Cornelius B. Gold was born in 1839 to Catharine B. and Job Swift Gold in the small town of Washington in western Connecticut. He attended the Gunnery, an academy operated by the staunch abolitionist Frederick Gunn. Like so many of his classmates at the Gunnery, he volunteered for the Union cause in 1861, but was turned away due to his weak condition.
In December 1861, Gold sailed for Hong Kong aboard the ship Oriental with a cargo of coal. In Hong Kong, he found passage on the Jabez Snow to Liverpool with a load of hemp and sugar. From Liverpool he made his way to Cork and then sailed home on the City of Manchester, arriving in March, 1863. Gold chronicled his experiences throughout each leg of his journey in a 62 page journal.
Upon his return to the United States, Gold made a second - this time, successful - attempt at joining the Union Army, and in August 1863, mustered in Company B of the 6th Connecticut Volunteer Infantry.
Gold joined his regiment in Hilton Head, S.C. in October 1863 and was soon assigned to be secretary in court martial proceedings. In the spring of 1864, the Connecticut 6th Infantry moved to Bermuda Hundred, Va. and then participated in the Petersburg Campaign. During this time he spent some time in Balfour Hospital in Portsmouth, Va. and was considered for a medical discharge due to his frailty, but was ultimately returned to his company.
In November, 1864 Gold received a transfer to the U.S. Navy where he served as a paymaster. He signed letters through the spring and summer of 1865 from the USS Vincennes, Stockdale, Circassian, and Anderson in Mobile Bay, and from Mobile, Ala. and Pensacola, Fla. By the beginning of 1866 he was back home in Connecticut.
After the war, Gold married Margaret Shedd and served as treasurer for the executive comittee of the New York State Prison Association. Gold died in Litchfield, Conn. in 1921.