Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy signed a Proclamation to officially dedicate May 30th 2015 Dorence Atwater Day. The Plymouth Chamber of Commerce along with the Plymouth Historical Society unveiled a new Memorial Plaque honoring a Civil War Hero and Native Son of Terryville, Connecticut, Dorence Atwater .
The Ceremony included historic presentations by Matt Malley as Dorence Atwater, Jonalyn Williams as Moetia Atwater and Candice Hall as Clara Barton. Jerry Milne was at the podium to read the proclamation.
Also participating were the 2nd Connecticut Volunteers Heavy Artillery, complete with the firing of a working replica of a Gatling Battery Gun, a demonstration of period Gravestone Carving by Michael Angelicola and Jeninfer Rich, Civil War Medicine and implements for surgery on the battlefield by Dane and Carol Deleppo and period music by Dan and Fran Gardella of Down Home Frolic on Banjo and Fiddle.
Dorence Atwater enlisted in the 2nd NY Calvary in 1861 at the age of 16. He was captured by the Confederates and sent to Belle Isle Prison in July 1863 and subsequently sent to the Andesonville Prison in Georgia in February of 1864 where he spent a year there and was released in February of 1865.
Andersonville was the worst of the worst. It was only twenty six acres and held 45,000 prisoners, most of whom died from diseases such as scurvy, dysentery, malaria and even diarrhea.
While incarcerated, he managed to gather, record and keep a secret list of Union Solders who perished there. He had the names of 13,000 men when he mustered out.
He was Court Marshaled because of this list and sent to Federal Prison in Auburn NY in September of 1865 but was released in November of 1865 with the intercession of Clara Barton of Washington DC.
Dorence had to overcome the objections of both the US Government and the Military to get his list published in order to give word to the next of kin the fate of their loved ones. The ‘List of the Dead’ was finally published in the New York Tribune in 1866.
Dorence went on to work with Clara Barton in the Missing Soldiers Office in Washington DC from 1866-1867
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