Library & Archives
William Burroughs Ross (1843?-1864)
Doris K. Handzo
Gregory J. Plunges
Monmouth County Historical Association
70 Court Street
Freehold, New Jersey
William Burroughs Ross (1843?-1864) enlisted in the 14th New Jersey Volunteer Infantry on July 28, 1862. Several companies of this regiment were organized at Freehold, NJ, while other companies came from Middlesex, Union and Mercer counties. Mustered in on August 26, 1862, the regiment proceeded to Frederick City, Maryland and was assigned to guard duty along the Monocacy River.
The regiment was ordered to join the Army of the Potomac and Ross was assigned to Division Headquarters of the 3rd Division of the Third Army Corps under General Elliott at Brandy Station, Virginia.
Private Ross was promoted to the rank of Sgt. Major on January 20, 1864 and was commissioned a first lieutenant on September 14, 1864. He saw action with the regiment at the battles of Chancellorsville, the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor, Monocacy, and Opequan. He lost his life on October 19, 1864 at the Battle of Cedar Creek, Virginia.
Lt. Ross' body was returned to Trenton, NJ and was buried in the Second Presbyterian Church Burying Ground, Trenton, NJ on Thanksgiving Day, 1864.
DESCRIPTION OF COLLECTION
The William Burroughs Ross Papers consist of letters written during his service in the Civil War, his Muster-in-Roll enlistment dated September 18, 1864, and his official commission as a first lieutenant dated September 14, 1864. This latter document is signed by Gov. Joel Parker. There are also several other military papers relating to Lt. Ross' career in the army and an envelope of gun caps, which, according to his letter of October 9, 1862, were picked up on the battlefield of Antietam.
The letters were written to his mother and father, Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Ross of Freehold, NJ and to his sister Minnie (Mrs. Garrett Van Derveer). They are primarily concerned with news of military events and campaigns, but also describe the social life of the regiment and give information about people from Freehold, NJ whom Ross had met while in the service.
The letters were written from Frederick City, Maryland and also from other camps and battlefields in Maryland and Virginia. Several of them were written immediately before, during, or after battles. There are five undated letters in the collection and five unattached envelopes. The last letter, dated Philadelphia, November 22, 1864, is written to Mrs. Ross and signed "Fanny". It mourns the death of Lt. Ross.
The only items removed from the collection are the Muster-in-Roll, the Commission as a first Lieutenant and the gun caps. (See Appendix B for disposition of these items.)
As an excellent source of information on the Civil war, this collection presents a picture of the war from the standpoint of a young soldier concerned with the possibilities of beating the pass system, the extreme irregularity of his pay, and the military defeats and victories he was experiencing.
Other Civil War collections housed in the Monmouth County Historical Association Library are The Peter Vredenburgh Papers, The Cowart Papers, The Samuel T. Sleeper Papers and The Yard Papers. The Library also has several photographs of William Ross in its collection.
The arrangement of the collection is described at the beginning of the container list.
PROVENANCE: Acquired on April 20, 1950 as a gift of Mrs. Russell F. Barker, Atlantic City, NJ in memory of her mother, Anna May Van Derveer Jones.
NUMBER OF ITEMS: 85
This page last updated 4 August 2008.