Saturday, November 05, 2011

Faces of the Civil War: Jarvis E. Blinn

Jarvis E. Blinn, a captain in the 14th Connecticut, was killed at Antietam on Sept. 17, 1862.
This is a copy of an albumen. (Courtesy Rocky Hill Historical Society)
Pierced through the heart by a bullet, Jarvis E. Blinn knew it was time to meet his maker.

"I am a dead man!" the 26-year-old captain in the 14th Connecticut Infantry said moments after he was shot during fighting on the Samuel Mumma or William Roulette farms at Antietam on the morning of  Sept. 17, 1862. (1)
Jarvis Blinn is buried in Center Cemetery in Rocky Hill,
Conn., about nine miles from Hartford. Blinn was born in
Rocky Hill on July 28, 1836. He later moved to New Britain.

Barely a month after he enlisted in the Union army, Blinn -- a man who had an "expression of quiet but earnest resolve tinged with a dash of sadness in his air" (2) -- was one of  38 men killed or mortally wounded in the 14th Connecticut on the bloodiest day in American history. A mechanic from New Britain before the war,  Blinn left behind a wife, Alice, and two young children.

Well-liked by his peers, Blinn was unanimously selected captain of Company F on Aug. 15, 1862, one week after he enlisted. After his death, his fellow officers in the 14th Connecticut described him and captain Samuel F. Willard of Madison -- also killed at Antietam --as "two brave and devoted citizen soldiers." In fact, on Sept. 27, 1862, the Hartford Courant printed a resolution submitted by 37 officers in the 14th Connecticut that eloquently praised Blinn and Willard.

"Resolved," the statement written on Sept. 20 from a camp near Sharpsburg, Md., began. "That we, their fellow officers and comrades in battle, are doing but bare justice to the memory of these brave and devoted officers, in testifying, in this public manner, to their efficiency in every public and private duty; to their earnestness and zeal in the patriotic cause for which they drew their swords; to their watchful kindness and care over the soldiers of their respective companies; and to their fraternal courtesy ever manifested in their intercourse with ourselves."

Jarvis Blinn's cracked, well-worn gravestone includes his date and place of death.
A Hartford undertaker named W.W. Roberts brought Blinn and the bodies of seven other soldiers killed at Antietam back to Connecticut in the second week of  October. (3) His funeral was held at Center Church in New Britain on Oct. 14, 1862. Afterward, his body was escorted to Rocky Hill, about 10 miles away, in "one of the largest processions ever seen" in New Britain. (4) After a short service at the Congregational Church in Rocky Hill, where he was born, Jarvis E. Blinn was buried in Center Cemetery, about a quarter-mile from the church.

Today, he lies there under a cracked, well-worn tombstone, the date and place of  his death still easily seen on the marker.

After a funeral service in New Britain, where Blinn resided, another service was held for him at the
Congregational Church in Rocky Hill, where he was born. Afterward, he was buried in
Center Cemetery, about a quarter-mile away. The church was built in 1808.
(1) Memorial of Deceased Officers in the Fourteenth Regiment Connecticut Volunteers, Henry P. Goddard, 1872, Page 7
(2) History of the Fourteenth Regiment, Connecticut Volunteer Infantry, Charles Davis Page, Page 51, 1906
(3) Hartford Courant, Oct. 11, 1862, Page 2
(4) Memorial of Deceased Officers in the Fourteenth Regiment Connecticut Volunteers, Henry P. Goddard,  1872, Page 7

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