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Terryville in Litchfield County, Connecticut — The American Northeast (New England)
 

Dorence Atwater, Plymouth's Civil War Hero

 
 
Dorence Atwater, Plymouth's Civil War Hero image. Click for full size.
By Michael Herrick, November 4, 2015
1. Dorence Atwater, Plymouth's Civil War Hero
Inscription.
Dorence Atwater, Plymouth's Civil War Hero
Dorence Atwater grew up in the Terryville section of Plymouth. He enlisted in the union Army in 1861 and was captured by Confederate forces in 1863. In February 1864, he was moved to the infamous Andersonville prison camp in Georgia, where 45,000 Union soldiers were squeezed into 26 acres. Diseases such as scurvy, dysentery, and malaria were rampant. Almost 13,000 men died while in captivity and were buried in unmarked trenches. Atwater kept a secret list of the names of the dead. When he was released in February 1865, he smuggled out his list so the families of the deceased could be notified.

After the War, he and Clara Barton returned to the prison camp to properly mark the graves and establish the Andersonville National Cemetery. He and Barton became lifelong friends.

In 1868, Atwater became consul to the Seychelles, an island chain off the east coast of Africa. In 1871, President Ulysses Grant appointed Atwater as U.S. consul to Tahiti. Atwater married a Tahitian princess and spent most of the rest of his life in the Pacific, running successful businesses such as a steamship line and a vanilla plantation. Clara Barton came to Plymouth's Centennial Celebration in 1895 to honor her friend, and returned on Memorial Day in 1907 for the dedication of
Dorence Atwater, Plymouth's Civil War Hero image. Click for full size.
By Michael Herrick, November 4, 2015
2. Dorence Atwater, Plymouth's Civil War Hero
Dorence Atwater and The Legacy of Clara Barton and Dorence Atwater
this monument. The cannon is a Rodman gun from a fort at Boston Harbor.

Atwater returned to Terryville 1908 to see this monument. He died in 1910 and is buried in Tahiti. The Tahitian word “TUPUATAAROA” is inscribed on his gravestone. It means "wise man".

( right panel )
Dorence Atwater
Feb. 3, 1845 - Born in Terryville. Third child of
Catherine Fenn Atwater and Henry Atwater.
1861 - Enlists in Union Army. Assigned to 2nd NY Cavalry.
May 1863 - His mother, Catherine, dies.
July 1863 - Captured by Confederates, sent to Belle Isle, Richmond, VA, POW camp.
Feb. 1864 - Sent to Andersonville, GA, POW camp.
Feb. 1865 - Released from Andersonville with secret list of 13,000 dead.
March 1865 - Returns to Terryville.
April 1865 - His father, Henry, dies. Travels to Washington, D.C. Meets Clara Barton.
July 1865 - Goes to Andersonville with Clara Barton.
Sept. 1865 - Court martialed in dispute over ownership of the Death Records. Sent to Federal prison in Auburn, NY, at hard labor.
Nov. 1865 - Released from prison after Clara Barton intercedes.
July 1866 - "A List of the Union Soldiers Buried at
Andersonville" is published by the New York Tribune.
1866-1867 - Atwater and Clara Barton work in the Missing Soldiers Office. They travel, giving lectures to raise funds for
Dorence Atwater, Plymouth's Civil War Hero Monument image. Click for full size.
By Michael Herrick, November 4, 2015
3. Dorence Atwater, Plymouth's Civil War Hero Monument
The monument was refurbished and the two panels erected in 2015.
their project.
1868 - Appointed Consul to Seychelle Islands.
1871 - Appointed Consul to Tahiti.
1875 - Marries Princess Moetia Salmon in Tahiti.
Late 1800s - Owns shipping business, vanilla plantation, pearl business, works with lepers.
1906 - Original copy of Atwater's Death Records destroyed in Great Fire of San Francisco.
1907 - Atwater monument installed at Baldwin Park.
1908 - Returns to Terryville to see his monument.
Nov. 26, 1910 - Dies in San Francisco.
1912 - Buried in Tahiti in a ceremony reserved for royalty.

The Legacy of Clara Barton and Dorence Atwater
Clara Barton and Dorence Atwater were able to account for 20,000 missing soldiers and provide their families some comfort in knowing what happened to their loved ones.
This was the first time in U.S. history that a concerted effort was made to notify families about their fathers, brothers, and sons who were Missing In Action.
The Andersonville Prison Historic Site is managed by the National Park Service. It is the home of the National Prisoner of War Museum. According to the Park Service Atwater may have been the most important enlisted man to serve in the Union Army.
For the record of the dead, you are indebted to the forethought, courage, and perseverance of Dorence Atwater – Clara Barton
 
Erected
Dorence Atwater Monument image. Click for full size.
By Michael Herrick, February 22, 2010
4. Dorence Atwater Monument
[ south side plaque ]
This Memorial Dedicated
To Our Fellow Townsman
Dorence Atwater
for
His Patriotism in Preserving
To This Nation
The Names of 13000 Soldiers Dead
While a Prisoner at Andersonville Ga.
2015.
 
Location. 41° 40.731′ N, 73° 0.481′ W. Marker is in Terryville, Connecticut, in Litchfield County. Marker is at the intersection of Park Street and Main Street, on the right when traveling north on Park Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Terryville CT 06786, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Loyal Sons and Daughters (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Plymouth Veterans Monument (about 500 feet away); Plymouth Vietnam Veterans Memorial (about 500 feet away); The Old Terryville Cemetery (approx. 0.2 miles away); Terryville Soldiers Memorial (approx. 0.2 miles away); Original Date Stone (approx. 0.2 miles away); Terryville Congregational Church Bell (approx. mile away); The Eli Terry Jr. Water Wheel (approx. 0.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Terryville.
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Markers in Andersonville Prison of War Camp, Andersonville, Ga.
 
Also see . . .
1. Dorence Atwater on Wikipedia. (Submitted on February 28, 2010, by Michael Herrick of Southbury, Connecticut.)
2. The Andersonville Death Rolls. (Submitted on February 28, 2010, by Michael Herrick of Southbury, Connecticut.)
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
Dorence Atwater Monument image. Click for full size.
By Michael Herrick, February 22, 2010
5. Dorence Atwater Monument
[ north side plaque ]
Dorence Atwater
Born
Terryville, Conn.
February 3, 1845
Died
San Francisco, Cal.
November 28, 1910
Buried
Tahiti Society Islands
Dorence Atwater Monument image. Click for full size.
By Michael Herrick, February 22, 2010
6. Dorence Atwater Monument
In Memory of the 13000 who Died at Andersonville image. Click for full size.
By Michael Herrick, November 4, 2015
7. In Memory of the 13000 who Died at Andersonville
small stone in front of the cannon balls
Dorence Atwater Monument image. Click for full size.
By Michael Herrick, February 22, 2010
8. Dorence Atwater Monument
Dorence Atwater Marker and Monument image. Click for full size.
By Michael Herrick, February 22, 2010
9. Dorence Atwater Marker and Monument
(marker as originally published)
Dorence Atwater Marker image. Click for full size.
By Michael Herrick, February 22, 2010
10. Dorence Atwater Marker
Captured by the Confederates and sent to the prisoner-of-war camp at Andersonville, Ga., Atwater kept a secret list of the 13, 000 Union soldiers who died there. After the war, he and Clara Barton returned to properly mark the graves of the dead. Clara Barton came to Terryville for the 1895 centennial and in 1907 for the dedication of this monument.
(marker as originally published)
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on February 28, 2010, by Michael Herrick of Southbury, Connecticut. This page has been viewed 1,088 times since then and 60 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on November 10, 2015, by Michael Herrick of Southbury, Connecticut.   4, 5, 6. submitted on February 28, 2010, by Michael Herrick of Southbury, Connecticut.   7. submitted on November 10, 2015, by Michael Herrick of Southbury, Connecticut.   8, 9, 10. submitted on February 28, 2010, by Michael Herrick of Southbury, Connecticut.
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