Was born in Pitcher, Chenango county, N. Y., where he resided until his enlistment in the fall of 1861. His life of a little more than twenty-seven years, was one of very even course, witnessing few, if any, incidents which might be considered in any sense startling or uncommon. It was his chief ambition to make the wisest use of a good common sense and to lead a life of order, industry, and virtue.
He was a mild, obedient child; a sober, thoughtful boy; a modest, unassuming youth, nobly shunning all those trifling and foolish habits which so often sap the foundation of an otherwise manly character. Nor did he confine himself to mere morality. About two years before his seemingly untimely death, he made a public profession of religion, and ever after was a steadfast and consistent christian.
When the war commenced , he was pursuing his studies at the Cortland Academy. But as he said, he could not confine his mind to study, while his country so much needed his services. He believed that God would approve his motives, and accept the act as service to Him. With this spirit he entered the service.
During the latter part of the summer of 1862, he was disabled by disease, and confined to a hospital. Captain Fox having fallen at Gainesville, the Lieutenant, scarcely recovered from his sickness, returned to the command of his Company, (B). His first experiences under fire were at the battle of South Mountain, Md., with reference to which, Colonel Wainwright says:
Although for the first time under fire, he faced the long continued and destructive musketry of the enemy as if he had been in a dozen battles. And I well remember, (for I marked It) the coolness with which he bound a handkerchief around my arm to stop the bleeding, thereby saving me from what might have been excessive loss of blood.
In the subsequent part of this battle, Lieutenant Crandall took command of the Regiment. At Antietam he was wounded in the hand, so as to unfit him for service, and soon after he was permitted to visit home on a furlough. But before he was so far recovered as to be called to his post, from a sense of duty to his men, now without a company officer, he returned to his command, reaching the Regiment just before it marched to Fredericksburg.
Before it had been determined to publish these biographies, the facts relating to the death of this hero were given at pages 189 and 190 of the Regimental History:
Doubleday's Division formed the extreme left of the whole army, and our Brigade, commanded by Colonel Cutler, formed the right of the Division.
The battle raged from about nine A. M., until eight P. M., without cessation,-our men exposed to a most destructive fire for eleven hours, without the power to inflict any adequate chastisement upon the enemy. The rebels were posted upon a range of hills forming nearly a semi-circle, and in the deadly focus was the Division of General Doubleday. The shot and shell came from the front and each flank, and some, at times, from near the rear, so favorable was the ground to the rebels.
Shortly after marching into line, the enemy were discovered on the left of the Division, in a ravine that ran down to the river, which, being skirted by dense wood, was peculiarly well protected. Doubleday's Division was ordered to drive them from this strongly intrenched position. As the Division faced to the left, it was subjected to a galling flank fire from the rebel batteries on the hill.
It was at this time that Lieutenant Crandall, of Company B, was killed by what, in military language, is called a 24coch-et shot. The ground was frozen, and the enemy fired at such an angle that the balls came bounding along over the plain, one of which struck Lieutenant Crandall.
Previous to crossing the river, an order had been received to detail one officer from the Seventy-sixth, to remain on the north side of the river, and care for the wounded at the hospital. Lieutenant Crandall was detailed for this duty. On hearing of the order, and that his Company was going forward, he went to Colonel Wainwright, and requested, if his men were to go into battle, that he might accompany them.
His gallant conduct at South Mountain, where he was wounded, did not make this request necessary to establish his character as a soldier. Every one in the Regiment knew him as one of the truest men that ever drew a sword in defense of the right. Quiet, gentlemanly, educated, conscientious, he possessed just those qualities which could not fail to endear him to every one with whom he became acquainted.
He had left a lucrative business, a beautiful young wife to whom he was just married, and all that made life desirable, to march at the call of his country to her defense. When he made his request, the Colonel at first hesitated, but observing the Lieutenant's anxiety, be finally yielded, and substituted another to remain. With those frowning cannon in front, it was not difficult to find one who would consent to act as a substitute.
The line of battle had just been formed, when the bounding ball struck the brave Lieutenant, carrying away a large portion of his head. He was carried to the rear by Corporal C. V. Fuller, who stood near him at the time, and there, on the southern bank of the Rappahannock, beneath a wide-spreading oak, rests the broken vase that contained one of America's truest and best.
A species of courage is sometimes found in bad men; but here was an instance of that genuine moral courage that dared anything and everything, because by so doing he was aiding the right. To Lieutenant Crandall, conscience and courage were synonymous. Peace to the memory of Chauncey D. Crandall.
- From the Regimental History of the 76th New York, A. P. Smith, 1867
James Coye mentions the death of Lt. Crandall in one of his letters:
"i stood about 8 feet from Lieut. Crandal when he fel. Charley Fullers face & shoulders was covered with Crandals braines but he never new what hurt him."
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