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Edward E. Cross

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Edward E. Cross

Edward E. Cross
Born (1832-04-22)April 22, 1832
Lancaster, New Hampshire
Died July 3, 1863(1863-07-03) (aged 31)
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
Place of burial Lancaster, New Hampshire
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Union Army
Years of service 1860–63
Rank Colonel
Commands held 5th New Hampshire Volunteer Infantry

American Civil War

Edward Ephraim Cross (April 22, 1832 – July 3, 1863) was a newspaperman and an officer in the Union Army during the American Civil War.


Cross was born in Lancaster, New Hampshire, son of Ephram and Abigail (Everett) Cross; attended the common school and academy at Lancaster. When he was fifteen years old, he began writing as a printer for a local newspaper, the Coos Democrat. He later moved from New Hampshire to Cincinnati, Ohio, where he worked as a printer for the Cincinnati Times. He demonstrated writing skills and became a reporter for the newspaper, serving for a while as the paper's Washington correspondent. In 1854, he canvassed Ohio for the American (Know-Nothing) Party; was the Washington correspondent for the Cincinnati Times during teo sessions of Congress and also wrote articles for other newspapers including the New York Herald.[1]

On July 27, 1858, he left Cincinnati for Tubac, Arizona Territory, with the last contingent of the Santa Rita Silver Mining Company.[2]

Cross invested in a series of mines and then established the territory's first newspaper, the Weekly Arizonian. He also served at times in the United States Army as a scout during occasional expeditions against the Apache. In 1860, he crossed the border into Mexico to command a Sonoran army garrison supporting the insurgency of Benito Juárez.

On August 5, 1860, Colonel Cross, assigned to Fort Buchanan, presided a meeting of irate miners, at the ranch of Henry Theodore Titus, who demanded protection from depredations committed by Sonoran bandits. Cross enumerated the atrocities committed and paid a tribute of respect to the victims.[3]

Civil War service

At the outset of the Civil War, he was commissioned as colonel of the 5th New Hampshire Volunteer Infantry. He led his regiment in the first division II Corps, establishing a reputation as one of the hardest-fighting, toughest officers in the army. Serving with distinction in the Battle of Seven Pines (where he fell wounded) and the Seven Days Battles, he again was wounded at the Battle of Antietam. Cross also led his regiment at the Battle of Fredericksburg and the Battle of Chancellorsville. At Chancellorsville he briefly led an ad hoc fifth brigade in the 1st Division, II Corps.

During the Battle of Gettysburg, he led a brigade in 1st Division, II Corps. On July 2, 1863, the division was sent to the left flank to help stabilize it after the Confederates had begun attacking the salient formed by III Corps. Cross's brigade was formed on the left of the division's battle line as it entered the Wheatfield. During the fighting, Cross was mortally wounded while at the left of his line near the Rose Woods. He died the next day at a field hospital. His body was shipped home to Lancaster, New Hampshire, for burial in the town's cemetery.

Col H. Boyd McKean of the 81st Pennsylvania Regiment succeeded to command of the brigade.


Cross was an impulsive and colorful officer. He is reported to have struck non-commissioned officers with the flat of his sword when angry.[4] When leading his regiment into action at Seven Pines, he told the troops "Charge like hell! Show them you are damn Yankees!"

Cross was notable for always wearing a red bandanna on his head rather than the traditional officer's hat. This was Cross's way of making it easier for his men to locate him quickly on the battlefield. However, on July 2, 1863, Maj. Gen. Winfield S. Hancock noticed that his bandanna was black rather than red. Col. Cross indicated that he had foreseen his own death this day and that black was more appropriate. That morning, he had also looked over some ambulances behind the lines and remarked "We shan't want any of your death wagons today."


  1. ^ Edward Ephraim Cross folder, Arizona Historical Society, Tucson.
  2. ^ New York Herald-Tribune, July 31, 1858, p. 3
  3. ^ “Interesting From Arizona,” New York Herald, Sept. 12, 1860, p. 10.
  4. ^ Gottfried, p. 114.


  • Eicher, John H., and David J. Eicher. Civil War High Commands. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2001. ISBN 0-8047-3641-3.
  • Gottfried, Bradley M. Brigades of Gettysburg. New York: Da Capo Press, 2002. ISBN 0-306-81175-8.

Further reading

  • Child, William. A History of the Fifth Regiment of New Hampshire Volunteers, in the Civil War, 1861-1865. Bristol, NH: R.W. Musgrove, Printer, 1893. OCLC 3520265.
  • Cross, Edward E. Stand Firm and Fire Low: The Civil War Writings of Colonel Edward E. Cross. Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, 2003. ISBN 978-1-58465-280-9.
  • Pride, Mike, and Mark Travis. My Brave Boys: To War with Colonel Cross and the Fighting Fifth. Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, 2001. ISBN 978-1-58465-075-1.
  • Waite, Otis F. R. New Hampshire in the Great Rebellion. Claremont, NH: Tracy, Chase & Co., 1870. OCLC 57273016.
  • Grandchamp, Robert. Colonel Edward E. Cross, New Hampshire Fighting Fifth: A Civil War Biography. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, 2012. ISBN 978-0-7864-7191-1.

External links

  • University of New Hampshire Special Collections website for Colonel Cross
  • University of New Hampshire digital collections results for Colonel Cross
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