Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Antietam: A visit to Sgt. Rufus Chamberlain's grave

Rufus Chamberlain Sr. (also spelled Chamberlin) was mortally wounded at the
  Battle of Antietam. He is buried at Hillside Cemetery in Stafford, Conn.
Rufus Chamberlain was a 43-year-old sergeant in the 16th Connecticut, serving in the same regiment and company with his son, Rufus Jr., a private. Like so many in the 16th Connecticut, Rufus Sr. was wounded in John Otto's 40-acre cornfield at Antietam, shot in the right knee. He eventually was taken to Smoketown Hospital, a large tent hospital, where patients who could not be moved elsewhere because of their condition were treated. Chamberlain's leg was amputated in mid-October 1862, and he died at Smoketown on Oct. 21. Rufus Jr. tended to his father for part of the time at the hospital and likely watched him die there, another Civil War tragedy. Rufus Sr. was buried at Smoketown and later distinterred and returned to Stafford, Conn., for re-burial. I have written about him, but Saturday afternoon's trip to Hillside Cemetery in Stafford, Conn., was my first visit to Chamberlain's grave. His final resting place is next to his wife, Amanda, who died on Oct. 9, 1876. The aptly named cemetery -- it slopes fairly steeply -- is next to the Stafford landfill. An American flag adorns Chamberlain's grave, a nice tribute to a fallen hero.

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