Monday, August 26, 2013

The Death Of Sergeant Abner F. Bassett.

Sgt Abner F. Bassett.

Birth: unknown
Death: Sep. 16, 1864

Original Burial Place: Taylor's Farm. Gravestone Number: 0714. Comments: Killed.

Burial: Poplar Grove National Cemetery, Petersburg, Dinwiddie County, Virginia.

11th., Maine Infantry Regimental History.
First Sergeant Abner F. Bassett entered service as Sergeant ; taken prisoner at Fair Oaks, Va., May 31, 1862 ; a prisoner with First Sergeant Brady and others in Libby Prison, Salisbury, N. C. and at Belle Isle in the James River opposite Richmond until Nov., 1862, when he returned to the regiment ; promoted to First Sergeant, Nov. 1, 1862. On recruiting service at Portland, Me., from Aug. 15, 1863, to July 10, 1864 ; returned to the regiment. Killed on the picket line in front of Petersburg, Va., Sept. 15, 1864, and was buried on the 16th near our camp, " amid the booming of cannon and whistling of bullets", so reads the entry in the diary of Sergeant-Major Morton.  
The death of Sergeant Bassett.
First Sergeant Bassett, of D Company, was killed the night of the 15th of September. It was a bright moonlight night.  We relieved the First Maryland. Our men crept forward, each squad well informed of its assigned position, and all suddenly hurried for their positions, getting under cover as speedily as possible, the relieved pickets stealing away for the main line. But some of the relieved pickets moved up the hill somewhat carelessly, their plates and cups clanking noisily and themselves visible in the bright moonlight, so drawing a sharp fire from the enemy's pickets, by which several of the careless fellows were wounded. Sergeant Bassett was to enter the extreme left picket hole to be occupied by our regiment. Lieutenant Maxfield, commanding D, was assisting in placing the line, and was in the picket hole, with Sergeant Bassett running towards it, when the enemy opened fire on the careless Maryland men. Reaching the pit. Sergeant Bassett thoughtlessly stood erect on its edge while saying, "Well, boys, I'm here," then fell forward into the Lieutenant's arms, a bullet having pierced his throat.
He should Have not been there.
A sad feature of Bassett's death was the fact that from the date of his enlistment, September 7th, he had served his full term of three years, and he firmly believed that he ought not to be asked to serve beyond three years from the date he signed the roll. lie presented the case to headquarters, but the ruling was that the service was for three years from the date of his muster into the United States service, which was October 19th. In view of the fact that he had spent months in Confederate prisons, and was a brave, active, and intelligent soldier, who perhaps ought to have been considered when commissions were being recommended, he was told that he need not serve at the front for the remainder of his term of service. But he was too proud a man to take advantage of this offer, and insisted on sharing the labors and risks of his comrades.

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