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Lost gravesite of Civil War hero found

By Amanda Cedrone
Globe Correspondent / October 21, 2011

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While a number of people have searched for years for the grave of Raynham Civil War soldier Frederick C. Anderson, a Pawtucket, R.I., man found it in just six months.

Anderson was a farmer who received the Medal of Honor after heroically capturing an enemy battle flag and its bearer in 1864. For years, history buffs were unable to locate his grave, which was believed to be in Somerville.

But last week it was uncovered in Dighton, thanks to Charles Mogayzel, an 80-year-old Korean War veteran.

“I found the right paperwork,’’ he said. “I found a paper that said he was buried in Dighton.’’

Mogayzel enjoys researching Medal of Honor recipients. He came across Anderson’s name and the mystery surrounding the location of his grave and became intrigued. Mogayzel made several trips to libraries and cemeteries and researched newspaper archives looking for records on Anderson.

When he found the documents pegging Anderson’s gravesite in Dighton, he contacted Robert Woods, director of veterans’ services for the towns of Dighton and Berkley. With help from cemetery and church officials, the gravesite was found in the Dighton Community Church cemetery on Elm Street.

“We don’t really know how he ended up there,’’ Woods said. “I don’t think anyone at the time realized he was a Medal of Honor recipient probably, or they would have given him a little bit better of a headstone than they gave him.’’

Mogayzel visited the grave on Wednesday. He planted a flag with a marker indicating Anderson’s service as part of the 18th Massachusetts Infantry. He was joined by Woods; Timothy Rhines, a Dighton resident who assisted in the search; and Jack Costa, a Dighton Community Church trustee.

Anderson was an orphan who was adopted by a family in Raynham. Growing up, he worked on the family’s farm. He entered the war at 19 and served two tours of duty, Woods said. When he returned home, he married and had three children. He died at age 40 while working in Pawtucket.

“Much of his life remains a mystery,’’ Woods said.

The group is currently seeking a Medal of Honor marker for Anderson’s grave.

“It’s very satisfying,’’ Mogayzel said. “To me, it’s like closure.’’

Amanda Cedrone can be reached at acedrone@globe.com.