Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Letter from Antietam: 'He fought and fell like a brave man'

Two-page letter to the wife of 16th Connecticut private Henry Aldrich breaking the news
of her husband's death. This letter was spliced together using picmonkey.com.

The letter to Private Henry Aldrich's wife in Bristol, Conn., begins like thousands of others sent home during the Civil War: "It becomes my painful duty to inform you ... " Dated Sept. 21, 1862, 16th Connecticut Lieutenant Julian Pomeroy's two-page note informed Sarah Aldrich of the death of her husband at the Battle of Antietam four days earlier. So many of these poignant letters are waiting to be uncovered in the National Archives or on fold3.com, an excellent premium site. The full letter to Mrs. Aldrich is presented on the blog for the first time. Pomeroy, also from Bristol, survived the Civil War.


16th Connecticut Private Henry Aldrich's marker
at Antietam National Cemetery.
In camp near battlefield, 
Sharpsburgh, Maryland
Sept. 21, 1862

Mrs. Aldrich:

Dear Madam

It becomes my painful duty to inform you that in the battle 17th Sept when our noble 16th regt. was literally cut to pieces, your husband fell at his post in the fight and was found dead where he fell. He was buried with the rest of those who fell in the battle of that day of our regt. A board with his name cut in it marks the spot, which is on the top of a grassy hill, and his mortal remains will rest as quietly there as in New England.

He was a good soldier and all in the Company liked him. He was always ready to do his duty and in battle he fought & fell like a brave man. None could do more. Many others did the same. I sympathise with you in your severe affliction, as I should wish others to do by my family had I fallen as I might.

Very respectfully,
Julian Pomeroy 1st Lieutenant
Commanding Co. K 16th Regt.Conn. Vol.

P.S. Enclosed is a letter which I received for him last night.


For more on Aldrich and other Connecticut soldiers who fought at the Battle of Antietam, purchase my book, "Connecticut Yankees at Antietam."

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