Sunday, December 16, 2018

A Visit to a Hero's Grave - Vermont's Capt. Charles G. Gould


If you've ever been to Pamplin Historical Park and the National Museum of the Civil War Soldier, and then made the short walk to the Park's Battlefield Center, you likely encountered the dramatic story of Captain Charles Gilbert Gould.

Gould enlisted in the 1st Vermont Heavy Artillery in the fall of 1862 and remained in garrison duty for much of the war until he received a promotion to captain of Co. H in the 5th Vermont on December 30, 1864.

Soon after his promotion Gould sought and received a 20-day furlough to go home. In his service records is a copy of the letter he penned ostensibly to visit his home in Windham, Vermont and help settle the estate of his deceased father. His request was approved (see below).


The only problem with Gould's request is that it seems it was made under false pretenses. Sixteen year old Charles Gould appears in his father, James's, household in the 1860 census with mother Judith and older brothers Aaron (24) and James M. (17). Father James was 47. Checking the 1870 census, James still appears at age 57 with his wife Judith, but now the couple had an empty nest. James was not dead when Charles made his request.


Regardless of his alleged fib to gain a furlough, the not yet 20 year-old Gould stepped up when it came time to exhibit bravery. Below is a quote stating the distinctive part Gould played and that was later printed the May 2, 1865 issue of the the nearby Manchester (Vermont) Journal. The paper reprinted the official after action report from the April 2, 1865 Breakthrough at Petersburg.


Gould received a brevet promotion to major for his bravery. And an even higher honor, the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1890 for his heroic actions 25 years earlier at Petersburg. 

Back in November, while on our honeymoon in Vermont, we stayed in Manchester. Looking up Windham on the map, we found it was only a short drive up into the Green Mountains to the small isolated community.  My wonderful wife and I decided to take a few minutes to go visit the hero's grave and pay our respects. It was a cold and windy day, and it took some searching once at the cemetery, but we found him (pictured top), resting in peace nestled in his beloved Green Mountains and among a number of other Vermont Civil War veterans. 

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