28 May 2012 by Published in: General musings No comments yet

Today, on Memorial Day, a day when we remember and commemorate the sacrifices of the men and women who gave the last full measure of their devotion to allow us to live in a free country, we have a guest post by Scott Mahaskey. Scott has done some yeoman work to set the record straight on a forgotten member of my favorite regiment, the Sixth Pennsylvania Cavalry, and when Scott shared his findings with me, I asked him if he would be willing to allow me to publish them here. What follows is what he sent along:

While paying respects at Arlington National Cemetery yesterday, I made the following photograph. Nice light, but thought nothing of it until I realized while editing that the flag obscured Christian Gross date of death. Could it be found online? I cobbled together the following tale after 2 hours of research.

Meet Private Christian Gross of Company K, 6th Pennsylvania Cavalry. This historic cavalry unit earned the named “rush lancers” after their early use of 15 foot lances, replaced with carbines in 1863. Organized from companies raised in Philadelphia and Berks counties, Richard H. Rush was appointed colonel of the regiment upon authorization of Governor Andrew Curtin.

Private Gross mustered into service September 24, 1861, died June 8, 1864, of wounds received during battle May 30, 1864. The battle was likely the Battle of Old Church and part of Grant’s Overland Campaign against Lee. There, just south to Totopotomoy Creek in Hanover County, Virginia, the 6th Pennsylvania Cavalry narrowly survived an outflanking maneuver to be drawn into heavy dismounted hand-to-hand combat with South Carolinians.

A random ray of light lead to a rewarding Memorial Day epic. Thank you, Private Gross. Thank you all. — at Arlington National Cemetery.

After even further research, I updated the post to include the following:

Oh my – a Memorial Day mystery: Who is buried in the grave of Christian Gross? In his book, Rush’s Lancers, historian Eric Wittenberg published a roster of the 6th Cav in 2007. In it, the roster lists CHRISTOPHER GROSS as the soldier whose story is above. CHRISTIAN GROSS, the name of the tombstone and also part of the 6th Cav, is listed as ‘not accounted for’. I’ve reached out to the author for assistance. Maybe this ray of light wasn’t so random after all. Creepy.

Thank you, Scott, for both setting the record straight and for your allowing us to highlight a forgotten enlisted man otherwise lost to history. And thank you Pvt. Christian Gross for making the ultimate sacrifice to save the Union.

And thank you to all of the veterans, both living and dead, for your sacrifices as well. May they never be forgotten, and may they never be in vain.

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