Seven soldiers from Andover were killed in the Battle of Spotsylvania in Virginia in 1864. Six more men died later from wounds sustained in that battle and at least two more died from sickness.
Even more men were wounded.
Sadly, the Battle of Spotsylvania was a day for the historical record books in town.
“It was Andover’s greatest loss in a single battle,” said Carrie Midura, programs and public relations manager for the Andover Historical Society. “The Battle of Spotsylvania affected nearly every family in the small town that was Andover in 1864.
“We don’t know how many more died in the five to 10 years after Spotsylvania directly as the result of the wounds they suffered there.”
This spring, Andover joins the nation in marking the 150th anniversary of the battle with an 11-week series of lectures, exhibits and other events that will explore how the Civil War changed the community to become what it is today.
The initiative — titled “Lest We Forget: Andover and the Civil War” — aims to tell the stories of Andover and its people during the 19th century.
Simply listing seven names doesn’t really put the loss felt by the town as the result of just one day in the Civil War into any sort of perspective, according to “Lest We Forget” organizers.
This is especially the case for today’s generation of people, who are confronted with death and casualty numbers on a daily basis, they said.
“Simply put, it was an enormous number to the town of Andover in 1864 as demonstrated by the 1864 numbers adjusted for today’s Andover population,” Andover Historical Society board member and “Lest We Forget” committee member Michael Morris Jr. said.
“... There are the soldiers who participated directly in the war effort whose sacrifices need to be remembered — from the common soldiers like the young teenager George Smart who left Andover as a drummer boy only to die of disease a short time later to 18-year-old Walter Raymond who starved to death in a Confederate prison camp on Christmas Day in 1864.”