William Blanchard served in the Union Army as an infantry soldier
during all but the first three months of the Civil War. During
this time, he was wounded
four times, spent ten months as a prisoner of war, and led a platoon of
free black soldiers from Ohio.
His service started with a three year duty in the Massachusetts
13th Infantry Regiment where he saw some of the worst battles that the
Army of the Potomac fought. This culminated in his capture at
Gettysburg and imprisonment. We don't know where he was
imprisoned, but the book Three Years in the Army reports that he was
When he finished his three years with the Massachusetts 13th, he
immediately joined the Massachusetts 39th Infantry Regiment and spent
only a month there before transferring to the 27th Infantry Regiment of
the U.S. Colored Troops. He served as a second lieutenant for a
time, then temporarily as captain, and finally as a first lieutenant.
William's brother Brainard Prince Blanchard joined the Massachusetts
13th the year after William did and served in company B with him for
two years. His military service mimics William's: after the
13th infantry is disbanded, Brainard briefly joins the 39th
Massachusetts, company H, and then the 116th Infantry in the U.S.
Colored Troops where he is promoted to 1st Lieutenant.
William's sword. 
Timeline of his service
July 16: Joined the Massachusetts 13th Volunteer Infantry
regiment, Company B, as a private.
November 28: Wounded at Hancock, Maryland, probably in a
skirmish with Confederate soldiers, who had attacked the city the day
before the 13th arrived.
December 17-21: Second Skirmish at Dam #5 of the C&O
August 9: Battle of Cedar Mountain.
August 30: Injured in the Second Battle of Bull
Run. His company charged with bayonets three times, under the
command of General Tower. Their regiment saw some of the worst fighting
of this battle.
September 14: Battle of South Mountain.
September 16-17: Battle of Antietam.
December 13: Injured while skirmishing in front of the line
of battle. One officer and twelve men in the company were wounded this
April 27-May7: Chancellorsville Campaign.
July 1-3: The Battle of Gettysburg. The 13th builds
earthworks in front of the Seminary, then advances to Oak Hill. They
capture 130 Confederate soldiers but are then forced to retreat to
Cemetery Hill. Nearly two-thirds of the regiment is killed,
wounded, or captured on the first day. William was one of the captured
soldiers and remains a prisoner until May 8, 1864. A
memorial to the 13th is on Robinson Road, northwest of Gettysburg. You
can see a photo of it at:
May 8: William is freed ("recaptured")
May 23: Battle of Jericho Ford. Five men are wounded.
June 1-12: Battle of Cold Harbor. Two men killed and
June 13: Engagement at White Oak Swamp. One man is wounded.
June 16-July 14: Siege of Petersburg. Men
wounded every day during the first week.
July 14: William and 102 other soldiers from the 13th join
the Massachusetts 39th Infantry. He was a Private in Company K.
July 15: The remainder of 13th starts the journey home.
August 1: Joins the 27th Infantry of the United States
August 18-21: Battle of Globe Tavern (or Second Battle of
August 31: Appointed a Second Lieutenant of the 27th
October 27, 1864: Injured during the battle of Boydton
December 7-27: Assault on Fort Fisher, North Carolina.
January 13-15: Second Battle of Fort Fisher. The 27th
Infantry participated in the mop-up operations on the night of the
15th and were involved in the initial surrender negotiations.
February 11-22: Battle of Wilmington (North Carolina)
March 7-10: Battle of Wyse Fork.
March 13: Appointed a Brevet Captain in the 27th Infantry.
"Brevet" means that this was a temporary commission. He probably led a
company of 100 soldiers.
April 6: Appointed a First Lieutenant in the 27th Infantry.
He would have been second in command, after the captain, and
responsible to lead a platoon of 50 soldiers.
September 21: The 27th Infantry is disbanded.
William's name appears on plaque B-42 of the African American Civil War
Memorial in Washington, D.C. on the corner of Vermont Ave., 10th
Street, and U Street NW.
U.S. Civil War Soldier Records and
(Found on Ancestry.com)
Name: William F Blanchard
Residence: Boston, Massachusetts
Age at enlistment: 23
Enlistment Date: 16 Jul 1861
Rank at enlistment: Private
State Served: Massachusetts
Was POW?: Yes
Was Wounded?: Yes
Survived the War?: Yes
Service Record: Enlisted in Company B, Massachusetts
13th Infantry Regiment on 16 Jul 1861.
Promoted to Full 2nd Lieutenant on 31 Aug 1864.
Mustered out on 14 Jul 1864.
Transferred to Company H, Massachusetts 39th Infantry Regiment on 14
Mustered out on 31 Aug 1864.
Commissioned an officer in Company F, U.S. Colored Troops 27th Infantry
Regiment on 31 Aug 1864.
Promoted to Brevet Captain on 13 Mar 1865.
Promoted to Full 1st Lieutenant on 06 Apr 1865.
Mustered out on 21 Sep 1865.
Birth Date: abt 1838
Sources: Massachusetts Soldiers, Sailors and Marines
in the Civil War
The Story of the 13th Massachusetts Volunteers
Official Army Register of the Volunteer Force 1861-1865
Historic Register of National Homes
for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, 1866-1938
(From the National Archives, found on Ancestry.com)
[record number] 18101
William F. Blanchard Military History Time and Place of Each Enlistment,
Rank, Company and Regiment, Time and Place of Discharge, Cause of
Discharge, Disabilities when admitted to the Home
July 16-1861 Boston Mass, Pvt, B 13 Mass Inf, Jan 3-1864 In the field,
Re Enlist, Cerebral Hemorrhage
Jan 4-1864 Richmond Va, Pvt, H 39 Mass Inf, Aug 16-1864 In the field,
Aug 31 1864 Richmond Va, ?rdr, ar? 27 usc?, Sept. 21-1865 Columbus O,
Close of war Domestic History Where born, Age, Height, Complexion,
Color of Eyes, Color of Hair, Read and Write, Religion, Occupation,
Residence Subsequent to Discharge, Married or Single, Name and Address
of Nearest Relative
Maine, 70, 5-8 1/2, Fair, Blue, Gray, Yes, Prot, [Lawyer?], Lincoln NM,
Married, Mrs. Sophia Blanchard wf Lincoln NM Home History Rate of Pension, Date of Admission,
Conditions of Re-Admission, Date of Death, Cause of Death
f 15.00 24.00, Ad, Mch 4 1909 WB, Pay 1/2 pen to wf, July 5-1911,
Cerebral Hemorrhage General Remarks Papers
Admission Paper: ane [or maybe one?]
Certificate of Service: H????
Pension Certificate: 86355 Effects
Cash: on person $3.70, from surgeon $12.00
Pension Money $6.00
Personal, Appraised at 3.00 sold $
How Disposed of: Widow - 10/19 - 1911 Location of Grave and Remarks
Sec 29 - Row 7 - Grave 4191
Died in Hospital at 9:30 A.M.
Funeral at 8 A.M. July 7-1911
Wife notified at Anabela[?] N. Mexico
Rev. F. Pattgeisser Chaplain
Entry from Three Years in the Army,
the history of the Massachusetts 13th Infantry Regiment
William F. Blanchard; age, 23; born, Boston; tailor; mustered in as
priv., Co. B, July 16, '61; transferred to 39th Mass., July, '64;
appointed 2d lieut. 27th U.S. Colored Troops, Aug. 31, '64; 1st lieut.,
April 6, '65; brev.-capt., March 13, '65; wounded, Nov. 28, '61, Aug.
30, '62, Dec. 13, '62, Oct. 27, '64; taken prisoner, July 1, '63;
recaptured, May 8, '64.
13th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment:
39th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment:
27th Regiment, United States Colored Infantry: