Saturday, September 20, 2014

Antietam: 11th Connecticut monument's original position

11th Connecticut monument near Burnside Bridge.
Close-up of monument plaque, which depicts the attack at Burnside Bridge.

Tucked away on a knoll near Antietam Creek, 150 yards south of Burnside Bridge, the 11th Connecticut monument is often overlooked. Interestingly, it wasn't always located there.
11th Connecticut Colonel Henry Kingsbury was mortally
wounded near Burnside Bridge.
It first was placed in an even more remote location on the Antietam battlefield.

On Oct. 11, 1894, Connecticut veterans and their families gathered at the battlefield to dedicate monuments to the four regiments from the state that fought at Antietam. The 14th Connecticut monument near Bloody Lane was dedicated at around 10 a.m., followed by the 8th Connecticut monument ceremony near Harpers Ferry Road, a short distance from the village of Sharpsburg, Md.  In late afternoon, dedication ceremonies were held for the 16th and 11th Connecticut monuments on what in 1862 was the farm of  John Otto. The 10-acre plot for the monuments -- once part of Otto's 40-acre cornfield, where the 16th Connecticut suffered 204 casualties -- was called Connecticut Park. (Hat tip: Stephen Recker, author of "Rare Images of Antietam."

The 11th Connecticut veterans originally intended to have the monument placed near Burnside Bridge, where it fought on the morning of Sept. 17, 1862, and where its beloved colonel, Henry Kingsbury, was mortally wounded. But a lack of funds apparently necessitated an adjustment of plans. 

 "Let there be no strife or warlike contention among our people," 11th Connecticut veteran Samuel Horne said at the dedication of the 11th Connecticut monument, just yards from the 16th Connecticut monument. "Let us dwell in peace, harmony and happiness in this grand and glorious country, made free by your courage, devotion and patriotism. We honor our state for this beautiful gift. It is a lesson of love. Its mute bearing will tell the present and future generations why and for whom it was placed here."

But not for long.

In late fall 1895, veterans purchased a 100-square foot plot on the knoll near Burnside Bridge from Mrs. Victor Newcomer, and the massive block of Massachusetts granite was moved there the week of Dec. 19, 1895. The images below of the monument at its original location were shot in the late 19th century by John Wagoner, a prolific photographer of the battlefield. 

Antietam Valley Record, Nov. 28, 1895Antietam Valley Record, Dec. 19, 1895Hartford Courant, Oct. 12, 1894

The 11th Connecticut monument at Antietam originally was placed near the 
16th Connecticut monument, about a half-mile from where the veteran regiment 
fought near Burnside Bridge. This image was shot by John Wagoner, a photographer 
from Hagerstown, Md. (Connecticut State Library)
A Wagoner image of the reverse of the 11th Connecticut monument, looking toward Sharpsburg. 
The monument includes the names of soldiers in the regiment who were killed or
 mortally wounded at Antietam. (Connecticut State Library)
Reverse of the first Wagoner image above. He shot images of many Antietam battlefield scenes.

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