Wethersfield Historical Society Community Articles

Articles from the Community


Recently Published


Articles From The Community Home > Wethersfield in the Civil War by Wes Christensen > Wethersfield Civil War Locations

Wethersfield Civil War Locations

By Wethersfield Historical Society on December 14, 2006 6:21 PM

The two locations that created the most despair for Wethersfield during the Civil War were Antietam and Andersonville. Men from here participated in most of the major battles in the East and many in the West, but the death and misery of these two locations was great. Four Connecticut regiments fought at Antietam, two men were killed and two wounded. This one-day caused 40% of the battle deaths for Wethersfield. Ten Wethersfield men were taken to Andersonville prison and four of them died there.

The four regiments that fought at Antietam were the 8th, 11th, 14th and 16th. The 16th fought at the bloody battle of the sunken road and handled itself commendably for green troops. The 8th, 11th, and 16th all fought in the same brigade under General Burnside, The 11th was part of the attempt to take the famous Burnside Bridge. The bridge was well defended and the 11th was thrown back with a severe loss. Two Wethersfield men, Henry Davis and Henry Rising were killed in this battle. Gifford Stedman, Jr. of Hartford was promoted to Colonel leading the regiment at the death of Henry Kingsbury.

On the extreme left flank, the attack that included the 8th and the 14th were running into trouble. The more experienced 8th pressed forward but found that the remainder of the brigade had not progressed with them. They were counter-attacked by superior force and Chaplain John Morris was forced to pick up a rifle and cartridge box of a dead man and fight for his life.

The 16th really didn't know what they were doing. They had been in the army less than a month with little training in drill or the use of arms, which had just been issued to them. Against one of Lee's best division leaders, A. P. Hill, they were hopelessly overmatched. They broke and ran in 'irretrievable disorder', carrying a Rhode Island regiment with them. This was the last gasp of the battle, which ended essentially as a stalemate although General McClellan had many unused divisions while Lee's troops had been nearly exhausted. After a day of quiet Lee left the battlefield which allowed McClellan to claim a victory.

Although he was not happy with this outcome, Lincoln used this opportunity to announce his Emancipation Proclamation.

The men of the Connecticut 16th were unfortunate actors in the grim Andersonville story. They had minor action in other battles before being ordered to Plymouth, North Carolina.

Leave a comment

Type the characters you see in the picture above.