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J.D. Griswold

J.D. Griswold

Federal (USV)


John D. Griswold

(1837 - 1862)

Home State: Connecticut

Education: Yale College, Class of 1857

Branch of Service: Infantry

Unit: 11th Connecticut Infantry

Before Antietam

From Olde Lyme, CT, he graduated from Yale in 1857. He spent most of 1858 in Kansas as a surveyor, and sailed to Hawaii in 1860. He staked a claim on a "guano island" in the Pacific for about a year before returning to the mainland at San Fransisco.

He came back East and was commissioned Captain, Company I, 11th Connecticut Infantry on 16 December 1861. He transferred to Company A on 9 August 1862.

On the Campaign

He commanded his Company at Antietam on 17 September 1862.

All the rebel batteries were now roaring. The air rang with whistling balls and the ground quaked with the hard breath of artillery. The Eleventh Connecticut descended to storm Antietam Bridge. The rebel guns were pouring in a destructive fire of grape and canister; while continuous volleys from an unseen enemy in the woods were also showered upon them. Down the road leaped the Eleventh into this "valley of death."

Companies A and B under Capt. John Griswold were deployed as skirmishers; and they plunged into the swift stream here some fifty feet wide and four deep, their dauntless commander taking the lead. He was shot through the breast while in mid-river but struggled forward, and fell upon the opposite bank, among the rebels.

The rest of the War

Surgeon Meyer and four men of the regiment retrieved the Captain and took him to a nearby shed, where he was later visited by General Burnside. He died of wounds the next day at a field hospital on the Henry Rohrbach farm near the bridge.

References & notes

Service information from Ingersoll1 and the Record.2 Combat information and the quote above from Croffut & Morris.3 Details from his bio sketch in the Obituary Record of Graduates of Yale College [PDF] (1862/63). His gravesite is on Findagrave.

More on the Web

See an excellent post by John Banks on his Civil War Blog about the probable discovery of a war-time photograph of Griswold by collector Robert Wayne Elliott, and an earlier post about the Captain by John, source also of his picture used here, from the Military and Civil History.


04/24/1837; Old Lyme, CT


09/18/1862; Sharpsburg, MD; burial in Griswold Family Cemetery, Old Lyme, CT


1   Ingersoll, Colin Macrae, Adjutant-General, Catalogue of Connecticut Volunteer Organizations in the Service of the United States, 1861-1865, Hartford: Brown & Gross, 1869, pg. 493  [AotW citation 20538]

2   State of Connecticut, Adjutant General's Office, and AGs Smith, Camp, and Barbour, and AAG White, Record of Service of Connecticut Men in the Army and Navy of the United States during the War of the Rebellion, Hartford: Press of the Case, Lockwood, and Brainard Company, 1889, pp. 434, 462  [AotW citation 20539]

3   Croffut, W. A., and John M. Morris, The Military and Civil History of Connecticut during the War of 1861-65, New York: Ledyard Bill, 1868, pp. 266-267, 280  [AotW citation 20540]