Matross was a soldier of artillery, who ranked next below a gunner.
The duty of a matross was to assist the gunners in loading, firing and sponging the guns. They were provided with firelocks, and marched with the store-wagons, acting as guards. In the American army a matross ranked as a private of artillery.
The word is probably derived from French matelot, or from German Matrose, a sailor.
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