Memoir for a Fallen Soldier
Cogswell of the Town of Catlin, Chemung County, N.Y. signed a Volunteer Enlistment
Paper at Owego, N.Y. on 16 February 1865 to serve 1 year, or to the end of
with “L” Company, 8th N.Y. Cavalry, a unit that was considered a Rochester, N.Y. regiment.
His enlistment was credited to the Town of Dix in Schuyler County, N.Y. Watson’s age was given as 26 years and his birthplace was listed as the Town of Montour, Schuyler County, N.Y. A description of him stated he had blue eyes, brown hair, a dark complexion and was 5 feet 10 inches tall. Not mentioned were the facts that he was a young husband and a father of a young daughter named Frances.
Watson Cogswell was not destined to see any battles because his military service was cut short when he contracted typhoid fever, also known as camp fever, which caused his death on 22 April 1865 in the Island Post Hospital at Harper’s Ferry, Virginia.
After his death, an inventory of Watson Cogswell’s military estate was taken and included 1 cap, 1 forage cap, 1 vest, 1 great coat, 1 pair of boots, 1 wool blanket, 1 wallet, and 1 checkbook with a final deposit of $33.33 listed in it.
Watson Cogswell’s place of burial remained a mystery for many years until a search was completed of the Winchester National Cemetery located in Winchester, Virginia. Included in the listing is a Cogswell surname with no given name. However, the date of death for this Mr. Cogswell is given as 22 April 1865 and that he served with the 8th New York Cavalry. It is also written on the record that Mr. Cogswell was originally buried in the Lutheran Graveyard in Virginia before his remains were re-interred in Plot #1222 in Winchester National Cemetery.
Watson Cogswell was born 31 January 1839, a son of Reuel and Harriet Laurette Beeman Cogswell who were originally from Gaylord’s Bridge, Connecticut. Sometime after their marriage in 1833 Reuel and Harriet Cogswell moved to New York State and settled for a time in the Town of Montour, Schuyler County, where Watson was born.
On 19 December 1860 Watson Cogswell was united in marriage with Harriet Wicks. In 1862 they became the parents of a daughter who was named Frances Cogswell. Evidently, Frances was soon an orphan after the death of her father and she went to reside with an Aunt Delphine Cogswell of Post Creek, Catlin Township, in Chemung County, N.Y. In the 1870 census for this township she was listed as residing with the William Savory family which included Delphine Cogswell. Thus, little Frances was with relatives as the Savory family had also married into the Cogswell family 2 generations before Frances’ birth.
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