Considering animosity from the other side

Posted on September 5, 2009 by

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Not long ago, I was walking through the Lutheran cemetery (St. Peter’s Evangelical Lutheran Church Yard) in Clear Spring and came across this headstone for Abraham L. Sossy [*]…

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I’m surprised I have never seen it before, because I have been to the cemetery several times. Nonetheless, when taking a little more time to walk around this time, this stone struck me for three reasons. For one, it is the burial site of a member of Co. B of Cole’s Cavalry; 2) he was killed in the Jan. 10, 1864 fight at Loudoun Heights; and 3) the inscription is very interesting in the way that it offers a window to the “perspective” some/many of the people in the area at the time. In the following close-up, note the “Killed by Mosby’s Guerillas.” I say this because Company B was heavily recruited from Clear Spring and the surrounding area (Major Alexander M. Flory, 1831-1913, is buried in the cemetery also, as well as parents of some of Cole’s men) , three of my own relatives being among those who enlisted.

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I’ve seen headstones that reveal how a person died. That’s not unusual; rare (by quantity), but not unusual. For example, I have seen where a headstone reveals that a soldier was “Killed at Ream’s Station.” O.k., the person responsible for ordering the headstone wanted to make it clear that the man died in battle. Is there any animosity in that? Perhaps… perhaps it could be a reflection of animosity for the opposing side, or it could be a declaration of the bravery/courage of the person buried at the site. That considered, however, it seems that if one includes the statement “Killed by Mosby’s Guerillas” they wanted to show bitterness toward the people responsible. It’s not a reflection of respect, especially knowing 1) the history behind the engagements between Mosby’s Rangers and Cole’s Cavalry, and 2) the proximity of the grave, in western Maryland, to Mosby’s area of operation. Perhaps it could be seen as a lingering message of anger.

It’s a rather interesting headstone and the first that I have seen that tells a little of the story behind a Union soldier who was killed by Mosby’s men… and the animosity that a father held for the perpetrators. The father, by the way, died within a year of his son being killed.

*Abraham L. Sossey/Sosey (I’ve also seen his name writen as “Socey”) was technically Abraham Sosey, III. Listed as a farmer in the 1860 census for Clear Spring, Washington County, Maryland, he was the son of Abraham, II (1804-1864) and Eliza Chew Sosey (1807-1881). Abraham Sosey, II was the son of Abraham (1770-?) and Catherine Rein (ca. 1770-1822). Abraham Sosey, I first appears in Franklin County, Pa. in 1798 on the Letterkenny Twp tax list.

Abraham L. Sosey also had a brother, John N., who served, initially in the same company of Cole’s Cavalry, but later in Co. F, 13th Maryland Infantry, USA. It is uncertain whether his middle initial is M., N., or W. John was shoemaker by occupation and continued to live in Clear Spring in the years after the war.

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