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C. Cutter

C. Cutter

Federal (USV)


Calvin Cutter

(1807 - 1872)

Home State: Massachusetts

Education: Dartmouthh Medical School, Class of 1832

Branch of Service: Medical

Unit: 21st Massachusetts Infantry

Before Antietam

After graduating from Dartmouth he practiced medicine in New Hampshire and had further medical training (c. 1840) with Dr. George McClellan in Philadelphia, then, from 1844-1856, he toured the country giving medical lectures. In 1847 he published A Treatise on Anatomy, Physiology, and Hygiene - which became a standard textbook.

In 1856, a fervent abolitionist, he took a shipment of rifles to "Bleeding Kansas", and also led Massachusetts men in fighting there with "Jim Lane's Army."

On 23 August 1861, by then 53 years old and a successful physician in Warren, MA, he enrolled and was commissioned Surgeon of the 21st Massachusetts Infantry . He was Acting Brigade Surgeon by March 1862. While helping to rally a regiment at 2nd Manassas in August 1862 he was knocked down and out by a bullet which hit his belt buckle, and he was captured.

An officer coming up, the doctor pointed to his green sash, and was adjudged a non-combatant and left free to do as he pleased within the rebel lines. He talked the strongest kind of abolitionism nearly all night at General Hill's headquarters, where he was a favored guest ...
He served while a prisoner as Surgeon-in-charge of the Union Hotel hospital at Centreville, VA until paroled there on 3 September 1862.

On the Campaign

He was detailed as Division Surgeon on the Maryland Campaign, and was cited by General Burnside in his after-action Report.

The rest of the War

He had a 10 day furlough home in October 1862, and was again home, sick, over the winter 1862-63. He was reported by Corps and Division Surgeons as "incompetent to fill his position for various reasons" - perhaps due to frequent illness or exhaustion - and ordered to appear before a Medical Board. The outcome is not known, but on 26 April 1864 he was appointed Chief Surgeon of the First Division. He resigned his commission on 17 May 1864.

After the War

By 1870 he was again practicing medicine in Warren, MA. He died there of apoplexy following from sun stroke at age 65 in June 1872.

References & notes

His service from Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines1, his Compiled Service Records,2 via fold3, and Walcott.3 Personal details from family genealogists, the US Census for 1850-1870, bio sketches in Appleton's,4, the Transactions of the New Hampshire Medical Society (1879), and Hurd's History of Worcester County, Massachusetts (Vol. 2, 1889), source also of his picture - from an engraving after a photograph. His gravesite is on Findagrave.

He married Caroline Hall (1805-1838) in April 1835 and they had two daughters. He married again, Eunice Nye Powers (1819-1893) in December 1843 and they had 3 children.

In October 1861 his daughter Carrie Eliza volunteered and accompanied the regiment as a hospital matron, and tended to the soldiers until her death by disease at New Bern, NC on 24 March 1862. Not yet 20 years old, she was buried with military honors and later removed to the National Cemetery at New Bern to be among her soldiers.

More on the Web

See more about his daughter Carrie in a post on behind AotW.

His Treatise is available online from Project Gutenburg.


05/01/1807; Jaffrey, NH


06/20/1872; Warren, MA; burial in Pine Grove Cemetery, Warren, MA


1   Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Adjutant General, Massachusetts Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines in the Civil War, 8 Vols, Norwood (MA): Norwood Press, 1931-35, Vol. 2, pg. 596  [AotW citation 26563]

2   US War Department, Compiled Service Records of Soldiers who served in US Volunteer organizations enlisted for service during the Civil War, Record Group No. 94 (Adjutant General's Office, 1780's-1917), Washington DC: US National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), 1903-1927  [AotW citation 26564]

3   Walcott, Charles Folsom, History of the Twenty-first Regiment, Massachusetts Volunteers, in the War for the Preservation of the Union, 1861-1865, Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1882, pp. 68, 82, 152-153  [AotW citation 26565]

4   Fiske, John, and James Grant Wilson, editors, Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, 6 vols., New York City: D. Appleton and Company, 1887-1889  [AotW citation 26566]