Henry C. Merwin was born on September 17, 1839 in Brookfield, Connecticut. At the beginning of the war he was in business in New Haven with his father and brother, and was a member of the New Haven Grays.
He volunteered for service with the 2nd Connecticut Infantry Regiment, a three months regiment, serving as a sergeant. The 2nd fought at Bull Run before being mustered out, and he returned to business in New Haven.
When the union reverses in 1862 resulted in a new call for volunteers, Merwin raised and was named captain of what became Company A of the 27th Connecticut Infantry Regiment . He was quickly chosen by the men of the regiment as lieutenant colonel, and served through Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville, where he was captured along with much of the regiment.
After a short stay in Richmond as a prisoner, Merwin was exchanged and returned as colonel to command the 27th. He fell mortally wounded on July 2nd in the Wheatfield at Gettysburg. His last words were, “my poor regiment is suffering fearfully.”
He is honored by a small monument at the spot he fell on the Gettysburg battlefield.
“Duty was evidently the supreme motive of his life, and intent upon the performance of his own, he expected and required equal faithfulness on the part of others. He was quick of discernment, and rapid in execution, but no harshness ever dimmed the transparent kindness of his demeanor. His genial countenance and words of sympathy and encouragement often cheered the loneliness of the hospital. He thoroughly appreciated the hardships and trials peculiar to the private soldier, and at all times endeavored to sustain and inspirit his weary energies. All these more amiable qualities were supplemented by a manly independence and decision, which made him always jealous for the rights of his men. On that trying march to Gettysburg, no arrogance and severity of superior officers ever deterred him from a gentlemanly, but bold and firm, maintenance of the rights and interests of the regiment. He at once secured the respect, and soon the high regard of Colonel Brooke, commanding the brigade, who felt most keenly the loss of Colonel Merwin, and, on hearing that he was wounded, gave orders that every thing possible should be done for his welfare.”