Sunday, December 04, 2016

Can you identify these 20th Connecticut veterans?

Reunion photo of 20th Connecticut veterans in Cheshire, Conn.,
on Aug. 24, 1911.  (Blogger's collection)
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Robert Usher
Tilt your head to the right. There you go -- that's not so hard. Or better yet, just turn your monitor/tablet/phone 45 degrees to check out this image of the reunion of 20th Connecticut veterans in Cheshire, Conn., on Aug. 24, 1911. Purchased Saturday afternoon from a dealer in Bristol, Conn., it was once part of the collection of Robert Cleveland Usher, an officer in the 20th Connecticut and, after the war, a prominent citizen of Plainville, Conn.

Most of these old soldiers probably defended Culp's Hill at Gettysburg on July 3, 1863, and fought with Sherman during his March to the Sea in 1864. Could the old veteran standing behind the woman in the middle of the image be George Warner, who lost his arms to friendly fire at Gettysburg (see enlargement below)? Does Jesse Rice, who lost his arm at the Battle of Bentonville (N.C.) in 1865, appear in the image? When he died in 1915 at 71, Rice, a farmer from Cheshire, was on government rolls for a $55-a-month war pension.

Usher, who survived the war unscathed physically, enlisted in the 20th Connecticut as a musician on Aug. 27, 1862, rose to sergeant major and, shortly before the end of the war, was promoted to lieutenant. The veteran, who died of pneumonia at 81 in his home in Plainville on April 20, 1922, undoubtedly appears in the photograph. If you can find him and identify others in this image, e-mail me at

Enlargement of  reunion image and a circa-1910 image of armless veteran George Warner 
with his wife. (Right image: Courtesy Bob O'Brien)
Does 20th Connecticut vet Jesse Rice, shown in an image taken shortly after the war,
 appear in the reunion photo? This photograph of  Rice was found in his pension file 

in the National Archives in Washington.

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