William Marland, Class of 1854

1st Massachusetts Light Artillery

Defense of the flag was an imperative during the Civil War, not only for honor’s sake, but because the flag functioned as a guide to troops in the thick of battle. The Civil War began with the fall of Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861. On April 15, President Lincoln called for 75,000 volunteers to defend the Union, specifically Washington, D.C. Andover native William Marland joined the Massachusetts 6th Regiment, becoming sergeant of the color guard. His unit immediately set out for the Capital. At that time, traveling from Boston to Washington required several train transfers. On April 19 at Baltimore, a secessionist mob attacked the Massachusetts 6th while it marched to Camden Station. Four soldiers and 12 civilians died. The flag Marland carried was shredded but never taken. His Medal of Honor recognizes the gallantry he displayed two years later when commanding a light artillery battery. Marland and his men were surrounded by Confederate cavalry during an engagement outside Grand Coteau, Louisiana in 1863. Ordered to surrender, Marland charged. For his daring, valor, and leadership, he received the Medal of Honor. Following the war, Marland returned to Andover, becoming postmaster in 1866 and later overseeing a Phillips Academy dining hall located in Clement House.

Back to people