Saturday, December 20, 2014

6th Connecticut captain: 'Must so slight a wound take my life!'

6th Connecticut Captain Dwight Woodruff's marker in West Avon (Conn.) Cemetery.

After a Rebel bullet tore into his left wrist during the Battle of Deep River (Va.) on Aug. 15, 1864, Captain Dwight Woodruff initially appeared to be doing as well as could be expected. The 23-year-old officer from New Britain, Conn., who rose through the ranks from private to commissary sergeant to lieutenant and finally to captain by June 1864, was transported to Fort Monroe in Hampton, Va., where a massive complex for sick and wounded soldiers had been constructed. But, according to a contemporary account in a Hartford newspaper, "the wound changed most suddenly" and "mortification," commonly known today as gangrene, set in.

Perhaps a last-ditch effort to save his life, Woodruff's left arm was amputated. When it became clear that he would die, the officer reportedly said, "That is a small wound to take a man's life, but it was received in a noble cause  -- in the cause of my country. Must so slight a wound take my life!"  A day after he was wounded, Woodruff died at Chesapeake Hospital, formerly a  four-story female seminary.

"He was brave and faithful, beloved by the regiment," a regimental historian wrote, "and his untimely death was regretted by all." Woodruff's body was embalmed and his uncle, L.A. Parker, made arrangements to have his nephew's remains returned to Connecticut, where he was buried with Masonic honors in West Avon Cemetery.

A Civil War-era image of Chesapeake Hospital, where Captain Dwight Woodruff died.
(Photo: Library of Congress)
Connecticut Press, Sept. 10, 1864


  1. Hello John,

    What is the best (read: fastest) way to find a list of the Connecticut men who died in battle?


  2. Are you looking for specific soldiers? JB