CORPORAL OLIVER SAMMIS BRADY

August 13, 1839 (Connecticut) – August 9, 1862 (Cedar Mountain, VA); 22 years old
Enlisted on June 22, 1861
Mustered in July 22, 1861
Unit: Connecticut 5th Volunteer Infantry, Company E

Born to Thomas (1793-1875) and Sara A. Jennings Brady (1799-1880). Siblings were Francis (1820-1877), Joseph J. (1830-1858), John H. (1834-1871) and Stephen A. (1841-1918).

Brother Stephen A. Brady served in the 17th Regiment, Connecticut Volunteer Infantry and survived the war.

Killed in the Battle of Cedar Mountain, Virginia. One of the first from Norwalk to be killed in the Civil War.


From the book “The War of the ‘Sixties”

The next day, August 10th, the enemy fell b ack to the mountain side, leaving unoccupied the field between the lines, which gave us an opportunity to inquire how my friends in the 4th Connecticut had fared in the fight. To my great regret, I learned that Company E had lost in killed, wounded, and captured, a large percentage of its entire number, Captain Chinery having been captured, Corporal Oliver S. Brady killed, Sergeant Ambler wounded and captured and so on through the list. Brady’s body was reported as not found.

And now comes the incident which has prompted this narrative. In a grove were many broken branches and much trampled undergrowth, together with scattered fragments of haversacks and other accouterments. These told the story of a severe struggle. Near a newly filled burial trench I picked up the first sheet of a letter headed “Norwalk, Conn.,” and opening with “Friend Oliver.” I immediately assumed that this sheet was part of a letter which had been received in camp by my old schoolmate, Oliver Brady, who had been reported killed in action. I was much moved by the coincidence, for I though it exceeding strange that I, a member of another regiment and army corps, three days after the battle, should be the one of the many thousands of that large army fated to pick up and recognize the scrap of paper I had fond. While thus impressed, I overserved close at hand the body of a man, swollen by the heat so as to make identification practically impossible, and as black as the blackest negro I had ever seen. I was surprised that the body had not been buried, because, so far as I had observed, it was the only human corpse unburied upon the entire field. At that time, it never entered my mind that the body might be that of a white man, although I wondered how a colored man could have happened to be killed in that locality, as, at that date, there were no colored soldiers in the Union Army. I concluded, however, that the man had been an officer’s servant, who, by some circumstance, had been drawn within the line of fire. I afterward sent this fragment of writing, found as I have narrated, to Oliver Brady’s brother in Norwalk; and when I met him after the war he said he knew who wrote the letter and that that scrap of paper was the only thing connected with his brother Oliver’s last days which his family had ever recovered.

About twenty years later I met on Main Street, Norwalk, the late Monson Hoyt, who was orderly sergeant of the company at the time of the battle; and our conversation turned to that memorable event, whereupon I happened to recall the Brady incident and to remark that it was strange that the body of Oliver Brady was never found. Hoyt replied: “Yes, they did find his body. The burial detail reported to me that they had buried all the bodies on the field except that of Corporal Brady, which had turned so black and was so offensive that they did not want to touch it. I said to them, ‘Go back and bury that body and don’t come back until you have done so,’ and they afterward reported that they had done so,” This statement by Monson Hoyt rounded out what I think I have always had good reason to call a strange coincidence. It was sufficiently striking that I should have found the letter under the circumstances noted; but it took the best part of a generation afterward and the accident of recalling the circumstance to Monson Hoyt to bring out the fact that the body I saw lying on the battlefield of Cedar Mountain and thought for twenty years was that of a negro, was, in reality, the body of my old schoolmate Oliver Brady; and I had been fated to see it in the brief interval of time between the burial of the other dead and its burial.

                        — The War of the S̓ixties. (1912). United States: Neale publishing Company.


Buried in an unmarked plot in Union Cemetery, Union Avenue, Norwalk, CT. Parent’s plot is on the right in this picture from findagrave.com.


END

Published by jeffd1121

USAF retiree. Veteran advocate. Committed to telling the stories of those who died while in the service of the country during wartime.

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