Memorial Day – May 26, 2014 “Lest We Forget” Andover, MA
James S. Batchelder – Guest Speaker – Memorial Day Address
Today, in a time honored tradition, for the past 146 years, the residents of Andover, pay tribute to all the soldiers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice, so that we may continue to enjoy our freedoms of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, whatever that may be.
Last Monday marked the 150th anniversary of the Civil War Battle of Spotsylvania in Virginia.
On May 19, 1864 on what had been described as “a most beautiful day”, a skirmish at Harris Farm, with the 1st Massachusetts Company H, Heavy Artillery Regiment and Confederate soldiers took place. Fighting began on the open fields around Harris farm and in thick woods beyond. When the fighting ceased about 4 hours later there were 297 wounded, 53 dead and 27 missing. It has a particular significance to our Town for during that battle Andover lost 7 of her sons and 10 more would later succumb to the wounds inflicted during that day.
One of the buried dead was Granville K. Cutler age 25, son of William & Amelia Cutler. They lived on Lowell St. near West Parish Church. Cutler Road now bears their family name. Granville’s two brothers, Abalino age 23 and Charles age 17 were also in the fight at Harris Farm. Charles was wounded and taken back to Washington, D C where he died 10 days later, just 8 days after his 18th birthday.
The next morning May 20th the Massachusetts Regiment buried their dead comrades on the battle field. Abalino Cutler was left to bury his brother Granville.
Lewis “Gat” Holt, also of Andover, was a tent mate with the Cutler boys and in a letter to his sister Caroline many years later he described the task as he remembered his service.
“… I saw the smoke and heard the din of battle, I saw the foe and heard the rebel yell.
I saw every man in Co. H alive and well, and I saw them fall on the field of Spotsylvania, some dead and some wounded, I saw the wounded tenderly taken up and cared for after the battle, and I saw the dead laid in a row side by side, touching elbows as they did in the ranks, I saw the trench dug, and the dead laid in it still touching elbows, their caps over their faces. .. I saw those who were left of Co H standing with uncovered drooping heads, while tears fell from their eyes as the dirt was, not thrown, but gently pushed in as though taking care not to hurt their poor dead comrades, the strip of hardtack box on which was written the name and killed at Spotsylvania May 19, 1864.”
Charles Cutler’s body was returned to Andover and buried in West Parish Cemetery in site of his boyhood home. And what of the soldiers buried on the battlefield, you might ask?
When the War ended the grim task began to relocate every fallen solider to a new resting place. The Union soldiers who died at Spotsylvania and in other area battles were reinterred at Fredericksburg National Cemetery. Of the 17,000 graves – 14,000 are known only to God. Three Andover men have markers, Samuel Aiken, Jonathan Holt and Granville Cutler.
The Raymond Family;
Samuel and Emily Raymond lived on Elm Street and had two sons. Their older son Edward had enlisted in the Army in July 1862. His younger brother Walter, just 16, wanted to enlist but, needed his father’s consent. So a month later, Samuel Raymond handed Walter the following note to the company captain.
My oldest son has enlisted in your company. I send you his younger brother. He is, and always has been, in perfect health, of more than the ordinary power of endurance, honest, truthful, and courageous. I doubt not, you will find him on trial all you can ask, except for his age, and that I am sorry to say is only sixteen; yet if our country needs his service, take him.
Your obedient servant,
Walter was mustered out, did two terms of service re-enlisting in a Massachusetts cavalry regiment and saw action in Virginia until August 1864, when he was captured at Malvern Hill by the Confederates. His last act was to warn the rest of his squad so they could get away.
He was sent to Salisbury prison in North Carolina, a converted cotton mill with a population reaching 10,000 Union prisoners. Conditions were horrific and Walter Raymond died – of starvation and maltreatment – on “Christmas Day” 1864. Walter Raymond was buried in the trenches.
His family didn’t find out about his death until a prisoner exchange the following March. The Rev. Mr. Babbit of Andover’s Christ Church gave a sermon at Walter’s memorial service in April 1865, drawing on Walter’s letters to his family and on letters they had received from his comrades. Walter had never forgotten through all his suffering “the lessons of home and of the Sunday School.” One of his fellow prisoners wrote, “I told him he must steal, as I did, or he would die.”
Walter replied, ‘No, I was not brought up to that.’”
[His companions] sat there and watched him as his life ebbed slowly away, until, about two o’clock, he roused himself, stretched out his hand, drew to his side his dearest friend among those around him, and said, in a strong, clear voice, “I am going to die. Go tell my father I am ready to die; for I die for God and my country”; and then looking up with a fond and heavenly smile, he died.”
Timothy F. Heald was 9 when his parents Franklin & Elvira Heald purchased a farm on Argilla Road. He was the oldest of the three children. Their farm abutted the Cutler farm on Lowell St. and as neighbors it is quite possible Timothy was friends with the Cutler boys. His story however is a tragic one, as the events of his family played out quite differently. His mother died at age 43. His sister died the following year at age 16, both of consumption, and brother Varnum at age 24 of Typhoid fever in 1856. His distraught father sold the farm and moved to Portland, Maine.
Timothy remained in Andover and enlisted in the Army in Boston on April 19, 1861. He was assigned to Co. G. Massachusetts 5th Infantry and re-enlisted in Captain Carruth’s Company with the First Massachusetts Infantry and was sent to Washington DC. Timothy saw action which proved too much for him, to cope with, and he was placed in “The Hospital for the Insane near Washington DC in May 1862.
Timothy was discharged by letter, sent on Aug. 1864 from Superintendent Nicolls to Asst. Adjunct General Colonel E. D. Townsend.
“The following patients belonging to the Army appear to have recovered their reason, and I respectfully recommend they be discharged from the hospital. Nearly all of the men exhibit a liability to the return of insanity upon the exposure of mental excitement and physical hardships and I there fore recommend that they be discharged from the service.”
There were nearly 100 names on that list. Timothy Heald was discharge in October 1864 but did not return to Andover, perhaps because there was no one to return to.
On April 9, 1865 the War Between the States was over, but for Timothy Heald the war never really ended. He remained in Washington without the help he really needed and 11 months later ended his life, alone in the U. S. Hotel. He now rests with his mother, sister and brother in West Parish Cemetery.
“The march of an army is a grand sight, but your picture of an army is never complete unless you see it in action, rushing on over the dead and the dying. But if all nature is ominous and threatening to the soldier, there was one spot which was always green. That spot was in his memory, and it was the memory of his home.” Joel M. Seymour, Theological Seminary, formerly a member of the 42nd Regt Ohio Vol Inf. – MAY 1872, Decoration Day Andover, MA
“Gat” to his friends also enlisted in the 1st Massachusetts Company H, Heavy Artillery Regiment. Gat was 22 when he mustered out on July 5, 1861 as a Private. He was promoted to Corporal in March 1862, fought at Harris Farm in Spotsylvania, and took a bullet in the neck at Cold Harbor in June 12, 1864. During his three years in active service he was stationed in and around the Washington D.C. area to protect the city. He was a prolific letter writer to his sister Caroline at home in Andover. All 33 letters now transcribed at the Andover Historical Society.
His letters are filled with the everyday routine of a soldier’s life. On patrol, guard duty, KP duty, sleeping in the trenches while trying to stay dry after five days of rain, trying to keeping his rifle from rusting, marching 20 miles in the heat, and then engaging in battle.
He tells his sister of seeing President Lincoln while on review, and again one night on guard duty when the President and Mrs. Lincoln passed in there carriage. Gat saluted the President and Lincoln tipped his hat to him. Gat describes the city of Washington and the construction of the Capitol Building.
On one occasion when he had time off he sat in the gallery of the Senate chamber for an hour to watch his government at work. Gat Holt and his older brother Warren survived the war and made it home. Gat later marry and served as a Town Selectman. He later moved to Lawrence but was involved with organizing the GAR Veteran’s.
On May 19, 1901 Gat returned to Spotsylvania with Andover natives Peter Dove Smith and E. Kendall Jenkins to participate in the dedication of a Memorial to the 1st Massachusetts Company H, Heavy Artillery Regiment at Harris Farm in Spotsylvania.
Andover celebrated her first “Decoration Day” on May 30, 1867, now called Memorial Day.
We continue to carry on this tradition, to pay tribute at every grave and memorial,
In every cemetery, to every soldier, in every war since and before,
As our tribute for those who gave their life for God and our country, “Lest We Forget”.
Oration by James S. Batchelder
Andover Historical Society
I need to credit two members of the Andover Historical Society for their valuable help and contribution to my address;
Jane Cairns, President of the Andover Historical Society for her research on Walter Raymond and family and Board member Michael Morris Jr. for his help in research of Timothy Heald and with Joel M. Seymour’s address to residents of Andover.
 Joel M. Seymour was mustered into the 42nd Ohio as a corporal and mustered out of the regiment as a sergeant in Company A.
Joel M. Seymour, Andover Theological Seminary, a veteran of the 42nd Regt Ohio Vol Inf.
“The march of an army is a grand sight, but your picture of an army is never complete unless you see it in action, rushing on over the dead and the dying. But if all nature is ominous and threatening to the soldier, there was one spot which was always green. That spot was in his memory, and it was the memory of his home. Every familiar tree, whether in the yard, the old orchard, or the forest, every friendly rock, every scene of boyhood sports, the old house, itself, are all tinged with a halo of beauty to the soldier which would never have entered his dreams unless he had plunged himself into the vicissitudes of war. Your volunteer never understood the strength of home ties until he went to the war.”