Civil War Temporary Burial Markings for Confederate Colonel Henry B. Strong, 6th Louisiana

Lot of 3, including temporary grave marker, coffin board, and casket cover for Confederate Colonel Henry B. Strong. 

When the Civil War began in 1861, Irishman Henry B. Strong, a clerk in New Orleans, recruited and commanded the Calhoun Guards, who would become part of the 6th Louisiana Volunteers. After participating in Jackson's Valley Campaign, during which the 6th Louisiana marched hundreds of miles and fought the enemy in ten battles and numerous skirmishes, followed by the capture of Harpers Ferry,  the Irish Tigers and their comrades were called to the battle of Antietam, also known as the battle of Sharpsburg, remembered today as the bloodiest single day of the Civil War. 

On September 17, 1862, Colonel Strong rode into action at Sharpsburg, no doubt determined to set an example for his men. The Colonel, mounted on his large, white horse, became a target almost immediately, and the regiment had barely entered the battle before he and his horse went down, in the southeast corner of the cornfield near the edge of East Woods. Colonel Strong's body was taken by his men from the battlefield the day after the battle and buried just southeast of Dunkard Church. They marked his grave with a wood plank headboard marked: COL./ STRONG/ 6 LA.

Granted by the legislature of Maryland in 1864, the charter of the Antietam National Cemetery provided for the purchase, enclosing and ornamenting of ten acres of land, part of the battlefield of Antietam, as a final resting place for the soldiers who fell in that battle. It declared it was the duty of the Trustees of the respective states to remove the remains of all the soldiers who fell at the battle, and have them properly interred in these grounds: "The remains of the soldiers in the Confederate Army are to be buried in a part of the grounds separate from those of the Union Army."

The Union soldiers were collected and interred in what is now the Antietam National Cemetery in Sharpsburg, which was dedicated on September 7, 1867, five years after the battle. The Confederate soldiers were not buried at the same time. Finally, in late 1868, the Trustees of the Cemetery for the State of Maryland wrote to the Governor of Maryland, calling attention to the exposed and neglected condition of the Confederate dead, and informed the Governor that many of the trenches and graves were so washed that the bones were laid bare. They requested that some action be taken to protect the dead until they could be removed to a proper place of burial. 

In 1869, Governor Bowie requested that Thomas Boullt, of Hagerstown, MD, one of the Trustees for Maryland in Antietam Cemetery, employ agents to go over the battlefield and mound up the trenches and graves of the Confederate dead, to make careful notes of the locations and, as far as possible, identify the dead. To accomplish this task, Moses Poffinberger and Aaron Good of Sharpsburg, both well acquainted with the battlefields, were engaged. They visited the trenches and graves of Confederate soldiers in both Washington and Frederick counties, Maryland. This list, called the Bowie List, was published as ordered by Governor Bowie on May 1, 1869, and is the result of their labor, which is believed to contain all of the Confederate dead buried on the battlefields of Antietam, South Mountain, and Monocacy. The list was created by Poffinberger and Good seven years after the battle fought near Sharpsburg and South Mountain. They had to deal with fewer markers that remained legible and in place after such a long time. Colonel Strong's remains were properly marked by his men with a headboard, and the "Bowie List" describes his burial place as, "in the hollow south of Dunkard Church, 75 steps and ten feet east of a walnut stump towards (the) pike."

Those Confederate soldiers who were known to be buried at Antietam battlefield were finally reinterred in the Washington Confederate Cemetery, which is part of Rose Hill Cemetery, Hagerstown, MD. The dedication took place on June 15, 1877, 15 years after the battle. Thanks in part to these men and the GAR Reno Post #4 of Hagerstown, Colonel Strong's burial history has been preserved. His battlefield headboard measures approx. 9 x 21 in., and is housed in a shadow box walnut frame, 16.5 x 29 in. It appears that when his remains were exhumed in the early 1870s, they were taken to Upton Miller's undertaker business in Shepherdstown, WV. The transportation coffin board, 9 x 72 in., is marked Col. STRONG 6 LA in the middle, and marked Confederate Cemetery Hagerstown, MD at one end, and UPTON MILLER - Shepherdstown W. VA. ___ and undertaker at the opposite end. A red, white, and blue coffin cover, 22.25 x 123 in., marked COL. - STRONG - 6 LA, was probably used at the interment sometime during the mid 1870s, then preserved by the GAR post. 

A scarce grouping of Civil War artifacts.

Condition:Expected wear to grave marker and coffin board; coffin board with some scattered scratches; casket cover with wear throughout, but mostly along the edges; with some staining throughout casket cover as well. 

Estimate: $4,000 - $6,000
Price Realized Including Buyer's Premium


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