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A resident of Salisbury, CT, John Addison enlisted in the 29th Connecticut Infantry on December 18th, 1863. He trained with the rest of the regiment at the Fair Haven camp, and was officially mustered into the United States Army on March 23, 1864. A son of Spencer Addison, John was unmarried with no children, and after his death, his pension was left to his mother, Maria. His father, Spencer Addison, died on January 11th, 1870, at the age of 70, and his mother passed away on November 11th, 1887.

Other than his enlistment and pension records, Addison’s life during the war is not well known. However, Addison left written records of letters he sent back to his hometown. Most of what Addison wrote was about his day to day experiences, and how thrilled he was to have the time to write back home. In a letter to his father, Addison wrote, “With the greatest of pleasure I lay down in my little bunk to write these few lines to you…” As he continued to write, he portrayed his longing for his friends and family. Commonly discussing and pleading for visits and letters in return, Addison was fond of writing to his mother, father and friends back home, and he was highly literate. In a letter to his mother, whom he hoped would write back or let him visit home, he writes, “I will think of you at the moon’s late light. I will think of you at the evening twilight, and ever through the long long day.”

Beaufort, SC in the Civil War


During his military service, John traveled with the 29th Regiment in March 1864 from New Haven to an encampment at Annapolis, Maryland. On April 8th, he departed for Hilton Head, South Carolina, where he arrived on April 13th. From there, the regiment was ordered to leave for Beaufort. En route, John Addison passed away.

His military career lasted only one month. Addison died on April 22, 1864 of a lung hemorrhage, likely a burst blood vessel that filled the small air sacs of the lungs with blood. The symptoms - heavy breathing and coughing - were not uncommon in the army, and may have been overlooked even if Addison was being checked by a doctor. Advances that are available today, such as accurate x-rays, flexible bronchoscopies (viewing tube), or even precise blood tests may have led to a quicker discovery of Addison’s lung hemorrhage to give him the required treatments to improve his health.

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