|The grave in Hazardville, Conn.., of Henry Tracy. Right, Tracy in a post-war image in a newspaper.|
A private in Company C of the 16th Connecticut, Tracy was detailed to serve as a nurse after Antietam. The 24-year-old soldier, who missed the battle with a severe case of sunstroke, had already seen plenty of blood and gore as a member of a burial party after the fighting at South Mountain three days earlier. Tracy was stunned when his close friend, John Loveland of Company C, was brought to John Otto’s barn at Antietam with a gruesome battlefield wound: a fractured femur protruding two or three inches from his left leg, between the knee and hip.
Because Loveland was too weak from blood loss and exposure, surgeons would not dare risk performing an amputation, probably necessary to save the 23-year-old soldier’s life. In charge of 80 wounded men, including more than 40 from his regiment, Tracy gave special attention to his friend, a married man who earned his living as a barber before he joined the army. Over the course of the next several months, Tracy remained busy caring for sick, wounded and broken men.
|Henry M. Adams, a private in the 16th Connecticut,|
became "fast friends" with Henry Tracy after the
Civil War. Tracy helped care for Adams, who was
wounded at the Battle of Antietam.
(Photo: U.S. Army Military History Institute)
Tracy befriended at least one other wounded Connecticut soldier during his experience at Antietam: Henry M. Adams, a private in Company G of the 16th Connecticut. After the war, the men became "fast friends," according to an account in the Hartford Courant, and Tracy attended Adams' 75th birthday party in 1915. (2)
A little more than four months after Antietam, Tracy left the horror of the Civil War behind. On a train trip with wounded men from Harpers Ferry to Philadelphia in December 1862, he suffered from exposure and work stress during a heavy snowstorm. A broken man by the time he reached Philadelphia, he suffered from chronic diarrhea and was placed in a hospital. Tracy was discharged from the Union army on Jan. 27, 1863.
Nearly 57 years after Antietam, on July 17, 1919, 81-year-old Henry F. Tracy died. With members of the local Grand Army of the Republic Post in attendance, he was laid to rest three days later in Hazardville Cemetery in Enfield, Conn.
(1) National Tribune, Oct. 18, 1888
(2) Hartford Courant, July 20, 1919, Page 5
|A circa 1890s image by J.H. Wagoner of the German Reformed Church, a Union hospital |
after the Battle of Antietam. Henry Tracy, a private in the 16th Connecticut,
served as a nurse here after the battle. PHOTO: Courtesy Stephen Recker.