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The 13th Maryland Infantry was organized on November 15, 1861 for 3 years service. It was organized in Westminster, Maryland and was composed of men from Sykesville, Maryland. The commanding officer was Colonel James Francis.

The unit was sent to the defenses of Baltimore for 2 months, and was placed in Louis Blenker's division in the Army of Virginia. The regiment fought in the Battle of Cedar Mountain and the Second Battle of Manassas, and was praised by General Nathaniel Banks as "one of the most effective regiments under fire I have commanded."[citation needed] The regiment was later detached for garrison duty in Frederick on September 3. During the Antietam Campaign, the regiment was forced to retreat from Frederick with other Maryland militia units due to the advance of forces under Stonewall Jackson. It was transferred as a replacement for regiments in the Vermont Brigade that was decimated at Antietam to IX Corps, Army of the Potomac. At the Battle of Fredericksburg, the regiment was held in reserve. On January 2, 1863 the regiment was sent west to Kentucky for operations against Confederate irregular partisans. The regiment was sent detached as part of the garrison of Nashville, where it stayed for 9 months. The regiment was then sent to be part of II Corps, Army of the Potomac under the command of General Caldwell. The regiment was attacked by the 4th Alabama Regiment during the battle of Spotsylvania Courthouse and was cited for gallantry when it beat back the attack, and counterattacked into the woods on the left flank of the Union line and drove back the rebels. The regiment participated in the Siege of Petersburg and was mustered out of service in November. The regiment lost 1 officer and 13 men to disease, and lost 3 officers and 76 men in battle.

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