Photo Courtesy of the Thompson Family.
"As a soldier I am satisfied. I love the cause, I love the flag which flies over me and am willing to die
if needs be for the cause in which I am engaged. You will all pray for me for I cannot say
my life is safe for a moment for we are amongst rebels. Yet, I know I cannot be forgotten." - Harry H. Stewart April 16, 1862
On June 13th, 1861, he enlisted in the 2nd Maryland Infantry. How he came to be in Maryland is unknown. Harry served with the regiment through their participation in the Burnside Expedition to North Carolina, their participation in the Battles of Second Manassas and Chantilly.
Harry was killed at the Battle of Antietam on September 17th, 1862, as the Second Maryland Infantry, made a gallant but unsuccessful charge on Bridge #3 across the Antietam Creek, now known as Burnside's Bridge. The regiment began their charge with 167 men. By the time the charge was over, they had suffered 67 killed or wounded.
Sometime after the war, his sister, Virginia (my great great grandmother) married my great great grandfather, Thomas Thompson, a veteran of the US Navy (He was from Salem New Jersey) They moved to Chelsea Massachusetts, where Thomas was a tin smith. They had three children. Frank, Anne and my great grandfather, Harry Stewart Thompson. (Of note, Frank Thompson was one of the 60 odd sailors who survived the sinking of the Maine in Havana Harbour. By legend, he was blown off deck into the water.)
Harry Stewart Thompson was active in the Sons of Union Veterans. I have his ceremonial sword. In the early part of the 20th century, my great-grandfather went to the Medford home of his mother and brought back a number of items of furniture, including the heavy oak bed Harry was said to have been born in and which I sleep in today! He also, I think, discoverd the letters and the painted photo and brought them home. There were also copies of the New York Herald published on the day after Lincoln was shot.
At some time in this process, Harry S. Thompson began to investigate what he could about Harry Stewart. I believe this is when the family began a yearly tradition of going to the Antietam National Cemetary and cleaning his headstone.
Every first born Thompson male has carried the middle name Stewart for five generations. My oldest son, now 15, is Harry Stewart Thompson. I look forward to hearing any comments or thoughts or connections. Thank you.
Dr. Kenneth Stewart Thompson. E-mail Dr. Thompson
Copyright 2001 by Dr. Kenneth Stewart Thompson, all rights reserved in ALL media.