William F. Blanchard's Civil War Service

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 eventually "recaptured".

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.  William F. Blanchard's civil war sword    [1]

Timeline of his service



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.

War Records

U.S. Civil War Soldier Records and Profiles
(Found on Ancestry.com)
Name:     William F Blanchard
Residence:     Boston, Massachusetts
Occupation:     Sailor
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 Jul 1864.
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
  William F Blanchard record of care at the Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers 
(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, Promoted
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
Admission Paper:  ane [or maybe one?]
Army Discharge:
Certificate of Service:  H????
Pension Certificate:  86355
Cash:  on person $3.70, from surgeon $12.00
Pension Money $6.00
Personal, Appraised at 3.00       sold $
Total     $
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
[page 398]
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:  http://civilwarintheeast.com/USA/MA/MA13.php
39th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment:  http://civilwarintheeast.com/USA/MA/MA39.php
27th Regiment, United States Colored Infantry:  http://www.itd.nps.gov/cwss/regiments.cfm

[1]  Courtesy of Dan Lathrop.  June 2012.