Company K

Company K was recruited in the fall of 1861, and originally known as the "Mayhew Guards." A large number (74 men) of the original members of this company came from the boot- making factories of Milford, Massachusetts. Most of the remainder came from the vicinity of Boston. The first commander of Company K was John J. Cooley, a 34-year old boot treer from Milford, Massachusetts. Cooley commanded for only four months before resigning of April 4, 1862 at Hilton Head, S.C. Company K was discontinued at the end of 1864 when the 28th Massachusetts was re-designated as a 5-company battalion. Most of the surviving members of this company were transferred to Company C at that time.

Four enlisted men from Company K were commissioned from the ranks as officers during their term of service. John Maher of Boston enlisted as a Private in September 1861, was promoted and served as Sergeant from December 1862 until May 22, 1864, when he was promoted to 1st Lieutenant of Company C. He served in this capacity until the end of the war. Patrick Nolan of Milford enlisted as Wagoner for Company K and was promoted to 1st Sergeant and then 1st Lieutenant in 1863 before finally receiving promotion to the position of Captain of Company K in May 1864. He was killed in action on August 14, 1864 at Deep Bottom, Virginia. Sergeants William Holland and John Sullivan, both of Milford, Massachusetts, were commissioned as 2nd Lieutenants during 1862 before losing their lives at Fredericksburg at the end of that year.

A total of 120 enlisted men served in Company K during the three years of its existence in the field. Of this number, 18 men were killed in action, 5 died by accident or disease, and 2 died as prisoners of war. This adds up to a total of 25 men or 21% of the entire company.

This particular company stands out from the rest for two reasons. First, it sustained the highest number of company officers killed or mortally wounded of any other company in the regiment. This includes the loss of two lieutenants at Fredericksburg, as well as Captains James McIntire and Patrick Nolan. Company K also is distinctive in that it was the color company for the regiment from its formation in 1861 until its few survivors were merged with Company C at the end of 1864. This was usually the most hazardous duty when under fire from the enemy, and at least two of its members, Sergeants John McDonald and Peter Welsh, are known to have fallen mortally wounded in battle carrying the regimental colors.

Roster of Company K

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