Monday, October 08, 2007

Talking Spirits IX, Part 2

Our second stop on this year's Talking Spirits tour was at the grave of Cassius Fairchild, where we met both him and his wife (Tom Collins and Amanda Hammer). Cassius' brother Lucius was featured during last year's tour, and one can only speculate that the third brother, Charles, will feature in some future tour. All are the sons of Jairus Fairchild, first mayor of Madison.

Cassius Fairchild attended Prairieville Academy (now Carroll University) in Waukesha, Wisconsin, after which he served as a Madison alderman (1857) and the Wisconsin State Legislature (1859). When the Civil War broke out, Cassius joined the 16th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry as a major but within two months was promoted to lieutenant colonel.

During the battle of Shiloh, Cassius took a MiniƩ (minnie) ball to the hip and spent eight grueling months traveling home on a stretcher, the ball and pieces of his clothing still inside the wound. Bone grew over the wound, but the ball was eventually found and extracted. Fairchild rejoined his regiment before the wound had completely healed, and it reopened twice during the war. He was promoted to colonel in March 1864, joined Sherman in his march to the sea, and was promoted yet again before the end of the war, to the rank of Brigadier General. After the war he was appointed U.S. Marshall in Milwaukee, where he lived until, while acting as pall-bearer at a friend's funeral, he fatally reopened his wound.

Cassius Fairchild died October 24, 1868--just ten days after his marriage to Mary. Though a staunch soldier, Cassius wrote many letters home, waxing poetic on the land through which he rode, and even sent pressed flowers in one, for a sister he knew favored them.

No comments: