Civil War Connections
Two thousand eleven marks the 150th anniversary of the commencement of the American Civil War. This war, which lasted four years and took the lives of more than 620,000 people, commenced on April 12, 1861 at Fort Sumter in South Carolina. It is estimated that 200 Civil War soldiers and servicemen and women are laid to rest at Cedar Hill Cemetery. Some of the most infamous players in the Civil War who are interred at Cedar Hill include the following:
John Henry Burnham: John Henry Burnham joined the 16th Regiment, Connecticut Volunteer Infantry. During his service, he was wounded in battle, taken prisoner and released, and then taken prisoner a second time. Rescued by his fellow soldiers, he continued to serve until the end of the war at which time he returned to Hartford and was appointed Deputy Postmaster and the Postmaster by President Grant.
Henry Ward Camp: Henry Ward Camp is the subject of The Knightly Soldier by Champlain Henry Ward Trumbull. As a soldier in the Civil War, Camp was taken prisoner. He managed to escape but was recaptured 100 miles from where he was detained. He was released from captivity in April 1864 and returned to fight with his regiment. Six months later, he was killed in battle at Darbytown Road.
Emily Parmely Collins: A women’s rights activist, Emily Parmely Collins served as a nurse during the Civil War in Virginia. Her two sons, one of which was a surgeon, also served in the Civil War. In her various writings, Collins compared the equity plight of women to that of Southern slaves. In the early 1880s, Collins moved to Hartford where she wrote for The Hartford Journal under the pen name “Justitia.” Her columns became synonymous with the promotion of human rights.
Henry Green: Enslaved in Virginia, Henry Green escaped slavery and made his way to Washington, D.C. His path crossed with then Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles who offered him a job within the Welles homestead. Green became close to the Welles family and when Gideon Welles was preparing to return to Connecticut, he asked Henry to join them. With no family ties or connections to the South, he agreed. When Green died in 1911, it was disclosed that Welles had made provisions for him to be interred in the family lot at Cedar Hill Cemetery. He is recognized as being the first Black person to be interred at Cedar Hill.
Joseph Roswell Hawley: Joseph Roswell Hawley, co-editor of the Hartford Evening Press and Hartford Courant, joined the Civil War efforts as a captain shortly after the attack on Fort Sumter. Having served for the duration of the Civil War, he was mustered out fo the army as a major general in 1866. He returned to Hartford to commence a career in politics and served as Governor of Connecticut.
Isabella Beecher Hooker: A women’s rights activist, Isabella Beecher Hooker was the half-sister of Harriet Beecher Stowe who is quite possibly best-known for authoring Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Published in 1851, Uncle Tom’s Cabin was a pre-cursor to the American Civil War highlighting slavery in the south as a deplorable and inhumane condition.
Thomas Henry Seymour: Thomas Hart Seymour served as Governor of Connecticut from 1850 until 1853. As a steadfast Democrat who opposed the Union’s stance during the American Civil War, the Connecticut State Senate voted in 1862 to have Governor Seymour’s portrait removed from the Capitol chamber until the comptroller was satisfied with his allegiance to the Federal government.
General Griffin A. Stedman Jr.: Griffin Stedman was a model soldier during the Civil War who moved up the ranks quickly. At the second Battle of Petersburg, he was mortally wounded. As he lay dying, he was promoted to the rank of General.
Isaac Toucey: Isaac Toucey served as U.S. Secretary of the Navy from 1857 until Lincoln took office in 1861. He was charged with manipulating the placement of Navy vessels to assist the Confederate Army. While he was cleared of all charges, the incident tarnished his legacy.
Joseph Hopkins Twichell: Believing strongly in abolition, Joseph Hopkins Twichell joined the 71st New York State Volunteers in July 1871 as a chaplain. His regiment leader was General Sickles who killed his wife’s lover, who happened to be the son of National Anthem composer Francis Scott Key, in Washington, D.C. Sickles was the first person to ever be acquitted of murder after pleading guilty by reason of temporary insanity.
Robert Ogden Tyler: Robert Ogden Tyler served in the Civil War from the Battle of Fort Sumter through the Battle of Cold Harbor. He climbed the military ranks successfully with the ultimate rank of Brevet Major General. He suffered a severe foot wound at the Battle of Cold Harbor that ended his service in the Civil War and, ultimately, died of injuries he sustained in the Civil War in 1874 at the age of 42.
Gideon Welles: Gideon Welles served as the U.S. Secretary of the Navy under President Abraham Lincoln from 1861 until 1869. Among his accolades, he is credited with positioning the Navy to block southern ports, which has been recognized as a key strategy in the Northern victory.
Central Connecticut State University is planning and publicizing tours and events throughout the state dedicated to the commemoration of the 150th Anniversary of the commencement of the American Civil War. To visit their website for more information, click here.