The day Gen. William Grose died

Posted by on Jul 13, 2013 in General William Grose, Historically Speaking |

By DARREL RADFORD

HISTORICALLY SPEAKING

It was a late Monday afternoon in July 113 years ago when a well-known New Castle soldier fought his last battle.

Gen. William Grose, the Civil War hero who worked under such legendary names as Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman and Gen. Don Carlos Buell, died on July 30, 1900, at his home on South 14th Street in New Castle.

“Universal grief” was the description one report used as word spread that the general was gone. The impact was felt not just in New Castle, according to the New Castle Courier.

“There are very few of the older families in Henry, Delaware, Wayne, Fayette and Union counties that are not strongly attached to William Grose with the bonds of tender memories of brave boys whom they sent out with him and who shared his hardships and perils with him, willingly sacrificing their lives or returning with him at the close of the war, broken in health, to mourn the rest of their days over the wrecks of their once vigorous manhood.

“Because of these tenderest of all associations, the death of General Grose casts the deep gloom of mourning over the people of this whole section of the State as well as over multitudes farther away. And in the community which held him dear, this grief is most keen.”

The newspaper reported Grose’s health had been “poor for a long time.” A few days before he died, Grose suffered a second stroke of paralysis.

Interestingly, however, the general was seen two or three months earlier on his horse in the downtown area.

“He came through the streets on horseback, sitting as straight as an arrow and looking every inch the soldier he was,” The Courier reported. “General Grose was known and loved by every man, woman and child in New Castle.”

Just a short time after that appearance, the general was gone. But the legacy he left behind lives on. And what a legacy it was.

While best known as a general, Grose was also a legislator and a judge. He participated in the organization of the national Republican party, was a presidential elector on the Franklin Pierce ticket and even a candidate for Congress in 1852.

While the war ended in 1865, its impact never truly left Gen. Grose. A wound he received during the battle of Chickamauga caused much pain and suffering the rest of his life.

Archives of the Henry County Historical Society report that Gen. Grose’s funeral brought many of his old soldiers to town on a Wednesday afternoon along with friends of his days in politics and members of the bar he had served with as a lawyer.

“After paying their last respects as the body lay in state in this house (the Grose home), many stayed for the services conducted by Rev. Milton Mahin of The Methodist Episcopal Church. The funeral procession to South Mound Cemetery included Company G of The National Guard, the New Lisbon Band (a town he once served a postmaster) and many, many friends of the famed citizen.”

One interesting story about Gen. Grose came with his faithful horse, who seemed to display the same attention to command his soldiers were known for through his military years.

“Gen. Grose almost always is associated with a horse,” Historical Society archives said. “A horse he supposedly brought home he called ‘Framey’ because it was so thin. Although Framey had been wounded during the war, he still served the general faithfully and the master and the horse were very close.

“Now the general, we are told, was one of those methodical creatures who keeps a rigid schedule. One day when time came for Framey to carry his master home from the office, the general did not appear. It was time to go, so Framey went – stopping at the post office and the store for the customary loaf of bread, then ambling on home.”

Without his master

There was no report on how Gen. Grose got home that day. Was he angry the horse had left him behind? Or was he smiling because the time-sensitive horse had shown such discipline and attention to schedule. Perhaps a little of both.

More on Gen. Grose next week.

Darrel Radford is a staff writer for The Courier-Times and a board member for The Henry County Historical Society. The museum is open Wednesday through Saturday from 1 to 4:30 p.m. Visit the website at www.henrycountyhs.org for more local history.

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