Monday, May 20, 2013

Antietam: About my Connecticut death list

8th Connecticut Sgt. George Marsh of Hartford was killed, as the  Hartford Courant
clipping from 1862 says below his image in this photo album, by the concussion of a 
 cannon ball  during the Battle of Antietam. (Connecticut State Library collection)
Delving deeper into the story of Antietam the past several months, I became curious how many soldiers from Connecticut actually died during the battle. Complete numbers are tricky to come by. About 150 men from the state were killed during the battle, including the 8th Connecticut's George Marsh of Hartford, pictured above. Other soldiers, such as 16th Connecticut Capt. Frederick Barber and Pvt. James Brooks, died days and even weeks later from wounds they suffered during the fighting.

Over the weekend, I decided the best way to get a grip on the total number of soldiers who died as a result of the fighting was to create an Excel spreadsheet  (It also is permanently linked in the All Antietam Posts box down the right side of the blog.) Most of the names come from the Catalogue of Connecticut Volunteer Organizations, an excellent resource. Published in 1869, the large volume includes among the regimental lists the names of soldiers who were killed or died as a result of their wounds at Antietam. I checked those lists carefully against other sources, including my own research, because some of the names in the Catalogue don't explicitly indicate a soldier was killed at Sharpsburg. At least one soldier who was killed at Antietam, 8th Connecticut lieutenant Marvin Wait, is not listed at all.

As I dig deeper, I expect to add more names to the spreadsheet, which I will periodically update and post on the blog. So far, I have a staggering 213 names. It brings even more meaning to this quote that appeared in the Hartford Courant on Oct. 13, 1862, about a month after the battle: "It is seldom that we are called upon to bury so many braves in so short a space of time."

The spreadsheet categories include soldier's name, rank, regiment, company, residence, date of death, reason for death, place of death and burial site. The spreadsheet is sortable, so you may group by regiment, place of residence, etc. I also have linked out of the spreadsheet to stories or photos on my blog or elsewhere. I'll also add to those links periodically. I hope to make this the most comprehensive Antietam Connecticut death list available. If you see something amiss, send me an e-mail. Brian Downey over at the excellent Behind Antietam On The Web site  aims to put together a complete death list for the entire Maryland Campaign, which makes this effort look pretty puny.

Listing in Catalogue of Connecticut Volunteers includes William W. Porter,  a private in the
16th Connecticut, who died from wounds suffered at Antietam.
(CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE.)

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