Moses Bailey Abbott

Courtesy of Find A Grave

Nineteen-year-old Moses B. Abbott was a musician in the 18th Massachusetts Regimental band. His E-flat soprano brass cornet with three string-action rotary valves was probably made by Boston instrument maker Elbridge G. Wright and purchased at his store in Boston.

Abbott was born in Andover in 1842 and spent most of his life on a family farm in West Andover in the modern-day River Road industrial area. With the 18th Regiment, he was encamped in Arlington, Virginia and spent 1861 and the first half of 1862 marching and practicing. In July 1862, all regimental bands in volunteer units were abolished, mostly as a cost-cutting measure, but also because they were regarded as unnecessary by many commanders. Moses Abbott was discharged August 11, 1862, after less than a year of service.

At home, Abbott assisted the town committee to compile the enrollment list of men available for draft by canvassing the (West Andover) Abbott school district. He must have been dismayed when, despite the previous service noted on his record, he was drafted for service on July 18, 1863 because he chose to pay the $300 commutation to avoid re-enlistment.

Abbott married Susan Dowding in 1868 and had two daughters. The family continued to keep dairy cows on the West Andover farm along with land devoted to hay, potatoes and apples. Moses Abbott, “a respected and industrious farmer and quite well known,”died of pneumonia in 1891 at the age of forty-nine and is buried in West Parish Cemetery.