Crane, Aaron Martin
Age: 23, credited to Glover, VTVITALS
Birth: 02/13/1835, Glover, VTADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Alias?: None notedDESCENDANTS
Irasburg Cemetery, Irasburg, VT
Check the cemetery for location/directions
and other veterans who may be buried there.
Lamoille Newsdealer: October 7, 1863
FROM THE FIRST VERMONT CAVALRY
PICKET CAMP on the RAPPAHANNOCK
September 20th, 1863
DEAR EXPRESS:---Our regiment has been on the battlefield again, and perhaps your readers, would like to know something more particular concerning its action than can be learned from the report of the general engagement.
Our division of cavalry has been occupying the same locality for more than a week. This was so unusual that the order to prepare to march did not greatly surprise us. It took nearly half a day to call in the pickets and get ready in our regiment. Various were the speculations among the men as to our destination, but of course we were kept in the usual ignorance of the soldier. Night found the brigade bivouacked near Kelly's Ford, and then most were certain our destination was across the river. Early as the heavy shower of the next morning ( Sunday the 13th), would permit, we did cross. After a little ransacking of the vicinity the whole force moved off in a column. Our regiment was placed near the rear. Before very long the order came to trot. Soon after the noise of cannon on our right broke in through the green woods. Still we hurried on and passed the ambulance train left in the rear. Next came wounded men and horses, falling back from the conflict. In a moment more we emerged into view of our cannon, and the hurrying regiments of another cavalry division. We knew the enemy was falling back, but instead of joining the conflict here, we turned further to the left, keeping a body of forest between us and the combatants. Still we hurried on, finally turning to the right and passing into the woods. Rebel shell now burst over our heads, and before we had all passed through, several fell amongst the ranks. No one was injured here: and when we came out into the open country we were in full view of Culpepper and the whole contest. It was the finest cavalry fight I ever witnessed. The rebels were over-powered on every side. Hardly did they stop to engage one body of our forces before they were assailed on the flank by the bullets or shells of another. Our three divisions advanced about equally on on the place. Kilpatrick's occupied the extreme left of the line, and our regiment was on his left flank. Keeping still further to the left, as if to pass to that side of the town,as if to cut off a train of cars which were in full view at the depot,, we got "mixed up" with ditches and streams that we could not cross, and, turning to the right, advanced directly on the town. As we crossed the stream we met two captured guns coming down from further to the right. As soon as we got. As soon as we got up the river bank the order came to charge.. And the 1st Vt. Did charge through the town in advance of everything else, taking a gun from the retreating rebels on the other side. The carbineers were here deployed as skirmishers; the remainder were to few to charge without support on what was before us. Soon the support came, this time on our left, and in they went. In the woods on the rising ground before us, the rebels made a short stand, and here our regiment did its hardest fighting, and met its losses.
The contest here over, and the enemy again in retreat, the 1st Vermont was drawn up in line and left to rest. The town was ours. Adjt. Gates who went into the contest heroically, was taken prisoner, being over-powered by numbers in a personal hand to hand contest. John Henry, of Co. B. was shot dead, and was buried near where he fell. Sergt. A. R. Haswell, of Co G., Frank A. Russell, of Co,I, and Monroe Lyford, of Co. C., were wounded.
After resting a short time we moved off, and our brigade encamped at the foot of Slaughter Mountain. So the day ended. Next morning we advanced and reached the Rapidan in the vicinity of Racoon Ford. Here we were obliged to advance over a considerable plain, while the rebels held a fine position of the heights which rose abruptly from the opposite bank. Twice our regiment advanced, attending to cross and charge the works on the other side, but both times the order was countermanded.
That night and the next day we all lay within easy range of the rebel guns, with only the protection afforded by old buildings, or slight equalities in the ground. Though we were practiced upon from the hills opposite, both with cannon and rifles, fortunately no one was hurt. On the night of the 15th, we were relieved, having been three days under continuous fire of the rebels.
Gen Custer was wounded at Culpepper and obtained leave of absence. When Col. Sawyer returned from Washington, where business called him just before we moved, the command of our brigade devolved on him. Lt. Col. Preston being in poor health, the command of the regiment devolves on the senior Major. Two regiments were detailed to return and picket on the Rappahannock. Ours was one of them; and the 18th found us once more doing duty within a few miles of our old situation.
What the future may develop we now may not know. I can but hope for the success of the Union cause. It never looked more prosperous.
Lamoille Newsdealer: December 2, 1863
IN A RICHMOND PRISON
A.M. Crane, of the 1st Vt. Cavalry, who with a companion succeeded in making his escape from Richmond last week, sends a letter to the Irasburg Express. After detailing the circumstances of his capture and transportation he says:
Once in the city we were paraded in the street and marched off through rows of silent men and women. Two or three times a shout was raised as we went by, but it was from a boyish rabble. There was no enthusiasm, but a spiritless apathy overcome by grief, and care, and pain, and want. The crowd of prisoners as it went by was in livelier spirits than the captor.
It was not a long walk to the famous Libby Prison. As we filed in we were again counted --- this time about three-hundred of us --- and the door was locked behind us. It was dark, and soon those who were not already stretched on the floor for the night, followed the example set by those who had been inmates of the den for a while. Those who had blankets spread them. Others threw themselves on the hard floor, perhaps with an overcoat about their shoulders, and perhaps with nothing save the clothing worn during the day. There were no groups of friends here and there, though friends might be together for the whole floor was entirely covered by sleeping forms.
Morning revealed to us the long high room we were occupying, stretched across the middle of the building with the gated windows at each end. There was an absence of glass, or even sash, and the rain or wind beat mercilessly in just as the storm chanced to drive. There was no provision for fires, though there were two fire-places in which coal might be used. There was also a plentiful supply of water at one side of the room. These were our quarters. About 9 in the morning an officer came in and ordered us out to roll call. We were drawn up in line four deep and counted. That was "roll-call", and was attended to by the officers daily. At this roll call we were counted into "messes" of a dozen each, for the drawing of rations. One man was elected from each mess to whom the officers gave the rations for the whole twelve, and he divided the amount among the men of his mess.
At this roll call too, another officer gave us an invitation to deliver up what money we had about us, saying at the same time that if we came forward and gave it up willingly, an account would be kept, we should have the amount returned when we were paroled or exchanged; but if we did not, we should be searched, our money all taken and no return made. Influenced by this threat many gave their greenbacks; the rebels would take no other, thus showing their contempt for their own worthless rags. The "account" was kept on a loose sheet of paper, and consisted only of the name of the person and amount of money--- no book, no receipt, no date, nothing but the name and amount on those loose sheets of paper. Our company were not searched, though I heard that others were that came in afterward.
The operation over we drew rations for the day --- half a loaf of bread nearly as large as our government gives, and a piece of boiled fresh beef, of not more than two cubic inches, to each man. This was the first food that had been issued to us since taken, and was the amount we drew dally while I was a prisoner. The quality was usually good, though the beef was abominably fresh. But to think a hearty man's living on eight or ten ounces of soft bread and a piece of beef as large as his two fingers daily!!
Well, that night they took us out of the Libby and put us into an old tobacco factory, filthier and far more inconvenient than we had seen before. After a few days, however, water was provided for each of the three floors, the rooms were cleaned a little, and our condition made more endurable than at first.
On the 18th the surgeon made his appearance among us for the first time. He looked at us about as a half way farmer would examine a flock of a hundred sheep., and then went away. After this he came daily. Those who were the worst were taken to the hospital. The inside of that institution I did not see, nor desire to. Life was bad enough in prison.
It is but justice, however, to state that there was one alleviating feature. The guards embraced every opportunity to sell us bread. This was contrary to orders, and had they been detected, would have sent them to Castle Thunder. But they had no feelings of personal enmity to gratify, and were only to glad to make a few dollars in trade with the Yankees. Many were the hungry men who added daily another loaf or two to the half loaf allowed by the rebel government. Prices, however, ranged rather high. Two or three loaves of bread, not weighing more than six ounces for a dollar, butter four to four and a half dollars per pound; apples two dollars per dozen, and wormy at that; pies, small and poor, at one dollar each, and other things in proportion---prices rising. This was in Confederate currency. We could sell our greenbacks for three, four, five, and sometimes seven dollars scrip for one dollar greenback.
Submitted by Deanna French