February 19, 2018

“It Was The Hardest Trial Of My Life…” and “Letters Home”

Andersonville Prison, the topic of a talk at Essex Library on July 12

The personal stories of the men of the 16th Connecticut Regiment imprisoned at Andersonville and Florence Stockades during the Civil War come to life in an illustrated talk by historian John Potter of the Connecticut Historical Society, Tuesday July 12 at 7 p.m. at the Essex Library.

This talk is one of the special programs and events scheduled for the Civil War Days series the Library is presenting from July 12 through Saturday July 16, funded by a grant from Citizens Bank in observance of the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War.         

Potter draws on the rich resources of the Connecticut Historical Society to create a vivid picture of those who suffered in these brutal  P.O.W. camps. As a historian and a Research and Collections Associate at the Connecticut Historical Society for the last two years, Potter has been studying the Civil War for over a decade now, with a special focus on the state’s involvement in the conflict.              

On Thursday, July 15 at 7 p.m., a different and very personal history will be explored in a talk called “Letters Home: the Letters of Pvt. Henry W. Brown” Using excepts from the 50 letters Henry sent to his family during his four years of service, along with a collection of historic and family photos, Civil War researcher John Proctor outlines his ancestor’s experiences as seen through the eyes of Henry’s father, as Henry describes his training, the boredom of camp life and his fighting in North Carolina, 2nd Bull Run, Antietam, Fredricksburg, and shadowing Lee’s Army up to Gettysburg. Proctor explains, “I was a social studies major in college, and while serving as a lieutenant at Fort Monmouth, NJ, joined the Monmouth County Civil War Roundtable and began my studies of the war.  My Uncle Henry W. Brown learned of my interest in the war, told me he had a bunch of letters sent home by his namesake, and asked if I would like to read them.  I jumped at the chance and was hooked on doing research on the battles that Henry fought.”  

Both programs are free and open to the public. To register, please call the Essex Library at 860-767-1560, where you can also get more information on other programs and events in this series.

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