Soldiers' Graves. --- There they lie, a score of carelessly heaped mounds of coarse gravel covered with the stalks of last year's weeds and a fresh growth of mulleins and grass. At the head of some stand weather-beaten boards, bearing in black paint the name and company of the dead, and in a few instances the date of death. Two are Vermonters, others are from Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio. Around stretches an uncultivated field, a few wild flowers springing in the grass to make it look less desolate. Are we standing on the deserted Virginia soil, left uninhabitable by battles, where loyal hands cannot or dare not beautify a loyal soldier's grave? No! At a little distance is the enclosure of our beautiful cemetery, with its neatly kept walks and plots, its hedges and flowers, making by contrast these poor graves seem more neglected. Let some of the charity which begins at home provide an enclosure and memorial stone for the resting-places of those Union soldiers who died in our midst.
Enclosure For Deceased Soldiers.---We are glad to record that an enclosure is made around the graves of deceased soldiers buried in our Village Cemetery. The spot is not far from where the U. S. Hospital stood, and while most of the Vermont soldiers who died there during the war were carried to their homes to be buried, others whose homes were distant or taken away by their friends, were buried on the spot referred to. Orders were issued from the Quartermaster Department at Boston, Mass., some weeks since, to have a suitable fence erected around the graves and the ground properly graded. The space enclosed is fifty feet by thirty.---The posts and battens are of chestnut and the pickets of pine, unplained. It was built by Sewall Morse in a good and substantial manner, and the grading is to be done by John Hyde; the whole expense being $100,---$75 for the fence and $25 for the grading. Head-boards are placed at each grave--except in one or two instances, and the name unknown---giving the name and residence of the soldier beneath, and the regiment to which he belonged. It is proposed that a marble slab be placed within the enclosure with the names &c. of the deceased inscribed thereon, and that a contribution be solicited to defray the expense, to which we presume our citizens would readily respond. The expense would be about $120.
We give below a list of the names of 17 of those buried on the ground, and shall add the rest when we obtain them:--
Henry Mayo, Co. A, 5th Vermont. Samuel B. Holt, Co. B, 4th Vermont. George Rolliston, Co. A, 6th New Hampshire. Charles B. Whitney, Co. H, 19th Maine. Henry Ganbe, Co. C, 20th Massachusetts. John Dorton, Co. E, 61st New York. Fred'k Mills, Co. E, 120th New York. Elijah Williams, Co. E, 8th New York H'y Artillery. Isaacs Rhodes, Co. K. 53d Pennsylvania. Abe Westmeyer, Co. I, 183d Pennsylvania. Alex. Walls, Co. H, 63d Pennsylvania. Hiram Carter, Co. H, 141st Pennsylvania Daniel Myers, Co. C, 110th Pennsylvania. Henry Clutter, Co. H, 8th Ohio. William Northrun, Co. A, 60th Ohio. Calvin A. Murdock, Co. B, 8th Michigan. George W. Ingall, civil employee in Hospital.
Demonstration In Brattleboro.
Speeches, Music, Strewing of Flowers, Etc.
Saturday, May 30, 1868, will ever be a green spot in the memory of all in our midst who participated in the beautiful and touching ceremony of strewing flowers upon the graves of the dead boys in blue whose remains repose upon Cemetery Hill. In accordance with previous arrangements, the returned soldiers met at the lower town hall at 1.30 p. m., and formed in line, Capt Ed. W. Carter of the 4th Vt., in command. From thence they were escorted to the cemetery by the Brattleboro Fire Department, preceded by the Brattleboro Cornet Band and a drum corps, the whole body under the Marshalship of Lt. Col. Wm. Austine. As the body began to move, and until it left the ground after the ceremonies were over, minute guns were fired from an old six pounder on the hill, under charge of Capt. Jonathan Davis, and manned by Messrs Hall and Bardwell. The procession having reached the ground, were formed in a hollow square, the band playing a solemn dirge. The fitting moment having arrived, Rev. H. H. Peabody of the Baptist Church offered prayer, after which Ex. Gov. Frederick Holbrook said as follows:
Ladies and Gentlemen: We are assembled, on this interesting occasion, to honor the departed who died in their country's service. Though to many, sad thoughts of bereavement must inevitably be kindled afresh this day, yet it is pleasant to realize that so many thousands observe the beautiful rite, with us, of strewing flowers upon the graves of our departed heroes. We all remember our doubts and misgivings in the early stages of the recent war, as to whether a free people, trained so long to the arts of peace, with such almost absolute personal liberty of thought, speech and act, with so little to be anxious for on account of country, and the habit of caring so little for it, would have that unity of purpose, broad nationality of feeling, and persistence of effort and of personal sacrifice, on behalf of our country and for sustaining its government, requisite to carry us successfully through our great struggle. But the services of these heroes whom we now honor, and of thousands of others like them, living or dead, abundantly attest that our fears and doubts were ungrounded. We remember how regiment after regiment of our brave young men of Vermont, the flower of our population, ascended to yonder encampment ground to prepare for departure for the seat of war. As to the manner in which they acquitted themselves in the long and trying war, that has become a part of history which will forever reflect the highest honor upon them, and the State they represented. We remember the remarkable devotion of fathers, mothers and sisters in freely giving up their loved ones for the struggle, though they knew well that painful anxieties and bereavements must follow to them and their families therefrom; and that before the war ended nearly every family in Vermont had experienced their peculiar trials and afflictions, and might truly say, with the Roman veteran:
Secure, and flourished in a civil war."
It is good for us, fellow citizens to be here to-day. We cannot too much honor our departed heroes. We owe very much of that which we enjoy to-day of restored peace and perpetuated free government to their heroic services. Let them be held in lasting, grateful remembrance:
By all their country's wishes blest."
After some solemn music by the band Major John C. Tyler, addressed the assembled host in terms of eloquence and sense, as follows:
In this hour consecrated to our honored dead, in this hour devoted to scattering some slight memorial of our respect and love upon their graves, how many thoughts and feelings crowd the mind and heart? We cannot forget our Father's blood, first hallowing our land, nor can we fail to deeply sympathize with those whose near and dear ones speak in silent eloquence to-day, calling upon us, from the depths of our gratitude, to let the past be buried in its faults, and live forever in its virtues; calling upon us to aid and assist their widows and orphans whose homes are already shrouded with a sad pleasure, as they think of husband and father. By these solemn rites we pledge ourselves to remember this sacred call. By these solemn rites we pledge ourselves to show proper respect to the memory of the soldier gone, by visiting his grave from time to time, with the delicate attention of paths and flowers.
Yes, the memories of those who lie buried within our midst shall live green as the sod that covers them. We might speak to-day of National Destiny, as a principle of National Policy: how each in tendency, controls the other, National Policy moulding National Destiny, and National Destiny acting upon the free will, the aggregate free will of a nation controlling National Policy. We might speak of the many issues growing out of the late struggle of the diversity of opinion, in detail, but the oneness of thought in principle, or we might turn back to those days when hearty hope, and fretful fears, in turn chased each other from the mind for many weary months; of our sad disasters and sore defeats; of masterly plans and mightly energies; of glorious victories "dealing destruction's devastating doom" upon our brother foe, and thrilling with keen delight and foreshadowing faith, every loyal heart, of emancipation, rising in moral grandeur till it burst the shackles of a race and laid its author on the altar of our common country, foremost, in her martyred sacrifice, but not, thank God! until the night of battle had presaged the dawn of peace, of liberty, and of equal rights! A mighty host are all these thoughts and feelings, but their crowning glory, our country's noblest offspring, are her heroic dead. Calmly, with firm tread and slow, they marched to the shore of the silent land, and "fighting, fell":--And fell regreting, like the early patriot, Hale, they only had one life to give their country. These she will ever cherish. Nay! ever while she lives, "on palm leaf and on fern leaf their names shall burn."
Veiling, then, from sight, our selfish plans and lives, let us, for one short hour, cloister ourselves with the loved departed, and catching the inspiration their glorious deeds induce, pledge each his own faith to stand firm for our native and chosen land. In the midst of the wildest winter storm, the philosopher can sleep peacefully, for he knows the laws of natiure will calm the elements and the earth again teem with the bounties of the Summer's blessing. No less stable are the laws of thought, so that, in the midst of violent political times, the integrity of a nation will surely be defended by such as these who, to-day, are honored all over our land, men taught by experience and that most potent of instincts, "saving common sense." These are the nation's shield, and, with pure faith, and high hope, and calm trust, they are always ready to save our country from the blighting corruption of any whose selfishness would be gratified and satisfied in her fall. The lessons of the hour are too manifold to even touch upon but they will come to each one in their own peculiar way, and with their own peculiar force. One idea will linger, the value of individual strength of character upon a nation's growth. The purer and more symmetrical the one, the more just, and good and great the other. Far in the mountain cavern the drops trickle down for ages and crystalize into the solid rock. Hidden deep in the law of nature was the form of the spar that arises from the whole. So, the thought and actions of men and nations crystalize into character, upon which depend our destiny, and by the image of its highest model, we may mould it into forms of beauty.
Rev. N. Mighill, of the Congregational church, then offered the following stirring remarks:
It is not needful, fellow-citizens, that we should come to this hallowed spot to be reminded of the debt we owe to those who slumber here. But, standing by these consecrated graves, the scenes of the late war pass vividly before us. We behold the gathering cloud, swelling and blackening along the Southern horizon. We witness the ready response of patriotic hearts when the citadel of unity and liberty is threatened with destruction. The lines of volunteer armies, the patient drill, the clustering encampments, the bloody battle-fields, the extensive hospitals, pass in panoramic vision, illuminated by the red light with which the demon war kindles alike his triumphs and defeats.
The post of toil, and danger, and anguish, and death is not all however, that the Republic gives her sons in the hour of her peril. Disease, shot, surgical attendance, a grass-covered mound; noble as these are when encountered in the path of duty, were an insufficient boon, if, they alone were granted to a soldier's devotion. With them, which he took without a murmer, bravely baring the breast and strengthening the heart, comes the recompense which such deeds deserve. It is in the grateful memory of the land he loved, a land which is feeling throughout its wide borders the thrill of the life which has been kept from traitorous foes. We remember that, as we now surround the graves of our dead, so on another day, like a day of doom, when life and vigor were theirs, they surrounded and defended the sacred ark of our liberties.
Nor is this memory their most substantial token. When the architect of one of the grandest cathedrals of the old world was laid at rest within its walls, it was written upon his memorial tablet Si monumentum requiris circumspice--If you seek his monument, look about you. So may it be said of the dead of our disbanded armies: if you seek their monument look over the land they rescued, the institutions they perpetuated, the new principles they brought to legislation and the administration of affairs, the subjugation of domineering and outrageous oppressions, the opening of the way for freedom to the remote boundaries of the continent. And yet we have not reached the measure of their honor:
Runs a thrill of joy prophetic, emblem of her future rest."
What commends itself to the reason and heart in one land, at one crisis, is borne home to all through the nations of speaking men. An honorable fame achieved in a progressive struggle, which is human as well as national, climbs mountain barriers, fords intervening seas, flies through the free regions of the air till it becomes a common inheritance and a common glory. This act of bringing flowers to the graves of our dead soldiers, is then, one which honors those who do it, as well as those for whom it is done. Flowers are the most delicate tribute that the loving hand can bring. Unlike their sister gems, which are hid from sight and lifeless within the earth, they enrich the light and air with living beauty. They spring by the wayside. They make the lone heart of the desert glad. Children hold them with wonder and delight. They change earth to a rival firmament. Their purity is angelic. A poet calls them:
Before the uprisen sun--God's lidless eye--
Throw from their chalices a sweet and holy
Incense on high."
They are chosen when the mourner would give an outward tribute other than tears. We strew them on the graves of our dead, or soldier-dead. We know not the history of each tenant in these narrow rooms. That it is one of duty, and suffering, and death, we know. That our foothold is higher for these mounds, we know. Much we know not. Yonder minute gun they cannot hear. No sound of war's alarms shall reach them. Their work is consummated. These flowers, laid where they rest, shall testify to them, and do them honor. They declare our allegiance to the principles they cherished, our acknowledgment of obligation for their services, our regard for their memory, and the renewed consecration of our lives to the cause. in which their's were given up.
We recognize the prominent part taken in this proceeding by the comrades in arms of those now commemorated. Soldiers, it is well, fitting, beautiful. It is a mark of nobility in the soldier to honor his comrade, living or dead. We praise you to-day, among your deeds, for this last. We express the hope that this ceremonial may lead to other and permanent adornment of these grounds by your fellow-townsmen. We are assured that yourselves would be of the first to respond to such a cause. The blossoms fade. There should be something here to tell, in our time and hereafter the memorable story of yonder encampment, and its connection with the slaveholder's war. And as we look forward to this work waiting for us, we may congratulate ourselves that nature here aids it so powerfully. Yonder mountain towering to the sky, the river flowing to the sea, are emblems, the one of the stability, the other of the expanding beneficence of the principles on which rest our chartered rights as citizens and our inherent rights as men.
At the close of Mr. Mighill's remarks, the band played "Old Hundred" and the assemblage joined in singing the same. After listening to a beautiful song by some little girls from the Howard Mission, N. Y., the companies were dismissed, to assemble at the call of the drum, and participated in the beautiful ceremony of strewing flowers upon the graves of the dead heroes. Wreaths, crosses and boquets of bewitchingly handsome flowers were hung upon the rough head-boards and strewn upon the rough graves of the dead soldier boys. If such things as disembodied spirits be, there must have been upon that day, hovering over the green mounds upon cemetery hill where rest our boys in blue, the soldier spirits of--
Isaac Rhodes, Co. K, 53d Pa. Vols.; Henry Mayo, Co. A, 5th Vt.; Henry Ganbe, Co. C, 20th Mass.; Calvin H. Murdock, Co. B, 8th Mich.; Elijah Williams, Co. E, 8th N. Y. Battery; John Dorton, Co. E, 61st N. Y.; Henry Cutler, Co. H, 8th Ohio; Frederick Miller, Co. E, 120th N. Y.; William Nochven, Co. A, 50th Ohio; George Rolliston, Co. A, 6th N. H.; Abraham Westmeyer, Co. H, 83d Pa.; Alexander Wells, Co. A, 63d Pa.; Hiram Carter, Co. H, 121st Pa.; Daniel Myers, Co. C, 110th Pa.; Charles B. Whitney, Co. H, 19th Me.; Samuel B. Holt, Co. B, 4th Vt.; Lt. Col. Addison Brown, Jr., Lt. Col. John S. Tyler, Lt. Francis A. Gleason, Lt. Warren Hyde, and Sergent Frank Paddleford, who lie buried, there. The offerings in the way of flowers were abundant and the rite was quietly and feelingly performed. At the "call" the procession reformed, and returned to the village. The fire department was dismissed but the body of returned soldiers adjourned to the town hall, where, at an informal meeting they passed the following resolution:
Resolved, "That the hearty thanks of the Returned Soldiers of this place, who participated in the ceremony of strewing flowers upon the graves of their deceased comrades on Saturday, May 30, 1868, be and are, hereby tendered to the ladies in general--and particularly those from Glenwood Seminary--who so kindly and bountifully furnished them with flowers and so tenderly placed them over the remains of our dead brothers in arms; to the Brattleboro Fire Department who acted as an escort; to the speakers who so eloquently addressed the assemblage; to those members of the band who kindly volunteered their services; to Lt. Col. Austine of the Regular Army, who acted as Marshal, and to the citizens and public generally for the interest displayed in their behalf."
The demonstration was an excellent and fitting one. Nearly all places of business were closed during the continuance of the ceremonies, flags were plentifully displayed draped in mourning, and notwithstanding a slight fall of rain--which continued during the whole proceedings--the larger portion of the citizens of our village, men, women and children, participated. Vivit post funera virtus.
Complete List of Memorial Day Orators in Brattleboro
First Given By Ex-Gov. Holbrook
Many of the Early Addresses Were Delivered in Prospect Hill Cemetery---
Dedication of Fisk Monument Was Feature One Year.
While Memorial day always has been observed in Brattleboro on May 30, or the day previous or the day following in case May 30 fell on Sunday as this year, the day observed at first differed with the various states. Usage has settled on May 30, which is a legal holiday in most states. This day is said to have been chosen because it was the date of the discharge of the last soldier of the Union army in the Civil war. Originally it was called Memorial day, then it came to be called Decoration day, and now the designation Memorial day again seems to be preferred.
A search through the files of the Vermont Phoenix shows that the first general observance in Brattleboro was on Saturday, May 30, 1868. The exercises took place in Prospect Hill cemetery, where a United States government burial lot had been established. Most of the celebrations in the earlier years were held in the cemetery, the custom later changing so that the addresses and some other exercises were held indoors, but there has been a procession every year except in case of rain.
At the first observance there were three short addresses, the first being by ex-Gov. Frederick Holbrook of Brattleboro. Vermont's Civil war governor and the others being by Major John C. Tyler and Rev. N. Mighill. Since then the memorial address has been given by one speaker each year.
In 1874, previous to the memorial exercises proper, the James Fisk monument in Prospect Hill cemetery, sculptured by Larkin G. Mead of this town, was dedicated in the presence of thousands of persons. The monument was surrounded by more than $1,000 worth of flowers.
Following is a list of the Memorial day speakers in Brattleboro, their residence being Brattleboro unless otherwise specified:
commander of the 2d Vermont regiment.
1868 Ex-Gov. Frederick Holbrook, Major John C. Tyler, Rev. N. Mighill.
1869 Rev. N. Mighill.
1870 Col. Kittredge Haskins.
1871 Col. Charles H. Joyce of Rutland, formerly
1873 Col. Kittredge Haskins.
1874 Col. W. G. Veazey of Rutland, formerly commander
1875 Rev. N. N. Glazier of Montpelier.
1876 Rev. Horace Burchard.
1877 Rev. N. F. Perry.
1878 Rev. D. A. Mack of Franklin, N. H.
1879 Rev. George E. Martin.
1880 Rev. E. W. Whitney (address delivered in Fisk's tent on Frost's meadow.
1881 Rev. J. B. Green (entire address in the form of a poem.)
1882 Rev. George B. Gow.
1883 Rev. A. B. Truax.
1884 Judge James M. Tyler.
1885 Col. William C. Holbrook of New York city,
colonel of the 7th Vermont regiment.
1886 Rev. L. M. Foster of Brooklyn, N. Y.
1887 George A. Brown of Bellows Falls.
1888 Rev. F. J. Parry.
1889 Col. George T. Childs of St. Albans.
1890 Dr. C. F. Branch of Newport.
1891, Gen. Horatio C. KIng of Brooklyn, N. Y.
1892 Capt. C. H. Buffam of Boston, Mass.
1893 Judge James L. Martin.
1894 Rev. Hal D. Maxwell.
1895 Col. Joel C. Baker of Rutland.
1896 Col. George W. Hooker, who was mustered out
1897 Judge Lavant M. Read of Bellows Falls.
1898 Col. Joseph H. Goulding of Wilmington.
1899 Rev. Fred E. Marble.
1900 Rev. Reginald K. Marvin.
1901 Rev. Charles O. Day.
1902 Rev. Edward T. Mathison.
1903 James Fisk Hooker.
1904 Rev. Luther M. Keneston of West Brattleboro.
1905 Rev. Father Michael J. Carmody.
1906 Rev. Frank L. Massock.
1907 Rev. Alfred H. Webb.
1908 Rev. George B. Lawson.
1909 Rev. Delmar E. Trout.
1910 Rev. Roy M. Houghton.
1911 Rev. Edwin J. Lewis of West Brattleboro.
1912 Attorney Ernest W. Gibson.
1913 Attorney Clarke C. Fitts.
1914 Rev. Thomas W. Owens.
1915 Speaker will be Attorney Orrin B. Hughes.
(Brattleboro Letter in the Boston Sunday Globe.)
In the beautiful cemetery on the hill overlooking Brattleboro, hedged with evergreen is the only U. S. cemetery in Vermont. The little plot of ground, about as large as a good sized room, was paid for by the U. S. government.
It came to be located in Brattleboro in this way. Col. Austine, the retired army officer, whom everyone locally knows only to respect and love, was in charge of the recruiting station here during the war. It hardly seems possible in these piping days of peace, but he readily recalls the time when 5000 men were stationed in the beautiful town when the nine-months men answered the call of Father Abraham.
The barracks were situated where the agricultural park now is. "The volunteers were good soldiers, orderly and quiet," said Col. Austine in speaking of them the other day. A hospital was necessary, and in time it contained 700 men. Such are the ravages of war and disease.
Brattleboro was the home of Gov. Holbrook, the war governor, and that was one reason why the town was selected as the army headquarters for the state. Another was its superb air, pure water and general healthfulness.
Of course deaths came to the men in the hospital. They were given an honorable military burial near the barracks. After a time many of the bodies were claimed by friends and taken away. But 19, who apparently had no friends, or perhaps more truly their friends had lost sight of the veterans, still remained after the close of the war.
Col. Austine suggested to Secretary Stanton that a government cemetery should be established in Brattleboro, the secretary approved the idea and the lot was purchased. Now inside the hedge 19 marble slabs mark the resting place of 19 volunteer soldiers, who as truly died for their country as if killed on the field of battle. Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Vermont are some of the states represented.
The government furnished a flag, the Grand Army a staff, and on every holiday "old glory" waves over a U.S. cemetery, on Memorial day the bunting swings at half mast, the new flags flutter over the graves of the patriots, the citizens almost bury the little plot with flowers, and orators with eloquent words have drawn the lesson and told again and again the story.
Col. Austine is the commandant. It is now his only command, for the old veteran, the hero of two wars, for he was a participant in the Mexican war as well as the war of the rebellion, is now on the retired list.
Underneath an urn is buried an unknown soldier. He arrived on the cars during the war, dressed in the uniform of a volunteer, but without a paper to give the name of his regiment. He was dead or nearly so when he arrived, and he was given a soldier's burial.
Another stone marks the resting place of a veteran who was wounded at Gettysburg. A sister searched for his body, and after a time she found it at Brattleboro, and was sorrowfully content.
A little board at one corner of the lot bears these words: "United States cemetery, 1866. The soldiers buried in this lot died, with many others, mostly from wounds, at the United States general hospital at Brattleboro during the war of the rebellion in 1861-1866. These bodies remaining unclaimed by friends at the end of the war were here interred by the orders of the war department, the enclosure being the property of the United States."
It was a day or two ago that the writer copied the words. The sun burned brightly. A few steps away stood a soldier figure clothed in blue, but entirely without insignia of rank. He stood like a marble figure, except that one hand gently stroked a grizzled mustache. A dog played at his feet. A few rods away stands the monument which the genius of Larkin G. Mead caused to commemorate the achievements of James Fisk Jr.; over in another corner a black granite slab lying flat upon the ground marks the final resting place of William Morris Hunt, whose paintings still live; beyond was where the boys of 1891 played ball but which now marks the resting place of hundreds of Brattleboro's dead; the Connecticut rolls below to the sea; the everlasting hills are clothed in the vivid green of June.
The soldierly figure is that of the commandant, Col. William Austine, and he says slowly and reverently: "They were brave soldiers. I honor their memory."
There is a hardly perceptible tremor of the voice, there is a pathos in the voice that is touching. The veteran speaking the words graduated at West Point before Gen. Grant. He participated in many battles for his country. He retains all the courtliness and dignity of his profession, but it has been tempered by the love of his fellow man. He recalls, with a love that is young and hearty, the days when with other cadets he tasted the delicacies of Benny Havens, whom some poetical cadet has sent down in history as the purveyor of good things just outside the lines of West Point.
But no amount of persuasion can induce the veteran to speak of his career. That is told by his friends.
But the half is not told.
Sometime since the close of the war, two ladies came up to the Brooks House and asked for Colonel Austine. One of them had lost a brother in the war. He was sent from the Washington Hospital to a Northern State Government Hospital, and she had been everywhere trying to find a trace of him and of where he died, to Ohio, New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania (his own State), to Burlington, Montpelier, and lastly to Brattleboro. Colonel Austine told her that some Pennsylvania boys had died and were buried here. He took her the next morning to the graves, and she found the right one. She wept, and then looking up, with her eyes full of tears, she said
At last my search is ended. I thought to take my brother's body home if I ever found him, to rest with his own kin, but this is such a lovely spot. The mountains and river seem so much like his own Pennsylvania. I shall leave him here to rest till the morning of the Resurrection. I am quite content, now that I know.
Abby E. Estey
Wife of Governor Levi K. Fuller.
"Some Reminiscences Of Brattleboro During The Civil War".
A paper read before the Brattleboro Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution during 1913, and reprinted in the 1928 book "Addresses".
"Another stone marks the resting place of a veteran who was wounded at Gettysburg. A sister searched for his body, and after a time she found it at Brattleboro, and was sorrowfully content.".
Brattleboro Reformer, June 23, 1893.
The newspaper reporter was talking with Col. William Austine personally.
Five Pennsylvania soldiers are buried now in the United States Soldiers' Cemetery within the boundaries of the Prospect Hill Cemetery. Their names are Abram Westermeyer, Alexander Walls, Hiram Carter, Isaac Rhodes, and Daniel Myers. All died at the U. S. General Hospital from disease during the month of August 1864, with the single exception of Daniel Myers, who died on December 6, 1864.
Considerable information is given for eighty-eight soldiers who died at the U. S. General Hospital during 1864, but Alexander Walls is the only Pennsylvania soldier about whom there is no family information in the Brattleboro records---except that he was eighteen years old when he died from chronic diarrhea on August 12, 1864.
Alexander Walls is the missing soldier and brother who fought at Gettysburg.
Alexander Walls was born on September 23, 1846 and was christened on April 18, 1847 in Crooked Creek Evangelical Lutheran in Kittanning Township, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania. His father Johann Friedrich Wahl was born in Germany, his mother Susanna Dormeyer in Pennsylvania. His older sisters were Margaretha and Helena, and the younger, Susanna.
Private Alexander Walls enlisted in Co. K, 63rd Pennsylvania Infantry, transferred to Co. K, 99th Pennsylvania Infantry, and finally transferred to Co. K, 105th Pennsylvania Infantry which was known as the Wild Cat Regiment.
From 2 o'clock until 4 o'clock in the afternoon of July 2, 1863, at Gettysburg, the 105th Pennsylvania Infantry moved across the Emmitsburg Road, was outflanked, changed front facing south, lining up along a lane at right angles to the Emmitsburg road.
The 105th fell under sharpshooter attack immediately upon moving to support the attack in the Peach Orchard, were placed near the Klingel farm house, suffered Confederate artillery fire and an attack by Lieutenant-General James Longstreet. A counterattack by the 105th late in the day recaptured three artilley pieces.
While defending their Pennsylvania lands and holding the Union center, the Wild Cat Regiment had twenty men and officers killed or mortally wounded in action, one hundred and eight men and officers wounded, and nine men missing.
Private Alexander Walls died from his wound and subsequent disease. He is buried in the Soldiers' Lot in the Prospect Hill Cemetery in Brattleboro, Vermont.
Col. William Austine may not have taken the two women from Pennsylvania to the Prospect Hill Cemetery, especially if they arrived within two years after Lee's surrender.
Soldiers who died in the hospital were given an honorable military burial in the barracks cemetery, "near the barracks" according to Col. William Austine---at the eastern extremity of the camp grounds. These grounds are now the Department of Public Works along the Fairground Road.
Later the United States purchased a 50-foot by 30-foot lot in Prospect Hill Cemetery for $100 and subsequently reburied the interments from the barracks cemetery at the Soldiers Lot at Prospect Hill Cemetery.
Ends At Lonely Grave in Vermont Cemetery
Discovery of a grass grown plot in a Brattleboro cemetery, marked by a faded and tattered flag and a headstone, moss grown from the storms of years, marks the end of a search which Mrs. Daniel Meyers of Lancaster, Pa., has maintained for sixty-five years for her soldier husband. A photograph of the grave in the government lot, brought to her by her grandson, was the first knowledge she had had of the fate of her husband since the summer morning in the 1860's, when as a bride of two weeks, she bade him a tearful farewell. Two weeks after he had left his bride to join the Union army, young Daniel Meyers was sent to the South where with the blue clad youth of the North he faced the grey garbed sons of the confederacy across the pleasant fields of Virginia. His wife was never to see him again and the son she bore nearly a year later never knew his father. Records of the Union Army show that the young soldier took part in the Battle of the Wilderness, where the dogged Grant made the supreme effort that broke the backbone of the Southern cause. Meyers was wounded in the Wilderness and sent back to a Philadelphia hospital by train. Through oversight and lack of ability to help himself because of his wound, the young soldier was not taken from the train at Philadelphia but was carried on to Vermont. He was dead when the train reached Brattleboro and his body was placed in Prospect Hill cemetery beside a score of other Union soldiers who had died at the mobilization camp there. Throughout the years Mrs. Meyers had maintained the search for her husband.
Her son grew to manhood, married and his wife born him a son, who was named Daniel Meyers. The grandson took up the investigation which took him to Washington, Philadelphia and Montpelier. Last May he came to Brattleboro and discovered the grave. When the grandson returned to his home in Lancaster, Pa., he carried to his grandmother, then nearly 90 years of age, a photograph of the spot among the Green hills of Vermont where her soldier husband had slept, unknown and unclaimed, for nearly sixty-five years.
The sad news is that a Mr. Holt of Co. B., 4th Vt. Regt. died this afternoon of small pox. He is all rotten with it, or his body is, I should say. . .
Private Samuel B. Holt of Morristown, Vermont probably spent his last days in the camp pest house in the pine woods clearing east of the barracks line, visited there by the hospital aide Augustus Paddock, before his death on the afternoon of May 4, 1864. The small pox victim was buried in the nearby "barracks cemetery" and never sent north by train to Morristown.
Samuel B. Holt was born on August 6, 1827 to Samuel B. Holt and Sarah Ladd from Chelsea, Vermont. He had a younger sister named Hannah L. Holt. Samuel enlisted as a substitute for P. C. Day of Morristown.
The Lamoille Newsdealer for May 24, 1864---aware that Samuel B. Holt was not to be buried in his native north country---quoted from Jeremiah 31, verse 12,
Prospect Hill Cemetery