|Mortally wounded on the William Roulette farm, |
14th Connecticut Pvt. George Corbit is buried
in Center Cemetery in Coventry. The Talcott brothers,
also mortally wounded on Roulette's farm, are buried nearby.
Sunlight obscures detail to the far right, but the stone Observation Tower, probably the best place to take in the battlefield, juts out. In the middle is the farm lane leading to William Roulette's barn (in the far distance), which was used as a field hospital during and after the battle, and farm house. (The house, which retains its 1862 appearance, is not shown in this image, but you can check out my interactive panorama of it here.
All 16 of my interactive Antietam panoramas are here.) The 14th Connecticut monument peeks over the ridge to the left (white monument), marking the regiment's farthest advance during the battle. In its first battle of the Civil War, the 14th Connecticut swept across Roulette's property, capturing Rebels in the farmer's house and spring house, where Lt. George Crosby later had surgery for a bullet wound. Roulette's property was ruined, of course, but he lost something much more important: His 20-month-old daughter, Carrie May, died shortly after the battle of typhoid fever, perhaps caused by an influx of thousands of soldiers in the area.
As I walk the fields on the Roulette farm, I often think of the three men from Coventry, Conn., who were mortally wounded near the farm lane. Privates George Corbit and Samuel Talcott were buried Oct. 23 in Center Cemetery in the small town about 20 miles east of Hartford. "Never before have the citizens of Coventry been called upon to perform a more painful duty,” the Hartford Courant reported four days after their funeral. On Nov. 12, a funeral was held in the same cemetery for Samuel’s brother, Henry, who died from his Antietam wounds in his father’s house in Coventry. "Yet hardly had the sun set behind the western horizon, or the dread echoes of the rumbling hearse died away in the distance," the Courant reported after Henry's funeral, "than they were again called upon to perform a similar duty."
Of course, it was at Bloody Lane that Alexander Gardner took some of the most famous photographs of the Civil War. I've walked the lane many times, often by myself, and almost every time the hair raises on the back of my neck knowing that heaps of Confederate dead were stacked here Sept. 17, 1862. It's an eerie, mystifying, awe-inspiring and sad place.
|Alexander Gardner's image of Rebel dead in Bloody Lane. (Library of Congress collection)|