Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Antietam: A horrible toll for the 16th Connecticut

Fragile document in the Connecticut State Library archives: Monthly returns for 
October 1862 for the 16th Connecticut.

A 30-year-old cigar maker, Henry Barnett went into battle singing
at Antietam. He was killed there on Sept. 17, 1862.
In a recent post, I included an image of the October 1862 monthly returns for the 8th Connecticut that showed the staggering death toll for the regiment at the Battle of Antietam. On Tuesday, I discovered in the Connecticut State Library archives the monthly returns for October 1862 for the 16th Connecticut. It's equally stunning to see on paper the toll that Antietam took on this green regiment, mainly recruited from Hartford County. The above image, slightly cut off on the right, includes the grunts -- the privates, corporals and sergeants. Some were listed as missing, others as having deserted. Thirty soldiers are listed as killed in action, far less than the final death count of 75. (Many of the wounded died in Sharpsburg, Md.-area hospitals after the battle.)

The battle took a steep toll on 16th Connecticut officers, too. Captains Newton Manross, Samuel BrownJohn Drake and Frederick Barber were among those either killed or mortally wounded at Antietam.

Many of the soldiers on this list have been written about on my blog. Orderly Sergeant Wadsworth Washburn (No. 52), the son of a minister from Berlin, Conn., was killed in John Otto's cornfield. His father recovered his remains from the battlefield. Sergeant Edward A. Parmele (No. 28), an aspiring dentist from Hartford, was engaged to be married to Washburn's sister. Henry Barnett, soldier No. 27 on the list, was a 30-year-old cigar maker from Suffield. He left behind a pregnant wife and two children. Private Nelson Snow (No. 28), also of Suffield, was sick the day of the battle, but he fought anyway. "(Snow) went into the fight for fear someone would call him a coward," wrote Sergeant William Relyea, a comrade in Company D. "He was brave enough to die."

(Download my Excel spreadsheet of Connecticut Antietam deaths here. It includes name, rank, company, date of death, personal information for soldiers and more. Can't download it? E-mail me and I'll send you a copy.)


Relyea, William Henry. “The History of the 16th Connecticut Volunteers,” MS 72782, Connecticut Historical Society, Hartford, Conn.

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