Sunday, May 18, 2014

Beauty and tragedy at Northfield (Conn.) Cemetery

                     Civil War graves dot Northfield (Conn.) Cemetery in Litchfield County.

      Joseph Hubbard, a 2nd Connecticut Artillery private , survived the war, living until 54.

Old metal Grand Army of the Republic markers appear throughout the cemetery.
Wild flowers blanketed graves in Northfield Cemetery, putting a stunning exclamation point on a fabulous spring weekend in Litchfield County. During the Civil War, this beautiful area of Connecticut, known for its productive farms and bitter winters, was regularly rocked by tragedy as word of casualties arrived from the front. The remains of several area soldiers rest in this cemetery, not far from Northfield's Civil War memorial. Above the word Lincoln in raised letters on that brownstone monument are carved these words:


... From Litchfield, Conn., Walter Hale was "a finely proportioned, vigorous young man excelling in athletic sports," a newspaper wrote decades after the war, and was  "especially remembered by the older residents as a powerful and daring swimmer." The 18-year-old was a private in Company C of the 20th Connecticut, one of the regiments stunned by Stonewall Jackson's surprise attack at Chancellorsville on May 2, 1863. The son of Thomas and Mary Hale was killed the next day. ...

 Horace Hubbard was killed at Winchester (Va.)
(Photo: Northfield Historical Society)

... A married father of two young children, Horace Hubbard of Plymouth, Conn, enlisted as a sergeant on Aug. 11, 1862. "He felt it was the duty of every able-bodied man that could possibly go, to do so," according to a post-war newspaper account. Promoted to 2nd lieutenant in Company H of the 2nd Connecticut Heavy Artillery in March 1864, Hubbard survived the bloodbath at the Battle of Cold Harbor only to be killed in action at Winchester, Va., on Sept. 19, 1864. "His back was fearfully torn by a shell, and he lived but a short time," according to a regimental history. "He sent dying messages to his friends at home, and said he believed it was all for the best. 'Tell the boys of Company D, (in which he was formerly First Sergeant,) that I always meant to do right by them, and to forgive me if I have not.' " The 33-year-old soldier was buried where he fell on the battlefield, and after the war, his remains were recovered and re-buried in Northfield Cemetery. ...

A G.A.R. marker embedded 
next  to Camp's memorial.

A 22-year-old corporal in Company K of the 2nd Connecticut Artillery, Joseph Camp went missing at Cold Harbor, and was presumably killed. The grandson of the first pastor of Northfield's Congregational Church and the eldest son of the town's physician, he worked as a clerk in nearby Thomaston, Conn., before he enlisted on Christmas Eve 1863. Dr. D.B.W Camp traveled south to find Joseph's remains, but they were never found. "He sleeps in secret," the words on his marker in Northfield Cemetery read, "but his grave, unknown to man, is marked by God."


  1. Terrific post, John. One of the great joys of New England is to visit cemeteries to learn about the past and pay our respects to those who have gone before us. These pictures are a great reminder of the beauty and sadness of cemeteries and the tragedy of war. A perfect lead-in to Memorial Day. Thanks.

  2. Mike: Don't have to look too hard in Litchfield County (Conn.) to find the graves of soldiers who were killed/mortally wounded at Cold Harbor.