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
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.
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
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