General Griffin A. Stedman (1838 – 1864)
Griffin Alexander Stedman, Jr. was born in Hartford, Connecticut. He graduated from Trinity College in 1859 and began a law career in Philadelphia shortly thereafter. Following the attack at Fort Sumter, Stedman returned to Connecticut to join the Fourteenth U.S. Infantry in Hartford. The Fourteenth was later disbanded and Stedman was appointed a captain in the Fifth regiment of Connecticut Volunteers.
Stedman was recognized by his commanders and peers as a good soldier. He fought in many battles and campaigns including Antietam, Fredericksburg and Cold Harbor, and he quickly moved up the ranks to Colonel where he became commander of the 11th Connecticut Volunteer Infantry. During a skirmish after the second battle at Petersburg, Stedman was mortally wounded. He lay dying for 24 hours, and it was during this time that he was promoted to the rank of general. He died on August 6, 1864.
Stedman’s remains were sent under escort to New London, Connecticut where the summer home of the Stedman family was located. On Aug. 13, 1864, General Griffin A. Stedman was laid to rest with full military honors in Cedar Grove Cemetery in New London. Eleven years later, on August 20, 1875, General Stedman was disinterred from Cedar Grove Cemetery and reinterred in the family lot at Cedar Hill Cemetery. A remarkably-carved sarcophagus, which includes a flag, names of all the battles in which General Stedman fought and his ornamental sword, cap and belt, marks his final resting place. On the base of the memorial appears the highly appropriate inscription: Brave, just, generous and pure, without fear and without reproach.
On what is known as Campfield in the southern part of Hartford, the Campfield Monument Association erected what was designated as The Campfield Monument. Campfield was significant during the Civil War as it was the mustering-in point and camping place for many Connecticut regiments. To mark this field, the Campfield Monument Association wanted to erect a memorial that would be typical of a Connecticut volunteer soldier. The Committee unanimously agreed that the memorial should be created in the likeness of General Griffin A. Stedman. The monument was unveiled October 4, 1900.
Commemorative Biographical Record of Hartford County, Connecticut: Containing Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens, and of many of the Early Settled Families. Volume 1. Chicago: Beers, J.H. & Co., 1901.
CTMonuments.net. Accessed at http://ctmonuments.net/?paged=5 in August 2010.
The Union Army: A History Of Military Affairs In The Loyal States 1861-65—Records of the Regiments in the Union Army—Cyclopedia of Battles — Memoirs of Commanders and Soldiers, Volume I, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Delaware. Madison, WI: Federal Publish1ng Company, 1908.
RootsWeb.com. Accessed at http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~ctharbio/Stedman_Griffin.html in August 2010.
Trudeau, Noah Andre. The Last Citadel: Petersburg, Virginia, June 1864 – April 1865. Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press, 1991.
Photo Credits: General Griffin A. Stedman, Public Domain; General Stedman’s Memorial, Cedar Hill Cemetery