(1836 - 1862)
Home State: New York
Command Billet: Company Commander
Branch of Service: Infantry
Unit: 103rd New York Infantry
From a well-to-do family in New York, he had attended school in Lausanne, Switzerland for two years (1854-56). He served as Private, Company K, 7th New York State Militia from April to June 1861. On 12 March 1862 he mustered as Captain, Company D, 103rd New York Infantry. He transferred to Company A on 25 June.
On the Campaign
He was mortally wounded by gunshot or canister rounds to his left thigh, his femur broken, in action at Antietam on 17 September 1862.
The rest of the War
He was taken to a hospital in the German Reformed Church in Sharpsburg. Initially treated by splints and braces for a partial fracture, he was still in severe pain and not improving by the end of September. A new surgeon investigated further on 2 October, found his bone badly broken, and treated for that. By mid October he was still in significant pain and could only sleep with morphine, and "emaciation was advancing."
By mid-October he was also being tended by his mother, Isabella, who wrote home:
[his surgeon] said most men would have died after the second week but that Henry has shown such power of endurance. That he has every hope of his entire recovery, not however without a slight lame hep (sic). He says the important thing now is to try and keep up his appetite giving him as often as possible nourishment to counteract his drain on his system, proceeding from the wound. He orders him a cup of beef tea, three times a day, and eggs in different ways, in fact he lets him eat almost anything, that is easily digested. Unfortunately now Henry is tired of beef tea and says it will make him vomit, if I force him to take it. I have to find out something else. If we were only home, how many things I could get for him but here it is almost impossible. The Sanitary Commission is our main stand by and they are very kind and give us everything we ask for and more.He had surgery on 26 October to remove infected tissue and bone fragments, but his leg was badly infected. Although rational and able to speak to the end, he died at 10:30 pm on 30 October 1862.
You would find Henry very much altered and he grows thinner daily but the doctors are not alarmed and say it is always so after lying so long. They order him several times a day a little Sherry and sometimes when in extreme pain, brandy but they think now, he will not suffer as much as he has done.
References & notes
Service information from State of New York1 and Phisterer2. Wound and hospital details from Nelson,3 from the casebook of Surgeon E.M. McDowell. Personal details and the quote above from his bio sketch from the Green-Wood Cemetery. His gravesite is on Findagrave. His picture from a photograph in the collection of the New York Military Museum available online through the New York Heritage portal.
1836; New York City, NY
10/30/1862 Sharpsburg, MD; burial in Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, NY
1 State of New York, Adjutant-General, Annual Report of the Adjutant General of the State of New York [year]: Registers of the [units], 43 Volumes, Albany: James B. Lyon, State Printer, 1893-1905, Issue 33 (for the year 1902), pg. 828 [AotW citation 7943]
2 Phisterer, Frederick, New York in the War of the Rebellion, 6 volumes, Albany: J. B. Lyon Company, 1909-12, Vol. 4, pg. 3215 [AotW citation 7944]
3 Nelson, John H., As Grain Falls Before the Reaper: The Federal Hospital Sites and Identified Federal Casualties at Antietam, Hagerstown: John H. Nelson, 2004, pp. 65-66 [AotW citation 23330]