LTC Charles Cummings

LTC Charles Cummings

Death 30 Sep 1864
Burial Cambridge, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, USA
Plot Geranium Path, Lot 1235
Memorial ID 25126242 · View Source
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Lieut. Col., commanding the 17th VT Reg. Killed near Petersburg, Va. Aged 43 years.

Charles Cummings entered the Vt. Medical School at Woodstock, graduating in 1847. After practicing awhile as physician at Brattleboro, Vt., he became interested in journalism and finally gave himself wholly to that calling. From being a contributor to various papers and periodicals, he became at length editor-in-chief of the Brattleboro Eagle, a position in which he displayed unusual ability, and from the duties of which he was released only by death. Upon the breaking out of the Rebellion, he entered the ranks of the Federal Army and remained in the service, so far as his health would allow, as long as he lived. He m. June 27, 1857, Elizabeth, dau. of Brewster and Betsey Reynolds of Boston, by whom he had three chn. He d. near Petersburg, Va., Sept. 30, 1864. (From "History of Westminster, Massachusetts 1728-1893, Vol. 2" by William Sweetzer Heywood; pub. by Vox Populi Press, S.W. Huse & Co., Lowell, Mass., 1893)


We publish the following incidents, taken from the journals of the day, in illustration of the strength and power of the "mystic tie ":—

"The body of Lieut. Col. Charles Cummings, 17th Vermont Volunteers, from Brattleboro, who was killed Sept. 30, at the battle of Poplar Grove Church, arrived at City Point in charge of Surgeon Edson. The facts connected with the recovery of his remains are very interesting. There is an order that no flags of truce shall be sent in or intercourse of any kind allowed on our picket lines, and so the recovery of his body seemed impossible after the late battle, although it was known that he fell near our own picket line. Application was made to Gen. Griffin for a flag of truce, which, of course, could not be granted, so another method was resorted to.

"An officer of the 7th Rhode Island Volunteers, who was a Freemason, was on duty on the picket line. He watched a good opportunity, and when he saw a rebel officer he gave the sign of distress among Masons, which was immediately answered by the rebel officer, who happened to be a Mason, and a mutual agreement was made that they should meet as friends between the picket lines. Shaking hands, &c., they found each other to be Masons, and our officer communicated the earnest desire of our Vermont friends to recover the body of Col. Cummings, who was also a member of the Fraternity.

"The rebel officer could not respond to the request until he had seen the rebel General in command, who it is supposed was also a Mason, for the request was granted at once. The grave was found, and the body was disinterred and found in a tolerable state of preservation, and was recognized at once. He had been buried evidently by rebel Masons, for a headboard was placed over his grave with his name, rank, &c., and evidence of particular care shown in burying him. He was raised from a dead level in the soil of old Virginia to be again interred among his native Vermont hills he loved so well. May the evergreen of his own State be planted oyer his grave, and mark his last resting place among the Masons of the Green Mountain State. Fraternal expressions of mutual esteem and high personal regard were exchanged by the officers in blue and gray, and they parted—to meet again, perhaps, on the battle-field where all ties are disregarded and forgotten, except Masonry." (From "The Masonic Monthly, Vol. II, No. I., November 1864", ed. by Samuel Evans; pub. by Edward L. Mitchell, Boston, 1864)

Note: He was not buried in Vermont after all.

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  • Maintained by: Jen Snoots
  • Originally Created by: EOB
  • Added: 7 Mar 2008
  • Find a Grave Memorial 25126242
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for LTC Charles Cummings (unknown–30 Sep 1864), Find a Grave Memorial no. 25126242, citing Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, USA ; Maintained by Jen Snoots (contributor 4661415) .