Col. Samuel Ross

“Colonel”, “Col. Ross”
Photograph of Colonel Samuel Ross
Col. Samuel Ross – Source

The first, and only, full Colonel that the 20th Connecticut ever had was originally a captain from the 14th US Infantry and had served in the Mexican war. As a “regular”, Ross was very knowledgeable in military tactics, and was a relatively strict disciplinarian, being quite accustomed to the tricks of the soldiers.

It was this trait that made him quite unpopular with most of the soldiers in the 20th (including Cecil). They were volunteers, fresh from the ranks of civilian life, and the military bearing that Colonel Ross required rubbed them the wrong way. However, it was also this characteristic that formed the 20th Connecticut into an effective military force.

Ross commanded the 20th Connecticut until he was promoted to command of the brigade, and the regiment was placed under the change of Lieut. Col. William Wooster. He retired from the regular army in 1875 and died of drowning 5 years later.


In these letters:

  1. Date Author Description
  2. 1863-03-25
    • Cecil Burleigh
    • Things start to get lively in Virginia when pickets are attacked, and Capt. Dickerman is not feeling so well. Joe cracks a joke against Tucker, and Lieut. Dickerman is trying to get a discharge.
  3. 1863-01-27
    • Cecil Burleigh
    • Cecil responds to two of Caroline’s letters and speaks of justification for the war and slavery.
  4. 1863-01-15
    • Caroline Burleigh
    • In this long letter, Caroline complains about the state of the war, the moral affect of the war upon the men who are fighting it, how the armies don’t respect the Sabbath, and her daily schedule.
  5. 1863-01-04
    • Cecil Burleigh
    • In this brief letter, Cecil speaks of a division review with 20,000 men, a burlesque dress parade of a neighboring regiment, and the reading of the Emancipation Proclamation.
  6. 1862-12-27
    • Cecil Burleigh
    • In this brief letter, Cecil speaks of preparing for another march and visiting Fairfax Courthouse.
  7. 1862-12-24
    • Cecil Burleigh
    • In this letter, written on Christmas Eve, Cecil is quite depressed with the current state of the war. He speaks about the ever present nature of sickness, how difficult the last march was, how they are suffering from a lack of food, building new cabins for winter, and getting arrested for leaving camp without a pass.
  8. 1862-11-30
    • Cecil Burleigh
    • In this letter, Cecil scolds Caroline for worrying too much and working too hard, reminding her to place her faith in Christ. He speaks of his dissatisfaction with the chaplain, how he spent Thanksgiving, and worries about their daughter’s propensity for stammering.
  9. 1862-11-23
    • Cecil Burleigh
    • In this letter, Cecil writes to Caroline about unsuccessfully chasing down CS cavalry in poor weather, another box he received, the health and camp of the regiment, the state of his pay, and the coming Thanksgiving.
  10. 1862-11-11
    • Cecil Burleigh
    • A letter from Cecil, telling Caroline about their efforts to build huts for living in, Burnside being placed in charge of the army, and the ineptitude of their own Colonel Ross.
  11. 1862-11-08
    • Cecil Burleigh
    • Cecil writes a two-part letter, the first part written on the 8th which discusses the continued movements of the 20th Connecticut, the chance of getting enough leave to return home for a visit, and the locals in the area. The second part, written on the 10th, quickly notifies Caroline of the continued movements of the regiment.
  12. 1862-11-05
    • Cecil Burleigh
    • Cecil writes a quick to Caroline to let her know that his unit has moved and that he is still healthy.
  13. 1862-10-28
    • Cecil Burleigh
    • In this lengthy letter from Cecil, he tells of his Regiment’s waiting for marching commands and comments rather charmingly on his Aunt Laura’s view of wine (“oh my how nice she is”). He then describes the poor weather, prominent sicknesses, and uninspiring army commotion they’d been pleasured with.
  14. 1862-10-26
    • Cecil Burleigh
    • Cecil writes to Caroline about the poor weather, their lack of protections from the elements, waiting for marching orders, and rumors started at home by Mark.
  15. 1862-10-22
    • Cecil Burleigh
    • Cecil writes about receiving a box of edibles from home, McClellan’s inability to get into a fight, and building log huts. In a lengthy P.S. he addresses the rations and the weather.
  16. 1862-10-21
    • Cecil Burleigh
    • Cecil complains about Col. Ross requiring the sick men to attend the inspection, thanks Caroline for sending a box, speaks about Harpers Ferry and the battle there, and writes of other business.
  17. 1862-10-05
    • Cecil Burleigh
    • Cecil writes about his camping situation, the lack of good food, and his dislike for playing cards.
  18. 1862-09-28
    • Cecil Burleigh
    • Cecil writes about being frustrated by the tactical gridlock, how ugly the Potomac River and Virginia state are, and how he wishes that Caroline would write more often.
  19. 1862-09-25
    • Cecil Burleigh
    • Cecil writes about shipping his pistol and several other items home, being sick with a cold, and then gives Caroline directions for sending a care box.