|Killed at Antietam, 18-year-old Orlando Bacheler was buried in South Sutton Cemetery|
in Sutton, Mass. His first name is misspelled "Olando" on his gravestone.
|Decades after Orlando was killed at Antietam, Jonas and Mary Bacheler were buried next to|
their son at South Sutton Cemetery.
This post is a snapshot of the short life of Private Orlando Bacheler of the 15th Massachusetts. Do you have information that could shed more light on his life, perhaps a newspaper account, letter or photographs? If so, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Described as "one of the kindest of men," Jonas Bacheler married late in life, fathering four children with his wife in Sutton, Mass., a small town known for its bountiful orchards.
When the Federal census-taker visited the Bacheler household on July 26, 1860, he listed Jonas as a 56-year-old farmer. The rest of the family consisted of wife Mary, a 46-year-old daughter of a ship captain, and three children: Emma, 11; Harriet, 8; and Orlando, 16, whose occupation was listed as machinist. Tragedy rocked the Bachelers * in 1848, when toddler Emily died before her second birthday.
|Orlando Bacheler, 18, was killed in the|
West Woods at Antietam.
(Photo courtesy Susan Harnwell/
15th Massachusetts web site)
A little more than a year later, the teenager was ripped from the Bachelers' lives when he was killed during the 15th Massachusetts' disastrous attack in the West Woods at Antietam. Of the 606 soldiers in the regiment engaged in the battle, 320 were killed or wounded and 24 were missing, a 57 percent loss. "...my company had 62 when we went into battle and when I ordered them back only 9 were left standing," Lieutenant Samuel Fletcher of Orlando's Company H recalled.
Jonas was so crushed by the death of his oldest child on Sept. 17, 1862, that he never recovered. "The father went south for the body and returned home with it," a family history noted. "After this he was not quite the same man as before. He was a man of very sympathetic nature and the cloud never fully passed away."
On Jan. 23, 1863, perhaps a little after Jonas returned home with the body of his son, the Southbridge (Mass.) Journal published a poem about Orlando's death. The author is unknown.
Composed on the Death of Orlando M. Batcheler *
Fell at the Battle of Antietam.
He has gone! the young soldier has gone to his rest,
Disturb not his last quit sleep;
Tread lightly where rests the cold turf o’er his breast,
Where fond hearts in Anguish oft weep.
Not long did he rest where the Southern pines wave,
Where flowers in rich beauty are dressed,
For near his home they have hallowed a grave,
And have laid his loved form down to rest.
No deep booming cannon can startle him there,
No battle scene fills him with gloom,
No bursting shell harm him as it goes through the air,
For he peacefully sleeps near his home.
Most nobly this soldier boy acted his part,
Not fearing to face the stern foe,
Where the danger grew thick he engaged hand and heart,
Not fearing his courage to show.
But alas when the din of the battle was o’er,
While the forms of the slain were yet warm,
Among those that fell, who fought brave to the last,
They found Orlando’s proud form.
And then, far away the sad message sped,
Til it reached those dear ones in his home,
And there the sad words were in faltering tones read,
Which enshrouded fond hearts in deep gloom.
A father’s proud joy, a mother’s deep love ,
Dear sisters affection so warm,
Were alike chilled at once, while their dear one above
Was freed from the battles fierce storm.
O, happy the thought, although low in the grave,
His loved form does in quiet repose,
Yet we trust his young spirit, our savior could save,
And redeem it from earths chilling woes.
Fond Parents, bereft of your dear only son,
May your hearts know the depth of God’s love;
And sister bereaved, when your life’s work is done,
May you meet your dear brother above.
In death, Jonas and Mary Bacheler were reunited with their son. They are buried next to Orlando and near a massive, old oak in South Sutton Cemetery in Sutton, Mass.
Pearce, Frederick Clifton, Batchelder, Batcheller Geneaology, Press of W.B. Conkey Co., Chicago, 1908
Poem about Bacheler's death accessed from the excellent 15th Massachusetts site by Susan Harnwell.
Samuel Fletcher quote from Chapin Ancestors and Descendants (online), maintained by Deanne Driscoll, via Walking The West Woods blog.
NOTE: Other spellings of Bacheler appear elsewhere, including Batchelor and Batcheler. I chose the spelling that appears on the gravestones in South Sutton Cemetery.
|A close-up of Bacheler's gravestone.|