Nathan Mayer, Assistant Surgeon of the 11th Connecticut Infantry treated wounded soldiers under fire at Antietam on 17 September 1862. Here he is after being promoted to Surgeon and Major, and transferring to the 16th Connecticut in January 1863 to fill the vacancy left when Surgeon Abner Warner resigned. Thanks to Chris Van Blargen for sharing that photograph.

Dr Mayer had two observations on his experience at Antietam. The first was that even untrained men could be trusted to use chloroform safely. The second

… that all the wounded came in, exalted in spirit, full of patriotic fire, anxious for the battle, the defeat of the rebs, and complaining hardly of their own injury. This was quite remarkable on that day. Whether the whiskey which was given to the wounded man at once — and needed in the collapse of serious gunshot wounds – contributed to this exaltation I know not. But I have still in mind some badly wounded boys that fiercely demanded the fate of the battle before they cared about themselves, and the beautiful resignation with which others awaited their certain death.

This is not romance. I saw it and it is realism.

Doctor Mayer had a long and distinguished medical career and was in addition a poet, novelist, and critic of some note. Here he is in about 1890. This picture is in the collection of the Hartford Medical Society, of which he was President in 1906. It was published by Janice Mathews to accompany a piece about him in the Spring 2007 issue of Connecticut Explored magazine.

Young William G Hooker survived a wound at Antietam in 1862 and a term as a prisoner at Andersonville in 1864, and was mustered out of the 16th Connecticut Infantry at age 19 in June 1865. He was a printer in later civilian life, eventually owning his own shop in Meriden, CT.

By 1901 he was a Director of the Relief Gold Mining Company which developed claims near Phoenix in the Arizona Territory. Here’s a 1903 offer of shares:

Hundreds, perhaps thousands of such “investment” offers were made in the early 1900’s. Most were scams and very few were likely to ever make money.

The Relief Mine, however, seems to have raised enough money by mid-1904 to construct a processing mill of crushers and rollers, and actually produced some gold. In 1907 mine superintendent Hamlin reported they were running 12 hour shifts and had 14 men working, and in 1909 said they’d taken $60,000 in gold to date.

The Relief Gold Mining Company operated the mine until 1912 (others followed into the 1930s). We can only hope that Mr Hooker saw some benefits.

William Murdock (c. 1864)

20 January 2022

Born in Scotland, William Murdock came to America in 1855 and enlisted as a Private in Company B of the 14th Connecticut Infantry in 1862. He was slightly wounded at Antietam on 17 September 1862. He should have a mark over his left eye from that wound, but I can’t see it … a flipped image maybe?

By the end of the war he’d been promoted through all the intermediate ranks to Captain of Company A. He looks like a serious young man in this fine photograph, probably taken when he was a Lieutenant in 1864. It’s in the MOLLUS-Massachusetts Collection at the US Army Heritage and Education Center, Carlisle, PA.

James Lockwood worked his way up in the printing business to become founding partner in 1836 of Case, Lockwood & Company, a publisher and printer in Hartford, CT. The company thrived in various forms into the 1970s.

His son William Henry Lockwood began in his father’s firm at age 17 in 1854, survived Antietam as a Lieutenant with the 16th Connecticut Infantry in 1862, and struck out on his own as an electrotyper after the war.

William was also something of a photographer.

When a freak blizzard hit Hartford in March 1888, he took his camera around the city and later made albumin prints of what he saw. Two of those are here: the imposing brick Case, Lockwood & Brainard building at Pearl and Trumbull Streets, and his own home on Niles Street. It looks to me like a small boy is trying to shovel a path to the latter (click to enlarge).

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William donated a leather bound album with 37 of his snow prints to the Connecticut State Library in 1916. It’s still there.

This is George S Merritt‘s obituary notice in the New York Times of 18 October 1925. George was an Antietam veteran of Company G of the 16th Connecticut Infantry.

Although it’s possible, it is unlikely this little story is really true.

Except for members of Company H, which had been detached, nearly all the men of his regiment were captured at Plymouth, NC on 20 April 1864 (Private Merritt does not seem to have been one of them). Company H, with the few men of other Companies who were not prisoners or had been exchanged, attached, was assigned to duty in North Carolina; from Roanoke Island in April 1864 to New Berne in March 1865, where the remains of the 16th Connecticut mustered out on 24 June.

These excellent photographs are of Albert S Hatch and Maria Miller Hatch. They were married in about 1859 and had a daughter, Marietta in 1860 (d. 1953).

Albert enlisted in the 16th Connecticut Infantry in August 1862, was wounded at Antietam a month later, and was wounded again on the Overland Campaign in Virginia in May 1864. He went home disabled by illness, and probably never really recovered.

Maria died in November 1865 and Albert, of tuberculosis, in May 1867.

This photograph in left profile is of Dr. Franklin R Garlock and was taken in 1905. It’s now in the collection of the Wisconsin Veteran’s Museum.

He was Corporal Garlock, Company A, 108th New York and a rookie soldier when he was horribly wounded at Antietam on 17 September 1862. He lost his right eye to a gunshot through his face and head, and another bullet took his right index finger.

But that was obviously not the end of his life story. He graduated from medical school in 1870 and practiced for at least 40 years in New York and Wisconsin.

Henry L Pasco was a Captain commanding Company A of the 16th Connecticut in their first action at Antietam on 17 September 1862. Here he is wearing Major’s straps, probably photographed soon after his promotion in June 1863.

This photo is from the MOLLUS Massachusetts Collection (Volume 113, pg. 5815), at the US Army Heritage and Education Center, Carlisle, PA.

Private George Washington Pancoast of the 9th New York State Militia (83rd Volunteers) was wounded by two bullets at Antietam in September 1862 but survived to have a long and productive life afterward.

This fine post-war photograph was kindly provided by his great-great-grandson Scott McGurk.

What you can’t see in the picture, though, is that George lost his left arm at the elbow to amputation due to one of those Antietam bullets. Here’s a clinical summary of his ordeal, from the Medical and Surgical History of the War of the Rebellion (Pt. II, Vol. II, pg. 856; 1877), online from the National Library of Medicine (click to enlarge).


I was surprised to learn just how many arms Army surgeons amputated during the war due to gunshot wounds: at least 5,456. I’ve seen a large number of cases, but had no idea. Here’s a table from the same volume of the MSHWR with some survival statistics.

Dreadful accident (1865)

13 January 2022

Joseph A. Grosvenor and his brother Samuel E. Grosvenor came to America from England with their family as very small boys in 1845, and both enlisted in the 16th Connecticut Infantry in August 1862. In their first battle, at Antietam a month later, Joseph was killed and Samuel was wounded.

Samuel survived his wound and also a stint as a prisoner at Andersonville in 1864. But, in April 1865, on his way back to his regiment after convalescing, he drowned when his transport collided with another vessel on the Potomac River off Southern Maryland. As many as 87 men died that morning; he was one of the 7 soldiers from the 16th Connecticut who drowned, out of the 13 aboard.

That clipping is from the front page of the New York Times of 27 April 1865. Click to see the whole piece.