Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Brothers: Connecticut's Civil War sacrifice (Cont.)

The marker for Willis and Henry Way in West Cemetery in Bristol, Conn. The brothers died
in prisoner-of-war camps in the South in 1864.
Decades of wear fail to obscure the words at the top of the Way's memorial stone:
"Gone, but not forgotten."
Willis Way's name appears at the top of the deteriorating
Bristol Civil War memorial in West Cemetery.
The brothers from Connecticut each died in prisoner-of-war camps in the Deep South in 1864, hundreds of miles from home. Although Henry and Willis Way have a marker in West Cemetery in Bristol, just down the hill from the deteriorating town Civil War memorial, it's unlikely anyone is buried under their white marble stone.

Privates in the hard-luck 16th Connecticut, the Ways were captured at Plymouth, N.C., on April 20, 1864, along with most of the rest of the regiment. Sent south to the notorious prisoner-of -war camp at Andersonville, Ga., Henry died of chronic diarrhea there on Aug. 18, 1864. Only 19 years old, he is buried in Grave No. 6138 at Andersonville National Cemetery, one of nearly 13,000 Union soldiers who died in the camp in southwestern Georgia. Willis also was sent to Andersonville and later transfered to a camp in Florence, S.C., where he died on Sept. 20, 1864. Only 23 years old, he, like many Union prisoners of war, is likely buried in the South, probably under a headstone marked "Unknown." (Tragedy struck the family again in 1880, when the Way's brother, Francis, died in a railroad accident. He was 28.)
In this photo I shot two weeks ago, the American flag
was in tatters by the deteriorating
Civil War memorial in West Cemetery. Not good.

It's a fine topic for a future post.

Sons of Alfred and Esther Way of Bristol, Henry and Willis each served in Company K of the 16th Connecticut under its remarkable captain, Newton Manross of Bristol.

Many who survived the hell of Andersonville, such as 16th Connecticut private Wallace Woodford of Avon, were broken men after their release. Emaciated and unable to eat, Woodford -- who told friends "words could not describe the horrors" of being a POW -- died in January in Avon on Jan. 10, 1865, one month after he was paroled.

I hope to uncover much more about the the Ways, one of 15 sets of brothers from Connecticut that I have found who died during the Civil War. On Sunday, I told the tale of the Hollister brothers from Chatham, who died of typhoid fever in Falmouth, Va., 30 minutes apart two days before Christmas in 1862. Two weeks ago, I visited a cemetery in Glastonbury, where brothers William (mortally wounded at Antietam) and John Porter (killed near Petersburg) are buried. And in late November, I shared brief stories of eight other sets of brothers from the state who perished during the war.

If you have photos of the Ways or know of other sets of brothers from Connecticut who died during the Civil War, drop me a line. I have a major project I am interested in pursuing on the topic.
According to the 1860 U.S. census, Alfred and Esther Way had four children
 living at home in Bristol, Conn.,  including Willis and Henry.

1 comment:

  1. Henry is Grave #6138 at Andersonville National Cemetery.

    Willis had previously served in Co. K, 10th CVI and was given a disability discharge on 26 September 1862.