Published January 22, 2020

WAKEFIELD — Civil War historian Tom A.C. Ellis grew up in Greenwood and lived in Wakefield until he joined the U.S. Army in 1965. He has written a number of books about the connections of various Massachusetts towns to the Civil War, including Marlborough, Hudson, Natick, Hopkinton, Medway and Millis.

Now, he is turning his attention to his old home town of Wakefield. So far, he’s spent one year full-time researching and writing a book on the history of Wakefield’s participation in the Civil War. Over the next several months, he’s hoping to hear from anyone from Wakefield who may have had an ancestor who participated in the Civil War effort.


Ellis’s book will include a full roster and information on men from Wakefield who served in the war as well as Civil War veterans who moved to Wakefield after the war and veterans of the war who lived elsewhere but are buried in Wakefield cemeteries.

The book will include photos of soldiers, histories of the regiments that the men served in and information on casualties. There will be a section on the Richardson Light Guard, as well as a section on the African American regiments and information on men whose service in these black regiments was credited to Wakefield. There will also be a chapter on the contributions of women to the war effort.

Upon his discharge from the United States Army in 1965, Ellis attended Northeastern and Towson State University. He was a board member on Framingham’s Flag Day Celebration Committee for many years. He served veterans at a local outreach center. He served on numerous boards of local service organizations. He spent much time at the Massachusetts Military Archives when it was located in Natick, and was accessible to researchers.

Ellis became involved in Civil War re-enacting after his son expressed an interest at an early age. This gave Ellis the ability to question Civil War re-enactors on their vast knowledge of the war. He eventually became the Adjutant General of the Union and Confederate Volunteers of New England. In that position, he assisted in organizing re-enactments and living history venues. He also was responsible for safety issues during those events.

He was involved in the production of the Civil War movie, “Lady in Black,” as a consultant and advisor regarding authenticity.

Now retired, Ellis finds towns with little history written about their detailed Civil War sacrifices and commits more than a year of his time researching and writing that town’s history. His books serve as a valuable resource for that community now and in the future. It allows the descendants of these brave veterans to gain an understanding of what their forefathers went through. He searches their parents’ names, and mother’s maiden name whenever possible. By citing the sources, there is a path available for deeper exploration by the family.

One of his books, “The Massachusetts Andrew Sharpshooters,” follows two companies from when they left Massachusetts, through their time in the seat of war, until they returned, describing their day to day activities for that period of time. There is detailed historical and genealogical information on every man that served in the Andrew Sharpshooters.

The Metro West Daily News called Ellis’s book “the first in-depth history of two companies of Massachusetts ‘sharpshooters’ whose unsung heroics and improbable adventures have been nearly forgotten.”

Alden “Tom” Ellis’s books are published by Damianos Publishing of Framingham and are available on

Ellis and his wife Pam reside in Medway.

Anyone with ancestor who served or who can help to provide information on Wakefield’s contributions to the Civil War may contact Ellis through his web site at