Part 3 of 4 Parts
Company K of the 13th Mass was hit pretty hard at Gettysburg on Oak Ridge July 1, 1863.
Sgt. Austin Stearns of Company K wrote:
“The skirmishers in our front commenced a brisk fire when we were ordered to advance into a piece of woods; this we did, and the firing became general in our front.
William R. Warner of Company K, was promoted 2nd Lieutenant the night before the engagement, and attached to Company G. Regarding the battle July 1, he recorded the following in his journal:
"I had thought very little about it, I mean in the matter of dwelling upon it, & dreading it, and when once engaged, had no time to think. My first impulse, was to pick up gun & some cartridges, and I loaded & fired several times. Sergeant Wheeler of Co. K. was almost the first man I saw struck. - He fell over backwards, a ball having ploughed his forehead – About the same moment, six or seven of the tallest men of Co. K, on the right were wounded, Harvey Ross, H. Cutter, John Flye, M. O. Laughlin, Melville Walker.”
Melvin Walker wrote:
Melvin Walker, Pictured right.
Doubtless, Frank Gould, was one of these wounded men and he was probably carried to the Christ Church Hospital, on Chambersburg Street where Austin Stearns found him the next morning.
It is stated that Frank was wounded in the back and hip, which is important to this story, and that he died July 14; the date also being important to this story.
I duly noted the ambiguity of Frank’s final resting place, when I built the ‘Gettysburg Casualties’ page of my website. The tale would have ended there if I had not stumbled upon a reference to the Patriot Daughters of Lancaster County.
To continue with my research of the 13th Mass Vols after the battle, I had to consider that their division and brigade were nearly destroyed in the first day’s fight at Gettysburg.
The 13th Massachusetts Volunteers took 260 men into the conflict on July 1st 1863, and reported only 79 men and 15 officers present the next morning. Primary source material in the regiment was getting scarce. So, going forward with my web history, following the battle, I decided to look to other regiments of their brigade, to fill out the story. For instance, Chaplain F. D. Ward of the 104th NY wrote home to a New York Newspaper, in a letter dated August 12:
“The regiment is at present in command of Col. Prey, Captain and Acting Adjutant Van Dresser, Lieuts. McConnell, Trembley and Richardson, who, with Quartermaster Colt and Dr. Rugg and the Chaplain, constitute the entire field, staff and line force. Nor is this an isolate case. The 16th Maine and 13th Massachusetts, in our brigade, are in no better condition.“
Another source I took for a reference was a letter written by Captain E. D. Roath of the 107th PA Vols.
Roath’s long letter to the “Weekly Mariettian” newspaper, touched on a variety of subjects, but of particular significance to this story, is this passage regarding the Patriot Daughters of Lancaster county.
This passage was just one short part of Capt. Roath’s letter. My immediate concern in positing the lengthy letter on my website, was to find pictures to go with it. The Patriot Daughters seemed like an interesting subject to learn more about, — and hopefully I could find a picture or two related to them to accompany the letter.
My interest was only very general at this point. I had no idea that looking into the Patriot Daughters would lead me back to Christ Church Hospital, and what I think is a detailed description of the last moments of Frank Gould and George Sprague, both of Company K; 13th Massachusetts Volunteers.
To be concluded tomorrow.