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W.F. Barrett

W.F. Barrett

Federal (USV)


William Francis Barrett

(1835 - 1865)

Home State: Massachusetts

Branch of Service: Infantry

Unit: Signal Detachment, Army of the Potomac

Before Antietam

Born in Connecticut, in 1855 he was a 20 year old painter living with his widowed mother and 2 younger siblings in Springfield, MA. On 16 October 1861 he was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant, Company C, 27th Massachusetts Infantry. He was detailed to the Signal Corps in December 1861 and assigned to the Department of Virginia and North Carolina. By September 1862 he was with the Army of the Potomac near Washington, DC.

On the Campaign

On 14 September 1862 he manned a signal station on South Mountain and on 17 September at a station on the battlefield of Antietam:

As our lines advanced on the west side of the Antietam, driving in the enemy's left, stations were established as closely as possible behind the lines, and near to the generals commanding in that portion of the field. A station was thus established, subject to artillery fire, by Lieuts. E. C. Pierce and W. F. Barrett, at the Miller house, near the position of General E. V. Sumner. The signal package carried on the saddle by one of the flagmen of this party was cut in two by a cannon-shot.

The rest of the War

He was at Fredericksburg in December 1862 and appointed 2nd Lieutenant in the Signal Corps on 3 March 1863 (he resigned his Massachusetts commission on 3 June). He mustered out on 12 August 1865, but died later that month at home, probably of malaria, just 30 years old.

References & notes

His basic service from Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines,1 Brown,2 and Heitman.3 The Antietam quote above from Major Myer's Report. Personal details from family genealogists and the Massachusetts State Census of 1855. His gravesite is on Findagrave. His picture from a CDV at the Library of Congress.


02/22/1835; Bloomfield, CT


08/31/1865; Springfield, MA; burial in Green River Cemetery, Greenfield, MA


1   Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Adjutant General, Massachusetts Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines in the Civil War, 8 Vols, Norwood (MA): Norwood Press, 1931-35, Vol. 3, pg. 136  [AotW citation 28741]

2   Brown, J. Willard, The Signal Corps, U.S.A. in the War of the Rebellion, Boston: U.S. Veteran Signal Corps Association, 1896, pp. 332, 340, 346, 723  [AotW citation 28742]

3   Heitman, Francis Bernard, Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army 1789-1903, 2 volumes, Washington DC: US Government Printing Office, 1903, Vol. 1, pg. 194  [AotW citation 28743]