Saturday, November 25, 2017

Gettysburg: The Last Moments of Frank Gould; Part 4, Martha Ehler's Memoir

This is the concluding part of 4 parts.  If you haven't read the other parts you can find them at the links provided.

Read Part 1 Here.

Read Part 2 Here.

Read Part 3 Here.


My immediate concern after deciding to use Capt. E. D. Roath’s letter of September 9, 1863, on my website, was to find appropriate pictures to accompany his long text. Searching for information on the Patriot Daughters of Lancaster County brought me to Vince Slaugh’s blog; “Lancaster At War.”

Vince collects primary source material on the 79th PA Vols. of Lancaster County and secondary subjects that support that topic. A post of July, 2013, titled “Donations Collected From Drumore For Patriot Daughters” provided me what I wanted; pictures and biographies of some real members of the Patriot Daughters, and a short description of their work.

Another link on Vince’s site led to a digitized edition of the 1863 memoir titled “Hospital Scenes After The Battle of Gettysburg.” The short booklet was authored by Patriot Daughter Martha Ehler. It was published in August, 1863, as a fund-raiser for the Daughters. In the book, Martha relates some of her experiences as volunteer nurse for 5 weeks, at a Gettysburg Field Hospital.

I was in no hurry to read the booklet, as Captain Roath’s letter caused me to believe the Patriot Daughters serviced several of the many hospital complexes around Gettysburg. Chaplain F. D. Ward, 104th NY, was posted at White Church Hospital in Mount Joy Township. And, it was Ward’s hospital that received supplies from the Patriot Daughters, as mentioned in Capt. Roath’s letter. But I was mistaken. It turned out that the Daughters shared their supplies with all who applied for assistance, but Martha did her 5 week stint as a nurse at Christ Church hospital on Chambersburg Street, where several wounded soldiers of the 13th Mass were sheltered.

In her memoirs Martha wrote:

“We had until now, no systematic plan of action. All of us agreed that it would be better, if possible, to take the entire charge of one Hospital, and as all the Church Hospitals were sadly in want of care, our only difficulty was to decide which should fall to our lot. — Providence decided the point for us, for the only rooms we could obtain, were directly opposite Christ Church, the College Church, which had been occupied since the first day’s battle, by the 1st corps, 2nd division, (Gen. Reynolds’ men) designated by the white lozenge on a red flag.”

“…We had by tacit agreement arranged that some of us should cook, and prepare delicacies for the sick, while the rest should undertake the nursing. I was one of those upon whom the latter duty devolved. With what trepidation I crossed the street, for the first time, to enter the scene of so much sorrow and anguish, may be more easily imagined than described. Had I stopped one moment to think, my courage would have failed, I would have turned back, but I did not. I walked up to the Hospital steward and told him that it was probable that we should be associated together in our duties for some weeks, and asked him what his patients most needed; his reply, was “everything.” “These men are now lying with the exception of having their wounds dressed, as they were brought in from the battle-field.” Some were on a little straw, while most of them had nothing between them and the hard boards, but their old thin, war-worn blankets; the more fortunate ones with their knapsacks under their heads. And when you think that they were almost without exception, serious amputation cases, what must have been their sufferings. I went back to the rooms, and we all commenced assorting the pillows, shirts, sheets, &c. sending at the same time to the Commissary for some bed sacks, which the men attendants filled with straw.

When our patients were washed and dressed, and placed in their new beds, with a fresh white pillow under their heads, and a sheet thrown over them, they looked their gratitude, which was more eloquent than words. One of us handed them each a handkerchief wet with cologne, and we left them to make arrangements for their supper. Already was it in progress; the tea was already made, and the butter toast making on the stove, and with some nice jelly, kindly sent by those at home, the supper was complete; we took it over and gave it to each. Many having lost their right arm, had to be fed; while some, tempting though the meal was, were too sick to partake of it; all however, even those suffering worst, thanked us over and over again, and could scarcely be made to believe that we were to remain some weeks here, and that they were to be our special care. They all said that they had never met with such kindness, and that that meal had been the first glimpse of home life they had enjoyed since they entered the service two years ago. Thus ended our first day’s experience in our new and trying vocation; it was, however simply a beginning; we had only cared for those in the basement of the Church, (forty in number) while above, were a hundred more waiting for our services on the morrow.”

I have in my library a booklet published by Christ Lutheran Church titled “A Sanctuary For The Wounded.” The church is very active in remembering its history. On weekends the church presents a program titled “Songs and Stories of a Civil War Hospital, Candlelight at Christ Church”

Nurse Martha Ehler is quoted heavily in both the booklet of remembrance and the musical program. Reading Martha’s memoirs of August, 1863, I suddenly made the connection, between the Patriot Daughters of Lancaster County, and the nurses narrative I had read about in the Church booklet.  I also have a recording of the Candlelight at Christ program.  But I had never been able to place a name to any “specific” soldiers in these accounts. The stories were usually generalized. But in her memoirs, Martha does get around to mentioning a few specific cases. Something struck me in particular in one of these passages.

Martha mentions the date July 16. That is the muster in date of the 13th Mass. Vols. at Fort Independence, in 1861.

Keep in mind, when reading the following narrative, that Frank A. Gould, Co. K, 13th Mass. was wounded in the hip and back. His mother lived in Southboro, Mass. and family lore claims it was she who brought her son’s body home to be buried there.

Also, that George E. Sprague, of the same regiment and company, was wounded in the chest, or lungs. Sprague had a wife and son back home.

And, that the two comrades died one day after the other, Frank going first.  [Below is a cropped photo of a Carte deVisite of Francis Gould, Co. K, 13th MA.]

Martha wrote:

“I recollect particularly being called about this time to minister to the wants of a young New England soldier; I had taken care of him in a general way with the others, but did not know of his dangerous condition until one of his friends called my attention to him. I saw that he was very low, and he must have noticed by the expression of my face, that I regarded his case as hopeless. As soon as I came to him he said, “write your name on this piece of paper for me, and if I live I want it, if I die, send it to my mother, and tell her that though far away in Pennsylvania, I have found those who have been as kind to me as sister or mother.” “And, now,” said he, in the most solemn and searching manner, “must I die?”

I told him I feared it must be so. “Do not fear,” he exclaimed, ‘ ‘ to tell me the truth, for when I entered the army, I made up my mind that a man was not worthy to live, who for fear of death, shuns his country’s cause. I am willing to die, and join the ranks of those who have already gone, for it is glorious to die for one’s country.” He said he knew in whom he trusted; that religion was no new thing to him; he had a good, praying mother, and though the temptations were great in the army, yet for her sake, he had tried to do right. He then uttered a prayer for the loved ones at home, for his comrades, who stood around, and invoked God’s blessing on those who ministered to him. For some time he was quiet, and after having taken some nourishment, he asked me what day of the month it was? I told him the 16th of July. “Then,” said he, “it is two years since I enlisted, and one year from to-day my term of service will expire;” adding in the most submissive manner, “and sooner, if it the Lord’s will.” After a short interval he said, “see that I am decently buried, and may God for Christ’s sake have mercy on us all.” The light fled from his eye, the color from his cheeks, and then his parched lips only uttered confused sounds.

Around him, bathed in tears, stood the companions of many long marches, and hard fought battles, and by his side his nearest friend, who had shared his test since the commencement of the war. He was shot through the lungs, and lay but a short distance from him; he had scarcely been able to move since he was brought in from the battle-field, yet hearing his friend was dying, he insisted on going to him. I remonstrated, but to no purpose, and I was not surprised, when, after performing the last sad offices for his friend, I was sent for to attend to him. On returning to his bed he had immediately had a hemorrhage, and in about two hours he too was a corpse. Calmly he fell asleep, leaving kind messages for his wife and children at home.

Thus in life, these two noble men had been devoted friends, and in death they were not divided. I kept my promise, and saw them properly buried. Hitherto those who died, had been wrapped in their war-worn blankets, but their companions made them each rude coffins, and a sad and serious gathering followed them to their last home. The relentless grave has closed over them, and the grass waves silently over their resting place; and when in after days we visited the spot, we placed on each a few summer flowers.” *

The story of how the photo of Frank Gould above, came to me,  is in itself a story.  It was shared with me by an extraordinarily generous collector who read these posts, and was appreciative enough to contact me to share this rare image that happened to be in his collection !

Francis A. Gould is reported to have died, July 14. George E. Sprague, is reported to have died on July 15. Both are listed as having been buried, in the Presbyterian Church Graveyard on their records of death.

Although the recorded dates of death are off a bit, I believe Martha was describing the last moments of these two comrades, (both mustered into service July 16, 1861),  who died a day apart.  In checking a list of known soldiers who died at Christ Church, provided to me by one of the participants in the Candlelight service, I find only Frank, and George, who belong to the same Regiment and Company, who died a day apart, during the time nurse Ehler was working at the church.

The significance of July 16, to the story, re-enforces this idea, but it is by no means conclusive. This list of soldier who died at the church is incomplete at best. But the coincidental evidence is strong. And, so far, I have not found another unit known to have been at the hospital with a July 16, 1861 muster in date.

For the record, here is a list of other 13th Mass soldiers known to have died at the Church Hospital. Records are from the 13th Mass roster, with notes from Christ Church.

Edward Church; age, 28; born, Derby, Conn.; carpenter; mustered in as private, Company E, July 16, 1861; killed July 3, 1863. Wounded in the left shoulder and chest. Died at Christ Church, (roster says July 3rd) 28 years old.

Horatio A. Cutting; age 44; born, Attleboro, Mass.; bootmaker; muster in as private, Company K, August 1, 1862; died of wounds received at Gettysburg, July 22, 1863. Shot in head, Died at Fort Schuyler, NY July 22d.

Prince A. Dunton; age 20, born, Hope, Maine; farmer; mustered in as private, Company H, July 16, 1861; died of wounds received July 1, 1863. Shot in the right hip and foot. Died July 1st or July 8.

Edwin Field; age, 20; born, Chelsea, Mass. clerk; mustered in as private, Company B, July 16, 1861; killed, July 1, 1863. Shot in left lung on July 1st Died at Christ Church July 2nd or 3.

John Flye; age, 29; born, New Portland, Maine; blacksmith; mustered in as private, Company K, July 16, 1861; died of wounds received at Gettysburg, July 26, 1863. Wounded severely in the leg and captured. The Confederate who captured him exchanged his own worn out gray pants for Flye’s blue pair.

Frank A. Gould; age, 20; born, Clinton, Mass; mechanic; mustered in as private, Company K, July 16, 1861; died of wounds received at Gettysburg, July 1, 1863. Wounded in hip. Died at Christ Church July 14th.

Michael O’laughlin; age, 21; born, Ireland; shoemaker; mustered in as private, Company K, July 16, 1861; died of wounds received at Gettysburg, October 8, 1863. Left leg fractured. Pleaded not to have the leg amputated because of his aged mother who was dependent upon him. The leg was removed but he died Nov. 8, at camp Letterman. Single, shoemaker.

George E. Sprague; age 27; born, Grafton, Mass.; shoemaker; mustered in as private, Company K, July 16, 1861; died of wounds received at Gettysburg, July 15, 1863. Shot in the right lung and forearm.

Martha Ehler recorded the dying moments of several brave soldiers in her memoirs. I believe this particular case is that of 13th Mass soldier Francis A. Gould, and his comrade in arms, George E. Sprague.

*This passage begins on page 20 of Martha's book.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Gettysburg, The Last Moments of Frank Gould - Part 3

This post is part 3 of 4 parts.  If you have not read the other parts you can access them at the links below.

Read Part 1 here.

Read Part 2 here.

Read Part 4, the conclusion, here.

Part 3.

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.

"In advancing up, being near the turn in the line, the farther we advanced the greater would be the gap between the two regiments until there was quite a space, the other regiment partially facing the other way. On our left but a little ways off was a little hill, or knoll; this was occupied by the rebels, [who] seeing our exposed position fired directly down our line. This was a most fatal fire for us. Many of our brave boys fell at this time; we being so briskly engaged with those in front we had not noticed them till we received their fire. My place being near the right of the company, I turned to see what had been the effect on old K. The first thing I saw was Sergeant Wheeler laying on the ground but a short distance away. There being so much noise and din, I could not tell by looking at him how bad he was hurt, for I could hear no sound. I went up and spoke to him, but received no answer. I saw that he was shot through the head, the bullet striking him in the left temple, and the blood and brains were oozeing out.”

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:

“Passing through the woods, we attempted to form a line at a stone wall – possibly we were halted there a few moments to allow stragglers to get up – then across an open field to another piece of woods, and hardly before we could realize it we were in the midst of a battle.

"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:

“My position in the ranks was on the right of my Company K, which was on the left of the regiment.  Of the first eight men four were mortally and three severely wounded.  I was so fortunate as to be carried off the field by two comrades of the Twelfth Massachusetts, which regiment had just been relieved and was moving to the rear.”

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 950 who passed through Washington sixteen months ago, are reduced to less than 90 !  And where are the absent ones ?  At Gettysburg 25 officers and privates were killed;  86 wounded;  94 prisoners and missing.  Total, 205.  At Bull Run, Antietam and Fredericksburg this “cruel war” found victims from among us.  A letter just in from Capt. Geo. Starr, of your city, now a prisoner at Libby Prison, Richmond, informs us that nine of the 104th are confined there — the prospect of an exchange at present not being favorable.

“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.

“The 104th N.Y. Volunteers is attached to our brigade; they received their initiative with us at Cedar Mountain ; they have participated with us at Rappahannock, Thoroughfare Gap, Bull Run, Chantilly, South Mountain, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville and Gettysburg; as soon as they crossed the Pennsylvania line, up went cheer after cheer for the Old Keystone, with a determination that the rebels must be driven from its soil;  and their conduct on the 1st, 2d, 3d and 4th days of July, in battle, confirmed their determination; the regiment suffered;  their wounded were placed in a hospital about four miles from the town ;  they were in want of the necessaries of life and comfort; fortunately that hospital and the wants of the suffering was suppled by the Patriot Daughters.  When the wounded and sick were informed that these comforts had been furnished by the Patriot Daughters of Lancaster county, tears of gratitude could be seen standing in the eyes of these bronzed veterans. Three cheers were given of God bless the Patriot Daughters of Lancaster county, for their act of kindness and help.  Dr. Ward, their Chaplain, then offered up a prayer, in which he kindly remembered the Daughters;  asking God’s blessing for them, and for Him to crown their efforts in the good work they have undertaken for the comforts of the soldier, and as a reward for their services in the righteous cause of humanity, they might enjoy a blessed immortality hereafter.  I felt that I was from Lancaster county, and such heart-felt expressions from strangers in praise of the ladies of my county, made me feel doubly proud.  The daughters’ work is developing itself; many suffering soldiers are made comfortable and buoyant with the oil and food of kindness sent by those ministering angels among them.  It is the soldier that can duly appreciate their works — and may they never be found wanting.”

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.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Gettysburg: The Last Moments of Frank Gould, Part 2

This story is divided into 4 parts.   This is part 2 of 4.  You can access the rest of the story at the links below.

Read Part 1 here.

Read Part 3 here.

Read Part 4, the conclusion, here.

PART 2 - A Letter from Frank is Discovered

Seven years after my initial contact with Frank Gould's descendant "Nate," a letter written by Frank surfaced.  A collector friend of mine came upon it while corresponding with a colleague, who previously owned the item, then sold his collection to a Gettysburg Civil War artifacts dealer.  The former owner,  Mr. McHugh, really did his research and wrote up a profile of all the principal people mentioned in the letter, including Frank.

Here are Mr. McHugh’s notes followed by Frank’s letter:

Francis A. Gould, private, Company K, 13th Massachusetts Infantry, enlisted 7/16/61 and mustered 7/19/61, residence Southborough, age 20, mechanic, wounded in hip, 7/1/63 Gettysburg, PA and died of wounds 7/14/63 in hospital at Gettysburg, PA, born Clinton, MA, buried A-36 Massachusetts Plot, Gettysburg National Cemetery. (note: This is disputed and Frank is said to be interred at Southboro, MA —B.F.).

Joseph H. Hapgood, private, Company A, 15th Massachusetts Infantry, enlisted and mustered 7/24/61, residence Sterling, age 22, farmer, wounded 10/21/61, Ball’s Bluff, VA, transferred out 10/9/63 into 28th Company, Veteran Reserve Corps, 2nd Battalion, mustered out 7/19/64.

Luther M. Hapgood (this is the Uncle Luther who is the “replacement” for Joseph), private, Company A, 15th Massachusetts Infantry, enlisted and mustered 12/15/61, residence Leominster, age 42, farmer, discharged for disability 11/10/62.

Luther S. Hapgood (my guess is that the “S” stands for Sawyer as mentioned in the letter), private, Company A, 15th Massachusetts Infantry, enlisted and mustered 7/12/61, residence, Sterling, MA, age 24, farmer, POW 10/21/61 Ball’s Bluff, VA (gained), discharged for disability 10/30/62.

Luther S. Hapgood, private, Company K, 4th Massachusetts Heavy Artillery, mustered out 6/17/65 Washington, DC, born Sterling, MA, member GAR Post #53 in Leominster, MA, died 11/17/1923.

The letter was written in December, 1861, after six months service in the field picketing the Potomac River from Harper’s Ferry to Sharpsburg.  Company K had seen a little action by then, and Frank sums up his six months with the regiment pretty accurately.

Head Quarters 13th regt Mass Vol
Williamsport Md

Camp Jackson, Dec.29 1861

Dear Uncle and Aunt
As I have an optunity to wright a few lines I will improve it by writing to you. I have been thinking of righting to you for a long time but have not seen eny good chance before now. I left West Boylston the first of last April and went down home to Southboro. I staid at home Just a week. When I enlisted into the Company at Westboro, We drilled every day for 7 or 8 weeks when we was attached to the 13 regt. Col. Leonard at Fort - Independence The 29 of June we went to the Fort in Boston Harbor. We staid their first one month when we started for the seat of war. We [went] to Worcester by rail from their to New York from their to Philadelphia from their to Haggerstown Md Where we put up our tents and staid over night We started from their and went to Sharpsburg the distance being 15 miles we walked. it was our first march and we thought that we had a pretty hard time of it We staid at Sharpsburg a bout four weeks guarding the Potomac river to keep the Rebels from crossing the river. We left Sharpsburg and went to Middletown We staid their over night when we started for Harpers Ferry We staid their 10 weeks guarding the river as before H-Ferry is situated on the banks of the Potomac, but it is almost entirely distroyed by fire by Gen, Johnson it was government property so the rebels destroyed most of it when we left their we came to Williamsport where we still remain it is 27 miles from here to harpers Ferry to Williamsport We have been here nine weeks We are still quartered in our tents We have been in four or five skirmishes We have lost 7 or 8 men from our regt We had a brisk skirmish at the Ferry with a lot of rebel Cavalry We had six riffled cannons with us We drove the rebels of and come of Victorious We had four of our men killed in that battle.*

Williamsport is a large and beautiful town situated on the banks of the river the town is a secesh town and it is under a martial law our Col. is actin a Brigadere General now We have here in this camp at the present time the Maryland first regt the Indiana 12 the Ilinois Second the Mass, 13 regt eight Hundred Cavalry the Philadelphia batery of riffled cannons Bess's batery of Regulars is here. We are all in one camp and all are under our Col. his name is S.H. Leonard, We all like him very much. I have a letter from home quite often the folks are all well now but the two youngest have had the whooping Cough Hattie is still in Northboro running a Stiching machien in the same place where She has been for onne year and a half She is doing pretty well their  Addie is in Southboro doing house work She is well last Tuesday I received a letter from Charlotte Hapgood She said the folks wer all well at home except Joseph You have of course herd of his case. he was wounded at Balls Bluff uncle Luther Hapgood has gone to take his place I should not of thought he would of gone. Sawyer was taken prisoner and is at richmond Va I am sorry for him.

The fleet ther has gone down South does not seem to be doing much at the present time but it has been a terrible blow for the South. our forces have done a good thing in Missouri it is the greatest Victory we have had What do you think of the Mason and Slidell affair - Uncle. We do not think that England will interfear with the case What do you think a bout I do not think that the government will let them go. I hope that they will not for I think that they had better hang them then to let them go dont you think so. I think if England keeps still we will give these rebels all they want next Summer if not before I think by the way things look now that next Summer will tell the story Well as it is getting late I shall have to close

Please Except this from your Nephew
Francis A. Gould

I should be very much pleased to have you
answer This for I would like to hear
from you
Direct To
Frank A. Gould
Co. K 13th Mass Vol
Williamsport Md
Camp Jackson

*Battle of Bolivar Heights, October 16, 1861.  The killed were men from the 3rd Wisconsin.

The letter above gave a little insight into Frank Gould the person.  He wasn’t just a name any more.  I passed the letter on to Nate, Frank’s descendant, who told me it informed him of several other ‘relatives,’ the Hapgoods, he hadn’t  known about.  It was a bit more family history to look into.

I figure if there is one letter out there, there are surely more, and hope someday more of Frank Gould’s letters come to light.

To be continued.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Gettysburg: The Last Moments of Frank Gould; Part 1

The following story is serialized, in 4 parts, to better represent events as they unfolded.  This is Part 1.   The rest will follow daily, over the holiday.  It is a sad story but one I am grateful to be able to tell.

Happy Thanksgiving !

You can read part 2 here.

Read Part 3 here.

Read Part 4, the conclusion, here.


Nate contacted me shortly after I volunteered to be a helpful resource for people interested in the 13th Mass regiment.   This was long before my friend and fellow 13th Mass. researcher, Greg Dowden, conceived our regimental website,   I had signed onto a reference/database site now defunct, called "Civil War Units," which I believe, was maintained by LSU, and Nate was one of my earliest contacts.

He was himself a Civil War re-enactor, with the 1st New Hampshire Cavalry, and was skilled at riding and shooting.  Connections to other ancestors who fought and died in the Civil War had planted the ‘bug’ early in his life.

His ancestor Francis A. Gould of Company K, was killed at Gettysburg.    Family lore held that Frank was wounded July 1, 1863, at Gettysburg.   The official record according to Nate, is that “he was wounded in the hip, lay in the field into the night, was removed to a field hospital and there died the next day.     …He is buried in Southboro, Massachusetts.”  Some other reports were contradictory and said Gould died July 1st.   Nate was looking for clarification of the family history.

The roster in the Regimental history only states that Frank Gould, “died of wounds received July 1, 1863.”

He was extremely happy to learn from me,  about Austin Stearns's published memoirs, “Three Years with Company K,”  and immediately purchased a copy.   In his memoirs, Sergeant  Stearns writes that he found Frank Gould, one of the wounded of Company K, interred at the Church Hospital on Chambersburg Street.   On the morning of July 2nd, after sharing a meagre breakfast with a friend,  Stearns’s wrote:

“I then went into the church to see the boys.  I found there in addition to Ross, Serg’t M.H. Walker wounded in foot, Privates G. E. Sprague in chest, M. O’Laughlin, in knee, Frank Gould in hip and back, Horatio Cutting in head, Albion Vining in foot.  Cutting, Gould, O’Laughlin, and Sprague all died in a few days. All the boys were in as good spirits as could be expected, and were all pleased to know that the old flag was still in sight. With the exception of Ross they were all in the same room, the vestibule of the church.”

This at least confirms Frank lived a short while beyond his wounding July 1st.

Nate was naturally very excited to get this bit of information, as he had no idea of being so successful in his query.   At the time we were both well pleased.   Information on soldiers, from primary sources,  is not always that readily available!   This all happened  in April, 2001.

Where is Frank really buried? That is the 2nd part of the mystery.

There is a stone marker with his name in the Massachusetts section of the National Cemetery at Gettysburg, [pictured, below]  but family lore says he is buried in Southboro, Massachusetts.    Nate told me he had been there and seen the grave.   I confirmed this report many years later when I was working on the "Gettysburg Casualties" page of my website,

 On October 12, 2016, I called the Southborough Rural Cemetery, in Worcester County, Mass.  They have in their records Frank A. Gould, who was interred at the cemetery July 14, 1863; Section 3, Lot 20.

I included this information on the “Gettysburg Casualties” page of my website, and figured I had done a pretty good job with the story but there was surprisingly, more to come.  Some of it truly remarkable.

To be continued...

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Thoughts on 2nd Bull Run and the mystery of William H. Baker's death

155th Anniversary

On Saturday, August 26, I travelled up to Manassas to tour Chinn Ridge with a park historian for the 155th Anniversary of the battle of 2nd Bull Run.  The walk was to cover the Union armies defense of the ridge, as well as the progress of Longstreet’s massive flank attack that drove the Federals off of it on August 30, 1862.  During the fight, the Federals on the ridge were surrounded on three sides, and outnumbered by at least 3 to 1. The 13th Regiment lost 48 killed, of about 500 soldiers present at this action, -- the first active fighting in a major battle during their service.  It had been a long time to wait considering they had mustered in more than a year earlier.  As Austin Stearns described it,

"...we went through a field and up  a slight elevation and there was a sight to behold.  Longstreets corps was advancing in line of battle or in lines, for there was three or four, and to our eyes the field was full of men.  Firing immediately commenced, not only with us but all along the line by both sides; men commenced to fall;  ...On, still on, came the heavy lines of Longstreet's Command; no single line could stop them long, and gradually our line was being forced back, although we gave them a brave resistance and contested every inch of ground..."
After this fiasco the men were less anxious than before to see action than they had been prior to this "scrap,"— as some called it.

I was joined at the battlefield walk by a fellow researcher; renowned in the field of photographic jewelry and other topics, and on both of our minds that day was the story of 13th Mass soldier William Henry Baker, of Weymouth.

My colleague's interest in Baker began with the purchase of a 19th century sewing box, exquisitely built, with a note inside proclaiming it the handy work of William Henry Baker.

Baker, born March 23, 1842,  delayed a Harvard education to enlist as a recruit in the 13th Mass. Vols. the summer of ’62.  He was a talented young man, 5’8” tall, blond hair and blue eyes,  already accomplished for his skill in woodworking and other crafts. Unfortunately I don't have his photograph.

Remarkably, Baker’s 1860 diary exists in the collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society, and it documents his progress on the box.

"February 16, 1861.  “Worked on boxes for ambrotype taken.  Am going to have photographs taken.”
February 21, 1861. “Got my pictures this eve.”
My friend has done extensive research on the box and Baker.  William Henry as he liked to be called, was close to his sister Mary Ellen, who liked to sew, and it is supposed the box was intended to be used for her sewing kit.

  His other activities included school, reading, studying, attending temperance meetings, debate clubs, patriotic recruitment meetings, and woodworking.

He was accepted to the Freshman Class at Harvard University, slated to begin his studies on August 5, 1862, for which  he had prepped for months.  Harvard University Faculty records of a Special Meeting held, July 15, 1862 list the names of new students, and includes a  later update that lists at least 5 out of 55 total, including Baker, who did not show up. William Henry Baker chose to enlist instead!

Mary Ellen Baker, his younger sister was engaged to marry Captain Elliot C. Pierce; a conspicuous member of the Field & Staff of the 13th Mass.  Elliot joined the regiment at Fort Independence, Boston, rather too late to gain an officer’s commission.  But he was a friend of Colonel Leonard, and quickly advanced from Sergeant-Major to 1st Lieutenant, Company H, in early 1862, and Captain of that company very soon after.  Favoritism was suspected among the 10 Second-Lieutenants in line of promotion, that Eliot ‘jumped’ over.  Yet, it was agreed he was a good man, and he made an enviable military service record with the regiment. You can read more about him here.

Did William Henry’s relationship to Elliot influence his decision to enlist, or was it simply the patriotic fervor of the time that motivated him, or was it both?  Patriotic speeches and rallies were prevalent in the summer of '62.  The biography of Samuel S. Gould, another remarkable young man from Harvard, who joined the 13th Mass concurrently with Baker, states he [Gould] was very active at war rallies, encouraging his peers to enlist.  You can read about Gould here.  
 The recruits arrived in two groups.  Baker was in the first group of about 70 men that unfortunately arrived at the regiments' campground on Monday, August 18, 1862;  for this was the day that commanding General John Pope, learned the enemy across the Rapidan River had been heavily re-enforced and was planning an attack.  His army was in a trap and he had better make tracks or risk annihilation. Just as the recruits were meeting their new comrades in arms, orders came to march.  Fellow recruit, Clarence Bell gives an inside look at the passing scenes in his post-war memoir.

“As we marched into camp the Thirteenth boys came out from their tents to greet and welcome us to the field. All seemed heartily glad to see us, nearly every one of us finding acquaintances, school-mates or former "chums" in the ranks. The Regimental Band gave us a harmonious reception and Chaplain Gaylord welcomed us on behalf of the Colonel. Among other words of advice he cautioned us to beware of the wiley veterans and not allow them to "play points" on us; that our bright new dippers were very attractive to their eyes and might tempt them to make invidious suggestions of barter.
The recruits were, generally, permitted to select the companies to which they wished to be assigned, and the squad having been thus distributed, all began to adjust themselves to the new conditions.
"We were just beginning to be rested and fairly comfortable when orders came to strike camp and make ready for marching. It took but a few minutes to level the tents, or ponchoes, and, while waiting for further orders we cooked suppers and "turned in" near the camp fire and slept till about eleven o'clock. We left camp and after marching a few miles, halted on a muddy road, where we remained till morning, getting no sleep, for we expected the word "forward" every moment. The boys built fires, made coffee and with the ever ready pipe, stories, jokes and witty sayings the night was passed. Next morning we began the famous "masterly retreat” of Major-General John Pope. We passed through Culpeper and continued our march, with occasional rests, till nine o'clock P.M., when we arrived at Rappahannock Station; crossed the railroad bridge and after some maneuvering  went into camp. It was a hard march, especially for those who were so unaccustomed to it, the most tiring part of which occurred after dark, when obstacles in the road were invisible, causing us to stumble over stumps or stones, compelling frequent and somewhat strong expletives.
"At noon the regiment crossed the river and formed in line of battle, while the recruits were ordered to remain in the rear, where beneath the trees we passed the night somewhat anxiously. We were not to be engaged in battle (if one took place) except in case of need. Our number was insignificantly small, we were totally inexperienced and none had received arms, equipments or ammunition, yet many were anxious to take part, while several volunteered to assist in supporting and working the batteries.”
The recruits continued to suffer along with the veterans through General Pope’s bungling helter-skelter marches of the next two weeks, always in fits and starts, and with little to no food or rest, until the climatic battle of Second Manassas signaled the end of the campaign.  Baker was killed in the battle.  How and why Baker was caught in the action is unknown, as Clarence Bell wrote, the unarmed recruits were not yet required to fight.

“With an early start next morning we continued march till eight P.M., when we camped near the old battlefield of Bull Run. August 30th in column we moved forward a short distance, when we entered a grove and deposited our knapsacks for safe (?) keeping.  In the afternoon the Brigade advanced and ascended the hill on our left. The recruits (who had not as yet been supplied with arms or accoutrements) kept up with the regiment until reaching the brow of the hill, when the attack of the enemy became so hot that all were obliged to drop for safety. As the shot and shell came thicker and faster the recruits returned down the hill, when we were challenged several times by mounted rear guards and ordered to return to our regiment, but our explanation that we were "raw recruits" without arms or equipments, and our new appearance confirming our statement, we were permitted to pass; furthermore, in the intense excitement prevalent at the moment, orders could not be, or were not strictly enforced. We "retired in good order," getting out of the range of the messengers of death that whizzed and buzzed over our heads and about us."

Neither my colleague nor I, have found any details on Baker’s death.  The only ominous hint of it occurs in a letter written by her brother's friend, William Clark to Mary Ellen Baker, regarding her fiancĂ©’s wound.  Elliot Clark Pierce was wounded August 30, just above the left hip bone and was left untreated until the 31st.  He was sent to Burrows (Metropolitan)  Hotel in Washington and attended by Surgeon Clymer of the 13th Mass. Volunteers.  William Clark wrote:

Browns Hotel, Washington

Noon.  Thursday Sept 4th 1862
Miss Mary E. Baker,
I arrived here this morning at 8 o’clock.  Eliot is quite comfortable, being without fever since last evening – and having good quarters and attendance.  His wound is in an uncomfortable place on the left side where every motion of his body hurts him.  On my entrance to his room this morning I found him sitting upon the edge of the bed..  He is in excellent spirits and I shall use my best efforts to obtain a pass from the Provost Marshall to enable him to get home.  I learn with much regret that among the missing is the name of your brother, he is not wounded or killed, as all of both are accounted for.  He will probably come in either as a straggler or paroled prisoner.  Every hour brings them to light.

If I am able, it will be my plan to get to South Braintree by Sunday Morning train.  With regards to your mother + sister, to Mr. and Mrs. Pierce, your friend and servant,
William L. Clark

 Pierce returned home to recuperate, and married Mary Ellen on October 29, 1862.  Baker, of course, never came in. He is buried in Weymouth at Village Cemetery, the same place where Elliot was laid to rest many years later.  Baker was one casualty among many.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Battle of Cedar Mountain - They trailed Arms


The 155th anniversary of the Battle of Cedar Mountain is August 9th 2017.  I've always wanted to re-build / update the page on my website for this action, as I have much more material now than I did when I posted that page several years ago; but like many other things I've wanted to add to the site, I just haven't got around to it yet.  The reason is I want to keep pressing ahead with the regiment's history, rather than return to periods  I've already covered, at least in some detail.

This is a long introduction.

So, appropriately, to mark the anniversary of the battle, I'm posting this article about the 13th Mass at Cedar Mountain; one of the favorite ones I've come across since building the page for my website.

Pictured is the ridge the 13th Mass marched behind as told in this story.  Federal artillery was posted on the hill, center, right.  Click to view larger.

July 3, 1891.


Quick Wit Saved Many Lives at Gettysburg. (should read 'Cedar Mountain' – B.F.)

Boys of the Old 13th Massachusetts Slid in Under the Moonlight.

Gen. Samuel H. Leonard – “Killed, Wounded, Missing,” Tells Story.

“It is a singular experience in one man’s life.” Said the veteran, with a smile at Young’s on Wednesday. “But just 28 years ago today I was reported here in Boston, ‘Killed, wounded, missing,’ all three in one. The telegraph did it, I suppose. Nobody else could. I was then at Gettysburg.”

Those who remember those fateful three days 28 years ago will well understand the grimness of the veteran’s remark. He spoke of the first Gettysburg day. I myself vividly call to mind the circumstances attending the reception of President Lincoln’s dispatch assuring the country, in his guarded phraseology, that from what he had heard from the front, all had gone well with our arms.

I was a boy then, and stood in front of the Parker house when that dispatch was read. There was no cheering among the crowd of anxious men, but everybody, as I remember, went to their Fourth of July dinner with a better appetite than they had for about two years.

“But,” I asked the general, “how about that episode at Cedar mountain, where the 13th Massachusetts was reported as ‘all correct’ - with none killed, wounded or missing, and for which your commanding general, Hartsuff, called you to account. I have for years desired that you should explain to the public your conduct on that occasion.”

“Oh, well, there is so much that has been written, and I suppose will still be written about the war, that what I have to say won’t count.”

“But I want to know the true facts, and this is a good time to tell them.”

Re-enactors on the Battlefield, August 5, 2017.

The veteran then considered a moment and at last said:

“This is the anniversary of my death, my wounds and – am I missing? (Then he smiled.) That being so I will tell you.

“At Cedar Mountain I was in command of the 13th Massachusetts regiment. The boys were all in good trim and ready to fight. We were in the rear of the 12th Massachusetts (Fletcher Webster’s). There was heavy firing on our front, and I noticed that the aim of the rebels was almost too accurate.

“Right on a knoll directly in our front was where Capt. N. B. Shurtleff, Jr., of the 12th Massachusetts, after telling the boys of his company to lie low and keep quiet, raised himself on his arm to see whether they obeyed orders, when a bullet pierced his heart and he died then and there. He was one of the noblest smartest, and best of all the Boston boys who went to the war.”

It wasn’t a tear, but I really saw a gleam in the general’s eye as he said this. It was almost a tear.

“But what about your part in it, general?”

“Well, I saw the moonlight glistening on a lot of other guns and bayonets to my right and left, which gave the very mark the enemy were firing at. I didn’t know then, as I remember of Shurtleff’s death, but taking in the situation, I instinctively gave the order of command, “Trail arms!” and not a glistening bayonet of the old 13th did the enemy see that night. We did trail arms. My command went quietly to the front and occupied the ground assigned, and not a bullet struck one of my men.”

“I have read that your were called before your next superior officer, Gen. Hartsuff, who was at first dissatisfied with your report the next morning, which was “all present for duty; no casualties.”

“Yes, I was.”

“Will you please tell me about that?”

The general stroked his beard for a moment and then slowly said:

“Hartsuff was not only one of the best men, but one of the best officers I ever knew. I think he had reason to believe me when I told him the truth, but still when he got my first report he was, well, not non-plussed, but incredulous.

Confederate artillery was posted on the bare hill above the trucks pictured.

“When the order came direct, ‘The general commanding your brigade desires a correct report from Col. Leonard of the 13th Massachusetts Regiment.’ I didn’t feel hurt, because I felt secure and knew that I had not only done right, but had saved my men’s lives and perhaps my own.

“My answer simply was, “’Col. Leonard’s report is correct as first given.’”

“That settled it, of course general?”

“Well, no that didn’t settle it. I was ordered to headquarters to report personally to my brigade-commander, just as soon as the aide could go and come.”

“I went, and Gen. Hartsuff, generally cheerful and confiding, asked me somewhat severely, ‘How does it happen, colonel, that while at the very front last night, while all the regimental commanders in this brigade reported, ‘Killed, wounded and missing,’ you report your own command intact?’

“That is so, general.’ I responded.

“But how did it happen?’

“I then quietly said, as near as I remember, with the moon shining on the glistening guns and bayonets to give a mark for the rebs to shoot at, I simply shouted to my boys, ‘Trail arms!’ and they all trailed.

“Gen. Hartsuff, at that, took a step backward, turned round, and with a smile of satisfaction I shall never forget, simply said, ‘Col. Leonard, you did d--- well! I’ve no fault to find!’”

The writer of this is no stranger to the boys of the 13th Massachusetts Regiment. Right from that very battlefield, and almost among the dead and the dying, an old chum, a private in Company D, wrote this to him, just after the battle (the next day); “We got out of it nicely last night. I think if they had seen our bayonets they would have hit us hard, and perhaps I wouldn’t be writing to you now.”

I have always remembered the words of that private soldier, in the days gone by one of my intimate friends. I have always remembered that little circumstance which saved, probably his own and many other lives in that hard battle.

Capt. Shurtleff, who was so unfortunately killed in Col. Leonard’s front, was one of the brainiest young men who went to the war from Boston. Although only 24 at the time of his death he was already an orator, and had in him not only the making of an ordinary man, but, as I remember his speech to Faneuil Hall just before he went to his death, the qualities of a statesman.

He belongs with Shaw and Lowell and Putnam and Winthrop. Let his name, too, be remembered.

I violate no confidence when I state that for at least 10 years the request has stood from me to Gen. Samuel H. Leonard that I should be permitted to write for publication this little item in his military experience.

And he only consented when I found him missing thus: “Twenty-eight years ago today I was reported killed, wounded and missing.”

He is still one of the youngest of our veterans.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Making Tracks in the Footsteps of the 13th Mass.

Road Trip

The pursuit of General Lee’s army after the battle of Gettysburg, is the subject of the two latest pages  posted at my website.  While assembling the source material, I had the idea to follow part of the route the First Corps took on their march from Maryland, back into Virginia.  My purpose was to take photographs along the way to illustrate the soldiers’ narrative on my website.

Because the road system has changed extensively, I couldn’t be certain I was following the exact route, but I knew the towns the soldiers passed through, and accordingly plotted a trip through those towns of Middleburg, Hamilton, Waterford, and Lovettsville, Virginia to Berlin, Md.

My final destination was the Washington Monument at South Mountain State Park overlooking the town of Boonsboro, MD.   The army camped near there more than one time during their 3 years of service.  Drummer Sam Webster’s journal entry for July 8, 1863 says in part: 

"Camped, high up, to the right side of the Gap, overlooking Boonsboro.  Had to build a stone breastwork before doing anything else."

And, on the next day:

"Went up to top of the mountain with Sawyer, but failed to see much as the fog covered the fort.  Had a good view of the valley in the distance, however."

Boonsboro  was about a three hour drive for us, but close enough to get there and back in one day.

Middleburg, about an hour’s drive from home was my starting point.  From the village I plotted a course north on Foxcroft Road [626] to Goose Creek, where Austin Stearn’s of Company K wrote about his difficulty crossing the creek.

“I remember of fording Goose Creek one hot summers day where the water was three feet deep if you could keep in the right place, but if you turned but a very little to down stream, to four. Some of the boys plunged right in, not caring for the wet; others would take off their pants and, tucking up their shirts, go through dry with the exceptions of their coat tails.  I chose the later way as there was time enough, so strapping my pants and boots on my back and taking a middle course, I got there all right, but when I reached the opposite bank could not climb up, for the banks were steep and so many had gone before that it was only one mass of soft slippery mud. There was nothing to stick to; it all wanted to stick to you.  Others were in the same predicament, and after vainly trying several times and slipping back each time, I got a friendly hand and came out all right at last with dry pants and boots.  The Gen’l sat on his horse and laughed as though he enjoyed it.”
Below is a picture of where Foxcroft Road crosses Goose Creek.  Austin Stearns would have crossed the creek somewhere close to here.

The army marched from North to South, but of course, I was headed in the opposite direction.  From Goose Creek, my wife and I continued on route 626 to route 611 and then to where 611 crosses the ‘Snickersville Turnpike.’  At this junction we took Silcott Springs Road [690] north to Purcellville.

Sam Webster recorded in his journal during the army’s march south, that this portion of Virginia, north of the Snickersville Turnpike, had much more Union sentiment as opposed to those residents south of it.  

Tuesday, July 21st 1863.  The loyalty of the people on the north side of the pike through Snicker’s gap was exemplified yesterday.  A girl 14 or maybe 16 years old on the way to school emptied her dinner basket and gave her dinner to the men - and did it willingly.  A short distance further on, at a house on the right of the road, the lady of the house gave all the bread, etc., she had just taken out of the oven. She said she was a doing this “for her government,” and if she “had only known they were coming, she would have baked more.”  Besides, she had her boys carrying out water to the road.  As an offset Charlie Haas, of 94th N.Y. last evening while waiting at a house for some milk was, with another, surprised by gurerrilas, brought by the man of the house, and carried off to Mosby’s over the Bull Run Mtn. Mosby wished him to join his band, but he refused. He was paroled to go to Alexandria, came into camp instead, and a guard was sent to arrest the man who betrayed him.  He was found upstairs under a bed, where, he said, he was hunting for something.  Said he had never seen Charlie. (This is all from the story as afterward told by Charlie.)

At Purcellville we turned directly east on Main street and kept going the short distance to Hamilton.  The 13th Mass camped at the west end of the village of Hamilton, or Harmony Church, on Sunday, July 19, 1863, arriving as Charles E. Davis, Jr. wrote, “Alas ! too late for church services.”

We didn’t attend church either, but stopped for a rather nice lunch at a place called Lowry’s Crab Shack, just on the west side of the village.

Sgt. Austin C. Stearns and Clarence Bell both mentioned the houses of Hamilton, VA, flying the National flag.

Lots of cars, traffic signs, telephone poles and other signs of modernity cluttered up some of these picturesque towns, making it difficult to get a suitable image to accompany an 1863 narrative, but I made a few attempts regardless.  There was a lot of ground to cover, so we only made the simplest of efforts to that end.

Pictured is a patriotic house in Hamilton.  The electrical wires don't do the house justice, but we were in a bit of a hurry to move on.  Other pictures in Hamilton proved equally obstructed by modernity.

From Hamilton, we wanted to go to Waterford, 5.2 miles distant.  We turned left on route 704 north, Hamilton Station Road, and followed it northeast, to just south of the town of Waterford.

Waterford was the first town the regiment bivouacked at after they crossed the Potomac River into Virginia from Berlin, Md., on July 18, 1863.

Pictured, is a photo of Waterford, taken en route.

We took Milltown road [681] to Lovettesville, Va, then followed route 287, the 3.5 miles from there directly to Brunswick, formerly Berlin, Maryland.

This was as far as I attempted to re-trace the route of the First Corps.  We spent the rest of the afternoon, wandering around Western Maryland, going to places I know the regiment visited.

We followed the Potomac River along the old C & O canal before turning north up Pleasant Valley to Boonsboro, stopping at South Mountain Park.

Along the way we passed through Knoxville, and Sandy Hook, MD, two towns the 13th Mass passed through and camped at, on many occasions early in their service.

On the way back we went a different route, the idea being to get to Berryville, VA, then up into the mountains to Bluemont, in order to drive the Snickersville Turnpike back down to Middleburg.  The 13th Mass also passed this way a few times during their service.

The trip was a lot of fun.  We made a day of it and were able to get home by 9 p.m. after many interesting stops along the way.

Pictured below is a panoramic of Knoxville, Md. near Sandy Hook and Harper's Ferry.  The 13th Mass spent many months in this area in the winter of 1861 - 1862.

You can view these pictures and get more of a feel for the real march by visiting the new pages of my website.  There's lots more there too.  I hope you enjoyed the trip.