This is the first time I’ve seen this in many years visiting Antietam National Cemetery: an obvious replacement headstone. And not just because of wear and tear. An Ohioan in a row of Connecticut soldiers.

There’s a great story here, I’m sure, but I only know part of it.

William Whitney Farmer, 34, of Wakeman, Ohio enlisted as a Corporal in Company D, 8th Ohio Infantry in June 1861, and was killed by artillery at Antietam on 16 September 1862. He was mis-identified as being in the 8th Connecticut Infantry when he was removed from his resting place on the battlefield and re-buried in the new Antietam National Cemetery in 1867.

Here’s the headstone that’s been over his grave since then:

On my visit last Friday, though, this brand new, fresh cut stone jumped out at me:

I hope a reader will let us know how this came about. You won’t be surprised to hear there are many, perhaps hundreds of headstones in the Cemetery with errors large and small, and I would never have expected the Park Service or the VA to replace any of them.

And yet … here we are.


The photos above of Farmer’s new headstone are by the author, taken at the Antietam National Cemetery on Friday 12 April 2024.

His original headstone photo is from contributor Birdman on Farmer’s online memorial at Find-a-grave.

The page image here is from the 1890 version of the History of the Antietam National Cemetery, including a descriptive list of all the loyal soldiers buried therein …, published by George Hess, late Private, 28th Pennsylvania Infantry; online from the Library of Congress. His work is a virtual copy of the History published by the Cemetery Board of Trustees in 1867, except that Hess noted the headstone numbers, which I find more useful than the section/lot/grave numbers in the original volume.

2 Responses to “Corporal Farmer gets a new stone”

  1. J. C. Clark says:

    The Battle of Antietam was fought on the 17th, not the 16th.Please correct. Otherwise, a wonderful article!

  2. Brian says:

    Thanks for the visit, JC! Agreed – the battle was fought largely on the 17th, but there was some action on the 16th – skirmishing and artillery dueling. That’s what killed Corporal Farmer.

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