Wealthier citizens of Amherst had the option to pay for a substitute to fight in their place. Without this possibility, the death list might have looked quite different. Following one of the wartime drafts, the Hampshire-Franklin Express reported “Horatio Joy, drafted from Amherst, presented himself a substitute, an unbleached contraband, from the Sunny South, who was speedily transformed into a United States soldier, and now wears a “suit of blue” and thinks himself “just as good as white folks.”” Even Emily Dickinson’s brother Austin furnished a substitute, and some speculate that his choice not to fight was one of the reasons why Frazar Stearns’s death upset him so much. Paying to avoid military service became a big issue. Some citizens sought clarification for the rules: would one payment exempt a man from a particular draft or for all future drafts as well? This practice meant that ultimately more lower class men are among the buried dead.
The West Cemetery is the resting place of many Soldiers from Amherst that fought in the Civil War. Civil War veteran graves are marked with a U.S. flag with “G.A.R” star attached to it. According James A. Smith’s compilation of graves in the West Cemetery, the following Civil War veterans are buried here:
John W. Howland -‐ 1st Mass Cav.
John D. Thompson -‐ 1st Mass Cav.
colored Unkown Soldiers -‐ 5th Mass Cav. One is believed to be Jason Champlin -‐ a substitute for Hiram Smith of Amherst. Killed in action on Feb. 20, 1864 at Olvstee Florida.
Jarris Jackson -‐ Bravo Company, 5th Mass Cav.
Sanford Jackson -‐ Alpha Company, 5th Mass Cav. -‐ Died of wounds received at Fort Wagner, South Carolina
Henry Thompson -‐ 5th Mass Cav.
Charles H. Thompson -‐ Echo Company, 5th Mass Cav.
Edward Stanley -‐ Charlie Company, 10th Mass Vol. Inf. -‐ died at Harrisons Landing
“Eben” E.M. Johnson -‐ Charlie Company, 10th Mass Vol. Inf.
Lorenzo P. Draper -‐ Charlie Company, 10th Mass Vol. Inf.
George L. Train -‐ Delta Company, 11 Mass Vol. Inf.
George O. Fitch -‐ Hotel Company -‐15th Mass Vol. Inf. -‐ died from wounds received at the battle of White Oak Swamp -‐ Oct. 7 1862.
Edwin J. Fisk -‐ Bravo Company -‐ 16th Mass Vol. Inf.
Lafayette C. Stebbins -‐ Kilo Company -‐ 26th Mass Vol. Inf.
Lyman W. Skinner -‐ 27th Mass Vol. Inf. Ezra Kelsey -‐ 27th Mass Vol. Inf -‐ died by ill-‐treatment while a prisoner at Andersonville GA.
Marshall A. Cowles -‐ 27th Mass Vol. Inf.
Timothy W. Sloan -‐ Delta Company, 27th Mass Vol. Inf.
Ashley W. Barrows -‐ Delta Company, 27th Mass Vol. Inf.
Spencer Church Jr -‐ Hotel Company, 32nd Mass Vol. Inf. -‐ Wounded in the battle of the Wilderness, returned, and died from disease contracted in the Army -‐ Oct., 27, 1865 -‐ “His toils are past, his work is done, and he is fully blest, he sought his light, the victory won, and entered into rest.”
Willard S. Cook -‐ Foxtrot Company, 37th Mass Vol. Inf.
Benjamin R. Franklin -‐ Foxtrot Company, 37th Mass Vol. Inf.
Charles C. Smith -‐ 52nd Mass Vol. Inf.
Samuel H Crandell -‐ Foxtrot Company, 52nd Mass Vol. Inf. “Sleep loved one, thy sufferings are o’er”
Charles A. Finnemore -‐ Charlie Company, 54th Mass Vol. Inf.
Samuel White -‐ 5th Wisc. Vols -‐ Died at Fredericksburg, VA of wounds received in battle May 20, 1864
Also buried here is William S. Clark.