Col. Edward E. Cross Papers, 1860-1871

Collection number: MC 79
Size: 1 box (0.33 cu.ft.)

About Col. Edward E. Cross (1832-1863)

Edward Cross was born on April 22, 1832 in Lancaster, Coos County, New Hampshire. At the age of fifteen, Cross began working as a printer for the Coos Democrat. In 1850, he left New Hampshire, eventually settling in Cincinnati, Ohio where he worked at the Cincinnati Times first as a printer and later as a reporter. In 1857, after a stint as their Washington correspondent, he left the paper in order to move further west.

Cross later settled in Arizona, where he invested in local mining interests, wrote dispatches for the Cincinnati Times, and began the territory’s first newspaper, the Weekly Arizonian. In addition to his writing and mining interests, Cross joined U.S. Army scouts in their efforts against the Apaches. In 1860, he crossed the border into Mexico to command a Sonoran army garrison supporting the insurgency of Benito Juarez.

At the outbreak of the American Civil War, Cross returned to New Hampshire where he accepted a commission as colonel of the Fifth New Hampshire Volunteer Regiment. He was mustered into service on August 27, 1861 and began training recruits at Camp Jackson, outside Concord, NH.

Under Cross, the Fifth New Hampshire was renowned for its professionalism and courage under fire. It also incurred the highest losses of any Union regiment during the Civil War. Cross led the Fifth into battle at Fair Oaks, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg. He twice returned to New Hampshire to recuperate wounds received on the field of battle.

In 1863, Cross rose to brigade command, but without a promotion to brigadier general. He increasingly became embittered over both the lack of promotion and the missteps of his superiors, but he stuck by his regiment. Cross led a brigade into battle on the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg and was mortally wounded in fighting near the “Wheatfield.” He died early on July 3, 1863. His body was transported back to Lancaster where he was buried.

About the Col. Edward E. Cross papers (1861-1863)

The collection consists of a war-time journal kept by Colonel Edward E. Cross, military reports, correspondence, and Cross’ passport. Among the correspondence is a letter to his father and hand-written copies of letters of recommendation from General Hancock. Among the military reports is a draft of his report on the Battle of Fair Oaks (Va.), a 12-page report on the Chancellorsville (Va.) campaign, and miscellaneous notes.

Cross’s journal provides a detailed account of the formation, training, and war-time exploits of the Fifth New Hampshire. It covers the period from the time that Cross assumed command in August of 1861 through February 1863 and contains his personal reflections about the regiment, Army politics, Cross’s trips back to New Hampshire, and accounts of the battles of Fair Oaks, Antietam, and Fredericksburg. The journal also includes pasted-in newspaper clippings, most of which detail the activities of the Fifth New Hampshire. Also in the collection is Cross’s 1860 passport and various newspaper clippings, both by Cross and others, concerning the Fifth New Hampshire.

See also Stand Firm and Fire Low: The Civil War Writings of Colonel Edward E. Cross. Edited by Walter Holden, William E. Ross, and Elizabeth Slomba; with a foreword by Mike Pride and Mark Travis.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

This collection is open.

Copyright Notice

Contents of this collection are governed by U.S. copyright law. For questions about publication or reproduction rights, contact Special Collections staff.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], [Folder], [Box], Col. Edward E. Cross Papers, 1860-1871, MC 79, Milne Special Collections and Archives, University of New Hampshire Library, Durham, NH, USA.

Acquisitions Information

Donation, Walter Holden, N.H., 2002

Collection Contents

Box 1
Box 1, Folder 1Journal of Colonel Edward E. Cross, [boxed within folder], Aug. 17, 1861 to Feb. 1863
Box 1, Folder 2Cross’ two-page manuscript report on the Battle at Fair Oaks, June 1, 1862
Box 1, Folder 3Cross’ twelve-page manuscript report on the Chancellorsville Campaign, beginning on April 27, 1863. Includes details of events, diagrams, and Cross’ assessment of General Joseph Hooker’s leadership during the campaign, [May, 1863]
Box 1, Folder 4Edward Cross letter to his father following the battle of Fredericksburg, December 21, 1862
Box 1, Folder 5Manuscript poem by Cross
Box 1, Folder 6Two copies of a letter of recommendation from General Winfield Scott Hancock to Senator John Hale, December 29, 1862
Box 1, Folder 7Letter from Benson Lossing to Dexter Chase, concerning the journal, December 14, 1871
Box 1, Folder 8Loose clippings that accompanied the journal (others attached to endsheets)
Box 1, Folder 920th cen. corresponence re: Edward Cross, 5th NH, original photograph of the 5th NH
Box 1, Map Drawer A7Cross’s passport for passage to Mexico, 1860
Finding Aid Image TEMP
  • Col. Cross and his large beard
Col. Cross and his large beard

Col. Edward E. Cross


Letters & Postcards
Manuscripts & Typescripts
Military Papers