Armed Forces Day was observed last Saturday, May 15th. It is a day to reflect on the sacrifices of those who currently serve in the military.
In that spirit, we will look back on Peabody’s own, Captain Samuel Brown, and the ultimate sacrifice he made during the Civil War. Captain Samuel Brown was born on February 16th, 1836, the son of Fanny Marsh and Samuel Brown (II). One of 7 children, Captain Samuel Brown graduated from Bowdoin College and became a teacher. After College, he taught at Edward Hall’s private school for boys in Connecticut. Then, moving closer to home, he taught in Beverly, Massachusetts.
In the spring of 1862, Captain Samuel Brown joined the army and went to Enfield, Connecticut as a recruiting officer. In August of 1862, he was commissioned as a captain of Company D, 16th Connecticut volunteers. By September 4th, his regiment was in Virginia and on its way to Antietam. On September 17th, Captain Samuel Brown was killed while leading a charge into battle.
The Brown family received letters from his men describing his valor, including this one from Richard Green, November 24th, 1862:
“Your brother was killed on the right of the enemy by 40 feet from me, and was on the extreme left when we went over Antietam Creek. We went into a cornfield where the rebels had cross fire on us – that was where Captain Brown fell: he was right in front. The last words he spoke were ‘Charge bayonets’ and ‘Come on boys.’ He had his sword in his hand, waving it to the men to hurry up; there is where he fell. He was loved by all the men and I was sorry to lose him.”
Captain Samuel Brown was buried in Monumental Cemetery on Wallis Street. In 1911, a new elementary school was built in South Peabody, and it was named in his honor.
Archival Collection of the Peabody Historical Society and Museum
Frank C. Damon “Some Recollections of Samuel Brown of South Peabody,” The Salem Evening News, September 10, 1926.
Frank C. Damon “Captain Samuel Brown Killed at Antietam Gave Name to School,” The Salem Evening News, September 24, 1926.
Frank C. Damon “Captain Samuel Brown Letters from Front Just Before He Fell”, The Salem Evening News, October 1, 1926.
John O. Buxton “Captain Samuel Brown Graduated from Peabody High School,” The Salem Evening News, October 16, 1931.
John A. Wells, The Peabody Story, Essex Institute, 1972, pages 95, 308, 312-313.
S. M. Smoller “Residents sacrificed their lives during battle at Antietam Creek 135 years ago this week” The Peabody Weekly News, September 18, 1997.