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Joseph S. Cassen (1843 - 1933)

Joseph S. Cassen born in Providence in or around 1843, Joseph S. Cassen entered into military service on August 13, 1861 when he joined Battery B of the RI 1st Light Artillery. Almost two years later, Cassen fought with the Battery at Gettysburg, but was taken prisoner by Confederate soldiers on July 2, 1863. Sometime after that, Cassen was paroled on the field of battle and rejoined his Battery. But on October 14, 1863, at Bristoe Station, Virginia, Cassen was again taken prisoner, "having returned only a short time previously to the battery from parole camp." This time, the unlucky Cassen was sent south, eventually to the infamous Andersonville Prison in Georgia where nearly 13,000 Union soldiers died. Cassen survived this ordeal and was liberated in a prisoner exchange on November 7, 1864. He served two months more before his discharge on January 8, 1865. After the war he returned to Providence and operated out of 56 Randall Street and 92 Charles Street as a silversmith and jeweler. The last mention of Cassen in the historical record is from the 1930 federal census, in which he is listed as an 87 year old boarder with no occupation. He died three years later and was buried in the free section of the North Burial Ground. Read More...

Erik Christiansen, PhD, Rhode Island College