Santa Cruz County History - People



Old Soldiers: Santa Cruz County Civil War Veterans
by Robert L. Nelson

OSBORN, BENJAMIN A (1843-1925)

Records of Members of the Grand Army of the Republic, William H. Ward

Osborn Headstone
Osborn Headstone
Pioneer Cemetery, Watsonville

BENJAMIN A OSBORN was born in Lincoln ME, May 10, 1843; he was by trade a saddler. Enlisted in the 1st Maine Cavalry in September, 1861, as a private; was attached to the cavalry corps, Army of the Potomac; was promoted to sergeant, 2d and 1st lieutenant in 1864; took part in the battles of Middleburg, Winchester, Fredericksburg, Brandy Station, Rappahannock Station, Aldie, Upperville, Gettysburg, Shepardstown, Sulphur Springs, Mine Run, defenses of Richmond, Cold Harbor, Old Church, Todd's Tavern, Deep Bottom, St Mary's Church, Hatcher's Run, Hawes' Shop, Dinwiddie Court house, and a number of smaller engagements and skirmishes; was honorably discharged at the close of the war at Petersburg, VA. Comrade Osborn is a member of RL McCook Post, GAR at Watsonville Cal, where he resides and is commander of his post.

Santa Cruz Sentinel (October 24, 1894)

Capt. B.A. Osborn and M. Harrington were at Petersburg, Virginia, in the memorable days of 1864. Capt. Osborn was with the 1st Maine Cavalry and Mr. Harrington with the 15th Virginia Infantry. The gentlemen met on Pacific Ave., Tuesday for the first time and exchanged war reminiscences. Capt. Osborn’s company which left Augusta, Maine, in 1861, was composed of ninety-nine men. When it returned in 1865 only three of the original members answered at roll call, and the Republican candidate for the Assembly was one of them. His regiment went into the war with 1,200 men and returned with less than 300. Recruiting was often going on and when the war closed 4,000 men had been enrolled. Capt. Osborn had many miraculous escapes, but luckily was not wounded, although three horses were shot from under him. The 1st Maine Regiment was in thirty-six battles. History tells that it never met with a repulse. General Sherman complimented it by saying that the "1st Maine Cavalry can not be equaled by any regiment on the American continent."

On the day that Lee was surrendered, Capt. Osborn, who was the ranking officer, was 1st Lieutenant and in command of a battalion. His regiment was in more battles and more times under fire than any other. It fired the first shot on the morning of Lee's surrender.

Santa Cruz Sentinel (April 5, 1925)

B.A. Osborn Passes Away

B.A. Osborn died yesterday at Watsonville. He was a brother of the late Mrs. A.M. Peterson and an uncle of F.A. Peterson. In reference to his passing, the Pajaronian says:

This morning Alderman B.A. Osborn, after along illness passes away at the family residence. He was born in Lincoln, Maine, May 10, 1843. At the beginning of the Civil war he enlisted in the First Maine cavalry and served throughout the great conflict, taking active part in 43 major battles.

Mr. Osborn came to California in 1866, settling almost immediately in Watsonville. He was married in 1869 to Miss Annie Knowlton of Watsonville, and to them were born four children; a son, Benjamin H., and three daughters, Lucy, Eva, and Edna Osborn. Mr. Osborn was a harness maker by trade.

He resided in this city ever since his marriage, with the exception of four years.

Mr. Osborn was active in the G.A.R.; and was commander of the local post for many years. He was also connected with the Odd Fellows' lodge and took great interest in this order, being at the time of his death the oldest man in membership of the local lodge.


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