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...

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