Monday, September 02, 2013

Antietam: Wounds as 'large as a silver half dollar'

In a cabinet card image probably taken in the 1880s, Alonzo Maynard shows the effects of  wounds
 he suffered at an attack at Burnside Bridge during the Battle of Antietam. His wounds 
were highlighted in red by an unknown person,  perhaps a Grand Army of the Republic member. 
  (Photo: New England Civil War Museum, Rockville, Conn.)  

At the Battle of Antietam, more than 200 men and boys from Connecticut were killed or died from effects of wounds or other causes. Sometimes, the grievously wounded may have envied the dead. An 18-year-old private in the 11th Connecticut, Alonzo Maynard was shot four times during the attack at Burnside Bridge on the morning of Sept. 17, 1862. The entrance of some of the wounds, he said after the war, were as "large as a silver half dollar." Maynard was so terribly wounded that surgeons did not immediately tend to him because they figured he was a
Matt Reardon
lost cause.

But the teenager not only survived the Civil War, he lived until he was 63, dying on March 20, 1907. Maynard's post-war life was a great struggle, however, and he sometimes prayed that death would deliver him from the suffering caused by his battlefield wounds. His story may have gone untold were it not for Matt Reardon, who last spring shared the cabinet card image above of Maynard from the excellent collection at the New England Civil War Museum in Rockville, Conn.

Reardon, a passionate Civil War historian and executive director at the museum, has a direct connection to the war. His great-great-great grandfather, a private in the 8th Connecticut, survived Antietam and later imprisonment in a Rebel POW camp in Andersonville, Ga. Maynard's story, told in more detail in my recently released book "Connecticut Yankees at Antietam," is not unique. Many men returned from the war with grievous wounds, including Corporal Richard Jobes of the 16th Connecticut, who lost his left forearm to amputation after he was shot in John Otto's cornfield at Antietam. Other soldiers lost their minds. At least two soldiers in the 16th Connecticut who survived the horror of Antietam later died in Connecticut mental hospitals.

To learn more about Connecticut's Antietam soldiers, attend Civil War Day on Saturday at the Middlesex County Historical Society in Middletown, Conn., where I will appear with copies of my book available for purchase. Here's more on the book here and a Hartford Courant story here.

Alonzo Maynard was shot in the attack at Burnside Bridge, shown here in a photo probably
 taken by renowned battlefield photographer William Tipton in the 1890s. 
(Connecticut State Library)  CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE.

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