The 3rd Regiment, Massachusetts Infantry was organized at Lakeville September, 1862. iT Moved to Boston October 22, thence embarked on Steamers "Merrimac" and "Mississippi" for New Berne, N. C., arriving there October 26. It mustered out June 26, 1863.
Other units dating back to the 18th century were given the designation 3rd Regiment Massachusetts Militia. Such regiments were organized and disbanded several times. These included a regiment that was organized in 1775, served during the Revolutionary War, and fought at the Battle of Saratoga among other engagements. During the reorganization of the Massachusetts militia in 1840, the 3rd Massachusetts was designated as part of the Second Brigade of the First Division of the Volunteer Corps of Massachusetts Militia.
In 1858, Colonel David W. Wardrop of New Bedford, Massachusetts was appointed to command the 3rd Massachusetts. Wardrop had trained with the Massachusetts militia for much of his life, first with the Boston Fusiliers and later with the City Guards of New Bedford. Although not a career soldier, he was respected for his knowledge of military tactics. Wardrop commanded the unit during its first term of service in the field during the Civil War.
Attached to 3rd Brigade, 1st Division, Dept. of North Carolina, to December, 1862. Heckman's Brigade, Dept. of North Carolina, to January, 1863. 2nd Brigade, 5th Division, 18th Army Corps, Dept. of North Carolina, to April, 1863. Jourdan's Independent Brigade, Defenses of Newberne, Dept. of North Carolina, to June, 1863. The Regiment lost 1 Enlisted man killed and 17 Enlisted men by disease. Total 18.
Duty at New Berne. N. C., until December, 1862. (Co. "I" detached at Plymouth and Elizabeth City November 30, 1862, to April, 1863.) Action at Plymouth December 10, 1862 (Co. "I"). Foster's Expedition to Goldsboro December 11-22. Action at Kinston December 14. Whitehall December 16. Goldsboro December 17. Duty at New Berne until June, 1863. Expedition to Trenton, Pollocksville, Young's Cross Roads and Swansborough March 6-10. Reconnoissance to Pollocksville March 15-16. Expedition to relief of Little Washington April 7-10. Expedition toward Kinston April 16-21 and to Batchelor's Creek May 23-24. Moved to Boston June 11-16. Mustered out June 26, 1863.
The composite roster of this unit contains the names of 1202 men.