Massachusetts Minuteman Medal Group
This medal and accompanying artifacts are attributed to William H. Marston. Born 13 Nov 1819 in Sandwich, Massachusetts, he enlisted May 22, 1861 as a Private in Company I of the 4th Massachusetts Infantry. Serving until 22 July having likely participated in the Battle of Big Bethel. He reenlisted in January of 1864 into the 23rd Massachusetts Infantry and was with the regiment when it suffered severely at Drewry's Bluff and Cold Harbor. He mustered out 6/25/1865. A member of GAR Post #139 (Willard C. Kinsley) in Somerville, Mass., he died 12/4/1923.
Massachusetts Minuteman Medal is impressed
WILLIAM H. MARSTON, PRVT I. 4TH REG.
With his Minuteman medal are his GAR membership medal, a scarce uniform stencil from the 23rd Massachusetts and misc. wartime relics including a piece of shrapnel, mini' balls, and wartime dated coins. The Sons of Union Veteran medal was no doubt from the boy in the photograph with an elder Marston and probably the man we can thank for preserving this group.
Included is a superb postwar cabinet card photo of Marston, as made from a wartime image, in which he wears an 1858 enlisted frock coat with forage cap in hand and Cpl. chevrons on his sleeves. The photographer marked reverse is inscribed
Wm. H. Marston, Somerville, Mass. Co. I 4th Regt. (Minute Man of '61) Corp. Co. C. 23rd Mass. Vols.
An excellent veterans group, getting tough to find!
Both the North and the South expected the Rebellion to come to a quick close. The Yankee's had overwhelming resources and the Rebels were certain '1 Confederate could whip 10 Yankees'. With that in mind, President Lincoln called for the raising of a volunteer army with enlistments of only three months. From April of 1861 until well into the post-war reunion years, these men were referred to as the Minutemen of '61. Massachusetts was one of several states that would issue a medal for these first enlistment volunteers.
The Massachusetts Minuteman Medal was manufactured by the US Mint and a late award not authorized until 1902. Gregory Ogletree, in his work on state awards, estimates 3,805 medals were struck. Each heavy bronze award is impressed on the rim with the soldiers name, rank, and unit. With the war over for 40 years, few veterans claimed their award, posthumous medals were given to family members and the remainder rested in state archives to filter out over the century through family claims, loss and theft. These factors account for the fact that these medals are often encountered in unworn