Preserving the Past for Our Future
The men listed on the north side of the monument were from Company E, 39th Massachusetts Regiment. This regiment was known as the Somerville Guard, as many of the men came from here. They entered service for three years of duty. Note that many of the men listed on this side of the monument died in prison in the South.
With the recognition that the war was going to be hard fought, Lincoln requested 15,000 troops from the Commonwealth in June of 1862. Somerville had to contribute 92 men. To entice men to sign up, a bounty of $125 was paid to each man who enlisted. One hundred dollars of this had to come from the town, the remainder was by private subscription. It was from the excess funds raised for the bounties that the monument was commissioned and bought.
Captain Frederick Kinsley enlisted on April 30, 1861 as a 2nd Lieutenant. He reenlisted as Captain of Company E on August 15, 1862. He became a prisoner of war on August 19, 1864 at Weldon Railroad in Virginia. On February 23, 1865 he was part of a prisoner exchange and was finally mustered out of service on June 2, 1865. He was promoted after the war to Major, then Colonel.
Captain Willard Kinsley was the younger brother of Frederick. He enlisted on April 19 of 1861 as a private. He was soon promoted to 2nd Lieutenant, and then again to 1st Lieutenant of Company E, where his brother was Captain. In 1864, He became Captain of Company K. On April 2, 1865, he died of wounds suffered in the battle of White Oak Road, Virginia. Only 7 days later, General Lee surrendered at Appomattox Courthouse.
GAR Post #139 in Somerville was named in his honor.