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Federal (USV)

Corporal

Leonidas A. Barber

(1840 - 1867)

Home State: Connecticut

Branch of Service: Infantry

Unit: 8th Connecticut Infantry

Before Antietam

A 21 year old machinist in Stonington, he mustered as Corporal in Company G, 8th Connecticut Infantry on 21 September 1861.

On the Campaign

He was wounded by gunshot to the head in action at Antietam on the afternoon of 17 September 1862:

The sun - now low in the west - shone full in our eyes, preventing any sight at them [the enemy] which we might otherwise have had, while their batteries sent shot and shell tearing through our ranks or shrieking overhead.

I had short time to make these observations for all at once everything became dark and I seemed to be whirling through the air with lightning speed. Being somewhat uncertain as my latitude, I felt about and was much gratified to find myself still on terra firma and not making a flying trip through the regions of space. Our division soon fell back, the Eighth having half its number killed or wounded, and the rebels soon came up. A number of them spoke to me - all kindly - and one spread my blanket over me and fixed a rude pillow for my head. In consequence of my wound, I could neither speak my thanks nor ask his name - but I shall always remember him. Of course there are some rascals in every army and it was one of these that searched my pockets, taking my money and other articles. As to the one who wanted to take my shoes, I can forgive him as I suppose the poor devil needed them bad enough for I saw a number of them the next day without any.

I remained on the field through the night and the next day I was able to get to a barn [Otto's?] a few rods distant where were a large number of our wounded in the care of the secesh. They treated us very well and paroled us before retreating that night, leaving a couple of their men to take care of us till friends should come up, which was not till the morning after. You may believe I looked hardly presentable. My head was swelled so that one of my own company did not know me, and my hair, beard, and clothes were saturated with blood and dirt. Friday afternoon I succeeded in getting carried to a hospital, and having my wound dressed. Our fare here was hardtack and coffee in the morning, hard bread and soup at noon, and hard bread and coffee at night. This was what you may call hard living - especially when one's jaws and throat are so he can neither chew nor swallow anything hard. Had it not been for the kindness of one of my company who was a nurse of the hospital, I think the doctors would have done what the secesh could not - that is, deprive the country of a soldier and yourself a brother.

The rest of the War

He was initially treated at a field hospital, then at US Army hospitals in Frederick, MD from 3 October 1862 to 2 March 1863, when he was sent to Camp Convalescent in Alexandria, VA. He transferred to the Invalid (Veteran Reserve) Corps on 1 September 1863 and was discharged on 22 September 1864.

References & notes

Casualty information from Nelson1 and the Patient List.2 His service from Ingersoll3 with details from the AG's Catalogue of the 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, and 11th Regiments of Infantry ... (1862). His gravesite is on Findagrave.

More on the Web

The quote above from a letter Leonidas wrote to his brother John on 5 November, published in the Narragansett Weekly of 20 November 1862. The complete letter was posted online at Spared & Shared by Griff. See more about Barber and others of his regiment at Antietam in a blog post by John Banks.

Birth

01/16/1840; Hopkinton, RI

Death

1867 Leavenworth, IL; burial in River Bend Cemetery, Westerly, RI

Notes

1   Nelson, John H., As Grain Falls Before the Reaper: The Federal Hospital Sites and Identified Federal Casualties at Antietam, Hagerstown: John H. Nelson, 2004, pg. 122  [AotW citation 16259]

2   National Museum of Civil War Medicine, and Terry Reimer, Frederick Patient List, Published 2018, first accessed 17 September 2018, <http://www.civilwarmed.org/explore/primary-sources/databases/frederickpatient/>, Source page: patient #700, 1.270  [AotW citation 21817]

3   Ingersoll, Colin Macrae, Adjutant-General, Catalogue of Connecticut Volunteer Organizations in the Service of the United States, 1861-1865, Hartford: Brown & Gross, 1869, pg. 382  [AotW citation 21818]