Friday, July 20, 2012

1st Regiment Rhode Island Detached Militia, 1861 (2)

Col. Ambrose E. Burnside was the regiment’s first commander. However, when the Federal Army of Northeastern Virginia, Brig. Gen. Irvin McDowell, commanding, was organized just prior to the Battle of Bull Run, Burnside was given command of the 2d Brigade, 2d Division. Burnside’s brigade consisted of four infantry regiments and one artillery battery, as follows.

2d NH (Col Gilman Marston; Lt Col Frank S Fiske)
1st RI (Maj Joseph P Balch)
2d RI (Col John S Slocum; Lt Col Frank Wheaton)
71st NYSM (Col Henry P Martin)
2d RI Bty (Capt William H Reynolds)

At the Battle of Bull Run, Burnside’s Brigade led the flanking column that opened the action on Matthews’ Hill (the subject of A. R. Waud’s sketch, above). Rhode Island’s Governor Sprague accompanied the regiment as a volunteer and participated in the combat.


Uniform: See Military Collector & Historian, 7 (1955), 49-50.

Smith, George B. “Formation and Service of the First Regiment Rhode Island Detached Militia, April 17th‑Aug. 2nd, 1861.” Bulletin of the Newport Historical Society, No. 58 (July 1926), 14‑29.

Woodbury, Augustus. A Narrative of the Campaign of the First Rhode Island Regiment, in the Spring and Summer of 1861. Providence: Sidney S. Rider, 1862.

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