|The Haverhill (Mass.) Civil War memorial.|
|Van Buren L. Towle died after his release from a|
Southern prisoner-of-war camp.
Captured at the Battle of Harris Farm, near Spotsylvania Courthouse, Va., on May 19, 1864, Towle was sent to the infamous rebel prisoner-of-war camp in Andersonville. The young soldier with blue eyes, black hair and a dark complexion spent nearly six months in the southwestern Georgia POW camp before he was paroled around New Year's Day 1865. After his release, Towle, deathly ill from his prison experience, died aboard the U.S.S. Northern Light and was buried at sea.
Towle's teen-aged brother, also a POW, encountered his brother in a South Carolina camp just before he was paroled.
"I last saw him on the seventh day of December A.D. 1864 in Florence, S.C. in a rebel prison," 19-year-old Carroll Towle, a private in the 2nd Massachusetts Heavy Artillery, noted matter-of-factly in an undated pension claim affidavit. "He left said prison that day in feeble health. Since that day I have never heard from him. I was confined in said prison at that time and for several months subsequently. He was my brother. I was in prison with him from about the first of July 1864 until he was paroled. He was in prison first at Andersonville, Ga. and was transferred to Florence, S.C.
"I have no doubt that he died soon after leaving the prison."
Today, on a tiny island of concrete across from a CVS, Taco Bell and Kentucky Fried Chicken, a beautifully carved 20-foot Civil War memorial honors the men of Haverhill who died during the Civil War. Few probably pull off the heavily trafficked roads near the monument to read the names etched on the front -- including the name of Van Buren L. Towle in the bottom left corner.
|A 24-year-old shoemaker from Haverhill, Mass., Van Buren Towle is one of many soldiers from |
the town who died during the Civil War. His name appears on the Haverhill Civil War memorial.