1. AN AMPUTEE'S TINTYPE IMAGE
A private in the 20th Connecticut from Cheshire, Jesse Rice suffered the amputation of his right arm after he was shot at the Battle of Bentonville (N.C.) on March 19, 1865, in the last stages of the war. "His most serious difficulty at the present time," a doctor noted in Rice's pension claim, "consists of a severe form of nervous irritability produced by the condition of the stump of the right arm."
2. THREE-PAGE LETTER IN GERMAN
Four days before he was wounded at the siege of Petersburg (Va.) on August 16, 1864, 20-year-old August Freitag wrote a letter in German to his parents in Collinsville, Conn. “One must always pay attention and make sure that the ink jar is not taken out of his hand by a bombshell,” he complained, “because, large or small, the balls are whistling through here day and night.” He died of his wounds on August 26 at Fortress Monroe, Virginia, only nine months after Henry and Rosa Freitag went with their son to Hartford for his enlistment in the 1st Connecticut Heavy Artillery.
3. ENVELOPE ADDRESSED TO A FATHERWhile camped near steamy New Orleans with his 12th Connecticut comrades, 19-year-old Private Howard Hale delighted in writing long letters to his father, who lived 1,500 miles away in Collinsville, Conn., and missed his oldest son desperately. Howard sent $35 home to his father in this envelope. On April 13, 1863, Hale was mortally wounded in the abdomen at the Battle of Fort Bisland (La.) and died two days later.
4. EVIDENCE OF A PRIVATE'S PAIN
On May 2, 1863, Private Michael McMahon, an Irish-born soldier in the 14th Connecticut, was wounded in the left side at the Battle of Chancellorsville (Va.) and hospitalized for 10 months. In an application for a pension, it was also noted that he was shot in the belt plate, resulting in a rupture that apparently plagued him the rest of his life.
5. A SOLDIER'S SIGNATURE
Milo Freeland was a private in the 54th Massachusetts, the famed black regiment whose experience was brilliantly told in the movie "Glory." After the war, he moved with his wife and children from Massachusetts to East Canaan, Conn., where he died of pneumonia in 1883. Believed to be the first black soldier to enlist in the Union army, he was only 43.