A Case of Mistaken Identity

Andy Cardinal

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If you visit plot #3829 at the Antietam National Cemetery, you will see the grave of Private Henry Struble of Co. C, 8th Pennsylvania Reserves (37th Pennsylvania). Struble was killed during the fighting at Frosttown Gap during the Battle of South Mountain on September 14, 1862.

Except he wasn't....

Struble was wounded during the fighting and taken to a field hospital. While lying in the hospital, Struble gave his canteen to another wounded soldier lying next to him who was complaining of thirst. The other soldier, whose name is unknown, died and the burial detail, believing the canteen to be his, identified him as Henry Struble. The misidentified soldier was later reinterred at Antietam.

Meanwhile the real Struble returned home to Youngwood, Pennsylvania. He lived until June 2, 1926. It is said that he would send flowers to decorate his grave every year on Memorial Day.
 

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lelliott19

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Thanks for this post @Andy Cardinal When we were at Antietam a couple of years ago, we hired several guides for different tours. One of the tours we requested included a visit to the National Cemetery. I posted about Capt Werner von Bachelle's grave here https://civilwartalk.com/threads/iron-brigade-dog-capt-werner-von-bachelle.134036/#post-1528581 Anyway, our guide pointed out Struble's marker and told us about this mistaken ID. I had forgotten about it and appreciate you reminding me. Its a sad story for the family of the unknown soldier. Maybe one day, someone will be able to figure out exactly who he is.
 

Andy Cardinal

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I ran across the story in the "National Cemetery Exploration" produced by the National Park Service. It appears to be a resource for teachers and students visiting Antietam. The story is also told on Struble's findagrave site.

Unfortunately I was unable to find out much more about Struble and nothing about the other soldier.
 
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lelliott19

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1560221637668.png

Iowa County Democrat. (Mineral Point, Wis.), September 21, 1883, page 1.

The same article was reprinted in several other newspapers including this PA paper. At least they corrected the spelling of the word "county" when it was reprinted. :D
1560221883124.png

Millheim Journal. (Millheim, PA.), October 11, 1883, page 3.

Just a possibility, but perhaps if the unknown man was in the same company, his records could have been mixed with Josiah Hill? Struble was said to have been wounded through the lung and liver - not in the bowels as in the report below. If Josiah Hill was wounded in the bowels, it could mean the two men were incorrectly ID'd from the time of the wounding?
1560224315505.png

The Daily Pittsburgh Gazette and Commercial Journal., September 29, 1862, page 4.
 
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rpkennedy

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8th Pennsylvania Reserves who were mortally wounded at South Mountain whose burial is unknown:

Michael Tracy, Company B, died 10/4
William Kay, Company F, died 9/18
Corporal William Loafman, Company K, died 9/24

There were a few others who died between September and November but the record isn't clear if they were wounded. This also assumes that the mystery man was a member of the 8th which could very well not be the case.

Interestingly, he is still listed as KIA at South Mountain in Pennsylvania's records.

Ryan
 

JPK Huson 1863

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Whoa, that's a crazy story. I've come across several stories in era papers about a husband walking through the door after she'd been mourning him because she'd been told he was dead. Always assumed them inventions for the sake of a good, romantic story.

Reading of what the burial details dealt with plus how many men's IDs were lost when reburied elsewhere it's a little amazing this didn't occur more often.

Nice job finding men whose grave this might be! Gee whiz. It's never too late and you never know if it'll solve some family's mystery. Grgrgrandfather's brother died during the July 1863 pursuit, grave unknown. 150 years later some lovely woman contacted us with wishing to know if the grave described in a soldier's journal displayed in Gettysburg's collection was his. It was.
 

Seduzal

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An Amazing story. Just saying ‘What If’ if someone back in the Civil War had invented the “Dog Tag”. Or some other way of identifying a soldiers that was wounded or died of wounds or KIA.
Thanks for sharing this awesome article.
 


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