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The 28th Massachusetts Today

ased in New England, the recreated 28th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry is a non-profit living history organization founded in 1984 for the purpose of accurately portraying the life of the common soldier in the Union army. With nearly three decades of service, it is one of the largest and longest serving Civil War reenactment units in the Northeast.

Members outfit themselves with authentic federal uniforms and equipment from the mid-war period, carry reproduction black powder weapons, and camp in period issue tents. Together, they participate in battle reenactments and living history events from early spring through late fall.

Briefly, A Long History

During the summer of 1983, a number of Revolutionary War reenactors from the New England area began discussing the possibility of forming a Civil War unit.
Everyone warmed to the idea quickly, but deciding on a regiment to portray presented a somewhat thorny problem, since members of the group came from several different states.

Ultimately, they settled on the 28th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry of the Irish Brigade, since research indicated that the original regiment drew volunteers from all over the Northeast. Beyond that, they were all fond of the Irish characters who always seemed to play central roles in John Ford westerns.

When the recreated 28th first took the field in the spring of 1984, its founders aimed to portray the regiment as it appeared on the march during the pivotal Gettysburg campaign in the summer of 1863. They must have gotten it right, because their unit attracted the interest of numerous recruits. As the 28th Massachusetts began its second decade of service, it was growing into one of the largest Civil War reenactment units in the Northeast. By the late 1990s, it was routinely fielding two solid companies at most events.

Marching Into the 21st Century

While the unit has undergone a number of changes over the years, it remains the fundamentally sound military organization molded by Maj. Steven Eames, one of 28th's founders and its original commanding officer.  A history professor recognized throughout the hobby for his knowledge of battlefield tactics, Maj. Eames came out of "retirement" a  few years ago to lead the regiment again. Thanks to his insistence on discipline in camp and long hours of drill, the 28th Massachusetts has earned its reputation as a well-trained fighting unit.

28th at Stone Bridge FarmThe 28th Massachusetts is currently comprised of more than 70 military members from eight states - including five of the six New England states - and one Canadian province.  With a strong nucleus of experienced reenactors in the ranks, ours is a unit in which new recruits can learn a great deal about Civil War history and army life - and even about themselves. The 28th hopes to recruit enough men eventually to portray the regiment as it appeared in mid-1863, with approximately 224 enlisted men and officers.

Although the 28th often takes the field as a self-contained unit, it also joins ranks with other federal reenactors at larger-scale regional and national battle events. The regiment is affiliated nationally with the Mifflin Guard and regionally with the New England Brigade.

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