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Federal (USV)

Lieutenant

Edgar Marshall Newcomb

(1840 - 1862)

Home State: Massachusetts

Education: Harvard College, Class of 1860

Branch of Service: Infantry

Unit: 19th Massachusetts Infantry

Before Antietam

After graduating from Harvard, he travelled in Europe, and then was a clerk in his father's "counting rooms" in Boston. He enlisted as Corporal in Company F, 19th Massachusetts Infantry on 26 August 1861. A month later he was assigned as clerk at Brigade Headquarters, and in November was appointed Sergeant Major of the Regiment (date from 20 December). In early July he was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant, Company K (to date from 18 June 1862), and transferred to Company C in August.

On the Campaign

He was in command of his Company after Captain Batchelder was mortally wounded.

The rest of the War

Later in September he was promoted to First Lieutenant (to date to 13 November 1862), but was mortally wounded in action at Fredericksburg, VA on 13 December.

[In the charge of the Regiment at Fredericksburg] Sergt. Charles B. Brown, of Company G, was the seventh man to grasp the colors and he quickly received a wound in the head which stunned him. Lieut. Hume, thinking the wound a mortal one, told him to give up the colors, but he refused saying, "I will not give them to any man." Finding that he was fast becoming weak, Brown rushed out in advance of the line, staggered and fell, driving the color lance into the earth; and there he lay, dizzy and bleeding, still grasping the lance with both hands until Lieut. Hume caught them up.

A color corporal then took it, while Edgar M. Newcomb grasped the other, the bearer of which had also fallen. Lieut. Newcomb shouted "Forward" and the quivering line sprang on again, but as he spoke the brave lieutenant was hit by a shot which passed through and shattered the bones of both legs below the knees. As he fell, he handed his color to Second Lieut J. G. B. Adams, who was then in command of Co. I. "Don't let them go down!" exclaimed Newcomb.

... Lieut. Newcomb had been left mortally wounded upon the field and after the men reached a place of safety behind the fence, Capt. Chadwick with First Sergt. Wallace T George, of Co. C, dashed back upon the field to get him. "Don't touch my legs" cried Newcomb, as they undertook to lift him. They took him by the arms, and, dragging his legs along the ground amid a shower of bullets, they got him through the fence, put him on a stretcher and sent him across the river to the Lacy House, where he died a week later.

References & notes

Service information from Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines 1 and the History.2 Details from Weymouth's Memorial Sketch of Lieutenant Edgar M. Newcomb (1883). His gravesite is on Findagrave.

Birth

10/02/1840; Troy, NY

Death

12/20/1862 Falmouth, VA; burial in Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, MA

Notes

1   Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Adjutant General, Massachusetts Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines in the Civil War, 8 Vols, Norwood (MA): Norwood Press, 1931-35, Vol. 2, pg. 453  [AotW citation 17941]

2   Waitt, Ernest Linden (compiler), History of the Nineteenth Regiment, Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, 1861-1865, Salem (MA): The Salem Press Co., 1906, pp. 141, 180, 181, 183  [AotW citation 17942]