Saturday, August 24, 2013

Antietam: Private Elliot Fleming's lonely grave

The toppled grave of 16th Connecticut Private Elliot Fleming in East Windsor, Conn.
(Photo courtesy of Matt Reardon, New England Civil War Museum)

During a visit to Melrose Cemetery in East Windsor, Conn., last week, I visited the graves of two  Connecticut soldiers who met their demise at the Battle of Antietam. But as friend of the blog Matt Reardon recently pointed out, I overlooked the grave there of Elliot Fleming, a 16th Connecticut private who also was killed at Antietam. According to my Excel spreadsheet of Connecticut Antietam deaths, I also missed the Melrose Cemetery grave of another soldier, 16th Connecticut Private John Allen. The emotional toll of the four soldiers' deaths on the small communities of East Windsor and nearby Windsorville must have been immense. Fleming's toppled gravestone, cracked in two places, lies embedded in the ground near the entrance to the small rural cemetery. Born about 1824,  Fleming was originally from New Hampshire. On March 1, 1852, he married Elisabeth Louisa Newell in Broad Brook, Conn., and their union produced four daughters: Rosabel Louisa (born 1853), Estella  Maria (1855), Lizzie Elmyra (1857) and Ida Angela (1860). The decision to leave a wife and four children who were 9 years old and younger and go off to war must have been agonizing for Fleming, who enlisted in the Union army on Aug. 15, 1862, and was mustered into the 16th Connecticut nine days later. At Antietam, Fleming's Company G suffered more deaths (16) than any other Connecticut company. Thankfully, the grave of the 38-year-old father of four is marked by an American flag, a small tribute to a man who sacrificed his life for his country.

INTERACTIVE ANTIETAM PANORAMAS: From John Otto's cornfield to Bloody Lane.
FACES OF THE CIVIL WAR: Stories and photos of common soldiers who served during the war.
16TH CONNECTICUT SOLDIERS: Tales of the men in the hard-luck regiment.
MORE ON ANTIETAM: Read my extensive thread on the battle and the men who fought in it

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