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Frost, Edwin B.

EDWIN B. FROST. Born in Sullivan, N. H. Resided at St. Johnsbury at the commencement of the rebellion studying medicine with his brother, Dr. C. P. Frost. He took an active part in raising a company of volunteers in St. Johnsbury, and from adjacent towns, and, succeeding, was commissioned Captain July 7, 1862. The company was mustered into United States service as Company A, 10th Regiment, September 1, 1862. Wounded in action at Cold Harbor, June 3, 1864. The 10th was on an advanced line, Captain Frost stepped forward as if to reconnoitre, [sic] when he was struck by a musket ball, near the right side and in the lower part of the abdomen, and in another moment another ball hit him a little higher up, on the same side, passing entirely through his body. He was taken to the rear to a house where he lingered in great agony for two hours. Either of the balls would have resulted in death. His body was carefully buried and his grave marked.

Some time afterward it was disinterred and taken to his former home, Thetford, and buried among his kindred. Captain Frost, at this time, was in command of the right wing of the Regiment. The enemy were concealed in a piece of woods in front of the 10th Regiment. Their sharp-shooters were vigilant and our forces suffered severely from their concealed fire. The 10th displayed great bravery on this occasion, substantially maintaining their position until the army took up its line of march for Petersburg.

Captain Frost engaged in several battles and skirmishes before the actions in the Wilderness. He passed safely through all until fatally wounded at Cold Harbor. He was unflinchingly brave and cool in action ; shunning no danger he died expressing pleasure, rather than sorrow, that he could give his life for his country, and in anticipation of a higher life hereafter. After the foregoing notice of Capt. Frost had been prepared, a comrade of the 10th Regiment transmitted to the compiler the following more extended account of his services : The 10th was first assigned to duty on the Upper Potomac, where it suffered very severely from disease. Capt. Frost won the respect of every one by his attention to duty and devotion to the cause. He was the ideal of his company, winning their love by his kindness, ever looking after their welfare, even attending the sick with his own bands. During the winter of 1862-63, he was in command of the right wing of the Regiment, and by his energy put a stop to the smuggling of goods and recruits across the river in his vicinity. Throughout the summer of 1863, on the hard marches after the traitor Lee, he set the men an example, by ever marching with them, cheering them on through hardships by a constant flow of wit, and kind sympathy. In July an order came to detail a certain number of meritorious officers and soldiers for recruiting service, and he was the first selected. He rejoined the Regiment in September. Before the retreat from Culpepper Court House, in October, he was in the hospital and was ordered to the rear ; but he was determined to keep with the army and did so, part of the time being obliged to ride in an ambulance ; but whenever there was a prospect of a fight, the men were sure to see their Captain at the head of his Company. In the battles of Kelley's Ford and Brandy Station his coolness was noticed by all and received an official compliment by soon after being appointed Provost Marshal of the Division, an office of distinction, but he declined it, preferring to remain with his Regiment. In the battles of Locust Grove and Mine Run, where the 10th was warmly engaged, he was ever in the hottest of the fight ; never excited, his calm, clear commands, could be heard above the din of battle as he bade the men "keep cool," "steady, men, steady, don't get excited," "aim low," "protect yourselves as well as you can," etc.; and in the hottest fire, his tall form in plain sight, (disdaining to seek the protection he urged upon his men,) was too conspicuous a mark to escape the keen-eyed rebels. He had one shot through his hat and two struck his sword. When the shot passed through his hat he coolly remarked, "think I'll not get tall hats after this." Although so exposed to danger, he escaped unharmed, with new honors.
The winter of 1863 and '64 was passed in camp with no events of importance. At the commencement of the memorable campaign of 1864, Captain Frost was acting Major, (his commission arrived a short time after his death) and in the battles of the Wilderness, Spottsylvania, North Anna and Hanover Court House, he acted with his usual coolness, and bravery, handling his men skillfully and effectively. At Cold Harbor he was second in command. On the night of June 1, when the 106th N. Y. was hurled back upon our already thinned ranks, throwing us into confusion, Capt. Frost was ever in the front, giving his commands in tones which assured his men that he, at least, was perfectly self-possessed, and set an example of courage which every true Green Mountain Boy was anxious to emulate. Our lines were advanced. At daylight on the 3d, the 10th started on a charge, in which, as usual, Capt. Frost was with the foremost. At last they reached a point beyond which it was impossible for the stoutest hearts and hands to force a way; to stay seemed certain death ; but the order was to "charge as far as possible, and then hold what was taken." Capt. Frost sent back a message to say to the commanding officer of the Regiment "that it was madness to keep the men in that position." Back came the reply, "Hold it at all hazards." The result was that one hundred and twenty men were killed or wounded. Then our line fell back as Capt. Frost had advised, but it was too late to save that noble life: He was mortally wounded, and when the word passed along the line that Capt. Frost was badly wounded, many a sad, anxious face told how he was loved. The brave, strong men sprang to his relief, and he was borne from the field nevermore to return.

On the way to the rear he requested those carrying him to rest a moment, when he examined his wound and then told them to leave him and return to the Regiment, as he could not live more than an hour, and it was useless to carry him farther. But they were anxious for the welfare of their Captain and persuaded him to consent to be removed to the hospital.

It was my fate to be wounded soon after the Captain, and as I was being carried from the field I passed him, when, forgetful of his own sufferings, he kindly said, "I hope you are not badly wounded," and smilingly bade me "good bye" and "God bless you.”
After reaching the hospital everything possible was done for him, but to no avail. After suffering for an hour, intense agony, which he bore manfully, death released him.
He was one of those rare officers who were never seen intoxicated and never used profane language. He believed that he was fighting to perpetuate the Union, to vindicate the doctrine "That all men are created free and equal," and to show to the world that America is indeed the "land of the free." Oppression in any form never found an advocate in him. His life was gentle ; and the elements so mixed in him that nature might stand up and say to all the world, 'This was a man !' But it is needless for me to speak farther of his many virtues and noble qualities. He belongs to that generous band of men whose works live after them. Of Captain Frost it may justly be said—"living he was beloved, and dead he is lamented." C. A. W.



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