The 6th Massachusetts Regiment also known as the 4th Continental Regiment was raised on April 23, 1775 under Colonel John Nixon outside of Boston, Massachusetts. The regiment would see action at the Battle of Bunker Hill, New York Campaign, Battle of Trenton, Battle of Princeton and the Battle of Saratoga. The regiment was furloughed June 12, 1783 at West Point, New York and disbanded on November 3, 1783.
During the battle of Bunker Hill the 6th Massachusetts Regiment, under the command of Colonel John Nixon, was positioned in the redoubt on Breeds Hill near Captain Jonathan Brewer and Captain William Prescott regiments. During General William Howe’s first attack on Breed’s Hill, Nixon was wounded and was withdrawn from the battle. The remaining members of the regiment withdrew when the redoubt was overtaken by Howe’s second attack.
The 6th Massachusetts participated in the New York campaign by helping fortify Governors Island in New York Harbor in August 1776. They later fought in the Battle of Harlem Heights and the Battle of Trenton under General Nathanael Greene. The regiment reinforced General Philip Schuyler at Stillwater, New York in July 1777. The 6th Massachusetts composed part of the main body of General Horatio Gates at the Battles of Saratoga.
Peter Salem, a freed African-American slave, served in the regiment from April 24, 1775 to December 31, 1779.
Colonel John Nixon – Commanded the regiment from May 19, 1775 until August 9, 1776 when he was promoted to Brigidier General.
Colonel Thomas Nixon – Brother of John Nixon. Served as Lieutenant Colonel of the 6th Massachusetts from May 19, 1775 until he took command of the regiment on August 6, 1776 and was promoted to Colonel. Retired January 1, 1781.
Lieutenant Colonel Calvin Smith – Commanded the regiment as a Lieutenant Colonel from January 1, 1781 to January 1, 1783.
Colonel Benjamin Tupper – Commanding officer January 1, 1783 until the unit was disbanded on June 12, 1783.
Thomas Barnes- Served as Captain from January 1777 to March 1779 when he was promoted to Major with the 12th Massachusetts.
Richard Buckmaster- Served as Lieutenant, 2d Lieutenant and Captain from December 1775 until his death in November 1779.
William Buckmaster- Served as Lieutenant-Colonel from December 1776 until his death on November 1776.
Japhet Daniels- Served as Captain from January 1777 to June 1783.
Samuel Frost- Served as Sergeant-Major, Ensign, 1st Lieutenant, Captain Lieutenant and Captain from January 1776 to June 1783.
Peter Harwood- Served as Captain and Major from November 1776 until he resigned October 1780.
Benjamin Heywood- Served as Lieutenant, Captain from December 1775 until June 1783.
Abel Holden- Served as Lieutenant and Captain from December 1775 until he resigned May 1781.
John Holden- Served as Captain Lieutenant and Captain from January 1777 until he resigned April 1780.
Calvin Smith- Served as Lieutenant-Colonel from November 1776 to March 1779 and Lieutenant-Colonel Commandant from January 1781 to June 1783.
John Spur- Served as Captain and Major from January 1777 until he retired January 1781.
Joseph Thompson- Served as Captain and Major from January 1776 until he was promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel in the 10th Massachusetts in December 1777.
William Toogood- Served as 1st Liutenant and Captain from January 1776 until he resigned April 1779.
Joseph Butler- Served as a Captain from January 1776 until December 31, 1776.
Jabez Lane – Served as a Captain in Col. Thomas Nixon’s 6th MA Reg., Nixon’s Brigade at Saratoga