Saturday, April 17, 2010

News From the Front

In the late 20th, early 21st Century, increased attention is being paid attention to the impact of war on the families of soldiers who serve, soldiers who are wounded and soldiers who die. Research suggests that the shared commonality of fear and separation from loved ones contributes to the construction of alternative community bonds—a sense of shared sacrifice, loss and survival, as well as the strengthening of common political and religious ideals.1

The same might be said for families who struggled through the Civil War, when the war between the states lead to the disruption of nuclear family bonds by the long-term of service and the all too often, permanent separation by death.

Evidence of this theory can be seen in the epitaphs of war dead from the Civil War era.
While government-issued grave markers adhered to the standard of name, rank and unit, markers purchased and erected by families of the fallen often exhibit epitaphs that include the cause and/or the circumstances of death.2 One can theorize that this sharing of the intimate details of death was rooted in sorrow and mourning as well as pride and strong sense of shared familial, political, religious and community beliefs and fears at a time of war. In one instance illustrated here, the notation of wounds experienced during the Civil War on the gave of a surviving Veteran, points to the impact of this era as defining the lives and identities of many Americans.

The following images of gravestones and memorials for Civil War veterans reveal a common theme; though circumstances may have varied, in all cases there was a common cause of death: War.

Brothers in Arms & in Blood
Austin W. Whittier
A member of Co. H 1st Me Heavy Artillery
died at Philadelphia Pa.
Aug. 20, 1864,
of wounds received in battle at
Petersburg Va.
Æ. 18 yrs. 10 mos. 20 days.

Andrew J. Whittier
a member of Co. H. 6th Regt. Me. Vols.
died at Mt. Pleasant Hospital Washington
May 31, 1863,
of wounds received at Fredericksburg Va.
Æ. 30 yrs. 5 mos. 13 days.
His grave is at Mt. Hope cemetery Washington D.C.

They died for their country.

Leonard E. Kenneston
a member of
Co. H. 16th Regt.
Me. Vols.
died at Belle Plain Va.
Feb. 8. 1863.
Æ. 27 yrs.

Thomas E. Kenneston
a member of
Co. H. 16th Regt.
Me. Vols.
died at Windmill Point Va.
Jan. 25, 1863.
Æ. 24 yrs. 11 mos.

They died for their country.

Died in captivity

In memory of
Prentice M. Clark
1839 — 1864
Died in Andersonville Prison.

Family also listed on the marker:
Fred L. Clark

1842 — 1901

Louisa Clark

Laura E. Clark

Lost on the Battlefield

Eugene Lord
wounded in the assault
before Petersburg, Va. June
18. Died at City Point, June
25, 1864. Æ. 19 yrs.
2 mos & 6 days.
Son of Augustus &
Hannah Lord.

Stone is marked with a relief carving of the emblem for Co. F 1st Me. Heavy Artillery Me.

In memory of
Wm. H.H. Bates
musician of Co. H 31st
Regt. Me. Vols. Killed in
action near Cold Harbor Va.
June 3, 1864,
and buried on the field.

Æ. 17 years.

Son of John B. &
Rachel P. Bates

The nation called for soldiers;
One of that quota I supplied;
Dear mother, for his country,
Your son has bled and died.

Andrew W. Strout,
A member of Co. D. 30th
Regt. Me. Vols. Killed in
Pleasant Hill battle at
Mansfield La.
April 9, 1864
Æ. 22 yrs. 5 mos.
& 21 days

Died for his country the union to save,
Far, far away is his unknown grave.
Peace to his ashes hallowed the spot
God knows the place we know it not.

Officers of the GAR

Isaac Winslow Case
Co. H. 22nd Regt. Me. Vols.
Son of
Dr. Isaac & Abigail P.
died of Congestive chill
while in the service of his
country at Port Hudson La
July 6, 1863.
Æ. 40 Years

His trust was in Christ alone
Whom he had followed in life
Whom he triumphed in at death

In memory of
Calvin Sanger Douty
Colonel 1st Maine Cavalry
U.S. Volunteers.
Killed on the field of battle
At the head of his Regiment
On the 17th day of June 1863,
at the victory of Aldie Va,
In the third year of the war
For the Union
Aged 50 years.

As a husband and father he was devoted
And exemplary, as a public officer
Upright and efficient, as a private
Citizen, enterprising and useful,
And as a soldier, discreet, intrepid
And “faithful unto death.”
This tribute to his worth is erected by
His widow, and only surviving child.

Detail of the Calvin Sanger Douty memorial. Though badly eroded, the relief image of a mounted soldier with sword raised, leading his soldiers into battle is still clearly visible. While there is significant evidence that the position of the hooves of a mount does not communicate the specific cause of death, Mrs. Douty appears to have opted to use the symbolic imagery of a horse with a single raised hoof to reinforce the message that her husband was wounded in battle and died as a result of his wounds.

Lieut. Eli W.
Son of Richmond
& Isabella B. Parkman.
Died June 16, 1864
Æ. 24 yrs. 2 m’s. 15 d’s.
He was a Lieut. of Co. D. first
D.C. Cavelry, Shot June 15, 1864
Near Petersburg.
Gone Home.

Reason for Pride, if not death

1843 • Roscoe G. Tebbets • 1936
A volunteer of the Civil War
Served in Co. H. 31st Me. Regt.
Wounded through the left lung
Involving his heart during the
Battle of Lee’s surrender
April • 1865

His wife
1874 • Mina G. Nason • 1857


1Garbarino, J., Kostelny, K. and Dubrow, N. (1991). No Place to Be a Child: Growing up in a War Zone. Lexington, Mass: Lexington Press.

2Sawtelle, K. (May 22, 2009) Frock Coat and Flag: Union Soldier Markers in Central Maine. Retrieved April 17, 2010 from