As mentioned in my first post below, Wellington was killed at Antietam on Sept. 17, 1862. He was a private in the 15th Massachusetts, one of the most active Union regiments during the Civil War. Before Antietam, the 15th fought in the Peninsula Campaign and in a little battle near Leesburg, Va., in October 1861. The Battle of Ball's Bluff was a black mark for the North during the war. There weren't many casualties on either side, but the Southern victory shocked the North. One of President Lincoln's closest friends, Col. Edward Baker (right), was killed at Ball's Bluff, and many Union soldiers drowned, their bodies floating down the river to Washington. The battle was fought on bluffs on the Virginia side of the Potomac River. Justus and many members of the 15th were forced to swim the river to the Maryland side under fire from Confederate forces.
Justus' parents filed for his pension after the war. I found the pension files in the National Archives. According to his sister Nancy's affidavit, Justus "had some money ready to send before the battle but lost everything (as he) swam the Potomac to save his life" during the Battle of Ball's Bluff. Here's where Justus swam across the river.
Justus, a shoemaker from Brookfield, Mass., was 24 years, 8 months and 4 days old when he was killed.