Tuesday, July 01, 2003
Man on a Mission: Tracking Down Westports Civil War Veterans
The vault in the Westport town clerkҒs office plays host daily to attorneys and paralegals researching land records and other filings. But often among them these days is Westporter David B. Press, a man on a mission a Civil War mission.
Press, who spent years researching financial filings and bond ratings in his earlier career, is now researching Westporters who served in the Civil War as part of a book project.
֓Theres no monument in town to Civil War veterans,Ҕ said Press. I just thought it would be an interesting topic to take up.Ӕ
Press, 56, has been at it for several months now. In addition to town records, his research has taken him to state libraries and archives in Hartford, local historical societies, and visits to old cemeteries.
Compiling the list of the more than 200 Westporters or those who signed up in Westport—who served in the war has been fairly easy, Press said. But he is now zeroing in on the stories behind the men who served and why they served.
Through letters and other state records, Press is finding many Westporters who enlisted to fight did it for financial reasons.
He is also finding letters attesting to the battlefield achievements of Westporters as part of their applications for pensions. ֓Some of these letters are especially graphic and detailed, Press said.
ԓIts clear many of them were never intended to be read by others. ItҒs all very fascinating stuff.