Kevin S. Coy
The late Col. Cross
It is painful to record the untimely decease of those dear from personal association, or whose record belonging to the country, brings with its narration remembrances burdened with the plans, hopes and pleasures of a life of intimate and pleasant intercourse.
Realizing our duty to the public and the justice due to the memory of the gallant dead, it becomes our province to allude more fully to the career and services of the subject of this article.
Colonel EDWARD EPHRAIM CROSS, who died at Gettysburg, Penn., July 3d, of wounds received in the engagement the preceeding day, was born in Lancaster, April 21, 1831, and was consequently in the 33d year of his age. Availing himself to the advantages of the public schools and academies, he early entered as an apprentice the office of the Coos Democrat then conducted by Hon. James M. Rix. Completing his time, he was for a while Foreman of the establishment, after which he spent a summer in Canada, with his father, Col. Ephraim Cross, in construction a steamboat upon Memphramagog Lake.
Of an adventurous mind, strengthened by camp life at this period, and by former experience with surveying parties, he desired the novelty of a Western Life, and at the age of 20, left home for Cincinnati, Ohio. After a temporary engagement with paper, he became associated with the Cincinnati Times, maintaining his connection for several years, first as a journryman, and next as a Local Editor. As travelling correspondent, he contibuted sketches of much interest to its columns. During this period of travel, Col. Cross passed through the West and Southwest and penetrated the Indian Country around the great northern lakes. His notes of travel, written over the nom de plume of Richard Everett, are mentioned with pleasure by thousands. He also furnished original stories and scraps of poetry of decided merit for the Times and other journals. The last winter of his connection with the Times was spent at Washington, when he was also the "special" of the N. Y. Herald and other sheets. It was at that time his intention to return to Cincinnati as Editor of the Times; but private affairs preventing, he disposed of his interest there and emabarked his fortunes in the Santa Rita Mining Co. of Arizona.
Organizing the company and taking with them a printing press and fixtures, the emigrants crossed the mountains, enduring the trials incident to a new country full of hostile Indians.
Col. Cross' career while in Arizona was full of incident and romance. As a publisher, he issued the first newspaper in the Territory; as an Indian fighter, he often volunteered to accompany Government expeditions, or to organize companies to pursue the hostile Apaches, and his adventures on the wilds of the Gila and over the Mexican border abound in daring.
In the unsettled condition of the Territory he was frequent at Lynch Courts, and was a principle in several duels, from all of which he escaped unharmed. In the spring of 1861, the withdrawal of the National troops from the Territory, induced an outbreak among the Indian tribes, the silver mine was broken up, the machinery damaged and most of the operators killed. Burying such machinery as was saved, Col. C. left the scene of desolation and proposed entering the Liberal service in Mexico, and was for a time over the border in a military capacity; but abandoning his plan, he proceeded to Concord and tendered his service to Governor Berry, who soon thereafter commissioned him Col. of the 5th Regiment.
A good soldier and thoroughly imbued with the importance of discipline and drill, Col. Cross was fortunate in the selection of his officers and the organization of his regiment. It earned an enviable reputation while at Concord- and on every field has nobly sustained the honor of the state.
The 5th has been in almost every engagement from the time it joined the Army of the Potomac. It has participated in all the great battles of the war, and has performed a great amount of picket and engineer duty. The celebrated "grape vine bridge" across the Chickahominy, which saved McClellan's army was built by Col. Cross, and his perseverance and Yankee skill were always in requisiton.
Col. Cross was shot through the thigh at Fair Oaks, was severely wounded at Antitam, where his regiment saved Richardson's Division from being flanked, was badly bruised at Fredericksburgh, where his "his dead lay nearer the rifle pits than those of any other Regiment in the Army of the Potomac," and was slightly wounded on other occasions.
The brave regiment that he commanded is now reduced to a handful. Its history is the history of the Army of the Potomac, and its original flags, torn and bloody, are proofs of its desperate encounters. Col. Cross has been recommended for promotion by all the leading generals, and undoubtedly soon have worn the stars of a Brigadier. For the last year, as a senior Colonel, he has frequently commanded a brigade. He did so at Chancellorsville; and at Gettysburg, where he fell, he was in command of the 1st brigade of the 1st division of the 2nd army corps-the command which so gallantly repulsed the repeated charges of the rebels.
Col. Cross was wounded at 11 P.M., Thursday, July 2, by a minnie ball, which entered the abdomen in front, coming out near the spine. He lived until 12 1-2 A.M., of Friday, July 3, maintaining his consciousness during the whole period and expressing joy at the continued success of our arms.
His body reached here Tuesday evening following his death, and was interred by NorthStar Lodge, in the presence of an immense concourse of people, on Thursday at 6 P.M. the national flags dropped at half mast; the band played solemn dirges; the fraternity, in large numbers, assisted in the solemn ceremonies, and amid a throng of friends who had known him from boyhood, the brave soldier, the true friend, the impulsive and honorable man was borne to his final resting place in the valley he loved so well amid all his wanderings, where he now sleeps, unmindful of the din of battle or the shouts over that victory for which he laid down his valient life.
As a man, Col. Cross was ardent, impetuous and unreserved in his acts and feelings. A true patriot and earnest lover of his country, which he gave his life, he was wont on all occasions to canvass freely the policy or motives involved in the struggle, but his faith was not complete with words, for he subjected it to the practical test of the battlefield, from whence it derived its purity.
As an officer, he was a strict and unswerving disciplinarian, punishing with severity any shirking or neglect of duty, but ever prompt to recognize and reward actual merit. Brave to the utmost limit, his command was always in the front, where it performed prodigies of valor. He never asked his men to go, and they did well if the followed closely where he led.
As a son and brother, he was kind, attentive and observing. His parents and relatives were always the source of remembrance and solicitude and his practical kindness was frequent and abundant.
Of a strong and original mind, Col. Cross was in boyhood, an intense reader and keen observer. His mind was particularly active and had prepared data for literary and scientific works of decided value. One of his strongest emotions was his love of the place of his nativity. His visits here were intensely enjoyed, and his frequently expressed wish was, that wherever he might die, he might be buried here. While in Arizona he came east, one great motive being that he might receive the Masonic Degrees in the old Lodge at Lancaster.
He was a kind friend, a good son and brother, a brave and chivalric soldier. Devoting his life to his country, he yielded it up in its prime, and passed away while the nation is yet convuluted with the throes of rebellion.