A website from the Massachusetts Historical Society; founded 1791.

Cedar Mountain

"Resignation! I Think I Would Rather Die Out Here First" 

On 9 August 1862, at Cedar Mountain, in Culpeper County, Va., Union general Nathaniel P. Banks, a former governor of Massachusetts, attempted to turn back the Confederates as they took the offensive and advanced northward. After some initial success, Banks’s command was badly defeated during a counterattack in which the 2nd Massachusetts Infantry Regiment was cut to pieces, losing 173 of less than 500 men present, including 16 of its 22 officers killed, wounded, or taken prisoner.

2nd Massachusetts Infantry

Subscription list signed by men who pledged to support a regiment from Massachusetts, ...
A subscription list signed by individuals who pledged to support the formation of a regiment and supply them with equipment in the war cause.
Officers of the 2nd Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry at Camp Andrew in West ...
Photograph, 1861 This photograph depicts officers of the 2nd Mass. Regiment at Camp Andrew, West Roxbury, in 1861.
Camp of Second Mass. Regt.
Hand-colored lithograph, 1862 This image is one of a group of 23 hand-colored lithographs of Union encampments published by Louis N. Rosenthal’s Lithograph of Philadelphia between 1861 and 1865.

Selected soldiers of the 2nd Massachusetts Infantry

Richard Cary
Carte de visite by Whipple Capt. Richard Cary of the 2nd Massachusetts Infantry Regiment died at the Battle of Cedar Mountain.
Wilder Dwight
Carte de visite by John Adams Whipple, 1862 Lt. Col. Wilder Dwight of the 2nd Massachusetts Infantry Regiment died on 19 September 1862 of wounds received at the Battle of Antietam.
Richard Goodwin
Carte de visite Declared unfit for duty, Capt. Richard Goodwin of the 2nd Massachusetts Infantry Regiment refused to leave the battlefield and died during the Battle at Cedar Mountain.
Stephen Perkins
Carte de visite This carte de visite depicts Lt. Stephen G. Perkins of the 2nd Massachusetts Infantry Regiment who died at the Battle of Cedar Mountain.
James Savage, Jr.
Carte de visite by James Wallace Black James Savage Jr. of the 2nd Massachusetts Infantry Regiment died on 22 October 1862 as a prisoner of war from wounds received at the Battle of Cedar Mountain.

Selected letters


Letter from Richard Goodwin to Lucy Goodwin, 5 August 1862
Capt. Richard Goodwin's letter was written 4 days before his death in the Battle at Cedar Mountain.
Letter from Wilder Dwight to Helen Cary, 5 September 1862
In this letter, Wilder Dwight expresses his admiration for Richard Cary after his death in the Battle of Cedar Mountain in August 1862.