiment consisted of volunteers and companies from Norfolk, Bristol, and Plymouth counties. By August 20th, 1861, eight companies formed at Readville. Shortly after, Coffield and his men left for Washington, D.C where they arrived August 30th.  Colonel James Barnes was the commander of this regiment and also a graduated West Point student. He would lead his troops into the first battles they had witnessed so far.

              Now, right outside of Washington, D.C, Coffield and his fellow men encamped at Fort Corcoran. After that and until March 1862, the 18th regiment was encamped at Hall’s Hill. Here they were known as Army of the Potomac because the Potomac river was right outside of where they were staying. On March 21, 1862, the regiment moved to the peninsula, ending up at Old Point Comfort. Here, the 18th regiment was present at the Siege of Yorktown.

             Being present at the siege, Coffield was safe along with the rest of his regiment. Now belonging to Martindale’s Brigade, General Stoneman was in charge. The 18th regiment first real battle was at the

Battle of Bull Run. Here the regiment lost 169 officers, whom 54 were killed or wounded badly. This massive number did not include Coffield while he was still standing strong.

             Coffield and the 18th regiment’s next battle would occur at Antietam. On September 17th the 18th regiment wasn’t engaged, but on September 20th they crossed the Potomac hoping to drive back Confederate soldiers. On Dec. 13, 1862, at Fredericksburg, Col. Barnes still commanding the brigade, and other generals commanding the division and the corps, the 18th regiment took part in a battle on Mary's Heights. Here the regiment  lost 134 men. In May 1863, the 18th regiment was under the command of Colonel Hayes while General Meade was now commanding the 5th Corps. Coffield is still in the 18th regiment at this point being one of the 139th men that re-enlisted for three years over the winter.

            In 1864, with the Army of the Potomac being reorganized, the 18th regiment advanced to open the battle of the Wilderness. The regiment lost many men during this battle including Colonel Hayes who was wounded fatally. Other small battles in which the regiment lost more men occurred shortly after. On July 20th, men who’s time was expiring soon were ordered to Mass. Here, Thomas Coffield was honorably discharged after giving time in the Civil War.

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