Sunday, July 12, 2015

Col. Charles Frederick Fisher.

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Charles Frederick Fisher, President of the North Carolina Railroad Company and stominent resident of Salisbury, the county seat of Rowan Countv Fisher, a tall, slender man with a scraggiy bronze beard, had long been a controversial figure in state business circles, and was the onlv son of Charles Fisher and his wife, Christina Beard.

He had been born in Salisbury on December 26, 1816, in an atmosphere of comparative wealth. Young Fisher attended classical schools in Salisbury and entered Yale University in 1835, but left college in his freshman year for reasons which are not quite clear. He later engaged in agriculture and mining and was for several years associated with Dr. Austin in the publication of the Western Carolinian in Salisbury."

In 1854, Fisher represented Rowan County as a Democrat in the North Carolina Senate. He was elected President of the North Carolina Railroad in 1855

Unfortunately, we know little of Fisher's private life except the fact that he was happily married to Elizabeth R. Caldwell, a daughter of David F. Caldwell. One daughter, Frances Christine, later a famous writer under the name of Christian Reid, was born to this union

Shortly after the Sixth had taken Ricketts' battery, Colonel William Smith stumbled across the body of Fisher  Later, other Confederates, hurrying to the battlefield from Manassas Junction, passed a lone rider on horseback carrying Fisher's body, "cold and stiff in death." The colonel's remains were carried in front of the saddle in the direction of the junction Captain York of Company I, Sixth Regiment, sent a telegram to Governor Clark on the 22nd:

Col. Chas. F. Fisher was killed in battle today. Send notice to family. His body on the way.

The body reached Raleigh on the morning of July 2-1 on the mail train from Petersburg An escort of the Twelfth Regiment North Carolina Troops under Colonel James J. Pettigrew accompanied the remains. Fisher's death created a deep impression on the minds of the people of North Carolina. When the train carrying the body reached Raleigh, crowds filed into the car which contained Fisher's coffin, on top of which were "placed the sword and hat of the deceased patriot." People saw that there were two bullet holes in the hat, revealing the fact that the fatal bullet had passed entirely through Fisher's head. The train carrying the body was draped in mourning, while the flag on the State Capitol was lowered to halt-mast.The Raleigh Register exclaimed:

A braver man than Colonel Fisher never lived. He carried his life in his hand for the service of his country, and at the hour of need freely offered it upon its altar.

On the afternoon of July 24 Fisher's body arrived at Salisbury, his home town. Almost the entire population of the town was at the station to meet the remains which were escorted by "Capt. Cole's Company of Guilford men." Eight pallbearers bore the coffin through the streets to the Episcopal Church followed by a "very long procession of citizens. . . ." The funeral services were very solemn. The Salisbury Brass Band played for the occasion with 'measured music." It was evening when Fisher's body was lowered into the grave. According to the Salisbiny Carolina Watchman.

The exercises there were deeply solemn, though brief. It was indeed a touching moment. Manly bosoms heaved with emotion . . . soon the mound of yellow clay rose to mark the resting place of an intrepid patriot of the revolution of 1861. . . . He is gone. Peace to his ashes, and forever green be the laurels of his memory..

As the thunderous crashes of the military salute echoed in the evening stillness all Salisbury wept.

Burial: Old Lutheran Church Cemetery, Salisbury, Rowan County, North Carolina 

Author.  This information was taken from the Regimental History, of the Bloody Sixth North Carolina, State Troops.

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