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W.D. Tripp

W.D. Tripp

Federal (USV)


Willard Dean Tripp

(1838 - 1931)

Home State: Massachusetts

Branch of Service: Infantry

Unit: 29th Massachusetts Infantry

Before Antietam

A machinist's son from Taunton, MA, he enlisted as a Private in Company G, 4th Massachusetts Volunteer Militia - the Taunton Guards - on 5 August 1857. By 1860 he was a machinist in his own right and on 16 April 1861, then 21 years old, he reported for 3 months' Federal service with his militia company, and was promoted to Corporal. They were posted to Fortress Monroe, VA, saw action at Big Bethel on 10 June, and he mustered out with them on 22 July in Boston.

Sometime in October, 1861, Dr. Henry B. Wheelwright of Taunton received permission from Governor Andrew to raise a company of infantry, and succeeded in enlisting a number of men. On the 2d of November, 1861, the Governor issued an order, that the men raised by Dr. Wheelwright, which were then in charge of Willard D. Tripp of Taunton, a corporal of the Fourth Regiment, be sent to camp at Assonet ...By the middle of December, ninety-eight enlisted men had been secured for this company, representing nearly every county in Eastern Massachusetts, and on the 13th of December, Tripp was commissioned Captain.
On that date they became Company F, 29th Massachusetts Infantry. He was listed as missing in June 1862 during the Peninsular Campaign.

On the Campaign

He commanded his company in action at Antietam on 17 September 1862.

Although the battle was not renewed on the 18th, yet the two armies lay facing each other during the whole day and a part of the following night. Before light on the morning of the 18th, Company F, under Captain Tripp, which had been on the advanced line in the corn-field since noon of the 17th, where they had been terribly exposed, was relieved by Company C, under First Lieutenant N. D. Whitman, and Company K, under Captain Pray.

The rest of the War

From October 1863 to April 1864 he was detailed to command the Convalescent Camp at Crab Orchard south of Lexington, KY. He was in command of the regiment as senior officer present after the Battle of the Crater near Petersburg on 30 July 1864 to 14 September, and was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel on 12 October 1864, but did not muster at that rank. He mustered out on 13 December 1864 at the end of his 3-year term.

After the War

By May 1865 he was again a machinist living with his parents and siblings back in Taunton. In 1867 he was appointed to the Massachusetts State Board of Charity, and served there for the rest of his life - successively as bookkeeper, Assistant Superintendent, Visitor, and Chief Examiner. He was still living with his parents in 1870 but had his own household, though still in Taunton, by 1880. By 1910 and to at least 1920 he lived in Watertown, MA. In 1930 he was a widower living with his daughter Marion in Woburn, MA; 91 years old and still on the job, by then his agency was known as the State Welfare Department.

References & notes

His service information from Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines1 and the History,2 source of his command at Antietam and the quotes above. Further details from a bio sketch in George Warren Nason's History and Complete Roster of the Massachusetts Regiments: Minute Men of '61 (1910), family genealogists, the US Census of 1850-1930, and the Massachusetts State Census of 1865. His gravesite is on Findagrave. His picture from a photograph at the US Army Heritage and Education Center (USAHEC); he's also seen in a later-war photograph, now in the MOLLUS Massachusetts Collection, also at USAHEC.

He married Mary Baldwin "Minnie" Hobbs (1851-1923) in September 1873 and they had a daughter Marion (1877-1938).


09/14/1838; New Bedford, MA


1931; burial in Mayflower Hill Cemetery, Taunton, 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. 1, p. 219; Vol. 3, p.309  [AotW citation 29875]

2   Osborne, WIlliam H., The History of the Twenty-ninth Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry in the Late War of the Rebellion, Boston: Albert J. Wright, printer, 1877, p. 100-101, 190  [AotW citation 29876]