The 101st Field Artillery ("Boston Light Artillery") regiment is the oldest field artillery regiment in the United States Army with a lineage dating to 13 December 1636 when it was organized as the South Regiment. For the first 250 years of the unit's existence it served in infantry formations.
101st Field Artillery Regiment was first formed on 13 December 1636 as the South Regiment by the Massachusetts General Court. Its first commander was Colonel John Winthrop. Since its creation, the regiment has served in six colonial wars and nine American wars totalling 47 campaigns through 2010.
In addition to its own lineage, the 101st Field Artillery Regiment holds the lineage of the 180th Field Artillery Regiment, the 211th Field Artillery Regiment, the 241st Field Artillery Regiment and the 272nd Field Artillery Battalion. Charlie Battery, 1st Battalion 101st Field Artillery holds the lineage of the 102nd Field Artillery and the Second Corps of Cadets.
Recent and current organization
The regiment currently consists of the 1st Battalion 101st Field Artillery based in Brockton, Massachusetts and Echo Battery 101st Field Artillery, Target Acquisition Battery (TAB) based in Rehoboth, Massachusetts, both units are in the Massachusetts National Guard.
Alpha Battery, 1st Battalion 101st Field Artillery is based in Fall River, Massachusetts.Bravo Battery is based in Waterbury, Vermont and is part of the Vermont National Guard. Charlie Battery, 1st Battalion 101st Field Artillery, re-activated in 2016, is based in Danvers, Massachusetts.
In the past twenty years, the 1st Battalion 101st Field Artillery Battalion Field Artillery has fallen under the 26th Division Artillery, the 42nd Division Artillery, the 29th Division Artillery and the 26th Infantry Brigade Combat Team. The battalion currently is the fires battalion for the 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Mountain), 42nd Infantry Division.
In the past twenty years, Echo Battery 101st FA (TAB) has fallen under the 26th Division Artillery and the 42d Division Artillery. The unit currently is the target acquisition battery for the 197th Field Artillery Brigade, New Hampshire National Guard.In August 1765, the regiment was activated to patrol the streets of Boston to help quell riots that broke out in response to the Stamp Act.(241st FA Regiment Lineage).
In March 1770, elements of the regiment again patrolled the streets of Boston to enforce the law after the Boston Massacre.(241st FA Regiment Lineage).
In 1786 during Shays' Rebellion, members of the regiment protected judges and the Taunton courthouse after it was surrounded by insurgents. (211th FA Lineage)
Between July and October 1863, the regiment served in New York City to enforce draft laws after the New York Draft Riots (241st FA Regiment Lineage).
The regiment was called into state service on 14 July 1863 during the Boston Draft riots (101st FA Regiment lineage). While manning the Cooper Street Armory in Boston's North End, the armory was attacked by over 1,000 rioters intent upon seizing the weapons stored there. When the mob penetrated the armory's main gate, the soldiers opened fire killing and wounding dozens of rioters, effectively ending the attack.
The regiment was reviewed by President Andrew Johnson in 1867, President Ulysses S. Grant in 1869 and President Chester A. Arthur in 1882.(241st FA Regiment Lineage).
The regiment took part in the funeral of President Ulysses S. Grant in 1885.(241st FA Regiment Lineage).
From 16 June to 27 November 1916, the regiment was federalized and served in Texas during the Mexican Border crises (101st FA Regiment lineage – also see Pancho Villa Expedition).
In May 1996, Detachment 1, Headquarters Battery, 101st Field Artillery Battalion was ordered to active duty to serve with the Nordic-Polish Brigade in Bosnia in support of Operation Joint Endeavor.
In May 1997, Echo Battery, 101st Field Artillery (TAB) was activated and served throughout Bosnia in support of Operation Joint Guard.
After the terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001, members of the 1st Battalion 101st Field Artillery served on state orders protecting the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant and the Massachusetts Military Reservation at Camp Edwards.
Select soldiers served as part of a joint operations task force providing security for the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City, Utah
The regiments howitzers fire blank rounds each Fourth of July during the Boston Pops Orchestra's playing of the 1812 Overture. It also provides howitzers to fire during a Fourth of July concert in Plymouth, Massachusetts.
On the first Monday in June, the regiment provides a howitzer salute as part of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts' June day drumhead election reenactment ceremony which is held on Boston Common close to the Massachusetts State House.
Colonel John Winthrop – First commander, South Regiment
Captain John Underhill – First full-time training officer, Commander Boston Company
Captain Myles Standish – First commander Plymouth Company (211th FA Lineage)
Colonel Robert Cowden – Regimental commander who organized the unit as a three-year volunteer regiment for the Civil War.
Corporal Nathaniel M. Allen – Was awarded the Medal of Honor for saving the regimental colors from capture during the Battle of Gettysburg.
Major Asa M. Cook – first commander Light Artillery Company, 1st Brigade. Served in American Civil War.
Sergeant Michael J. Kelley – While serving with Echo Battery, 101st Field Artillery (TAB) at Camp Salerno, Afghanistan was killed in action on 8 June 2005 after the helicopter landing zone he was working at was hit by rocket fire. He was the first Massachusetts National Guardsman killed in action after the terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001.
Private Walter Brennan, three-time Academy Award–winning actor, served with the 101st in France in World War I.
Ernest R. Redmond, United States Army officer who served with the 101st Field Artillery in World War I and was later Chief of the National Guard Bureau