Thursday, May 12, 2022

An Antietam story comes full circle for me

A collection of documents and a war-time image of William Horton, courtesy of a
Horton descendant. (CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE.)

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When we lived in Connecticut, I visited an unforgettable cemetery in rural Stafford Springs. The place became seared into my brain for two reasons: the yapping (and unchained) dogs nearby and the beautiful, ornate gravestone of William Horton. On Sept. 17, 1862, the 31-year-old lieutenant in the 16th Connecticut suffered a mortal wound in the 40-Acre Cornfield at Antietam.

William Horton's gravestone in Stafford Springs, Conn.
Nearly 10 months later, another tragedy rocked Horton’s widow Laura: the death of the couple’s young son, James.

Ten years after my visit to the cemetery, Horton’s story came full circle for me. I recently opened a packet mailed by a Horton descendant. It included a copy of a wartime image of Horton, pension documents, and a copy of the sermon preached at his funeral on Oct. 8, 1862.

The crowd was so large at the service that Reverend Alexis W. Ide moved it outside and preached from the steps of Stafford Springs Congregational Church, "under an awning formed by the national flag."

Ide's 27-year-old brother, George, a private in the 2nd Massachusetts, had been killed at Cedar Mountain in Virginia nearly two months earlier.

Ide delivered a sermon that was equal parts eulogy, political diatribe and instruction on how the country should remember its fallen soldiers.

"A nation should mourn for its slain in view of the fact that the cause of patriotism is a holy cause," Ide said. “Human governments are institutions of God. The powers that be are ordained by God. Whosoever resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God."

Late in his sermon, Ide addressed Horton’s 27-year-old widow.

"It is God who has removed your husband, your nearest earthly friend; and He thus designs to bring you nearer to Himself. He is the God of the widow and fatherless. A most weighty responsibility now rests upon you, for a wise improvement in this providence. Your husband, and the event, you must leave in hands of the supreme Ruler of the universe. Real good from your present affliction can only be found in God.”

Let’s keep history alive.

16th Connecticut monument in the 40-Acre Cornfield at Antietam.

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SOURCE
  • "Sermon Preached Oct. 8, 1862, at Stafford Springs, at the Funeral of Lieut. William Horton of Co. I, 16th Conn. Regt. Volunteeers, Who Was Killed at the Battle of Antietam, Sept. 17, 1862," A.W. Ide

1 comment:

  1. Chris Lee6:35 PM

    Thanks very much for your work. Love reading your articles

    ReplyDelete