Saturday, August 25, 2012

Antietam: Cedar Hill Cemetery photo journal

Samuel Thompson, a 19-year-old lieutenant in Company H of the 16th Connecticut, 
is buried in Cedar Hill Cemetery in Hartford. Mortally wounded at Antietam, he died at home.

Antietam-related history can be found nearly in my own back yard here in Connecticut.

In Greenwood Cemetery, just across the road from our house in Avon, rest the remains of 16th Connecticut private Austin Fuller, who served at Antietam. Captured at Plymouth, N.C., in 1864, Fuller was sent to the notorious rebel prisoner-of-war camp in Andersonville, Ga., and later paroled in "greatly emaciated" condition. The 23-year-old soldier died at home in Farmington, Conn., "suddenly and expectedly" on Jan. 8, 1865.
Buried in Cedar Hill Cemetery, Melancthon Storrs, a surgeon in
 the 8th Connecticut, amputated the right leg of 16th Connecticut 
captain Frederick Barber (above). Wounded at Antietam, Barber
 died on Sept. 20, 1862, three days after the battle.

In West Avon Cemetery, two miles over the hill from Banks manor, is the grave of Private Wallace Woodford of the 16th Connecticut. Wounded at Antietam, Woodford also was captured at Plymouth, N.C., in 1864 and sent to Andersonville. Tormented by his treatment by the rebels, Woodford found it difficult to talk about his prison experience. "When asleep he would throw his arms about, thinking he was in Andersonville .. endeavoring to obtain food," the Hartford Courant reported in January 1865. Like Fuller, the 22-year-old soldier from Avon died at home, on Jan. 10, 1865.

And down the road, in Unionville, a Civil War memorial funded by 16th Connecticut captain Nathaniel Hayden, who was wounded at Antietam, stands next to the First Church of Christ.

This morning, I drove about 20 minutes to the beautifully kept grounds of Hartford's Cedar Hill Cemetery, where 36 Connecticut men who fought at Antietam are buried. Cemetery sleuth and Antietam guru Mary Falvey, a friend of the blog, conducted a terrific two-hour tour for about 50 people. Mary tied up a lot of loose ends for me in my first visit to Cedar Hill, pointing out the final resting place of Antietam's unsung hero and other notables from the bloodiest day in American history. I especially enjoyed the stop at the grave of Melancthon Storrs (try saying that three times quickly.) A surgeon in the 8th Connecticut,  Storrs amputated the entire right leg of 16th Connecticut captain Frederick Barber, who suffered a bullet wound in the hip in farmer John Otto's 40-acre cornfield at Antietam.

"Oh, my God," Barber shouted as he was wounded. "I'm killed. Good bye, boys. You've lost your Captain. Farewell. Farewell." (1)

Two days after Storrs' grisly operation in a barn near the battlefield, Barber died of his wounds.

(1) 16th Connecticut private Wells Bingham's letter to his father, Sept. 20, 1862

After Antietam, 16th Connecticut adjutant John Burnham supervised the burial of the dead 
in his regiment on the battlefield.  Broken down physically and mentally, he died at  the 
Connecticut Hospital for the Insane on April 10, 1883. He is buried in Cedar Hill Cemetery.
The final resting place of William H. Lockwood, who succeeded Newton Manross, the beloved
captain of Company K of the 16th Connecticut, after he was killed at Antietam.

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