World War I sparked the memory of a Civil War hero’s funeral

Colonel William B. Goodrich

With the centennial anniversary of the armistice effectively ending World War I having recently passed, it seemed fitting to stumble upon the article reproduced below from the September 21, 1918 issue of the Watertown Daily Times (NY). The article is titled “Funeral of Civil War Recalled.”

     Canton, Sept. 21.–The receipt of casualty lists from the United States army in France recalls that 56 years ago tomorrow the body of Colonel William B. Goodrich, of the 60th New York State Volunteers, who was killed in action in the battle of Antietam arrived here for burial. Accompanying the body was the pony which Colonel Goodrich had taken with him when he left Canton to enter the war.

     Colonel Goodrich was 41 years of age at the time he was killed, and was one of the most prominent residents of the village, a street here having been named in honor of him. The older residents remember the crowd of people that congregated at the station when the body was brought back for the funeral. The colonel, who was a man of large physique, met his death at the hands of a Confederate sharpshooter, who picked him off as he was standing by the side of his horse in the open.

     Murray N. Ralph of Watertown has a photograph of Colonel Goodrich, and another of Rev. Richard Eddy, pastor of the Universalist church here, and chaplain of the 60th regiment, which he has offered to local authorities for preservation.

Sometimes we get caught up in compartmentalizing history into specific eras and often forget that people lived on from one era to the next, carrying with them their prior experiences and memories.

As for Col. William Goodrich, he is a man often forgotten in Antietam’s story. He led a brigade in the 12th Corps when he was felled and subsequently died. However, like other brigade commanders who met the same fate on September 17, the location of Goodrich’s mortal wounding is not marked by a mortuary cannon because he was not a general. Instead, battlefield tablet No. 113 on Starke Avenue marks the approximate location of Goodrich’s fall.

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