In the pending battles Delaware’s brave sons are and have been in the forefront of danger, and where the conflict rages most fearfully, there may be found the wounded, the dying and the dead heroes of our loyal and patriotic little Commonwealth.
These lines ran in the Delaware State Journal and Statesman one day after the events at the “Bloody Angle” during the Battle of Spotsylvania, hours after the fighting there had ended.
152,000 soldiers fought in the Battle of Spotsylvania between May 8 and 21, and approximately 30,000 of them were killed, wounded, or captured. Unfortunately, Cyrus Forwood was one of the 18,000 Union casualties. Cyrus’ military discharge papers noted that he died on May 15 from wounds sustained on May 12, 1864, just weeks before the end of his three-year term of service.
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The June 3, 1864, edition of the Delaware State Journal and Statesman included the following notice of his death, which provides more details into the nature of his fatal wound, as well as a note about his character:Cyrus H. Forwood, son of Sam’l Forwood, of Brandywine Hundred, who belonged to the Second Delaware Regiment, was shot through the bowels in the battle of the Wilderness, and died in two or three days afterwards in the hospital tent, near the battle ground. –He had served two years and eleven months, was a good soldier, and a most estimable young man.
When he died, Cyrus was only 28 years old (Census records show he was born in 1836), he left behind two sisters, Emily and Caroline, and his parents, all of whom were still living in Delaware.
On June 28, 1864, the Delaware State Journal and Statesman printed a story about the return of the Second Delaware to Wilmington to be mustered out. A dinner was served for the remaining 40 men from Companies A and B, and this line was a part of Colonel Wilmer’s brief speech at that meal:
“To the absent and the lamented; the fallen heroes of the Second Delaware, cherished be their memory in the hearts of a grateful people.”
We at the Delaware Public Archives echo Colonel Wilmer’s remarks as we remember the life of Cyrus H. Forwood today.
Sources: Delaware State Journal and Statesman, Delaware Compiled Service Records, 1850 and 1860 U.S. Federal Census forms