|Wearing a uniform with corporal's stripes, Private Daniel Tarbox of the|
11th Connecticut posed for this photo at a Hartford studio. The 18-year-old
from Brooklyn, Conn., was mortally wounded at Antietam.
(Photo courtesy Scott Hann.)
In his final letter home, Daniel Tarbox had a sense of impending doom.
"I expect we are going into it now for good," the private in the 11th Connecticut wrote his father, Daniel Sr., from Washington on Sept. 6, 1862. "Right where grape & shrapnel and chain shot fly thick. And whole company’s and Reg’ts are mowed down at one volley.
"If we go in, we can’t think of coming out," he continued. "If I do fall, you take what money I have sent home and get my bounty and appropriate it to yourself as a present. But I hope for the best."
Wrapping up the letter by noting that dead horses lay in the middle of the road from Alexandria and members of Congress "rode by in hacks," the teenager signed off:
From your Affect. Son
Eleven days after he wrote that letter home, the 18-year-old soldier from Brooklyn, Conn., was mortally wounded near Burnside Bridge at Antietam on Sept. 17, 1862. He expired a day later, one of more than 2,000 Union soldiers to die at Antietam.
|According to Tarbox descendant, this is the approximate location and time of the|
private's mortal wounding at Antietam. This photo was taken by famed Civil War
photographer Alexander Gardner after the battle. (Library of Congress collection)
Thanks to Antietam collector Scott Hann, who provided the carte de visite of Daniel above, and a Tarbox descendant, who e-mailed me a copy of his ancestor's final letter, I have a more complete picture of the teen-aged soldier.
Word of Daniel's death apparently traveled slowly back to Brooklyn, a small farming community about 45 miles east of Hartford. On Sept. 25, eight days after the battle, a worried Louis Tarbox, obviously eager for news on his brother's fate, wrote his father from New York about the Antietam casualty list that had appeared in the New York Tribune:
I noticed in this morning's Tribune a list of the killed & wounded in the 11th Regt. Conn. Vols, among which is Daniel's name as killed. I will send you a copy of the Tribune & you can see for yourself. I have every reason to believe the list in here.
|On Sept. 26, 1862, the Hartford Courant published a list |
of Antietam casualties. Daniel Tarbox of Company F
was listed as killed.
Yours affectionately, Louis.
Perhaps the family first found out the terrible news of Daniel's fate when the Hartford Courant published a list of Antietam casualties on Sept. 26. Daniel's name was one of 37 soldiers listed as killed in the 11th Connecticut.
Or perhaps the Tarbox family first got word when they received this letter, dated Sept. 21, 1862:
Dear sir, it becomes my pain full duty to inform you of the death of your son Daniel Tarbox. Your son was wounded in the battle of Sharpsburg on the 17th and died the next day of his wound. His effects were taken pocession of by G. Preston. I did not see Daniel after he was taken from the field but as soon as I see Preston I will write you all the particulars.
John Kies Capt. Co F
Because the Union army was ill-equpped to deal with death on such a massive scale, many families had to arrange to retreive their dead loved ones from the battlefield. That duty fell to Louis, who paid a man named Augustus Martin to disinter his brother's body and provide a zinc coffin for his return to Connecticut.
Sometime in early October, Louis returned to Brooklyn with Daniel's body. A funeral was held and Daniel Tarbox Jr., the son of a prosperous farmer, was buried in South Cemetery, about a quarter-mile from the center of town.
|Daniel Tarbox's memorial marker in South Cemetery in Brooklyn, Conn.|
At the bottom are these words: "Father and brothers, all a long farewell!"