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Federal (USV)


James Forsyth

(1836 - 1884)

Home State: Massachusetts

Branch of Service: Infantry

Unit: 12th Massachusetts Infantry

Before Antietam

The Forsyth family crossed the River Tweed from Scotland to Northumberland, England about 1842 when James was 5, and he was a 14 year old student living at home with his parents - his father Peter a mason - at Kiln Hill, Berwick-Upon-Tweed, Northumberland in 1851. In 1860 he was a 24 year old boot maker in Randolph, Norfolk County, MA.

He was a painter living in Providence, RI when he enlisted as a Private in Company K, 12th Massachusetts Infantry on 26 June 1861 at Fort Warren in Boston.

On the Campaign

He was wounded by a gunshot to his hand in action at Antietam on 17 September 1862.

The rest of the War

He was admitted to a US Army hospital in Frederick, MD on 19 September and then sent on to the Emory US Army General Hospital in Washington, DC on the 22nd. About 31 October he was transferred to the Army hospital at 16th and Filbert Streets in Philadelphia, PA and was there to at least February 1863.

He transferred to the First Company, 2nd Battalion, Veteran Reserve Corps in July 1863 and mustered out of service on 28 June 1864.

After the War

In 1870 he was a painter in Abington, Plymouth County, MA, but, still a painter, was in Lynn, Essex County by 1880. He died at age 47 in a railroad accident, "run over by a train."

References & notes

His service from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts1 and his Compiled Service Records,2 online from fold3. Wound and hospital details from the Patient List 3 and his CSRs. Personal details from family genealogists, the England and Wales Census of 1851, the US Census of 1860-1880, and the Lynn Death Register. His gravesite is on Findagrave.

He married Isabella M G Day (1840-1898), who was also born in Scotland, in October 1868 and they had 4 daughters and a son; only 3rd child Helen Eveline Forsyth Coles (1871-1964) lived beyond early childhood.


07/06/1836; Coldstream, Berwickshire, SCOTLAND


03/23/1884; Lynn, MA; burial in Pine Grove Cemetery, Lynn, 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. 2, pp. 61 - 64  [AotW citation 6875]

2   US War Department, Compiled Service Records of Soldiers who served in US Volunteer organizations enlisted for service during the Civil War, Record Group No. 94 (Adjutant General's Office, 1780's-1917), Washington DC: US National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), 1903-1927  [AotW citation 27752]

3   National Museum of Civil War Medicine, and Terry Reimer, Frederick Patient List, Published 2018, first accessed 17 September 2018, <>, Source page: patient #4.283  [AotW citation 27753]