Researcher: Aaron Andino
Thomas J. Russell was born in Cumberland, Rhode Island in 1845 to Thomas and Harriet Russell. Before the war in 1821 Thomas was a laborer, which is what he did for a career when not in the war. Thomas joined the army in 1864 and was assigned to the 3rd Massachusetts Heavy Artillery Company H. During the course of his service, his company was assigned to Fort Lincoln, in the defense of Washington D.C. north of the Potomac. Fort Lincoln was only one of the 53 forts and 22 batteries surrounding D.C. wielding 718 guns and mortars. These forts were established after the first battle of Bull Run, and after the second battle, they were enlarged and strengthened ready for any attacks on the capital, by the spring of 1865 the numbers rose to 68 forts and 93 batteries with 807 cannons and 98 mortars. Fort Lincoln had 34 of those guns and was protecting the approach of Baltimore, Baltimore pike and the Ohio Railroad it was one of the smaller forts on the northeast side of the capital. The fort was located at the present-day Fort Lincoln Elementary School on Fort Lincoln Drive. The defense of Washington was to keep Lee’s forces from Virginia, away from the capital, because it was the training ground, arsenal, supply depot, and nerve center for the Union army. After a year in the army Thomas’ regiment was mustered out September 18, 1865. During the time of his service his Regiment lost 41 men total, 2 enlisted men, 1 officer, and 38 enlisted men to disease. After the war Thomas came home and went back to work as a laborer, this time at a thelting mill as a carder. His first wife died, and soon after he married Jenna M. Pierce November 26, 1868. In 1870 they had a son Edmond, and a few years later, Edward and Ernest.