Friday, May 11, 2012

Antietam: Connecticut cemetery photo journal

Buttercups in front of the grave of William Sweet, a private in the 8th Connecticut, who
was killed at Antietam on Sept. 17, 1862.
Per the John Banks' Civil War blog tradition, I placed a penny on Sweet's grave to honor him.
Sweet was not quite 21 years old when he was killed at Antietam.

One of the more telling quotes on the tragic toll the Battle of Antietam took on Connecticut is found in the Hartford Courant on Oct. 13, 1862:
8th Connecticut soldiers Charles Lewis, Dwight Casey
 (actually Carey) and William Sweet were listed as killed 
at Antietam in the  Hartford Courant on Sept. 26, 1862.

"It is seldom that we are called upon to bury so many braves in so short a space of time."

A flood of bodies returned to the state in the days and weeks after Sept. 17, 1862, the bloodiest day in American history. Even in rural Canterbury, where four funerals were held in late September and early October, the battle hit home hard. I unexpectedly discovered two graves of Connecticut men killed at Antietam during a walk through Canterbury's Carey Cemetery this beautiful spring afternoon.

William Sweet, a 20-year-old private from Canterbury, served in Company F of the 8th Connecticut. Ten paces away from Sweet's grave, Charles Morse, a 31-year-old private in the 11th Connecticut from nearby Putnam, lies buried. They are joined in the old burying ground by two other soldiers in Company F of the 8th Connecticut who were killed at Antietam: Charles Lewis, a sergeant, and Dwight Carey, a 16-year-old private.

These words appear near the bottom of Morse's weathered gravestone:

On thy country's field of battle
thou wast numbered with the slain
But we trust thy home is Heaven
That our loss to thee is gain.

Charles Morse, from Putnam, Conn., was only 31 years old when he died.
Bottom of Morse's grave: "But we trust thy home is Heaven."
A weathered Grand Army of the Republic marker by the grave of Charles Morse,
 a private in the 11th Connecticut, who was killed at Antietam.

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