Thursday, June 14, 2012

Help wanted: Antietam graves in Connecticut

Close-up of Theodore DeMars' gravestone.
Theodore DeMars of Cromwell, Conn., was only 19 when he was killed at Antietam.
He is buried in Kelsey Cemetery in Cromwell, Conn.

Antietam casualty listed printed in the
Hartford Courant on Sept. 27, 1862. 

This list continued elsewhere on the page
 and did not include the 14th Connecticut.

For a pretty cool project, I'm aiming to find graves of Connecticut soldiers killed or mortally wounded at the Battle of Antietam who are buried in the state. A little odd, yes, but it beats what these people do.

Using the casualty list from the Sept. 27, 1862 Hartford Courant as a macabre checklist,  I have visited many Antietam graves in Connecticut during the past year and told the heart-rending stories of men such as Captain Newton Manross of Bristol, Lieutenant Marvin Wait of Norwich and Private John Bingham of East Haddam. (Find A Grave also is a terrific resource, by the way.)

Four regiments from Connecticut -- the 8th, 11th, 14th and 16th -- fought in the fields and woodlots outside Sharpsburg, Md., on Sept. 17, 1862. Scores of Connecticut men, including 19-year-old Thomas DeMars of Cromwell, were killed there. A private in Company A of the 16th Connecticut, DeMars is buried (above) in Cromwell's Kelsey Cemetery, once a quiet country graveyard but now airport runway loud thanks to nearby I-91.

Funerals for soldiers were a common occurrence in Connecticut  in the days and weeks after Antietam.  "It is seldom that we are called upon to bury so many braves in so short a space of time," the Hartford Courant noted on Oct. 13, 1862, nearly a month after the battle.

If you can help with my unusual detective work, shoot me an e-mail here.

A penny atop the gravestone of 19-year-old Theodore DeMars, killed at Antietam.

1 comment:

  1. Very cool idea. Looking forward to seeing your research. I will buy the book when it comes out.