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The Fifth Regiment was formed in Concord and commissioned by Gov. Berry on August 27, 1861. The men were a representation of every member of profession; farmers, mechanics, teachers, policemen and shopkeepers who came from the length and breadth of the state, (Pittsburg) to Nashua and Keene to Portsmouth. It's commander, Col. Edward E. Cross was adventurous and dynamic. Born in Lancaster, April 22, 1832, he became an apprentice at age 15 in the printing shop of the Coos County Democrat eventually becoming a reporter for the Atlas newspaper in Cincinnati and later local editor for the Daily Times.

In 1858, as a business venture, he brought the first printing press into the territory of Arizona and began publishing it's first newspaper,
The Weekly Arizonian in Tubec. There are several accounts of duels between Cross and individuals who took issue with Cross's editorial opinions. Apparently, no one was seriously injured in these altercations. Edward Cross eventually left the newspaper business and accepted a commission in the Mexican Army. 

When news of Fort. Sumter reached him, he resigned and returned to New Hampshire where Gov. Berry appointed him Col. of the Fifth New Hampshire.  On October 28, 1861, the regiment was sworn into the service of the United States and departed for Washington on the 29th with 1,200 members. One of Cross's first acts was to establish a school for his officers and NCO's in which they were taught the principals of drill and military tactics. 
 
Four hours a day of close order drill had helped to make soldiers out of civilians and an extra three nights a week for his officers and sergeants on practical and theoretical problems in military tactics and organization had prepared 
them for effective leadership. Cross set the tone as a strict disciplinarian from the start and
expected the best from his men. Though sometimes harsh and impetuous, the men respected him and felt that he treated them fairly. One incident that illustrates Cross's philosophy is that of a soldier who went up to Cross in battle in the greatest distress said, "Oh Colonel, I am wounded." The Colonel looked down on him and gravely but quickly said "It is the fortune of war my young man, it is the fortune of war."   

The first encounter with the enemy was on March 13, 1862 at Rappahannock Station. Men of the Fifth got no more opportunity then to fire a few parting shots at the withdrawing Rebel forces and suffered no casualties. This would be the first and only time in it's history that the regiment sustained no losses in combat and it's ironic that they would become known as the "Bloodless Fifth". 

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Colonel Edward E. Cross


This was highly unusual for a volunteer regiment and credits Cross with the foresight that would reap high benefits. The unit as a whole was subjected to hours of drill all closely supervised by Cross.