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H.W. Brown

H.W. Brown

Federal (USV)


Henry Washington Brown

(1843 - 1864)

Home State: Connecticut

Branch of Service: Infantry

Unit: 21st Massachusetts Infantry

Before Antietam

An 18 year old farmer from Thompson, CT, he enlisted in Company F, 21st Massachusetts Infantry in Worcester, MA on 19 August 1861. He was on the Burnside Expedition to North Carolina, and in action at Second Bull Run and Chantilly.

On the Campaign

He was on South Mountain and in combat at Antietam, and soon after wrote a letter home ...

Pvt. Henry Brown, 21st Massachusetts Volunteers, Co. F Antietam Ironworks, October 2, 1862
Dear Parents,
You will think perhaps that I am dead by not writing for so long a time but I am alive and well yet.... [at the lower bridge we] made a rush and crossed. The rebels skedaddled over the hill behind their batteries, amid showers of bullets. Many a brave gray jacket bit the dust. Len Sharp was killed in trying to rally his men. The Third Division crossed the creek by a ford lower down the creek and charged on the batteries. The rebels skedaddled and left their guns. The rebels seeing there was so small a force charged on them and drove them back and opened fire on them from the batteries and forced the grape and canister in their ranks. They kept retreating back. Other divisions were ordered up. Our forces fell back till they could get some shelter. Our batteries had used up all their ammunition. Our division lay down near the bridge. We were told that we would not have to fight anymore that day; that reinforcements would arrive, but there was none came but the rest of the Ninth Army Corps.

We were almost out of ammunition but were ordered up. We marched forward. The others were falling back in great confusion. We got behind a fence and commenced firing. We fired away all our ammunition and lay down behind the fence and laid there an hour and a quarter. All this time, the rebels were firing from three batteries as fast as they could. The shells, balls, grape and canister were flying around us in every direction, some striking men and tearing them all to pieces. It was about dark when we retired from the field. We went back to the bridge. Firing seized on both sides...

The rest of the War

He was discharged from the 21st Massachusetts to enlist in Battery K, 1st US Artillery on 23 October 1862. He was with them at Gettysburg, PA. He reenlisted on 15 February 1864, but died of malaria at Satterlee Hospital in Philadelphia, PA on 19 June 1864.

References & notes

Service data from the Massachusetts Adjutant General1. Further details and the quote above from a very large collection of his wartime letters, now in the Thompson (CT) Historical Society. His photo here from a colored image also in the THS collection.


1843; East Thompson, CT


06/19/1864; Philadelphia, PA; burial in Mount Moriah Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA


1   Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Adjutant General, Massachusetts Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines in the Civil War, 8 Vols, Norwood (MA): Norwood Press, 1931-35, Vol. 2, pg. 622; Vol. 6, pg. 789  [AotW citation 11996]