Nathaniel W. Bunker memoir  1895
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Bunker, Nathaniel W., b. ca. 1843

Rank : Private; Sergeant; 2nd Lieutenant (1865 July 1 -- never mustered)

Regiment : 44th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment. Co. G (1862-1863)56th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment. Co. I (1864-1865)

Service : 1862 August 29-1863 June 18; 1864 February 29-1865 July 12

Nathaniel W. Bunker, a carpenter from Belmont, Mass., was only 18 when President Lincoln's call for volunteers in August, 1862, stirred him to action. Enlisting in the 44th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment, a nine months' unit, Bunker served primarily in North Carolina. At New Bern, the regiment fulfilled the unglamorous role of an army of occupation for several months before being drawn into a series of intense skirmishes at the end of the year, culminating in the Goldsboro-Kinston expedition in December. After surviving a few smaller scrapes during the spring, Bunker's enlistment ran out in June, 1863, and he returned home to Belmont.

Restless and edgy, and still smitted with the war spirit, Bunker reenlisted in the 56th Massachusetts Infantry, the first veteran regiment raised in the state. Sent to Virginia for Grant's spring campaigns in 1864, the 56th suffered terribly during the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor and Petersburg Campaigns. Bunker was shot through the thigh near Spotsylvania on May 12th, which may have been for the best, given his fellows soldiers' mortality in the ensuing weeks, and slowly found his way to the hospital. He returned to the service during the winter, and was in the field near Fort Stedman when the Confederacy fell in April, 1865.