Walter Raymond (1846-1864) was a sixteen-year-old, recent graduate of the Punchard School in August 1862, when he begged to enlist with Co. G of the Massachusetts 44th Reg. of infantry. Because he was underage, his father Samuel Raymond, a prominent member of the town’s Committee of Twenty-Five, was required to give written permission for his son to join up, along with his brother Edward G. and twelve other Andover men. In what must have seemed like an adventure to the eager boy, the company left Boston for North Carolina on October 2, escorted to the steamboat with a parade down Boylston Street led by the full Gilmore Band. All of the Andover men survived this nine-month enlistment relatively unscathed, but unlike some of the others, Walter reenlisted, joining Co. L of the 1st Massachusetts Cavalry in January 1864. Serving under General Phillip Sheridan, Walter was captured near Malvern Hill, Virginia on August 16, 1864. He was sent to Salisbury Prison in North Carolina, a converted cotton mill whose population grew to nearly 10,000 union prisoners by the fall of 1864. Conditions were horrific, food was scarce, and Walter Raymond died of starvation and neglect on December 25, 1864.
Walter’s story received national attention when Harriet Beecher Stowe included it in her article “The Noble Army of Martyrs,” published in 1868. She wrote, “On Christmas Day, while thousands among us were bowing in our garlanded churches or surrounding festive tables, this young martyr lay on the cold, damp ground.”