Thursday, April 18, 2013

Antietam: Captain John Griswold's grave a work of art

Capt. John Griswold's gravestone in Griswold Cemetery in Old Lyme, Conn.

The gravestone of 11th Connecticut Capt. John Griswold, mortally wounded at Antietam, is unquestionably one of the most beautiful markers for a soldier in the state. Thomas Adams carved the memorial in his Hartford studio at the corner of Market and Temple streets in 1863. The Hartford Courant raved about Adams' creation, advising "lovers of art to examine it" at Adams' establishment before it was placed on Griswold's grave. "We have never seen a monument more strikingly beautiful; more earnestly expressive in the design contemplated," the newpaper reported on Aug. 5, 1863. "It is truly a finished production, giving evidence of the wonderful skill of the artist." I took these photos of Griswold's grave at Griswold Cemetery in Old Lyme, Conn., during a recent research trip. The captain is buried a few paces from the grave of his grandfather, Roger, who was governor of Connecticut from 1811-1812.

An inscription on the reverse of Griswold's gravestone notes that he "cheerfully gave his
young life, rich with health and strength, and adorned with all 
manly accomplishments, for his Country."
The inscription on the front of Griswold's gravestone notes that he was
"mortally wounded while gallantly leading his company" at Antietam.

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