Posted by : Robert Child Tuesday

18th Massachusetts Monument at Gettysburg
I guess you can file this in the category of amazing discoveries, or simply "wow I never knew!" Thanks to a free trial at I discovered my Civil War lineage. I have done count 'em three films on Gettysburg one on Antietam and have two box-sets at PBS Home Video, America and the Civil War and Gettysburg and the Civil War. I never stopped to consider, however, that I might have a personal history with the War Between the States or why the pull was so strong to do these films but now I know why.

There in the Massachusetts official record my Great Grandfather Thomas W. Child (1837-1914) mustered in to Company "E" of the 18th Massachusetts on August 24th (my youngest son's birthday) 1861 as a private. He made Sargent on November 2nd 1862. He mustered out on August 23, 1864 after the required three-year enlistment. Thomas was the father of Herbert S. Child my grandfather and father to Robert Warren Child my father born in 1912. To say I was both astonished and proud about this discovery would be an understatement. My father's side of the family always remained a mystery to me as he died young at 55 when I was just  4 years old.

The 18th Mass fought gallantly at Second Battle of Bull Run, Shepardstown, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Wilderness, Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor, Petersburg and of course Gettysburg.
At Gettysburg they were part of the 5th Corps arriving on July 2nd to take a position at the base of Little Round Top where even after Chamberlain's famous charge the fight was still raging.  On the 3rd from their position recorded in diaries they clearly described seeing the Confederates launch their ill conceived final charge. And in fact the 18th was there with Union artillery to help make Pickett's Charge a thundering hell.

I will write more about Thomas W. Child as I dig deeper into the unit history. This has certainly been a personal thrill to know I have a connection to the battle which I have produced three films on. I just don't know why I didn't look into this earlier.

More Info:
18th Mass Website
Their Blog
Wikipedia Entry

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