(1843 - 1862)
Home State: New York
Command Billet: Soldier
Branch of Service: Infantry
Unit: 108th New York Infantry
He enlisted in Company G of the newly forming 108th New York Infantry in July 1862 at 18 years of age. The regiment mustered into service 16-18 August and saw their first combat at Antietam.
On the Campaign
He was killed in action on 17 September at Antietam at or near the Bloody Lane. A letter from Private Hiram Sherman - also of Co. G - describes it for Byron's family back home:
Washington City, September 23d, 1862.
My Dear Mr. Holcomb:
I suppose you have ere this received the news of Byron's death on the battle-field of the 17th. He was killed instantly, the ball striking him in the side, about six inches above the point of the hip, and passing entirely through the body. The only words he spoke were : " I am wounded, carry me back." Hiram Sherman and others of his companions buried him under an oak tree in the valley of the Antietam, and the whole company shed tears over the grave of one who had made himself beloved by all who knew him. The officers of the company told me that Byron's death made a great gap in the ranks of his company. Everybody loved him. He was the favorite in the regiment. Stuart Beebe was in another part of the regiment from Byron, and did not know of his fall until the fight was over. He assisted in carrying Charles Tillotson from the field, and was afterwards detailed to attend him till he died. Darwin Skinner was wounded in the hip and in the arm, and is now in some one of the hospitals. As soon after the battle was fought as I could get a pass, I hurried away to the scene of the conflict to help take care of the wounded and administer to their comfort. I had just returned, and hasten to give you these particulars of his death. Be assured that my tears shall be mingled with yours over this sad bereavement, for I had learned to love your son, and his death comes upon me like a thunder clap, like a great misfortune, too great almost for endurance. Would that I could help to bind up the wounds that his death has caused.
Very respectfully yours,
H. H. S.
The rest of the War
Byron was originally buried on the battlefield. His father traveled to Sharpsburg and returned his son's body for burial in the Baptist churchyard, East Henrietta, NY in November 1862. He was moved to Mt. Hope Cemetery in 1871 [memorial stone photo].
References & notes
Life and service information from Washburn's History1, including letter quoted above. Thanks to great-grand-nephew Christopher D Holcombe Sr. for the pointer to Private Holcombe.
09/24/1862; East Henrietta, NY
09/17/1862; Sharpsburg, MD; burial in Mt. Hope Cemetery, Rochester, NY