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In 1861, six dispensations were granted for lodges to be held with active-duty regiments during the American Civil War. Each dispensation was granted to a particular regiment. These dispensations expired at the end of 1865.

Dispensation Granted By: William T. Coolidge

Regiment: 2nd Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry

Precedence Date: 11/04/1861





From Moore's Freemason's Monthly, Vol. XXV, No. 4, February 1866, p. 104:


The following interesting report by Rev. Bro. A. H. Quint, Senior Warden, and for some time acting Master of Bunker Hill Army Lodge No. 5, under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, will give our readers a clearer and more correct idea of the practical workings and usefulness of such Lodges, in time of war, than can probably be obtained from any other available source : —

WILLIAM PARKMAN, Esq., M. W. Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts.

SlR,—I have the honor to return to you the Dispensation granted in 1861 to the brethren therein named, and committed to George H. Gordon, then Colonel of the Second Regiment of Massachusetts Infantry. That regiment having been mustered out of service, after over four years of honorable history, the time of this Dispensation expires.

In behalf of the brethren remaining, I thank you for the trust committed to to us, and assure you that it has been the source of great pleasure and profit. I surrender also the records. Their imperfect state is due to the fact that the first Secretary, Capt. Edward G. Abbott, was killed at Cedar Mountain; and his acting successor, Surgeon William H. Heath, died in front of Atlanta of disease contracted in the faithful and untiring discharge of his duty. His minutes I have copied and attested.

Of the history of this Lodge, I take the liberty to make the following statements : —

Speedily after the receipt of the Dispensation, Col. Gordon assumed his office as Master, with the Wardens named. Chaplain Alonzo H. Quint, Senior Warden; Major Wilder Dwight, Junior Warden. Measures were taken to perfect the officers and members in the work, in which the Lodge accurately followed the practice of the best Lodges at home. Members at home occasionally procured the best instruction; and the work, I think was strictly correct. Tne necessary furniture was procured, and all the fixtures as well secured as army life would allow. In the winter of 1861-2, the Lodge at Frederick, Md., kindly allowed us the use of their rooms, of which, however, we availed ourselves but once. In that winter, Charles Wheaton, Jr. (Adjutant), and Lieut. Charles R. Mudge, and Lieut. Robert B. Brown, were received as Entered Apprentices, and passed the degree of Fellow Craft. Lieut. Wheaton leaving the Regiment, he did not proceed further; I trust that the Grand Master will authorize any Lodge to continue the work in his case, when he shall have returned. Lieut. Mudge fell, as Lieutenant-Colonel Commanding, at Gettysburg. Lieut. Brown subsequently was raised to the degree of Master Mason.

In the winter of 1861-2, much brotherly intercourse was had with other brethren. On St. John's day, the Lodge in Frederick held a public installation and our Lodge formed a part of the large procession. The Senior Warden, Chaplain of the Second, was invited to and did deliver an address in the Lutheran Church, wliich was well filled, — upon "Masonry and the State." A copy was asked for publication, but the speaker felt too diffident of its merits to consent. The banquet which followed was attended by over five hundred Masons.

In that army corps, after consultation, a commitee of relief was instituted; upon which the Senior Warden had the honor to serve as one of the seven, in connection with Major-General Banks, Colonel Murphy of Pennsylvania, and others.

The active campaign which followed prevented meetings. The promotion of Colonel Gordon to be Brigadier-General removed him from the regiment, and the Senior Warden assumed the care of the Lodge, in which he remained. The working strength of the Lodge was greatly reduced by the removal of Colonel Gordon, the resignation of his commission by Captain Tucker, the promotion and removal of Captain Underwood to the 33d Massachusetts, the fall of Captain Abbott at Cedar Mountain, the wound and resignation for disability of Surgeon Leland, and the fall of Lieutenant-Colonel Dwight at Antietam. But two of the original eight remained.

But, in the winter of 1863-4, in Tennessee, the Lodge again prosecuted its work. Other Masons in the regiment assisted, and the approval and kind interest of the Grand Master were felt. Suitable accommodations were had, and the Lodge became a centre of great interest. John F. George, Charles W. Thomas, James W. Cork, Edward A. Phalen, and Theodore K. Parker, were severally received, passed, and raised.

The Lodge was temporarily organized thus: The Senior Warden, as Master; Bro. A. D. Sawyer (Lieut.), S. W.; Bro. James Francis (Major), J. W.; Bro. W. H. Heath (Surgeon), Socretary and Treasurer; Bro. R. B. Brown (Capt.), S. D.; Bro. Whitney (Capt.), J. D.; Bro. Miles (Sergeant), and Bro. A. W. Mann (Lieut.), Tyler.

Great numbers of visitors were habitually present. The care of rigid examination was thoroughly performed, with much labor. Generals and enlisted men met together, not only with no detriment to discipline, but to its advantage. Masons of low military position were only the more careful to show due respect to their brethren in higher stations in the daily routine of duty. As an illustration of the extent of visiting, on one evening I noticed present brethren from Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New fork, New Jersey, District of Columbia, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Iowa, Colorado, Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia. Citizens as well as soldiers were visitors; and it is evident, that in the work of harmonizing the country, Masonry has a powerful mission to fulfil.

The active campaign which followed, never ceasing until Sherman's army was at Washington, forbade all effort to meet as a Lodge.

The intercourse with Masonic brethren was always good. Masons were found to give a brotherly welcome everywhere. The intercourse, even with enemies, was never in the slightest degree prejudicial to loyality: yet it proved often valuable. The courtesies and helps to prisoners, and to wounded men, [were often touching. The hand of the wounded on the field of battle felt a safeguard even from those just before in conflict, when it found a brother; and the wounded prisoner on the operating-table felt relieved when he knew that a brother's hand held the knife of the surgeon.

Of those eight originally mentioned in the Dispensation, I will recapitulate, with those who were subsequently under the Craft's care: —

Colonel Gordon became Brevet Major-General; Chaplain Quint left service in Georgia, by advice of the Surgeon; Lieutenant-Colonel Dwight fell at Antietam nobly; Captain Tucker resigned; Surgeon Leland wounded at Cedar Mountain, and resigned; Captain Underwood maimed for life at Wauhetchie, became Brevet Major-General; Lieutenant Sawyer resigned, from ill health, in front of Atlanta; Captain Abbott was killed at Cedar Mountain,— a brave soldier.

Of those who received degrees,— Lieutenant-Colonel Mudge fell at Gettysburg, bravely leading his men; Lieutenant Wheaton is still in service; Captain Brown served with gallantry until the close of the war. Of the other five, four have been wounded.

Of other Masons working with us, Surgeon Heath died of disease in front of Atlanta, a true and noble man. I believe that none of the enlisted men were wounded; except that George H. Ide a Fellow Craft (though not sitting with the Lodge) was killed at Cedar Mountain. The lamented Shaw, then a Captain in the Second, had expressed his determination to offer himself at the first opportunity; but he left to take that position in which he fell at Wagner.

Accompanying this report, will be forwarded to the proper official the fees due. Other funds have been used in assisting needy brethren; and some help was also rendered to a poor widow and large family of fatherless and suffering children in Georgia: that her husband had fallen in the Confederate army, did not seem a reason why assistance should hesitate.

With assurance of gratitude for the interest and care of the Grand Master,

I have the honor to be fraternally yours,
Alonzo H. Quint,
(Late Chaplain 2d Mass. Inf.) Senior Warden.


Massachusetts Lodges