Stop 4: Thomas Hewitt and Morris Ritter
Graves #5076 and 5079
Not all battle casualties come from direct fighting or charging the enemy line.
25 year old Thomas Hewitt was killed on May 10, 1864 at Laurel Hill while serving coffee. He had been acting as cook for MajorvStarks, and after Starks’ death he continued those duties for other officers. After making coffee in the shelter of the woods behind the lines he brought it out to the entrenchments and while pouring it for the officers he stood erect which put his head above the breastworks. He was shot in the head and fell at the feet of the surprised officers; he quickly died.
Nineteen year old Morris Ritter perished on May 8, 1864 at Spotsylvania. His regiment, the 140th NY, attacked at Laurel Hill led by their Colonel, George Ryan, who rode ahead and advanced to within three rods of the Confederate line before taking a bullet in the chest. The attack broke so quickly that most of the dead and wounded were left on the field, including the still-breathing Ryan. Ritter was one of five men who volunteered to retrieve their colonel. All five where shot down before they completed their mission; Ritter made it to Ryan but was killed while attempting to carry him back. Ryan also did not survive.
Hewitt is buried in grave #5076; Ritter is buried in grave #5079.