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Thrice Served & Twice Captured - The Civil War Career of Abraham Gossard

One might suspect that being captured during the Civil War was a less than an ideal situation. Often stripped of shoes and pants, haversack and personal items, and not knowing if a parole was forthcoming or time spent in a prison was one's fate, or worse, killed for the color of one's skin or being unable to keep up while being marched away, the unknown must have been trying on the soul. For Abraham Gossard of Fayette County, Ohio, being captured twice was simply unlucky.

Born on May 22, 1838, Abraham's father Jacob was himself a veteran, having served in Captain Andrew Hemphill's company from Ohio. Jacob, a native of Maryland, died in 1863 and buried in Fayette County, Ohio. Abraham's mother was Mary Caylor of Virginia. She would live until 1868. The couple would have ten children, Abraham being the youngest.

In Ross County on November 8, 1856 Abraham would marry Sarah E. Holloway. Four children would be born before the Civil War, one during the war, and another three after the war's conclusion. The family was living in Fayette County and Abraham resisted the temptation to join for over a year. But in the call for more soldiers during the trying summer of 1862, Abraham would join the Sixtieth Ohio Volunteer Infantry as a private. By the Antietam Campaign the Sixtieth was stationed at Harper's Ferry, where the regiment would be surrendered. Abraham would be paroled and mustered out of service on November 10, 1862. This experience must have cooled Abraham's desire for war, at least for a spell.

As a result of John H. Morgan's "Not So Great Raid" of Indiana and Ohio during the summer of 1863, Ohio formed National Guard units to protect the state from any future such incursions upon Buckeye soil. Abraham would join the local unit, which was subsequently federalized for service for one hundred days in May 1864. Now part of the 168th Ohio Volunteer Infantry as a first lieutenant, Abraham was slated to see service in Kentucky, most notably at the sleepy town of Cynthiana in Harrison County. The 168th had been sent there in response to Morgan's Last Kentucky (and definitely not great) Raid. On June 11th, fighting in the streets and buildings of the town for at least an hour against Morgan's overwhelming numbers, the men of the 168th would be surrendered and paroled the following day. Abraham would see the rest of his time with the 168th in Cincinnati. He mustered out of the regiment on September 8th and headed with his Company F companions back to Fayette County. (For more on the 168th at Cynthiana, see HERE)

Twice Abraham joined, and in both cases his service, short as each had been, had resulted in becoming a prisoner of war. But he wasn't done serving. Moving the family to Indiana, Abraham would be enticed to sign his name to the muster roll one more time, joining the 154th Indiana on April 11, 1865, the enticement most likely in an effort to avoid being drafted and to gain the recruitment bounty. Abraham served in the 154th as a sergeant. He would muster out of service four months later and return to Indiana. Later they would move to Kansas. Gossard would raise his family, but die at the age of forty-one. He is buried in Fairview Cemetery in Oswego.

Philip Gossard - Killed at Franklin

Jacob and Mary Gossard had at least three other sons serve during the war. Philip, James, and William all joined the 183rd Ohio and saw heavy action at Franklin, Tennessee, Philip being killed and buried at Stones River National Cemetery.

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