|Connecticut Civil War veterans chipped in|
$400 in 1891 to purchase this stained-glass
window for the German Reformed Church.
During the past three months, I have been digging into the stories of some of the Connecticut soldiers who were patients in that church. One of those men was James Brooks, a 19-year-old private in the 16th Connecticut, who lay in no-man's land in farmer John Otto's cornfield for 40 hours before he was found by a Union burial crew. He initially was treated in Otto's barn, a makeshift field hospital, before he was transferred to the German Reformed Church, where he died on Oct. 11, 1862. Brooks' body was returned to Connecticut and buried in a small cemetery in rural Willington under a gravestone that notes he died of "six heavy wounds."
If you visit Sharpsburg, put a stop at the church on your to-do list, and arrange to go inside to check out the beautiful stained-glass window that faces Main Street. In 1891, Connecticut Antietam veterans donated that window in honor of their comrades who died at the battle. Below is a panorama of the inside of the church, shot with my iPhone 4.
The church suffered significant damage during the war and was remodeled in the 1890s. The blood-stained Civil War-era floorboards were reportedly ripped out in the 1940s, although I have heard that some of the original floorboards remain. I'll try to confirm that on my next trip to Sharpsburg. An aside: Recent blog subject Barney Houser, a private in the 1st Maryland Potomac Home Brigade, lived in the house to the left of the church during the Civil War. Items borrowed from his house for use in the German Reformed Church hospital included an iron kettle, a skillet, four window blinds, four ladles and a Dutch oven.