|This envelope contained a letter addressed to Horace Lay, a private in the 16th Connecticut who|
was wounded at Antietam. He died nearly two months after the battle. (Author's collection)
(CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE.)
|Lay died at the German Reformed Church Hospital in|
Sharpsburg on Nov. 16, 1862. Worship services are still held
in the building, now called Christ Reformed Church.
Also in early November, someone from Connecticut, perhaps Lay's wife Charlotte, wrote to the soldier who suffered in the small church 350 miles from the state. The letter writer may have inquired about the grievously wounded man's condition and perhaps offered a few words of encouragement for Lay, one of many soldiers from Connecticut who were treated in the small building on Sharpsburg's main street. Perhaps the letter writer also noted that Charlotte soon planned to go to western Maryland to help nurse her husband back to health and that Lay's 11-year-old son,
|Private Horace Lay's |
gravestone, No. 1,100, in
Antietam National Cemetery
The letter that the envelope contained may have briefly cheered Lay, who probably had his left leg amputated. But on Nov. 16, 1862, nearly two months after he was wounded, Horace Lay died with Charlotte by his side. Perhaps because she could not afford to transport her husband's body back to Connecticut, the private was buried somewhere in Sharpsburg shortly after his death. His remains were disinterred after the war, and today the shoemaker lies buried in the Connecticut section at Antietam National Cemetery under a weathered marker, No. 1,100, that simply notes his name, state and Civil War allegiance.
(1) Banks, John, "Connecticut Yankees at Antietam," Charleston, S.C., History Press, 2013, Page 62