"Give my love to mother and tell her that she must not worry on my account as I am as safe in the field of battle as at the hearthstone where I passed my childhood, let there remember that God careth for all and armth the patriot and if it be my fate to fall by sickness or steel or ball, let her think how much more preferable it will be to die this way in the performance of a sacred duty."

A Collection of letters and two journals of Edward K. Gazet, Civil War Private; Company A, 11th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers.

A Book by James F. Catania, Jr.


Edward Gazet was born in Newcastle, Maine on the 13th of May, 1839.  He was the youngest of eight children of Joseph J. and Mary Bookings (Brookinger?), Ed's father, Joseph was a stone mason and was born in Lyons, France in 1816.  His wife, Mary was from Massachusetts and after she and Joseph were married they moved to Newcastle, she is said to have arrived on horseback.

Ed traveled to Boston in 1857 and worked as a laborer in a grain storehouse and a lozenge factory.  In 1858, he complains of a hard lot and ill fortune, he tries to go to sea but is unsuccessful, he tries also to join the army, but is not old enough.  Ed misses home, he writes poems about "Dear old Maine" and the Damaiscotta river.  While in the army, he often goes to visit with the 4th Maine regiment; which is composed of Newcastle men.

Confederate guns opened fire on Fort Sumter on April 13, 1861.  The 11th Massachusetts Volunteer Regiment started recruiting on April 18, 1861 at 179 Court street in Boston and Ed Gazet put his name on the muster roll.  On May 9, the regiment was ordered to Fort Warren and mustered into service June 13, 1861.  On June 17, the regiment was transferred to Camp Cameron, North Cambridge.  It left the state for Washington, D.C., June 29th, and was located on the Treasury grounds near the White House.

It was one of the three Massachusetts regiments present at First Bull Run, July 21, 1861, being brigaded with the 5th Massachusetts and the 1st Minnesota in Franklin's Brigade, Heintzelman's Division of McDowell's army.  Here it lost 88 men, 21 being killed or mortally wounded.  At the battle, Ed becomes separated from his regiment and writes he "fought on his own hook", after firing at the rebels for a time he thought it best to move and was forced to run the gauntlet of fire between the Union zouaves and confederate forces.  At one point in the battle, the 11th recaptured and lost again, 10 cannons belonging to Ricketts and Griffins artillery regiments.  It's interesting to note that the 11th wore their state issued gray uniforms and the confederates that first captured the guns were uniformed in blue.

In the spring of 1862, it embarked for the Peninsula, where as a part of Grover's Brigade, Hooker's Division, Heintzelman's (3rd) Corps it participated in the siege of Yorktown, and the battle of Williamsburg, where Ed was mortally wounded on May 5, he was struck three times, one ball passing through his capbox and into his right hip, this his doctors determined was the fatal wound, another ball struck the back of his left shoulder, and the third entered his spine.  The capbox with the bullet hole was preserved along with the original letters and is in this author' collection.

Ed Gazet was transported to the hospital at Fort Monroe in Hampton, Virginia - where he lived for ten days and died at 9:30 in the morning on May 15, 1862, just two days after his 23rd birthday.

Ed Gazet rests in the National Cemetery in Hampton, Virginia.  
Grave # 4747, directly to the left of the flag pole.


To arms!  The Southern traitors hand,
Is carried against our starry flag;
And patriots now must firmly stand,
Foul treason from her throne to drag.

And did our fathers fall in vain,
On Bunkers Hill and Camdens plain;
And shall it be their only need,
They for us in vain did bleed.

No!  By our starry flag on high,
And by the God of Liberty;
We will conquer the proud foe,
Or on the plains of death lie low.

 

(Sample taken from Ed Gazet's journal)


If It Be My Fate To Fall by James. F. Catania, Jr.

**On Sale now through mail order**

$20.00

This is a collection of two journals and thirty letters written by Edward K. Gazet, the first of the journals covers the period from 1 January, 1861 to 18 April, 1861.  At the time, Ed was employed in Boston.  The second journal covers the period he spent in the army up until his death.  This journal is a copy from the original and written by his sister, Sarah.  The letters and poems are written in Ed's own hand, using the original spelling and lack of punctuation. 


Sample Letter #5

Washington, D.C. 1861

    They drill in the Hardees drill all together now, for skirmishers, we (that is our company is to have rifles.)  I was rather surprised to receive that half dime from you.  I suppose it was for postage but there is no need of that our letters go free.  I got my money of(f) captain and so have enough to buy my paper envelopes.  They charge us very high for everything here.  They asked twenty-five cents a square for writing paper that I could get in Boston for 12 and a better quality.  We have got a new uniform, it is a light blue jacket (grey?) and pants, the jacket has a little red binding down the front around the bottom the jacket is like the other made more loose and has no lining, the pants have no trimming at all.  The cloth is a kind of flannel stuff and it is very cool and comfortable.  I like this style of life very much but I should like it better if there was more disipline among the troops, but they are gradually breaking them in and growing the cords of order higher, and I have no doubt but that before many week they will have them a pretty orderly sett of men.  I don't know any news to write.  There is a story going that we are to be paid off this week but I hardly believe it.  I will try to send it home as I can make no good use of it here and I want to have it arranged so that you can use my pay or at least a part of it.

    You must take this down to Mr. Hayden if you have time as you know how hard it is to write and they will get impatient of news of me.  Send their or take it home with you when you go.  Give me love to mother and tell her that she must mo worry on my account as I am as safe in the field of battle as at the hearthstone where I passed my childhood, let there remember that God careth for all and armth the patriot and if it be my fate to fall by sickness or steel or ball let her think how much more preferable it will be to die this way in the performance of a sacred duty.  Gladly oh how gladly would I give my life to have this country once more united in peace and hope as was before the wretched ambition of traitors who armed like viper in the bosom they sting.  But the reckoning day is coming, slowly but steadily our lines are closing them in and pressing them back and soon they will be where it must come to battle or surrender, and then with the help of God we will crush them as worms in the dust.  Tell Mother that I am perfectly contented with my mode of life and if I can, I will enlist in some foreign service after war is over, and the opinion of most of the people here is that it cannot last long, not more that a year or so at the most.  Well so be it but I hope our Regt will have one good brush at least before we turn our faces north.  Give my love to Julia when you see or write to her and tell her as soon as I can muster courage enough to take pen in hand again for I had rather use a musket two hours than a pen one.  I saw Mrs. Spears and Mrs. Spooner but did not see Lizzie King.  When you see her again tell her to give my love to Charley.  I am about tuckered out now and must close my letter and bid you goodbye.

    Give my love to all and tell that lady that Col. Clark is loved and respected by his men, and Leuit. Col. Blaisdel who he allways looks out for the comfort of the men.  I was on guard at the gate and Col. Blaisdell came along and stoped, asked us if we could get in the shade and in fact we needed it, for there was not shade trees at the gate and we could not get under any unless we left our post, that is his style exactly, he is always trying to lighten the burden of the privates.  Goodbye and write as soon as you can, don't forget the direction.

Co. A 11 Regt. Washington, D. C.                                        

                                                                                                        from your brother

Ed Gazet.

  


Sample Letter # 29

Headquarters, 11th Regt Mass Vols

Camp at Baltimore City Cross Road Va.

May, 20th, 1862

Respected Madam

    It becomes my painfull duty to inform you of the death of your brother Edward K. Gazet.  I have just received the sad tidings in a note from Fortress Monroe which I send enclosed to you.

    He received his wounds at the Battle of Williamsburg May 5th and was taken the best care possible, in hopes that he might recover, but his wounds were mortal and no earthly power could save him.  He met his fate like a brave man, and died in defense of a glorious cause, his country.

    Before he was sent with the wounded he expressed himself satisfied that he was doomed to die.  He did not expect to live.  He was a noble young man, and was loved by officers and men, who one and all sympathise with you in your sad bereavement of a brother.

    Hopeing Madam that you will receive this.    

    I remain

    Yours respectfully

    Edwin Humphrey

Capt. Comg. Co. A

    Per Geo. B. Smith

    Sergt. Co. A

P.S. Your brother had pay due him from Mar. 1st until the day of his death May 15th.

    G. B. S.


Reviews

Marie Coady - Woburn Daily Times

In his manuscript, If It Be My Fate To Fall, James Catania Jr. has painstakingly  sewn together the fragments of a Union Soldier’s short life into a compelling Civil War manuscript. It took Catania 10 years to decipher the ragged and sometimes illegible letters and diaries found in an abandoned trunk is his grandfather’s attic in Woburn, MA, to piece together the story of Private Edward K. Gazet.

That abandoned trunk, left behind 70 years earlier by a Gazet family member, was crammed with journals, letters, photos, drawings, poems, and artifacts belonging to Gazet which Catania researched and pieced together into a manuscript containing Gazet’s first letter home to his mother written while seated on the ramparts of Fort Warren on Georges Island in Boston Harbor on June 12, 1861, and Gazet's final letter on April 23, 1862 to his sister written before the Battle of Yorktown on May 5, 1862 where he was mortally wounded.

In that final letter he wrote: “Don’t worry about me, but take it cool and hope for the best, and I won’t get killed if I can dodge it honorably, so goodbye, love to all. Your affectionate brother, Ed”


If It Be My Fate To Fall by James. F. Catania, Jr.

**On Sale now through mail order**

$20.00
 
(shipping and handling extra)

This is a collection of two journals and thirty letters written by Edward K. Gazet, the first of the journals covers the period from 1 January, 1861 to 18 April, 1861.  At the time, Ed was employed in Boston.  The second journal covers the period he spent in the army up until his death.  This journal is a copy from the original and written by his sister, Sarah.  The letters and poems are written in Ed's own hand, using the original spelling and lack of punctuation. 

To order your copy of this book, email Jim Catania


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