Partially Funded by a grant from CT Trust for Historic Preservation in cooperation with the CT Humanities Council
In 2006 - We took A Walk Back In Time to Cheshire Connecticut in 1862. President Lincoln Calls For 300,000 Troops and Who From Cheshire Will Go? A WALK BACK IN TIME - TITUS MOSS: CHESHIRE FARMER AND CIVIL WAR SOLDIER -- A PRESERVATION MONTH ACTIVITY
EVENT DATE: Sunday,
May 7, 2006
Thom Peters as TITUS MOSS
Thom and Sylvia will appear again as Titus and Jennette Moss in our Walk Back In Time
Copy this IRL to go to IFILM.com to view Titus Moss Letters Video/Main Info:
May 7, Sunday, 2:00 PM - the Titus Moss Walk Back in Time - which begins at the Cheshire Town Hall and ends at the Hitchcock-Phillips House (The Cheshire Historical Society).
The time is mid-Summer in 1862, when Titus Moss would be aware of President Lincoln's second call for "three hundred thousand volunteers for three years" to serve in the Civil War. Titus would be making a decision to volunteer, leaving his farm on Moss Farms Road, his wife Jeanette, and his two young children. Present day spectators have begun their walk at Town Hall where Cheshire historical personages tell their stories and provide background for many of the historic properties in Cheshire Town Center Historic District. Neighbors, shopkeepers, hotel owners and guests, all have opinions about the War - The Rebellion or The Civil War - and about Cheshire in general. Titus and his family visit The Hitchcock-Phillips House for a party - all are invited. Titus, now feeling it is his duty to go to war, makes the announcement that he will leave his current post at the Church, leave his family, and volunteer to fight with the Union Army. While Titus and his family step back somewhat from the spectators and other participants, the group continues to the Civil War monument on the Cheshire Green where a call comes from the crowd, "What ever happened to Titus Moss?" Another historic personage then speaks of Titus Moss' eight months of service to the Union Army and his tragic end at the Battle of Chancellorsville in Virginia in May 1863.
Many thanks to this resource of information for the Civil War (copies of Harper's Weekly online)
March 26th Planning Meeting - CAST READ THROUGH
The Meeting Room at the Cheshire Historical Society was electric as we read through the script for the TITUS MOSS WALK BACK IN TIME.
Here is EMMA MOSS, who's real name IS Emma, with her Mom and with her play Mother, JENNETTE MOSS
Here is NURSE and her COUSIN discussing Mustard Poltices and Lavender.
NANCY UPSON MOSS waits as the NARRATOR READS. JENNETTE MOSS AND JOSEPHINE FOOTE study their lines.
EDWARD CORNWALL looks on as Shane speaks one of the many roles that did today (Shane is HOWARD MOSS, AGE 16, but graciously filled in for the absent male re-enactors).
Thom reads through his lines as TITUS MOSS
Dottie looks SPLENDID as she delivers invitations from the Hitchcock-Phillips House.
A backdrop provides a little atmosphere.
The NARRATOR reviews a few issues with his PERSONAL SECRETARY
March 5th Planning Meeting - A Focus on Costumes with Lizz Abbate
The Story of how Lizz got herself into this dress:
Ok - here we go - chemise, pantaloons, and petticoat and CORSET
You Go Girl!
MOSS - LETTERS (Click
for 97-Page PDF Document)
Camp near Harpers Ferry
Introduction to Titus Moss Letters
In 1969, Miss Helen Moss of New Haven gave the Cheshire Historical Society the original copies of 30 letters written by her grandfather, Corporal Titus Moss, to her grandmother, Jennette, in 1862-63. Also included were two letters written by Captain Timothy Guilford describing Moss's death at the Battle of Chancellorsville, May3, 1863, and a copy of letter of condolence to Jennette on the death of their daughter, Emma, in 1864. At the bottom of this letter, Jennette has written a heart-breaking note about Little Emma's death. After Nearly 35 years in our files, the letters were transcribed last year by Society member, and now curator, Marshall Robinson.
It is evident that these letters are only a portion of the original Titus Moss correspondence. Although he wrote almost daily after leaving Cheshire in September 1862, there is nothing from Christmas and only one letter from the critical last three months of his life. The collection must have been divided among family members, possibly among his three granddaughters. Nonetheless, the letters we do have give a special picture of a very kind and decent Cheshire man struggling to adapt to the challenges of Union Army life and vitally concerned with the welfare of his little family at home.
The Moss family figured prominently in Cheshire history from its early settlement, especially in area in the west of town along Ten-Mile River known as Moss Farms. The first Moss to come to Cheshire, John Moss, was granted approximately 100 acres of land alongside the Ten-Mile River in 1694 for services to the Crown in settling disputes between the Indians and farmers who were moving to Cheshire from Wallingford.
According to a hand-written note in Society's copy of Old Historic Homes of Cheshire, 1895, the Titus Moss Family lived at 859 Moss Farms Road, a one-and-a-half-story structure built by his grandfather, Joel Moss, in 1795. The house also is pictured in Landmarks of Old Cheshire, 1976, but has since been demolished.
Titus was born on February 8, 1828, the second of seven children of Joel Moss II and Nancy (Upson) Moss. In June 1851, age 23, Titus married Jennette Beecher of Cheshire. They had two children: Howard, born July 19, 1856, and Emma, born June 22, 1859. Another member of Titus's household was his ward, Carrie, who is often mentioned in his letters. We have no further identification for her. The Moss family were communicants of St. Peter's Episcopal Church. In 1857, Titus was elected junior warden of the church, a position he held when he left for military service with the 20th Connecticut Regiment Volunteers in 1862.
After the attack on Fort Sumter in April 1861, the first call for troops by President Lincoln asked for only one regiment from Connecticut. The response was so enthusiastic, that three regiments were formed and sent. According to a paper on "Cheshire in the Civil War," written by Society member Mrs. E.I. Pardee, it was at this time that a group of young men in Cheshire formed a military company called the Home Guards. Their captain was Timothy Guilford, who had previously held office in a militia company in Waterbury.
In July 1862, when President Lincoln issued the second call for "three hundred thousand volunteers for three years," Cheshire's Home Guards resolved to enlist, calling themselves the Russell Rifles, but later becoming Company A of the 20th Connecticut Volunteers. In August 1862, a special Cheshire Town Meeting authorized payment of a $100 bounty to each volunteer with a family ($50 for single volunteers).
Company A left New Haven for Washington, D.C. on September 11, 1862 packed in common boxcars. It included 63 men and boys from Cheshire, including Titus and his brother Samuel, and 20 from Prospect. They were kept in Washington until September 29, then ordered to Frederick, Maryland. By some blunder, the company was told to leave their knapsacks in Washington. They waited all night at the depot for transportation and made their bivouac near Frederick without tents or blankets, and with scanty rations. When letters telling of deprivation and hunger reached Cheshire, mothers, wives and sisters rushed to pack boxes of provisions and forward them as soon as possible.
On October 2, the Twentieth was again under marching orders for Harper's Ferry. On November 9, they crossed the mountain into Loudon Valley where they were ordered to build huts and go into winter quarters. While some of the old regiments were provided with comfortable houses with floors, the Twentieth did not get along so well. The privations the men endured are told first-hand in Titus's letters. His close companions were his younger brother Samuel and another Moss, Frank Moss. Both became seriously ill. We know from The Twentieth Connecticut, A Regimental History, that Samuel Moss was discharged for disability on January 27, 1863 and that Frank Moss died at Stafford Count House, March 17, 1863.
According to Mrs. Pardee's paper, during the first winter, Company A was visited at different times by at least nine men from Cheshire. "They usually found the company enjoying a snow storm," she writes. In his letter of November 8, Titus describes the arrival of "Mrs. Moss & Mr. Beedles" (Amos Moss and Benajah Beadle). We know from the letter of January 29 that another visitor was Titus's other brother, Julius.
The spring campaign of 1863 opened with the Union Army numbering 124,000 men on the north side of the Rappahannock River. General Lee, with an army of 63,000 was entrenched south of the river. It was now only a little over seven months since Titus had left New Haven. Aside from some skirmishes, the Battle of Chancellorsville, May 1-3, was the first real battle for Company A. It ended disastrously, with the regiment under Colonel William B. Wooster in full retreat. Over 12,000 Union soldiers were killed and another 5,000 missing and wounded. Titus was killed on May 3, the final day of the battle.
Sources: The "Twentieth Connecticut" A Regimental History, John W. Storrs, Press of the Naugatuck Valley Sentinel, 1886. St. Peter's: An Informal History. Helen E. Bray, Aurora Printing Co., Meriden, 1985. "Cheshire in the Civil War," paper written by Mrs. E.I. Pardee, Cheshire Historical Society. Old Historic Homes of Cheshire, Connecticut (1694-1894), compiled by Edwin R. Brown, 1895. Landmarks of Old Cheshire, The Cheshire Bicentennial Committee, 1976. Moss genealogy records from The Morse Society, Cheshire Historical Society, and History of Cheshire, Connecticut (1604-1840), Joseph Perkins Beach, 1912.
REFERENCES Brodeur, Edmond and Alice R. The History of Cheshire Street and Vicinity as Compiled By Edmond and Alice r. Brodeur during 1969-71. Cheshire, CT. March 1971. Brown, Edwin R. Editor. Old Historic Homes Of Cheshire, Connecticut, With An Account Of The Early Settlement Of The Town, Description Of Its Churches, Academy And Old Town Cemetery, Places Of Interest - Roaring Brook, Scott's Rock, Barytes And Copper Mines, Ancient Trees, Etc. Press of Ryder Printing House, New Haven, CT. 1895. Civil War Harper's Weekly, July 19, 1862 (Fitz-John Porter). The Civil War 1862. Harper's Weekly Original Civil War Newspapers. http://www.sonofthesouth.net/leefoundation/civil-war-1862.htm Gagliardi, Ron. Images of America, Cheshire. Arcadia Publishing, Charleston, SC. 2001. Heritage Walk - Cheshire Town Center. Cheshire Historical Society. http://www.cheshirehistory.org/pdf_files/cheshire_town_ctr_walk.pdf October 2005. Historic District Study Committee. Proposed Historic Districts: "Cornwall Avenue - Town Center" "South Brooksvale" Preliminary Report of the Historic District Study Committee, The Planning Department, Town of Cheshire, Cheshire CT. December 19, 2003. Historic District Study Committee. Two Proposed Historic Districts: Proposed District: "Cornwall Avenue - Town Center" Proposed District: "South Brooksvale." Final Report of the Historic District Study Committee, The Planning Department, Town of Cheshire, Cheshire CT. April 30, 2004. Robertson, James Oliver and Janet C. All Our Yesterdays, A Century of Family Life in an American Small Town. HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. New York, NY. 1993. Scully, Virginia. A Treasury of American Indian Herbs, Their lore and their use for food, drugs, and medicine. Crown Publishers, Inc. New York, NY 1970. Smith, Nettie C. Program of the Cheshire Tercentenary Celebration of the Three Hundreth Anniversary of the Settlement of Connecticut 1635-1935. Cheshire, CT. 1935. Strong, Robert Hale. A Yankee Private's Civil War. Henry Regnery Company, Chicago, IL. 1961 Sutherland, Daniel E. The Expansion of Everyday Life 1860-1876. Harper & Row Publishers, New York, NY. 1989. The Cheshire Bicentennial Committee. Landmarks of Old Cheshire. Town of Cheshire, CT. 1976. The Cheshire Historical Society. Corporal Titus Moss Letters, September 1862 - March 1863. Cheshire Historical Society, Cheshire, CT. http://www.cheshirehistory.org April 2005. Young, Agatha. The women and The Crisis, Women of the North in the Civil War. McDowell, Obolensky, Inc. New York, NY. 1959.
The Cheshire Historical Society
Cheshire Historic District Commission
Cheshire Historical Society: Call 203-272-2574 or e-mail for more information.
Return to The Cheshire Historical Society Home Page