He survived Andersonville Prison

Diaries and letters of Civil War soldiers from Connecticut form a large part of our manuscript holdings, so I don’t go out of my way to add more material unless it tells a previously unknown or undocumented bit of history. That is how and why we acquired a certificate issued to Alonzo G. Case of Simsbury by the Connecticut Association of Union Ex-Prisoners of War. We had nothing comparable to it in the collection. Who knew there was such an organization? Continue reading

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David Starr, Civil War soldier

Photograph of David Starr. 2013.221.

Photograph of David Starr. 2013.221.

David Allen Starr was the son of David H. and Harriet Rogers Starr of New London, Connecticut. In 1862 he and his brother Elisha enlisted in the 5th Regiment, Connecticut Volunteers. David was captured by the Confederate Army at the battle of Cedar Mountain and taken first to Libby Prison and then to Belle Isle. He was lucky enough to be paroled in five months but not before being starved and enduring the hot sun with no place to take cover. After his release, David was placed on guard duty at a hospital in Frederick, Maryland, before rejoining his regiment which was preparing for General Sherman’s “march to the sea”. Continue reading

Pomfret helps a prisoner of war

Things have been a bit hectic here as we reorganize the operation of the library and museum, and our accessions have not been as fast and furious as usual.  However, we did acquire in December a fascinating document related to a Revolutionary War prisoner.  Evidently William Dodd, of Falmouth, Maine, who had been held prisoner in New York and had finally been release, fell ill while traveling through Pomfret.  The town provided medical expenses, room and board for Dodd from August 1781 to January 1872.  They indicate they also had expenses for “carrying him out of the state.”  The town’s Selectmen and a Justice of the Peace sent a request to the Governor and Council of Connecticut for reimbursement for the town’s expenses of just over 15 pounds. It is this document that recently came into our possession and provides an interesting insight into the travails of former prisoners and the culture of assisting soldiers, even in a small rural town.