Natick acted swiftly to defend our nation in the Civil War. She reacted to the calamity 29 years before the outbreak of the war. It was 1832, when the Natick Antislavery Society was created. In 1841, she formed a militia, the Natick’s Mechanic Rifle Company, which included 205 members. In April of 1859, two years before the outbreak of the war, the membership had swollen to 1,430 men. In the spring of 1861, Governor Andrews called for the formation of regiments. A group of 94 men from that company answered the call. They became Company “H” of the 13th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry.
It is not known, but estimated that Natick’s quota of men throughout the war would be under 400 men after exemptions. The Commonwealth’s Adjutant General has accredited Natick with the service of 496 men, well above her obligations. Natick served in about 60% of the 114 military organizations created by Massachusetts.
She provided men for complete companies in two different regiments; that is about one hundred men in each company. They were the 13th Mass. Co. “H” and the 39th Mass. Co.”I”. Unfortunately, those regiments were in many precarious situations. Natick men severely paid for Union losses with 33 killed in action, 18 died from wounds, 45 died from disease, 39 were taken as prisoners of war, and 130 became disabled and were given disability discharges.
Massachusetts, throughout the war, would raise three organizations to be manned by men of African descent. In those organizations, the 54th Mass Vol. Inf., 55th Mass. Vol. Inf., and the 5th Mass. Vol. Cav., Natick supplied seven officers and five enlisted men. In the United States Colored Infantries, Natick supplied fourteen officers and one enlisted man. She also supplied four enlisted men of color to the United States Navy. There were three officers and twenty-five enlisted men that served in these organizations, who were accredited to other municipalities, but they became citizens of Natick.
On the home front, the women of Natick would exceed all expectations. They formed an Auxiliary Association of the United States Sanitary Commission. While tending the fires on the home front, they provided supplies and comfort needed for the survival of their citizen soldiers.
Natick surpassed all duty required of her for the preservation of our Nation in the Great War of the Rebellion, at the seat of war, and on the home front. It is this book’s intention that her resolute service is never forgotten.