Sunday, October 12, 2014

Edward Kirk Wilcox.

Massachusetts Twenty - Seventh Infantry, Regimental History.

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Edward Kirk Wilcox, son of O. W. and Mary Ann Wilcox, was born at Springfield, Aug. 24, 1841. He fitted for  college at Williston Seminary, Easthampton, and with Alexander Hyde, Esq., of Lee, entering Williams in 1858, but after two years decided upon a business instead of a professional life, and was temporarily with his father at Springfield.  He was of the first to enlist at his country's call, and mustered as sergeant-major of the Tenth Massachusetts regiment, June 21, 1861, marching with them to the front. Upon the  organization of the Twenty-Seventh Regiment he was appointed first lieutenant, and assigned to Company I,

Capt.  Henry A. Hubbard. On account of the sickness and early  death of his captain, he was in command of the company in all its North Carolina service, and was promoted captain, Feb. 13, 1862. Indifferent to danger, he was a spirited leader, with coolness and efficiency, inspiring his men by his own  demeanor. He was with the regiment on provost duty at  Norfolk, during the winter of 63 and 64, but upon the organization of the " Red Star Brigade," was appointed acting  assistant adjutant general on Brig. Gen l C. A. Heckman's staff.

After reaching Bermuda Hundreds, he was appointed  aide-de-camp to Gen l Weitzel commanding the Second  Division, Eighteenth Army Corps, and participated in all the  actions of the Army of the James. Of the battle of Drewry's  Bluff, May 16, 1864, he wrote, " It was the hardest fight I ever was in. How I escaped I cannot tell, as I was under  fire seven or eight hours carrying orders into the thickest of the fight."

May 17th, Gen l Stannard assumed command of the brigade, and Capt. Wilcox was transferred to his staff as acting  assistant adjutant general First Brigade, First Division,  Eighteenth Army Corps. May 30th, the Eighteenth Army Corps started for White-House Landing, effecting a junction with the Army of the Potomac at Cold Harbor on the eve of June 1st. Stannard's Brigade was led immediately into action, and its frequent changes and the nature of its service, rendered Capt. Wilcox s duties incessant and onerous. Says Durfee's " Annals of Williams College : " "

It so happened that as he was passing through his regiment, the morning of the 3d, a charge was ordered." Unconsciously, this  does not do him full credit ; it did not happen. Instructions as to the charge had passed through his hands at three o clock the day previous, and he was there from plan and purpose. He placed himself in front of the line, when one of his brother officers said, " Coxey, go back where you belong; this is  no place for you ! " to which he replied, " I am going with you ; my place is where I can serve my country."

When Gen l Smith s voice rang out on the morning air, " Forward ! * with a ringing cheer and call to his men, he dashed forward, foremost of all. Gaining the enemy's cnrvettes, he dashed over them in advance of the column, with his face set on the enemy's main line just in front, when he fell pierced with  a dozen bullets. " Coxey," as he was generally known,  was popular, genial, courteous and affable. His urbanity,  frankness and kindness, insured lasting friendship. His eoften expressed preference was, that he might be allowed to  return to his command, and share with them the honors and  dangers of the field. His name is now borne by Post 16, Grand Army of the Republic, Springfield, Mass., an excel lent painting of him gracing their hall.

Author. Captain Wilcox were instantly killed as he passed the last line of rifle-pits, by a rifle-ball through his neck.

Brothers and sisters.

Mary A. Wilcox.
Harriet B. Wilcox.
Frank H. Wilcox.
Willie A. Wilcox.

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