Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Antietam: A grave(s) Connecticut outlook

 A collage of close-ups of the gravestones of soldiers buried in Connecticut who were killed or
mortally wounded at the Battle of Antietam
Made of brownstone or marble and weathered by the elements for nearly 150 years, the gravestones of Connecticut soldiers killed or mortally wounded at Antietam often make for interesting photos. Some of these markers, such as the one for John Griswold at Griswold Cemetery in Old Lyme, Conn., are works of art. In fact, the Hartford Courant on Aug. 5, 1863 raved about the captain's memorial stone, advising "lovers of art to examine it" at Thomas Adams' Hartford establishment on the corner of Market and Temple streets before it was placed on Griswold's grave. "We have never seen a monument more strikingly beautiful," the newspaper gushed.

I am often struck by the craftsmanship of these gravestones, especially the ornate writing. I took the close-ups above at cemeteries throughout Connecticut during the past five months. My favorite is the one at the top for Samuel Willard, a 39-year-old captain from Madison who was killed during the 14th Connecticut's attack near Bloody Lane. Willard had embraced religion nine years before his death, and on the side of his gravestone is a moving excerpt from one of his final journal entries before he was killed Sept. 17, 1862.

 "My faith is in God if I die," it reads in part. "I die in the faith of my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ."

The side of the gravestone for Captain Samuel Willard of Company G of the 14th Connecticut
includes an excerpt from one of his final journal entries. Willard, 39 years old when he
was killed at Antietam, is buried at West Cemetery in Madison, Conn., near Long Island Sound.

  • MORE ON ANTIETAM: Read my extensive thread on the battle.
  • 1 comment:

    1. That must have been tremendously comforting to that soldier's family. Thank heavens his friends were able to recover the journal.