Thursday, October 05, 2017

Antietam soldier snapshot: Carried off by a 'very bad fever'

Gravestone for 57th New York Private Henry F. Bugbee at Antietam National Cemetery.
(Find A Grave)
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As he lay dying in a tent in Frederick, Md., 57th New York Private Henry F. Bugbee wanted a "few lines" written to his wife back home in Hyde Park, N.Y. Wounded by a gunshot during an attack at Bloody Lane at Antietam on Sept. 17, 1862, the father of four young children was sent to a field hospital before be was admitted Oct. 6 to Camp A, a tent hospital in a field about a mile and a half west of Frederick. Throughout the town, the Union army medical staff had set up makeshift hospitals in churches, schools, an old army barracks, private homes, a butcher shop and elsewhere.

By Oct. 19, 1862, Bugbee's condition had worsened significantly, and the 31-year-old soldier died at about 6 that night.  He was "wounded in the left leg," wardmaster L.F. Buck of Ward H wrote in a short condolence note to Bugbee's wife, Sarah, "but catch'd a very bad fever to it, which carried him of (sic)."

Bugbee left only meager effects: less than a dollar, "several likenesses" and letters, all of which Buck noted were "under the care of the clerk of this hospital." Whether the "likenesses," perhaps photographs of Henry's wife and children, were returned to the family is unknown.

Shortly after her husband's death, Sarah applied for a widow's pension. Government assistance, approved at a rate of $8 a month, was discontinued when she remarried in November 1865. The Bugbee children -- Sarah, 8; Isabella, 6; Phillip, 4; and Oliver, 1 -- were entitled to receive a pension until each turned 16. (For an excellent explanation of Civil War pensions, go here.)

After the war, Henry's remains were disinterred in Frederick and re-buried in Sharpsburg, Md., at the national cemetery in Lot F, Section 25, Grave No. 270.


Page 1: National Archives via
Page 2: National Archives via

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For more Civil War condolence letters on my blog, go here.


-- Henry F. Bugbee widow's pension file, National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C., via

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