Thursday, November 08, 2012

Antietam: Where's Bridgeman Hollister really buried?

Gravestone for Private Bridgeman Hollister of the 16th Connecticut in tiny Wassaic Cemetery 
in Glastonbury, Conn. Bridgeman was mortally wounded at the Battle of Antietam.

On Sept. 17, 1862, Private Bridgeman J. Hollister of the 16th Connecticut was shot in the throat in the 40-Acre Cornfield during the Battle of Antietam. Eight days later, the 30-year-old soldier from Glastonbury died, perhaps at the German Reform Church in Sharpsburg, where many soldiers in his regiment were cared for, or at Smoketown or Big Spring hospitals near the battlefield. Today, a gray marker, gravestone No. 1,104, marks Hollister's final resting place at Antietam National Cemetery.

The gravestone for Bridgeman J. Hollister in
Antietam National Cemetery.
Or maybe not.

In tiny Wassaic Cemetery in Glastonbury, two markers for Hollister may be found: a small, state-issued gravestone placed in the 1930s and a large, slate-gray gravestone on which family members' names are inscribed.

A document in the Glastonbury (Conn.) Historical Society indicates Hollister's remains were indeed returned to Connecticut. Signed by town sexton Holcey Buck, it notes that Brigman (sic) Hollister was buried at Wassuc (also known as Wassaic) Cemetery on Jan. 17, 1863. Under place of death, Buck wrote "The Battle Antitum."

So if Hollister is buried in Glastonbury, who's really buried under marker No, 1,104 at the national cemetery in Sharpsburg? Or is that grave really empty?

Of course, this wouldn't be the first misidentified gravestone at Antietam. Private Oliver Case of the 8th Connecticut was shot through head and killed as his regiment was overwhelmed near Harpers Ferry Road, just outside Sharpsburg. His father, Job, retrieved his body from the battlefield and returned his son's remains to Simsbury for burial in the town cemetery. But in the Connecticut section at the national cemetery in Sharpsburg, the name O.C. Case is carved on gravestone No, 1,090. Who's really buried under that tombstone?

According to this document,  Bridgeman Hollister's remains were buried by Glastonbury sexton
 Holcey Buck in Wassaic Cemetery on Jan. 17, 1863.

-- Have something to add (or correct) in this post? E-mail me here.

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