(1832 - 1863)
Home State: New Hampshire
Command Billet: Commanding Regiment
Branch of Service: Infantry
see his Battle Report
Young Cross was apprenticed as a printer at age 15. He served for some time as a newspaperman and editor. He lived in Cincinnati for a time, where his brother Nelson served as a judge, and later in Arizona. Eventually, he joined the Mexican Army. When he received news of Fort Sumter, he resigned his Mexican Army commission and returned home to New Hampshire. There, Governor Berry appointed him as Colonel of the 5th Regiment, New Hampshire Volunteers.
His brother Richard served as a major in the 5th New Hampshire, and brother Nelson was later the CO of the 67th New York of the Sixth Corps. Both brothers would survive the Civil War.
On the Campaign
At Antietam Colonel Cross and the Fifth were involved in the heavy fighting of "the sunken road" or "bloody lane". In the words of Livermore,
"On looking about me I found that we were in an old sunken road and that the bed of it lay from one to three feet below the surface of the crest along which it ran. In this road there lay so many dead rebels that there formed a line which one might have walked on as far as I could see, many of whom had been killed by the most horrible wounds of shot and shell and they lay just as they had been killed apparently amid the blood which was soaking the earth. It was on this ghastly flooring that we kneeled for the last struggle."Among the wounded was Col. Cross.
"As the Rebel advance became apparent we plied the line with musketry with all our power and with no doubt with terrible effect but they still advanced. A color bearer came forward within fifteen yards of our line and with the utmost desperation waved the flag in front of him. Our men fairly roared 'shoot the man with the flag!' and he went down in the twinkling and the flag was not raised in sight again."
"As the fight grew furious the Colonel cried out 'Put on the war paint!' and looking around I saw the glorious man standing erect with a red handkerchief, a conspicuous mark, tied around his bare head..Taking the cue somehow we rubbed the torn ends of cartridges over our faces, streaking them with powder like a pack of Indians and the Colonel, to complete the similarity, cried out, 'Give 'em the war whoop' and all of us joined him in the Indian war whoop until it must have rung out amid the thunder of the ordinance".
The rest of the War
Col Cross was promoted to Brigade command after the disaster at Fredericksburg, in which the 5th NH suffered great loss. He led the brigade also at Chancellorsville.
He was mortally wounded leading his brigade, including the 5th, in the Wheatfield on the second day at Gettysburg, and died the next day.
More on the Web
4/22/1832; Lancaster, NH
7/3/1863; Gettysburg, PA