Acton Memorial Library
South Acton- Corp Aaron Jones Fletcher, one of the very few surviving Acton soldiers of the Civil War, with a fighting record that began at Baltimore with the old Sixth Massachusetts Regiment Volunteers, April 19, 1861, is alone on outpost duty today.
He is the only living member of Acton’s first military company which responded to President Lincoln’s summons in April, 1861. It was the first fully-equipped company of volunteers to report to Lowell headquarters of the “Old Sixth” for transportation to Baltimore and Washington. There were 51 Actonians in E Company, led by Capt Daniel Tuttle.
Company E, formerly known as the Davis Guards, named in honor of Capt Isaac Davis, who lead an Acton company of armed farmers over the hills to Concord Bridge on April 19, 1775, performed meritorious service during the Civil War. It was transferred to the fighting 26th Massachusetts Regiment after performing military duty 115 days in Washington, following the bloody passage through Baltimore.
Acton volunteers were numerous, because the attack on the “Old Sixth” in Maryland thoroughly aroused young and old, but the list of surviving veterans of all ranks and commands is today pitifully few, only 22 Acton men responding to rollcall now at Isaac Davis Post, G.A.R. meetings in West Acton.
Corp Fletcher, the only survivor of old E Company, saw valiant fighting service in New Orleans with Banks, at Port Hudson, in the campaign around Petersburg and the great Confederate raid on the National capital at Shenandoah and with Sheridan at Winchester. He remembers vividly that famous ride. He participated in severe fighting engagements at Fisher’s Hill and bloody Cedar Creek and many other extended campaigns where Massachusetts men fought gloriously with other valiant Northern brothers.
He was born 83 years ago at Fletcher Corner, the son of Aaron Jones Fletcher and Lydia Lucinda Jones, all of sturdy Revolutionary stock and distinguished for the early upbuilding of Acton. Soon after the Civil War, upon returning to his home here, he took up stone masonry and later on obtained a position with the old Fitchburg Railroad as bridge inspector, a position he held for 40 years. For 30 years he had charge of a carpenters’ gang for the railroad and was retired not long ago on a pension.
Corp Fletcher’s wife died nearly two years ago, but four children survive. They are Harry Fletcher, Mrs. W.A. Charles, Charles Fletcher and Mrs. Jennie Adams. He has long been a member of the Anchor Club of the Boston & Maine railroad, the Veteran Railway, Employes’ (sic) Association and Charles A. Welch Lodge of Masons of Maynard. He is an estimable citizen, has a host of friends in military and civic life in town and county, and is spending peaceful and contented days in very good health.
His one real recreation is driving a smooth-running filvver (sic) to fill points of the compass every day in the year, and no driver can handle one of the familiar machines of popular type anymore expertly that Corp “Jonie” Fletcher.
He has many war relics at his home, just off Maple st. South Acton. There is an old musket he shouldered during the campaigns in the Southland, the faded uniform of blue and the little cap, bulky haversack and other military accoutrements. But just beyond the exhibit of martial weapons and mementos, carefully treasured in a private nook for valuable beyond price, is a worn and somewhat ancient appearing box of plain fashioning.
War relics? Yes. 50 loving letters written to him by his mother when he was at the battle front!
Letters faded and worn, some without envelopes, others inclosed (sic) neatly in yellowed allps (sic) of parchment or “homemade” envelopes, but all showing infinite proof of a mother’s love. He says they did more to comfort and strengthen him than anything else in the entire campaign.
That is why he treasures them today- why he reads once again, regularly and often.