Civil War Casualty of Gettysburg, Former News Reporter, Lancaster NH’s Famed Col. Edward E. Cross (1832-1863)

Edward E Cross

Edward E.  Cross was born into a military family in the town of Lancaster, Coos County, New Hampshire, the son of  Ephraim E. & Abigail C. (Everett) Cross. Much has been written about this man, who in his own hand writing noted , “My life–all I have–is at the service of the country.” I will try not to repeat much of what has already been said, and hopefully you will find his story interesting, for he was anything but boring.

Edward’s father was a hatter by profession, but also a senator, postmaster, tavern owner, and colonel in the local militia. Edward attended the local common schools, and at the age of 15 went to learn the printer’s trade. He then helped his father in steamboat building in Canada and visited the principal cities there.

Home of Edward E. Cross in Lancaster NH from "History of Lancaster NH"

Home of Edward E. Cross in Lancaster NH from “History of Lancaster NH”

Biography of Col. E.E. Cross
[From the History of Lancaster NH, by Rev. A.N. Somers] [Edward] “served his time in the “Democrat” (newspaper) office as an apprentice, and then assumed management of the office as foreman. From Lancaster he went to Cincinnati, Ohio, and entered the “Dollar Weekly Times” office. He soon became a traveling correspondent for that paper, and for several years his letters written from all parts of the land, over the nom de plume of ‘Edward Everett,’ were among the most agreeable matter in its columns. Of an adventurous spirit, Cross readily entered into a plan for establishing mining operations in Arizona, and with a company started, by way of the Texas route, for the El Dorado. With their outfit he took a printing press and material and on their arrival at Tubac commenced the publication of the Arizonian, the first newspaper published in the territory. While in Arizona, Cross had a difficulty with Sylvester Mowry, Lt., U.S.A., since a delegate in congress, now dead, and a duel fought with Burnside rifles, which encounter at that time attracted general attention, was the result. Mining operations being suspended by Indian depredations, Cross went over into Mexico to enter the military service of the Mexican Liberals, but learning of the rebellion at home, hastened north.”

“In the summer of 1861, he was commissioned by Governor Berry, colonel of the Fifth

Photograph taken in 1862 at the summit of Mount Washington (NH) including Col. Edward E. Cross in uniform

Photograph taken in 1862 at the summit of Mount Washington (NH) of the Cross family,  including Col. Edward E. Cross in uniform. He would die a year later.

New Hampshire Infantry, which regiment bore the well-earned sobriquet of the ‘Fighting Fifth.’ The military record of the Fifth and its commander is a part of the history of the state. Decimated by battle the regiment was always recruited rapidly; foremost in desperate work its losses were fearful. Colonel Cross asserted on a public occasion in Concord, in January 1863, that at Fredericksburg his dead lay nearer the rebel rifle-pits than those of any other regiment of the Army of the Potomac. Cross was shot through the thigh at Fair Oaks, shot again and again at Fredericksburg, and while leading the First Division of the Second Army Corps at Gettysburg was fatally shot through the abdomen.  [He died 3 July 1863, not July 2 as some accounts show].  His remains were interred at Lancaster, amid a great concourse of people, by the Masonic fraternity, of which he was a member.”

If it is possible to know this man’s thoughts, it is one of his own letters that best explains what he endured. Letter he wrote June 4, 1863, NY Times July 14, 1863  (Published July 14, 1863, New York Times.
The following letter, which was written after the battle at Fredericksburg, by the late Col. Cross, who was killed at Gettysburg, has just been published
–Hancock’s Division, June 4, 1863

Engraving of scene at Gettysburg from book "The greatest work of the celebrated French artist, Paul Philippoteaux [electronic resource] : battle of Gettysburg [cyclorama]

Engraving of scene at Gettysburg from book “The greatest work of the celebrated French artist, Paul Philippoteaux [electronic resource] : battle of Gettysburg [cyclorama]

Fredericksburgh came near being my last battle. As we were advancing to those fatal heights in line of battle I was near my colors. A twelve-pounder shell, from the Washington battery, burst right in front of me. One fragment struck me right below the heart, making a bad wound. Another blew off my hat; another (small bit) entered my mouth, and broke out three of my best jaw teeth, while the gravel, bits of frozen earth and minute fragments of shell, covered my face with bruises. I fell insensible, and after some time, when another fragment of shell, striking me on the left leg, below the knee, brought me to my senses. My mouth was full of blood, fragments of teeth and gravel, my breast bone almost broken in, and lay in mud two inches deep. My brave boys had gone along. I always told them never to stop for me. Dead and wounded lay thick around. One Captain of French’s Division was gasping in death within a foot of my head, his bowels all torn out. The air was full of hissing bullets and bursting shell. Getting on my hands and knees, I looked for my flag. Thank God, there it fluttered tight amid the smoke and fire of the front line. I could hear the cheers of my brave men. Twice the colors dropped, but were up in an instant. I tried to crawl along, but a shell came and struck the steel scabbard of my saber, splitting it open, and knocking me down flat. Dizzy and faint, I had sense enough to lay myself out decently, “feet to the foe.” Two lines passed over me, by soon they swayed back, trampling on the dead and dying. Halting about thirty yards in the rear, one line laid down and commenced firing. Imagine the situation. Right between two fires of bullets and shell–for our own artillery fire from over the river was mostly too short, and did great damage to our own troops. I lay on the field, our hours, the most awful moments of my life. As the balls from our line hissed over me within a foot of my head I covered my face with both hands, and counted rapidly from one to one hundred, expecting every moment my brains would spatter the ground. But they didn’t. My guardian angels (if there be such personages) or my destiny, saved me. The end of my days was reserved for another and I hope more fortunate occasion. For if I am to die on the battle-field, I Pray that it may be with the cheers of victory in my ears. When it became dark some of my men found me and I was carried to the hospital.

Sketch of "The Wheatfield" at Gettysburg where Col. Cross fought and died.

Sketch of “The Wheatfield” at Gettysburg where Col. Cross fought and died.

You remember the evening of our little festival. Out of the gay crowd of officers there assembled, death has made a fearful muster. Of the nineteen officers of the Fifth New-Hampshire in the battle, seven were killed, and ten wounded! Of the five colonels of the brigade, three were badly wounded. Only one mounted officer was left, in the brigade, which left half its numbers dead and wounded on the field. Thank heaven that the old “fire-proof” brigade added to its glorious name that day. The same colors that were in the front at Fair Oaks, Malvern Hill, and Antietam, were planted nearest to those inaccessible batteries. Our of 249 of my regiment, 180 were killed and wounded. Capt. Perry and Capt. Murray were shot with the colors in their hands. Maj. Shubrant and Capt. Moore fell within thirty of forty yards of that stone wall at the foot of the hill. But I have no heart to go over the details. The scenes of that battle added ten years to my experience.

Grave of E.E. Cross in Lancaster NH, from "History of Lancaster NH"

Grave of E.E. Cross in Lancaster NH, from “History of Lancaster NH”

I suppose we are now in Summer quarters. When are the conscripts coming? The energy are very strong in front of us. I want to fight this, thing out. My life–all I have–is at the service of the country. But, let me tell you, it is hard fighting against stupidity, foolishness and treason at home!

I shall always be glad to see my Cincinnati friends, come when they may. I now command the old First brigade. I have often been recommended for promotion, and by no less than twelve Generals. Yet, so it goes.

Yours truly, EDWARD E. CROSS, Colonel Commanding, First brigade.


Colonel Edward Everett Cross [by the Lancaster Historical Society].

Book: Colonel Edward E. Cross, New Hampshire Fighting Fifth: A Civil War, by
Robert Grandchamp

Book: Stand Firm and Fire Low: The Civil War Writings of Colonel Edward E. Cross, By Edward Ephraim Cross, Walter Holden, William E. Ross, Elizabeth Slomba



Peter Cross/Crosse, b 1632 England to American Colonies, CT

Peter Cross (1650-1737) & Mary Crane of Windsor & Mansfield CT.

Daniel Cross & Desire Hall of Mansfield CT (she dau of Capt. William & Esther Hall) of New London & Windham CT

William Cross [1720-1801] & Miriam Abbe,  Mansfield & Windham CT

Joseph Cross, b. 11 May 1760 in Windham CT, d. 20 Jan 1855 at Fairfax, Franklin, VT. He m1) 1787 to Persis Wheeler. [or possibly Persis Backus, dau of Nathaniel & Elizabeth (Hibbard) Backus]. She was b. c1760-1773 and d. about 1821 in VT. He died at the age of 103. One source says he served at Lexington & Bunker Hill (unknown if true). He is listed as a private in CT militia, served at the Battle of Trenton. In 1804 removed to Barton VT. He had a pension application 20 April 1818 aged 59 at Derby, Orleans VT. In 1821 living at Champlain, Clinton Co. NY. In 1830 living at Fairfax, VT. He is buried at Pigeon Hill, Brome-Missisquoi Regional Co., Quebec Canada.
Death: 1-10-1855 VERMONT Pension Number: *S Service Description: 1) CAPT.JAMES STEDMAN,COL.WARD
Spouse = PERSIS WHEELER Child/Spouse Number/Spouse = SOPHIA / [1] ROBERT PARKER
Children of Joseph & Persis (Wheeler) Cross:
1. William Cross, b betw 1787-1792 CT
2. Samuel Cross, b betw 1787-1792 CT
3. Sophia Cross, b 11 June 1792 Windham CT, d. 21 March 1878 VT, aged 86 years; m. Robert Parker (son of Robert a private in the Revolutionary Army). He was b. 11 March 1782 and d. 5 Jan 1864. They are buried in North Hyde Park Cemetery, North Hyde Park, Lamoille Co. VT
4. +Ephraim Edward Cross, b. 19 Feb 1795 Windham CT
3. Lucy Cross, b. 18 Aug 1798 Windham CT, d. 14 Jan 1878; m1) William Jaquays; m2) Moses A. Wells
4. George Washington Cross, b. 15 May 1800 Windham CT
5. Erastus Cross, b. 2 Aug 1804 Quebec Canada, d. 18 June 1856; m. Louisa Marie Lamkin; lived in Highgate VT, Champlain NY, and Canada; had 9 children.
6. Amanda Abbe Cross, b. 3 April 1805 Windham CT
7. Laura Cross, b abt 1808
10. Nathan Cross, b. 1810 Derby, Orleans Co. VT; in 1851 living in St. Armand West, Missiquoi County, Canada East.

Hon. Ephraim Edward Cross, son of Joseph & Persis (Wheeler) Cross, b 19 Feb 1795 Windham, Windham Co. CT, d 7 Sep 1876 in Lancaster NH, aged 81; He m1) 30 Dec 1816 in Lancaster NH to Lucy P. Messer/Masser. She b. 19 May 1794 in Hopkinton NH and d. 2 Oct 1825 Lancaster NH. He m2d) Susan M. (?). She b. abt 1795 and d. 1827 [per tombstone]. He m3rd) 26 Dec 1827 to Abigail Clair Everett, daughter of Richard C. & Persis (Wilder) Everett. She b. 17 Nov 1804 Lancaster NH, d 21 July 1883 in Lancaster NH; All buried Wilder Cemetery, Lancaster, Coos Co. NH. He was a hatter by profession. At one time postmaster for Lancaster NH with William Pierson. In 1830 he owned at tavern as it is noted on 1 February 1830 in the New Hampshire Patriot and State Gazette (Concord NH) page 3 that a County Convention to nominate suitable candidates would be held there. For many years a NH State Senator.
September 6, 1861, Farmer’s Cabinet (Amherst, NH) page 3
“He (Edward E. Cross) comes from the best military stock of the republic, a family that has furnished among others, the following officers and soldiers to the armies of the Union: Joseph ross, sergeant in the revolutionary war seven years, died aged 103.. Joseph Cross, 2nd, Captain in the U.S.A. war of 1812. Osborne G. Cross, soldier of the revolution, died aged 94. Erastus Cross, Sergeant of Cavalry, war of 1812. Truman Cross, Colonel and Assistant Quartermaster General, killed by Mexicans on the banks of the Rio Grande. Wm. O. Cross, 2d Lieut. Volunteers killed at Buena Vista. Erastus H. Cross, private voluntary artillery, killed at Storming of Monterey. Alex. Cross, 2d Lt. U.S.A., resigned, distinguished for gallant conduct at the storming of Chapultepec. Osborne Cross, Major U.S.A., stationed in California. Ephraim Cross, Captain, Lieut.-Colonel and Colonel in the militia of N.H. Nelson Cross, brother of E.E., Lieut.-Col. Brooklyn Phalanx, now in service. Richard E. Cross, Sergeant Sappers and Miners, now stationed at Fort Pickens. Charles E. Cross, 2d Lieut., U.S.A. On his mother’s side, the Everett family have also furnished many soldiers, including Richard C. Everett, soldier of the revolution afterward Chief Justice of this State, and one of its most prominent men.”
A fighting family addendum–Charles E. Cross of the United States Engineers, who was killed near Fredericksburg recently, was a cousin of Col. E.E. Cross, of the 5th N.H. Regiment, and not a brother, as has been stated in several journals. This brings to memory the fact that at Fair Oaks four brothers and three cousins fought bravely in the ranks of the Union Army. The brothers were Col. Cross and Major Cross of the 5th N.H. Regiment, Col. Nelson Cross of the 1st Long Island Volunteers, and private Francis L. Cross of a New Hampshire regiment. Included among the three cousins were Capt. Cross., recently killed, and Lieut. W.T. Cross of Battery C., N.Y. Artillery.
Nov 16, 1853, New Hampshire Patriot and State Gazette (Concord NH) p 2
“Coos Boys–The Coos Democrat says that Nelson Cross, Esq., one of the representatives of Hamilton County in the Ohio Legislature is a son of Col. Ephraim Cross of Lancaster, and that Edward D. Holton, the free-soil candidate for Governor in Wisconsin is also a Lancaster boy….”
September 9, 1876, Springfield Republican, Springfield MA, page 7
DIED–At Lancaster NH, 7th, Col. Ephraim Cross, 81, the oldest Mason in the state, ex-state senator and custom house officer under President Pierce.
Wednesday, July 25, 1883. Argus and Patriot (Montpelier Vermont) page 4
Mrs. Abigail C., widow of the late Col. Ephraim Cross of Lancaster NH and mother of the gallant Col. Edward E. Cross, commander of the “fighting fifth,” N.H.V., who fell at Gettysburg, died at her home in Lancaster, July 14, aged about 83 years. Mrs. Cross was a sister of Hon. John W. Weeks, son of one of the first settlers of Lancaster, and a Democratic member of Congress during Gen. Jackson’s administration
Tuesday, March 16, 1897, Boston Journal (Boston MA) p. 2
Judge Nelson Cross of New York died suddenly Saturday at the home of his niece, Mrs. A.D. Gould, 23 Bellevue Street, Dorchester as a result of apoplexy. Judge Cross was born in Lancaster, NH 77 years ago. During several years he practiced law in Cincinnati. He received his appointment as Judge in 1852 in New York, where during many years he had served on the Bench of one of the lower courts. During the Civil War he won distinction as Colonel of a New York regiment. His brother, Col. Edward Cross, was killed in the battle of Gettysburg. He leaves a widow and one daughter, Miss Amy Cross, a celebrated artist. Both are in Holland at present.
1850 US Census > NH > Coos > Lancaster
Ephraim Cross 54 M Hatter 1000 CT
Abigail E. Cross 44 F NH
Araannah Cross S 21 F NH
Edward E Cross 18 M Printer NH
Richard E. Cross 15 M NH
Persis F. Cross 11 F NH
Frances L. Cross 5 F NH
Hellen W. Cross 1 F NH
1860 US Census > NH > Coos > Lancaster
Ephen [Ephraim] Cross 64 CT
Abagail C. Cross 54 NH
Edward Cross 27 NH
Richard E. Cross 25 NH
Perris F. Cross 21 NH
Frank L. Cross M 15 NH
Helen W. Cross 11 NH
Frank Jackson 13
CROSS, AMY (P.) 58 West 57th Street, New York. Born Milwaukee, Wis. Pupil of Cooper Institute under R. Swain Gifford and of A.S.L. in New York; Hague Academy in Holland under Jacob Maris and Albert Neuhuys; Julian Academy in Paris. Silver medal, Atlanta Exposition in 1895; bronze medal, Charleston Exposition 1902. Member N.Y.W.C.C.; N.Y. Woman’s A.C.; W.A.A. of Canada. [American Art Annual, Vol 4, 1903]
Children of Ephraim & Lucy P. (Messer) Cross:
1. William Cross, b. 1817, d. May 1819 Lancaster NH, aged 2 years.
2. Col. Nelson Cross, b. Feb 1824 Lancaster NH, d. 13 March 1897 Boston [Dorchester] MA, buried Forest Hills Cemetery, Jamaica Plain MA; m. Mary Whetten, daughter of John Burling & Jane (Ohesund) Whetten. She was b. Nov 1832 in NYC and d. 22 March 1911 in Manhattan NY. During Civil War he was with Co. S, 67th NY Infantry Regiment. Enlisted 1861, mustered out 1864, promoted to Brevet Maj-Gen 1865. Lawyer and Judge. His death record erroneously shows his father as “Hiram.” One child, Amy Cross, a noted NYC artist, b April 1856 in Milwaukee WIS, died 18 April 1939 in Manhattan NY. [see brief bio above]
3. Lucy A. Cross, b. 1825 Lancaster NH, d. 21 June 1896 in Boston MA; m. 2 Dec 1847 in Hopkinton MA to Charles N. Mellen, son of Nathaniel & Catherine (Brown) Mellen. He was b. abt 1819 in Wrentham MA and d. 20 Nov 1893 in Boston MA. He was a merchant. No known children.
4. Charles M. Cross, b. 1826 Lancaster NH, d. 8 March 1828, age 2 yrs.
5. ?Elizabeth A. Cross [noted in an online genealogy, no evidence found]
Children of Ephraim E. & Abigail (Everett) Cross:
6. Araannah aka Arianna S. Cross, b abt 1829 NH; in 1839 listed as student at Lancaster Academy, boarding at Col. Crosses.
7. +Edward E. Cross, b. 22 April 1832 Lancaster, NH
8. Richard Everett Cross, b abt 1835 NH, d. 16 Sep 1894 in Washington DC; Lieut Col., Civil War veteran. In the 1860 US Census at West Point. New Hampshire Patriot and State Gazette (Concord NH) March 8, 1865 “Lt. Col. Richard E. Cross, of the 5th regiment was sometime since dismissed upon a sentence of a Court Martial That sentence was subsequently reversed by the President; and Col C. has now been appointed Colonel of the regiment by the Governor.” Reportedly moved to Glencoe, Canada; He m. — MacDonald, dau of Hon. A.P. MacDonald, [a member of the Provincial Parliament and greatly engaged in the construction of railways, 1872] and had one daughter. Occupation on death certificate: Guard in Treasury.
7. Persis Fayette Cross, b 10 Nov 1839 Lancaster NH [per passport], d. 9 May 1903 Lancaster NH; m. 16 Jan 1862 in NH to Dexter Chase, son of Aaron & Lucinda (Minot) Chase. He was b abt 1832 Cabot VT and d. 24 Jan 1896 Concord NH. He was an insurance agent. They had no children.
9. Francis L./Frank L. Cross, b abt 1844-45 Lancaster NH; d. 31 March 1884 in Kansas City MO. Buried in Union Cemetery, Kansas City MO. He fought in the United States Civil War for the Union Side. He was listed as being from New Hampshire. He was a Private D in the 5th New Hampshire Infantry. He m. 1 Aug 1869 in Bovina, Outagamie, Wisconsin to Mary E. Jewell, daughter of Sargent & Rachel Cora (Smith) Jewell. In 1870 living in his in-law’s household in Bovina, Outagamie, Wisconsin. Children: 1) Edward E. Cross, b Oct 1873 in Bovina, Outagamie Co., Wisconsin; m. 3 July 1895 in Maine, Outagamie, Wisconsin to Stella Carpenter, daughter of Jeremiah & Elijah (Johnson) Carpenter. She was b. Sep 1879 in Wisconsin. They lived in Maple Valley, Oconto, Wisconsin and had children: Alvin, John F. [b April 1896], Lydia [b April 1897], Eleanor [b Dec 1899], and Ray L.  2)Nellie Augusta Cross, b. 1875, d. 25 Dec 1946 in Preble, Brown Co. Wisconsin. She m. William Francis Flynn and had 9 children.
10. Helen Wilder Cross, b. 22 Jan 1849 Lancaster NH, d. 19 Sep 1936 Greenfield MA; m. 6 Feb 1873 in Manhattan NY to Henry Willard Dennison, son of John P. & Mary S. (Cooper) Dennison. He was b. 11 May 1846 in in Guildhall VT [per passport], d. 3 July 1914 Tokyo Japan.

Edward E. Cross, three-quarters length portrait, seated in chair, facing left, in uniform. Col., 5th N.H. Infantry; Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.

Edward E. Cross, three-quarters length portrait, seated in chair, facing left, in uniform. Col., 5th N.H. Infantry; Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.

Col. Edward E. Cross [this article is about him, see photographs and biography above], son of Hon. Ephraim & Abigail (Everett) Cross. b. 22 April 1832 Lancaster NH, d. 3 July 1863 newspaperman and officer in Union Army.  He is buried in the family plot, in Wilder Cemetery, Lancaster, NH.  A statue was erected in later years in what is now Soldier’s Park.  [Editor’s note: I have seen Col. Cross being given various middle names including Everett and Ephraim, but I have not seen any primary evidence to give preference over one or the other].  He did not marry, nor did he have any known children.
Colonel Edward E. Cross’s obituary
History of the Seventeenth Regiment, NH Volunteer Infantry 1862-1863
Additional books at Hathi Trust containing information about Co. E.E. Cross.


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2 Responses to Civil War Casualty of Gettysburg, Former News Reporter, Lancaster NH’s Famed Col. Edward E. Cross (1832-1863)

  1. What a life he saw in battle. You did him proud here in this story.

  2. Pingback: New Hampshire’s 2016 Memorial Day | Cow Hampshire

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