Monday, November 17, 2014

Wounded at Antietam, Franklin Alford crawled from field

Franklin Alford was a private in Company I of the 16th Connecticut.  
(Connecticut State Library archives)
Franklin Alford is buried with his wife, Lucy, in Avon (Conn.) Cemetery. I placed a penny
 on his grave,  Lincoln side up, during a recent visit. 
Private Franklin Mills Alford of Avon, Conn., among more than 200 casualties in the 16th Connecticut at Antietam,  was more fortunate than many of his wounded comrades in the battle. While privates Henry Adams, Bela Burr, Francis Burr and others in the regiment lay in no-man's in John Otto's cornfield for 40 hours, the 21-year-old Alford, wounded in the right leg, crawled from the field with the aid of comrade after he lay unconscious for a period of time. Two other soldiers from Alford's hometown, Corporal Henry Evans, the father of an  8 1/2-month-old daughter, and Robert Hawley, the father of six children, died as a result of wounds suffered at Antietam on Sept. 17, 1862.

For Franklin, one of eight children of Daniel and Emira Alford, the Civil War was nearly over. He was discharged for disability on Feb. 2, 1863, returning to Avon, a farming community along the Farmington River, 10 miles from Hartford. During the last two years of the war, he made bayonets for the Union army. After the war, he was commissioned a lieutenant in the Connecticut militia, served as tax collector in his hometown and was fond of fishing as well as hunting with his dog. He was a frequent attendee at veterans' events and traveled to Antietam in October 1894 for the unveiling of the 16th Connecticut monument there. When Alford died on March 11, 1908, he left behind a wife named Lucy, two married daughters and six grandchildren.

For more stories of soldiers in the hard-luck 16th Connecticut, check out my talk on Saturday, Nov. 22 at 1 p.m. at the Avon (Conn.) Free Public Library. Here's the trailer:

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