Sunday, July 10, 2016

Soldier snapshot: POW at Spotsylvania, died at Andersonville

A close-up of a marker for Ferdinand Crossman in South Sutton Cemetery in Sutton, Mass.
Memorial marker for Crossman, who's actually buried in Andersonville National Cemetery.
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For more on Ferdinand Crossman
and the Andrew's Sharpshooters,
check out "Our Aim Was Man," published
in November 2016 and edited by
Roberta Senechal de la Roche.
During a recent visit to a cemetery in Sutton, Mass., this marker, near several toppled and crumbling tombstones, caught my eye. "Erected to his memory by his wife. Addie," read the words near the bottom of the gray slab of slate. Only 30 years old, Ferdinand Crossman, a private in the Massachusetts Sharpshooters (Andrew's Sharpshooters), died of "disease of the bowels" at the notorious prisoner-of-war camp at Andersonville and actually lies buried there in Plot No. 5150.

Perhaps unable to travel to Georgia to visit Ferdinand's grave, Addie and her children, Sarah and George, found solace by honoring his memory in the cemetery in Sutton. Here's the story of Crossman -- Addie's nickname for him was "Fer"  -- from the History of Sutton, Massachusetts, published in 1878:
"Ferdinand J. F. Crossman, son of Martin L. and Experience, was brought up by his grandmother Crossman, on this place. He enlisted at Cambridge, Aug. 19, 1862, in Andrew's first company of sharp-shooters, and went into camp at Cambridge. He left camp for Washington Dec. 1st, where he remained but a short time.  
"He was in the first battle of Fredericksburg, Dec. 11, 1862. He was stationed at Falmouth during the winter, and was again in the battle of Fredericksburg June 11, 1863. During this battle a ball passed through his hat, and one of his fingers was shattered by a bullet. Lysander Martin, a young man of great promise, enlisted with him, and was at this time by his side. They occupied an advanced position behind some fallen trees, or stumps, and were firing through small apertures, and took turns in watching the firing of the enemy.  
"Ferdinand retreated just over a knoll to have his finger attended to, but soon returned to find his companion prostrated on the ground, having been wounded by a ball which entered his cheek, knocking out several teeth, and came out at the back of the neck. A general retreat was now ordered, and the wounded who were able marched off the field, and others were huddled into wagons and carried off, Martin among these, who died of his wound the nineteenth. At Gettysburg, Crossman was in the battle from July first to the fourth, and from this field was sent to Harper's Ferry.  
"He spent the winter in the hospital at Washington, D. C. , taking care of the sick and wounded. In the spring, May 3, 1864, he rejoined the army, and was in the battle of the Wilderness from the fifth to the seventh. At the battle of Spotsylvania Court House he was taken prisoner, carried to Columbia, from thence to Andersonville, where he died Aug. 8, 1864."
In 1866, Addie Crossman married a Civil War veteran named Frederick Burr, with whom she had another child. She died in Kansas in 1892

1 comment:

  1. Sad story of a real American hero