Cross, John K.
Age: 21, credited to Berlin, VT
Unit(s): 13th VT INF
Service: enl 8/29/62, m/i 10/10/62, Pvt, Co. C, 13th VT INF, m/o 7/21/63
See Legend for expansion of abbreviationsVITALS
Birth: abt 1841, Montpelier, VT
Burial: Hope Cemetery, Worcester, MA
Marker/Plot: Section 50 Lot 7240
Gravestone researcher/photographer: Heidi McColgan
Findagrave Memorial #: 114340715
Alias?: None noted
Pension?: Yes, 8/10/1901, MA; widow Sarah E., 1/10/1918, MA
Portrait?: 13th History
College?: Not Found
Veterans Home?: Not Found
(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: 13th Vt. History off-site
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Hope Cemetery, Worcester, MA
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JOHN KIMBALL CROSS
I was born in Montpelier, Vermont, December 17, 1844, but enlisted from the town of Berlin. Was the son of Jonas Parker and Phebe Cross. I was brought up on a farm and taught by my father how to do all kinds of farm work. I attended school winters and falls and worked on the farm summers and at the time of my enlistment had acquired an average common school education as well as a fair knowledge of farming. As soon as the war cloud appeared above Fort Sumter I was uneasy and began to wish that 1 could be a soldier. There was nothing in the papers except news of war down in the Southern States. Everybody was up in arms about the firing on Fort Sumter and the wicked and foolish conduct of the rebels trying to secede and break up the Union. I was young and knew but little about war or the causes that led to it. My father and all of his neighbors were outspoken for President Lincoln and stood strong for him, and the course he had adopted, and favored war rather than sur- render principle. I listened and read the newspapers, attended war meetings and very soon decided to enlist if I had a chance. From the way my father and mother talked I believed they would give their consent though I was not 21. It was about the 29th day of August, I was in the field mowing oats, a young man called to me from the road and soon came over where I was and asked me if I did not want to enlist and go to war. His name was George S. Robinson, of Berlin. I was quite well acquainted with him and thought him a good fellow to go in a company with to the war. I at once said I was ready to sign the paper and would go if my father and mother would con- sent. They said, "Yes, go if you want to and do the best you can." I dropped the scythe, signed the roll and the next day went to East Montpelier, where we organized into a company called Company C. Lewis L. Coburn was elected captain, and my townsman and friend, George S. Robinson, first lieutenant, and William E. Martin second lieutenant. Here we drilled every day for three weeks and about the last of September started for Brattleboro to be mustered into the United States army and go to Washington to help guard the city from capture. We were mustered in October 10 and on the next day started for the seat of war. We took the cars at Brattleboro, arriving at New Haven, Conn., in the night and went on board of a steamboat and reached New York City the next morning in good season. None of the boys had slept much for it was all new and were all anxious to see the sights. We crossed over into Jersey City when we were told that a good breakfast would be served up in good style. It was awful and we never forgot it and never wanted any more of the same kind. Those who served it called it soup, but the boys called it swill. It was served in the streets out of dirty looking barrels poured into our coffee cups hot and steaming. It did not taste or smell good and no one could tell what it was. We called it Jersey soup and the taste and smell we never forgot. We ate but little and threw it away. On our arrival at Philadelphia we were given a grand spread and a fine place to sit down and eat, and we did ample justice to the generous dinner set before us. We reached Baltimore in the night; the streets were dark, gloomy and slippery, and some of us were timid, for rumor said the city was full of rebels and they might shoot and kill at any time. We reached Washington the next day at night. We were marched about a mile east of the capitol building and a green flat of ground to camp on. After the regiment crossed over Long Bridge into Virginia the first night we camped at a place we called Camp Seward, some ten miles from Washington, we received new orders and then marched to Alexandria, crossed Hunting Creek and camped down on the low, fiat ground for the night and on the next day marched a mile or more south and located in the woods on a hill near a large spring, and this was a beautiful location, and we named it Camp Vermont. Here we did picket duty and worked on Fort Lyon. The boys did not take kindly to the shovel and pick and said they did not enlist to build mud forts; our regiment was not a success at fort building. We now belonged to the defences of Washington and remained on the picket line near Washington until sometime in June, 1863. I well remember the march we made in mud and snow in the night to Fairfax Court House called "Randall's Raid." The day before Thanksgiving being anxious to have a chicken pie went out among the nearby farmers and tried to buy some chickens but none were sold, but the next day a number of good sized chicken pies were served up in good old Vermont style, and we were satisfied, but the natives were mad and came to camp, but no one had seen or heard of chickens though feathers in plenty could be seen about camp. The most of these nearby farmers were rebels and we had but little respect for them or their chickens. We had a hard time on the picket line during the winter and suffered from cold and storm. Many were sick and quite a large number died before spring. As soon as spring opened we began to prepare for battle, for it was evident that General Hooker was about to cross the Rappahannock and strike for Richmond but General Lee, always alert was on the south bank watching and waiting and making every preparation to give General Hooker a warm reception, if any attempt made to capture Richmond. About the time we started on the march for Gettysburg I was detailed to guard the wagon train, and therefore was in rear of the marching army. There were no thrilling events in my soldier life. I was mustered out with the regiment, remained in Vermont a short time, and then went to Clinton, Mass., where I have lived for some 38 years, being employed as an overseer in a woolen mill. I married in September, 1868, Sarah Elizabeth Soumby, and we had three children, Dr. Albert E., born August 23, 1872, and now resides in Worcester, Mass.; Edward M., born February 20, 1876, now residing in Cambridge, Mass.; and also Mildred, born December 21, 1890, and now living at home. I have ever been proud because I volunteered to serve my country at a very critical time and very thankful because I joined Colonel Randall's regiment. It was a good regiment and did good fighting at Gettysburg.
JOHN K. CROSS, Company C.
P. S. Dear Comrade Sturtevant: - Excuse this rambling sketch; I have compiled with your request as best I can. Our army days were many years ago. I have lived away from my comrades and have forgotten most of the funny incidents of my army life. Use this or throw it aside as you may judge best and I shall be satisfied See page 172 for pictures of Comrade Cross.
J. K. C. Edt.
Source: Sturtevant's Pictorial History, Thirteenth Regiment, Vermont Volunteers, War of 1861-1865, p. 496