Sunday, June 05, 2016

Sad state of Captain Benjamin Hosford's Connecticut memorial

Covered with lichen, the memorial for Captain Benjamin Hosford must be cleaned and repaired.
Benjamin Hosford, a captain in the
 2nd Connecticut Heavy Artillery, was killed
at the Battle of Cedar Creek on Oct. 19, 1864
(Image courtesy BZC)

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On the morning Oct. 19, 1864, 2nd Connecticut Heavy Artillery Captain Benjamin F. Hosford was shot through the head and killed instantly at the Battle of Cedar Creek, near Middletown, Va. His brother, William, a quartermaster sergeant in Company D, and other soldiers in the regiment carried Hosford's body a half-mile before they were forced to flee without him because of the Confederates' rapid advance.

When Hosford's men finally returned, they discovered Rebels had removed a ring from Benjamin's finger, straps from his coat and his shoes  -- an all-too-common occurrence during the war.  A wounded corporal who had also been left behind was found alive but "stripped of everything, and so were many others," according to a regimental history.

Fearing another advance by the Confederates, Hosford's comrades buried him on the field at midnight. It was a horrible end for the 29-year-old soldier, one of four sons of Arad and Sophia Hosford who served in the Union army. Five months earlier, Benjamin's older brother, Calvin, had been captured at Drewry's Bluff (Va.) and sent to Andersonville. When he was released from Confederate confinement near the end of the war, the 27th Massachusetts private barely weighed 90 pounds.
Benjamin Hosford
(Courtesy of descendant)

After Benjamin Hosford's remains were recovered, he was re-buried in a permanent grave in Forest View Cemetery in Winsted, Conn., near where he lived in Winchester. Weather-worn, cracked and covered with greenish-white lichen today, the brownstone memorial there that honors Benjamin and his brother, Charles, who served with two Connecticut regiments, is in a sad state. It's a stark contrast to the memorial only yards away for 2nd Connecticut Heavy Artillery Colonel Elisha Kellogg, who was killed at Cold Harbor on June 1, 1864.

Once also in shoddy condition, the monument for Kellogg was saved by a combined effort of the Connecticut Civil War Roundtable, a 2nd Connecticut Heavy Artillery re-enactment group and Antietam battlefield rangers. In 2010, large cracks in the brownstone monument were filled with mortar and repaired, lichen was removed and the gravestones for Kellogg and his wife were reset. Perhaps a similar effort can save the monument for Charles and Benjamin Hosford, who had been recognized just weeks prior to his death for "coolness and control" of his company in battle.

The cracked brownstone monument for Captain Benjamin Hosford in Winsted, Conn. 

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