"Ellie" Fraser Co. I, 12th South Carolina on the Elliott Map of Antietam Graves

lelliott19

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A better soldier never shouldered a musket, and as we knelt over the youthful hero's grave, remembering his many noble qualities, we could scarcely suppress a tear of affection.
1618470314313.png

On the 25th [June] we passed through Shepardstown [sic] where the noble Col. Barnes breathed his last, crossed the Potomac and passed through Sharpsburg. -- While there, in company with a comrade, we visited the graves of our acquaintances and friends, who fell in the battle of 17th September 1862. Some we found had been roughly dealt with, others were undisturbed.

Elias "Ellie" Fraser
was born in 1845 in Lancaster, South Carolina. His mother was Mariah Louise Ashe. She was married first, to Dr. Medicus Powell and had at least one son, Benjamin Medicus Powell*. (b. 1841). Dr. Powell died in 1841 (the same year Benjamin was born.) Mariah then married a Methodist minister, the Rev. Elias Lynch Fraser, in 1844. They were quickly blessed with a son, whom they named Elias (b. 1845) and three more children.

When Rev. Fraser died in 1851, Elias was only six years old. When the family was enumerated on the 1860 US Census for Lancaster, South Carolina, Benjamin Medicus Powell is a 20 year old medical student and Elias is 15 years old.
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In April 1861, Benjamin Medicus Powell enlisted into a local infantry company being organized by Captain Dixon Barnes** at Lancaster. Sixteen year old Elias Fraser soon followed his older brother, enlisting in August 1861 into the Lancaster Hornets, which became Co. I, 12th South Carolina Infantry (Maxcey Gregg's brigade.)

[You know how sometimes, you read something and you just think.... there's got to be more to this story. Maybe it's just me.Do you see it yet?]
1618471418619.png

The quote I used at the top of the page continues:

...On the 25th we passed through Shepardstown, where the noble Col. Barnes breathed his last, crossed the Potomac and passed through Sharpsburg.-- While there, in company with a comrade, we visited the graves of our acquaintances and friends, who fell in the battle of 17th September 1862. Some we found had been roughly dealt with, others were undisturbed. Every person in the town seemed to be well acquainted with the grave of Ellie Fraser, a member of our company, who was killed at that battle. A better soldier never shouldered a musket, and as we knelt over the youthful hero's grave, remembering his many noble qualities, we could scarcely suppress a tear of affection.
1618471987580.png

E. L. Fraser, 12 SC

His grave is marked -- right there on the recently discovered Elliott map of the graves at Antietam. The map was produced in 1864, so its no wonder the printing is not entirely clear. The name looks like F. L. Fraser, 12 SC --- of course, there's no member of the regiment with last name Fraser that has those initials, so it's definitely Ellie. And no wonder "Every person in the town seemed to be well acquainted with the grave of Ellie Fraser..." It was right there alongside the road to Harper's Ferry.

Sources:
The Lancaster Ledger.(Lancaster, SC), July 22, 1863, page 2.
S G Elliott, Map of the Battlefield of Antietam, H H Lloyd & Co, 1864. New York Public Library, Digital Collections.
1850, 1860 US Census

NOTES:
*Benjamin Medicus Powell, Ellie's older brother, that's him in the photo montage at the top of the post. He was wounded at Gettysburg. He was back with his unit at Spotsylvania, and although we may never know for sure, there are people who believe that Benjamin Medicus Powell may have fired the bullet that killed General John Sedgwick.

**For a complete bio of Dixon Barnes, original Captain of the Lancaster Hornets and later Col of the 12th SC see @Andy Cardinal 's thread here
https://civilwartalk.com/threads/hi...rnes-12th-south-carolina.159444/#post-2082211
1618472922112.png
 

Tom Elmore

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Elias Fraser's older step-brother, Benjamin Medicus Powell, received a British Whitworth rifle a few days before Gettysburg and presumably was using it in that battle on the skirmish line between Seminary Ridge and Cemetery Hill when he received a minie ball in his left shoulder. Laura - do you think Powell was the unidentified author "Local," or the accompanying "comrade" who visited Fraser's grave on June 25, as cited in the Lancaster Ledger of July 22, 1863?
 

JeffFromSyracuse

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A better soldier never shouldered a musket, and as we knelt over the youthful hero's grave, remembering his many noble qualities, we could scarcely suppress a tear of affection.
Amazing research.

I highlight the above quote because the more I research, the more I realize how spot-on Drew Gilpin Faust's "good death" thesis in This Republic of Suffering is.
 
Joined
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Location
Spotsylvania Virginia
A better soldier never shouldered a musket, and as we knelt over the youthful hero's grave, remembering his many noble qualities, we could scarcely suppress a tear of affection.
View attachment 397746
On the 25th [June] we passed through Shepardstown [sic] where the noble Col. Barnes breathed his last, crossed the Potomac and passed through Sharpsburg. -- While there, in company with a comrade, we visited the graves of our acquaintances and friends, who fell in the battle of 17th September 1862. Some we found had been roughly dealt with, others were undisturbed.

Elias "Ellie" Fraser
was born in 1845 in Lancaster, South Carolina. His mother was Mariah Louise Ashe. She was married first, to Dr. Medicus Powell and had at least one son, Benjamin Medicus Powell*. (b. 1841). Dr. Powell died in 1841 (the same year Benjamin was born.) Mariah then married a Methodist minister, the Rev. Elias Lynch Fraser, in 1844. They were quickly blessed with a son, whom they named Elias (b. 1845) and three more children.

When Rev. Fraser died in 1851, Elias was only six years old. When the family was enumerated on the 1860 US Census for Lancaster, South Carolina, Benjamin Medicus Powell is a 20 year old medical student and Elias is 15 years old.
View attachment 397745
In April 1861, Benjamin Medicus Powell enlisted into a local infantry company being organized by Captain Dixon Barnes** at Lancaster. Sixteen year old Elias Fraser soon followed his older brother, enlisting in August 1861 into the Lancaster Hornets, which became Co. I, 12th South Carolina Infantry (Maxcey Gregg's brigade.)

[You know how sometimes, you read something and you just think.... there's got to be more to this story. Maybe it's just me.Do you see it yet?]
View attachment 397748
The quote I used at the top of the page continues:

...On the 25th we passed through Shepardstown, where the noble Col. Barnes breathed his last, crossed the Potomac and passed through Sharpsburg.-- While there, in company with a comrade, we visited the graves of our acquaintances and friends, who fell in the battle of 17th September 1862. Some we found had been roughly dealt with, others were undisturbed. Every person in the town seemed to be well acquainted with the grave of Ellie Fraser, a member of our company, who was killed at that battle. A better soldier never shouldered a musket, and as we knelt over the youthful hero's grave, remembering his many noble qualities, we could scarcely suppress a tear of affection.
View attachment 397749
E. L. Fraser, 12 SC

His grave is marked -- right there on the recently discovered Elliott map of the graves at Antietam. The map was produced in 1864, so its no wonder the printing is not entirely clear. The name looks like F. L. Fraser, 12 SC --- of course, there's no member of the regiment with last name Fraser that has those initials, so it's definitely Ellie. And no wonder "Every person in the town seemed to be well acquainted with the grave of Ellie Fraser..." It was right there alongside the road to Harper's Ferry.

Sources:
The Lancaster Ledger.(Lancaster, SC), July 22, 1863, page 2.
S G Elliott, Map of the Battlefield of Antietam, H H Lloyd & Co, 1864. New York Public Library, Digital Collections.
1850, 1860 US Census

NOTES:
*Benjamin Medicus Powell, Ellie's older brother, was wounded at Gettysburg. He was back with his unit at Spotsylvania, and although we may never know for sure, there are people who believe that Benjamin Medicus Powell may have fired the bullet that killed General John Sedgwick.

**For a complete bio of Dixon Barnes, original Captain of the Lancaster Hornets, see @Andy Cardinal 's thread here
https://civilwartalk.com/threads/hi...rnes-12th-south-carolina.159444/#post-2082211
View attachment 397750
Your research gift is a thing of envy and possibly second only to your storytelling! Well done.
 
Joined
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Location
Spotsylvania Virginia
Great story! Thanks for posting. I wonder about the circumstance of Ellie's death and burial and why he was more or less buried by himself.
I don’t know the circumstances of why this particular soldier was buried apart from others, but I visited a remote confederate cemetery in central Mississippi and there was one grave marker set apart from all the others. It was beside a road, and the other headstones were neatly grouped together about 40 yards away. In that particular instance, the soldier requested the separation so his mother could easily find his grave.
 

lelliott19

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Laura - do you think Powell was the unidentified author "Local," or the accompanying "comrade" who visited Fraser's grave on June 25, as cited in the Lancaster Ledger of July 22, 1863?
Tom - It's possible that Benj Medicus Powell, Ellie's step brother, was the "accompanying comrade" or the correspondent known as "LOCAL." --- but somehow it seems more likely that it was an officer of Co I - Capt., Lieut, or ?

Another report from "LOCAL." was published in the same issue of the Lancaster Ledger, right under the one in the OP. That one was dated "Near Hagerstown, Md. July 8, 1863." [see below]

Benj M Powell was wounded at the Battle of Gettysburg, but not so badly as to be left behind in the hospitals when the army retreated. He was evacuated and admitted to Howard's Grove General Hospital, Richmond on July 20, 1863 and returned to duty August 8, 1863. I assume he would have been transported with the hospital trains? With his wound, do you think he would have been able to write a letter? Carded records don't say which shoulder he was wounded in, but if he was sharpshooting, there's a better than average chance that he was wounded in the right. If it was the left, then he probably could still write.
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Last edited:

Brian Downey

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Joined
Aug 5, 2005
Location
North Florida
@Brian Downey do you have any additional information on Elias "Ellie" Fraser -- how he was killed or his grave?
Nothing specific, Laura - you've found marvelous material here, thank you. I need to catch up!

Another soldier of AP Hill's Division I'm looking at today, coincidentally, Captain TW Flynt of the 19th Georgia/Archer's Brigade wrote about the battle to Gen. Ezra Carman many years later. He mentioned that they - Branch's and Archer's Brigades - came under artillery fire enroute from Harpers Ferry to Sharpsburg. The 12th SC and Gregg's Brigade were just ahead of them and deployed on the battlefield first. That's about where Private Fraser was buried.

... when A.P. Hill's division, or a part of it only, reached the highest point of the country, going from what I was told was Blackford's Ford, East or North east, to the Antietam ... we received a well aimed destructive volley, from the Union batteries on the east side of the Antietam, which caused some confusion in our ranks, and the brigades were hastily thrown into line of battle ...

Flynt doesn't mention any casualties there, but it's possible that Fraser was killed in that area by long range fire.

Of course it's also possible he was killed further east, in farmer Otto's cornfield, and carried back out to the Harpers Ferry Road by his comrades. He may not be the only soldier from his Brigade buried there; he may just have had the best-identified grave.
 

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