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Raymond, Edson M.

MILITARY SERVICE

Age: 32, credited to Orwell, VT
Unit(s): 5th VT INF
Service: enl 9/3/61, m/i 9/16/61, CPL, Co. H, 5th VT INF, reen 12/15/63, pr SGT 12/15/63, comn 1LT, Co. D, 9/15/64 (9/29/64), pr CPT, 11/10/64 (12/22/64), wdd, Petersburg, 4/2/65, dis/wds 6/2/65

See Legend for expansion of abbreviations

VITALS

Birth: 05/13/1831, Orwell, VT
Death: 01/28/1910

Burial: Mountain View Cemetery, Orwell, VT
Marker/Plot: 87
Gravestone researcher/photographer: Alan Lathrop
Findagrave Memorial #: 46634761

MORE INFORMATION

Alias?: None noted
Pension?: Unknown
Portrait?: Unknown
College?: Not Found
Veterans Home?: VT
(If there are state digraphs above, this soldier spent some time in a state or national soldiers' home in that state after the war)

Remarks: Died at Bennington Soldiers' Home

DESCENDANTS

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BURIAL:

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Tombstone

Mountain View Cemetery, Orwell, VT

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Biography

To say that Edson M. Raymond's life had its ups and downs would be an understatement. To characterize his life as bitter-sweet would fall far short of being accurate. To describe his time on the planet as pathetic would be petty. His military life was idyllic (except for one minor flaw). However, his civilian life was tragic. Two more divergent scenarios of one life could not have been more concocted if any omnipotent being had devoted an eighth day just to Edson.

Edson was the son of Ira Raymond (1801-1878) and Laura (Lucretia) Martin (1804-1853).[1] Edson was born on May 13, 1831 in Orwell, Vermont.[2] He had seven brothers and sisters: Marion A, 1834-1906; John Owen, 1836-1927; Enos B., 1837-1916; Isaac W, 1838-1918; Franklin C., 1841-1842; Sarah E., 1843-1846; and Laura E., 1848-1880.[3] All of the children were born in Orwell where Ira and Laura spent their lives. Edson was the oldest of the siblings in the family. Between his birth and the 1850 Census, it appeared that Edson spent his youth on the Orwell farm working when he was old enough next to his father doing farm chores.

The farm, in 1850, was valued at $2,500. A modest sum for the time, but certainly not a dirt poor business. Edson and Enos were both listed as farmers as well as their father. The Census taker gave Enos' age as eighteen when he was really only thirteen. He also listed all of the children as attending school which is doubtful. Edson was twenty which seemed a little old for a male to be attending school. Marion was seventeen. Many young females were married and raising children of their own by that age. The others were of school age and most likely did attend school for at least part of the school year.[4]

By 1860, Ira, now fifty-nine, and Laura, now named Adeline, fifty-four, still ran their farm in Orwell. Edson, thirty, still lived at home with his parents. The farm had increased in value considerably in ten years, now being valued at $4,000. Ira's personal property amounted to another $2,000. Obviously the Raymonds had been hard at work improving their spread. Edson, John and Isaac worked on the farm with their father. The family was doing well enough to afford a domestic servant. She was Mary Conro, age twenty.[5] She was hired to work in the house with mistress Raymond more for show than for necessity. There already were two other females in the house who could have helped their mother with the domestic chores of the home. Marion, at twenty-four, still lived in the house and there was thirteen year old Laura who could have been of help when not attending school. As a demonstration of their social-economic status in the community, it looked good to have a domestic on the payroll.

Amid all this social and economic prosperity swept a war fever in 1861. Unlike some of his peers, Edson did not seem to join the army out of a desperate need to escape some unpleasantness. His situation in life was quite comfortable and safe. He, like many of his contemporaries, seemed motivated by the desire for adventure and excitement. It was on September 3, 1861 at Brandon, Vermont that Edson committed to a three year term of service in Co H, Fifth Regiment Vermont Infantry. The five feet six and one half inch tall, blue eyed, brown haired joiner from "Orwall" became the next thirty-two year old member of the newly formed regiment from Vermont to answer President Lincoln's call for troops to put down the rebellion.[6] Thirteen days later, he appeared in St Albans, Vermont to be mustered-in with the rest of the volunteers. He came in as a Corporal, mostly due to his being older than the average volunteer, in Capt. Seagar's Co.[7]

The Fifth was organized in St. Albans, Vermont. Its companies were raised in various towns throughout the State. Company B, for example, was comprised of only men from Middlebury; Company E was from Manchester; Company H, from Brandon; Company F, from Cornwall; and so on. The Regiment was mustered-in on September 16, 1861 at St. Albans. It was immediately sent to Washington, D.C. and joined the other Vermont troops already at Camp Advance (Griffin) near the Chain Bridge in Virginia where it was assigned to the Vermont Brigade with which it served during the rest of the war. Throughout the fall of 1861, and the first few months of 1862, it was on duty in the defenses surrounding Washington.

March 10, 1862 the Fifth moved to Alexandria, Virginia. Two weeks later, the Regiment boarded transport ships for the Virginia Peninsula landing at Fort Monroe and moving to New Port News on the twenty-third and twenty-fourth of March, 1862. By April 16, 1862, the Regiment was at Lee's Mills with the Vermont Brigade. On June 29, the Fifth brought four hundred men to the action at Savage's Station. In one half hour of fighting, it lost one hundred eighty-eight of them on the field. Company E of Manchester suffered the heaviest losses of any company from Vermont. Company E went into the engagement with fifty-nine muskets. In that one half hour of fierce conflict, it lost forty-four of the fifty-nine; twenty-five were killed and nineteen were wounded. Five Cummings brothers and one cousin from the company were among those killed or wounded. Only one of the six recovered from his wounds. The Regiment as a whole suffered the heaviest loss in killed and wounded at the Battle of Savage's Station, Virginia on June 29, 1862 of any Union regiment in a single action of the entire war. In the following few days, the Fifth along with the rest of the Vermont Brigade, went on to be involved in more fighting at White Oak Swamp and Malvern Hill as the Federals retreated from General Lee towards Harrison's Landing.

On August 16 - 24, 1862, the Regiment returned to Fort Monroe and reached the Bull Run battlefield by August 30, just missing the fighting there. During the Maryland Campaign of 1862, the Fifth took part in Crampton's Gap (South Mountain) and Antietam. It ended 1862 engaged in the Battle of Fredericksburg. In January (23-24) of 1863, it joined Burnside's "Mud March" on its way to Marye's Heights and Salem Church. It celebrated the Fourth of July at Gettysburg. The Fifth took a break August 14 through September 16, 1863 and relaxed in New York during the draft riots there. The Regiment rejoined the Army of the Potomac at Culpeper Court House in Virginia on September 23. It went into winter quarters at Brandy Station where the veterans of the Regiment re-enlisted on December 15, 1863 and was the first Regiment granted a veteran's furlough for a month's duration.

On its return from furlough in Vermont, the Fifth continued as a veteran organization and participated in the bloody month with the Army of the Potomac from the Wilderness to Cold Harbor, and took an active part in the siege of Petersburg. The Regiment began the campaign with five hundred men. In one month, it lost three hundred forty-nine killed, wounded and missing, including thirteen officers. September 15, 1864, the term of service for original members who had not re-enlisted expired. They were mustered-out leaving present for duty one assistant surgeon, a quartermaster, three first lieutenants and three hundred enlisted personnel. After the October 19 Battle of Cedar Creek, the Fifth moved to the Siege of Petersburg again and went into winter camp at Squirrel Level Road in December, 1864.

When Petersburg finally fell in April of 1865, the Fifth Vermont was the first Regiment to plant its colors on the Confederate defensive works. The unit was present at Appomattox Court House for the surrender of Robert E. Lee and his army. June 8, 1865 the Fifth marched in the Corps Review held at Washington, D.C. On June 29, the veterans were mustered-out. At its discharge, there were only twenty-four officers and two hundred eighty-eight men on its rolls - three hundred twelve total out of an original strength of 1,618 . For the last ten months of its service, the highest ranking officer in the Fifth present for duty was a captain; for more than three months of those last ten, the highest ranking officer present for duty was a lieutenant. Every officer present for the Grand Review went out as a private.[8]

Edson's service in the military was extraordinary for many reasons. First of all was the tremendously grueling and lethal action the Fifth Vermont Regiment was subjected to as accounted in the above paragraphs of the unit's history Captain Raymond was lucky he survived intact. Second, Edson's multiple promotions and rapid ascension to a commissioned officer rank from a Corporal bears testimony to two factors: one, he was well liked and respected by his superior officers under whom he served; and two, that respect had to have been generated by his courage and dependability on the field of combat. Third, despite exposure to horrific fire from the enemy many times in various and frequent engagements, Captain Edson came out of it with a very minor injury, compared to the thousands of other less fortunate comrades exposed to the same risks in the same battles who suffered far worse disabilities than he.

Nothing of any note took place after Corporal Raymond enlisted in September of 1861. He was present for duty from then until October of 1862.[9] On November 19, 1862 he was absent from Company H on provost guard.[10] The Corporal remained on provost guard until April 28, 1863 when he was absent on a fifteen day furlough.[11] When Corporal Raymond returned from furlough, he resumed his detached service as provost guard at Division Headquarters through December 15, 1863.[12] It was on that date at Brandy Station, Virginia that the members of the Regiment had the opportunity to re-
enlist as Veteran Volunteers. Corporal Raymond did so earning himself a thirty day furlough and a promotion to Sergeant. He was also rewarded with a $100 bounty for reenlisting as a veteran.[13] It was on this furlough that Edson married Mary Webster Bacon.On September 15, 1864, the Regiment was re-organized again after the original members' terms of service had expired. That was when Sergeant Raymond, who was one of the three hundred men remaining in the unit, was commissioned and promoted to First Lieutenant and transferred to Company D of the Fifth.[14] His promotion was caused by the discharge of one Lieutenant C.H. Benton on the fifteenth of September, 1864.[15] The effective date of his commission was October 8, 1864.[16] Two months later, on December 31, 1864 after the Battle of The Wilderness in which Captain Ormsbee of Company D was killed in action May 5, 1864, Lieutenant Raymond was promoted one more time to Captain to fill that vacancy in Company D.[17]

Charles James Ormsbee was the son of John Mason and Mary (Wilson) Ormsbee of Shoreham, Vermont. He was born September 27, 1839. Charles enlisted in the First Vermont Regiment on April 20, 1861 for three months. He was honorably discharged on August 16, 1861. He re-enlisted in Co. H, Fifth Vermont on September 16, 1861 for three years. He was chosen by his peers to be Second Lieutenant of the Company. In August, 1862, he was promoted to Captain of Company D. On May 5, 1864 during the first hour of fighting in the Wilderness, Captain Ormsbee received three wounds - one to the right side, one to the left arm and one to the left shoulder. He died of these wounds on the field. His comrades buried him near where he fell on the battle field and marked his grave. Later, his brother returned to the site to recover and remove his body for burial in Vermont, but was unsuccessful in recovering his brother's remains.[18]

After his promotion to Captain, on January 2, 1865, Edson requested a leave of absence to go home to Vermont. The reason he put forth for asking for a leave of absence was stated in a letter dated January 7, 1865 as: "…To visit my father who is dangerously ill." He said he received word from relatives "…that he could not recover from his illness and that he could not live but a short time." Edson went on to declare that he had not had a furlough since the Veteran furlough. He was granted his twenty day leave to return home to his ailing father January 9.[19] The tone of Captain Raymond's request for a leave of absence gave the impression that his father (Ira) was on death's doorstep with little chance of remission. However, Ira did not die until thirteen years later, so he must have made a miraculous recovery against all odds. Perhaps his son's surprise visit home had wondrous effects. Come February 6, 1865, Captain Raymond was back with Company D of the Fifth fit for further duty before the city of Petersburg. It was during the storming action of Petersburg on April 2, 1865 that Captain Raymond received his arm wound which eventually led to his being declared unfit for duty and honorably discharged on June 2, 1865.[20]

So ended Captain Raymond's spectacular career in the Union Army. After being released from his obligations to the U.S., Edson headed for home. Exactly where that was was unclear. On January 20, 1864 Edson had married a New York girl named Mary Webster Bacon while he was still in the army. She had been born in Brighton, New York on August 29, 1837 and was still a resident of Murray, New York in 1855. Her father, Harlow Bacon (1791-1867) died in New York. And, Edson's first child, a daughter named Lillie, was born in Monroe, New York in 1864 according to one source.[21] So, it seemed very likely that Edson would return to his wife and daughter rather than to the family farm in Orwell, Vermont. In 1866, Edson applied for a government pension because of his battle wound to his left forearm.[22]

Apparently, Edson had seen a bigger world than Vermont during his service in the military. By June 1, 1870, he was living in Alpena, Michigan with Mary and his two children, Lillie, age five and Royal, age three. While Lillie had been born in New York, Royal's place of birth was in Wisconsin (or Omro, Michigan) in 1866. Edson was supporting his family by working as a carpenter. Mary kept house and looked after Lillie and Royal.[23]

When the next Federal Census was taken in the Spring of 1880, Edson and family were living in Alpena, Michigan at 148 First Street. He was a painter by trade now, maybe in addition to doing carpentry. Lillie was absent from the household members list. She had died before the Census had been taken June1, 1880.[24] Since 1870, the Raymond family had two other children born to them who did not live long. William W was born in 1873 and passed away in 1876. Eva M had been born in 1876 and died in 1878. That left only Dale W. (Royal), thirteen, as the sole surviving child of Edson and Mary. Several sources suggested a third child had been born to the couple between 1870 and 1880 who also did not survive long. She was another Eva, born in 1871 in Michigan and passed in 1873.[25] If this was true, then Edson and Mary had four out of five children born to them die between 1873 and 1880.

The special Veterans Schedule of 1890 revealed that Edson was residing in Grant City, Iosco County, Michigan. The information in it verified that Edson had enlisted 16 September, 1861. He was discharged 27 July, 1865 after serving three years, nine months and nine days. He had achieved the rank of Captain and suffered a debilitating wound of the left forearm. The information was enumerated by none other than himself! So, besides his other occupations, he was also a government civil servant.[26] Sometime between 1890 and 1894, Mary passed away. In the 1894 Michigan State Census, Edson was alone at fifty-eight and living in a boarding house with seventeen other people.[27]

In 1900, he was still a resident of Grant City, Michigan, widowed but head of household. He was a Federal employee again being the Postmaster in his city. He rented his home with another lodger - Guy (Gary) K. Latham, a person Edson had boarded with back in 1894. Gary or Guy was born in Kansas and worked in the lumber manufacturing business.[28]

Before his death on January 28, 1910, Edson had returned to the Green Mountains, alone, disabled and nearly eighty years old. He chose to live at the Soldier's Home in Bennington, Vermont for his last years. How long he was a resident was not disclosed. When he died of chronic myocarditis, his remains were brought back to Orwell, his place of birth, for burial.[29]

Those who were in charge of the Bennington Soldiers' Home worked very hard to make it feel like a home and not an institution. Holidays were observed in grand and lavish style. When possible, residents were allowed to do odd jobs around the home for which they were paid. A host of activities were planned for the entertainment of the former men in blue throughout the twelve months of the year. Despite all their efforts to create an inviting, comfortable, homey environment, there must have been times of dark depression for Edson. He had no friends with whom to interact with other than the residents, most of whom were former enlisted men. He, being an officer (one of only thirteen who were residents at the home during its existence), must have had a difficult time finding common ground upon which to build any kind of camaraderie. His was an ignominious and despondent end for a man of such high character and accomplishment.

NOTES:
1. Ancestry.com, 1850 U.S. Federal Census for Edson Raymond; Ibid., Raymond Family Tree for Edson M. Raymond 506 and Jaskoski Family Tree for Edson M. Raymond.
2. Vermont in the Civil War.org/Cemeteries/Vermont/Orwell/Mountain View Cemetery/Raymond, Edson M./Vitals; Ancestry.com, Vermont, Death Records, 1909-2008 for Edson M. Raymond.
3. Ancestry.com, Raymond Family Tree for Edson M. Raymond 506.
4. Ibid., 1850 U.S. Federal Census for Edson Raymond.
5. Ibid., 1860 U.S. Federal Census for Edson Raymond.
6. Fold3.com, Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Union Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of Vermont, p. 3, image 311510356. Herein-after referred to as Compiled Service Records.
7. Ibid., Compiled Service Records, p. 4, image 311510361.
8. Ancestry.com, U.S. American Civil War Regiments, 1861-1866; Vermont in the Civil War/Units/1st Brigade/Fifth Vermont Infantry; http://civilwarintheeast.com/us_regiments_batteries_vermont/5th_vermont.
9. Fold3.com, Compiled Service Records, p. 5, image 311510366 and following through p. 12.
10. Ibid, p. 12, image 311510400; Ibid., p. 15, image 311510405.
11. Ibid., p.14, image 311510400; Ibid., p.15, image 311510405.
12. Ibid., p. 17, image 311510414 and following to p. 19.
13. Ibid., p. 19, image 311510421; p. 21, image 311510469; p. 24, image 311510481 and following to p. 28.
14. Ibid., p. 28, image 311510498.
15. Ibid., p. 30, image 311510507.
16. Ibid., p. 32, image 311510517.
17. Ibid., p. 34, image 311510526.
18. Hemenway's Gazetteer, 1877, iii, 496-97 at Vermont in the Civil War/Cemeteries/Vermont/Brandon/Pine Hill Cemetery/Ormsbee, Charles James/bio.
19. Fold3.com, Compiled Service Records, p. 49, image 311510614.
20. Ibid., p. 40, image 311510551.
21. Ancestry.com, 1855 New York State Census for Mary Bacon; Ibid., Jaskoski Family Tree for Mary Webster Bacon.
22. Ibid., U.S., Civil War Pension Index: General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934 for Edson M. Raymond.
23. Ibid., 1870 U.S. Federal Census for Edson Raymond; Jaskoski Family Tree for Mary Webster Bacon.
24. Ibid., 1880 U.S. Federal Census for Edson M. Raymond.
25. Ibid., Raymond Family Tree for Edson M. Raymond.
26. Ibid., 1890 Veteran Schedule for Edson M. Raymond.
27. Ibid., Michigan State Census, 1894 for E.M. Raymond.
28. Ibid., 1900 U.S. Federal Census for Edson M. Raymond.
29. Ibid., Vermont, Death Records, 1909-2008 for Edson M. Raymond.

Courtesy of Bernie Noble.

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