January 15, 1864

Caleb Lyons Depung died of pneumonia at the U.S. General Hospital in Washington, DC in 1864. Depung was a Nantucket farmer who enlisted to fight in the Civil War in 1862 at age 35. He joined the Army as a private in July of 1862 and fought at Antietam and made the grueling march to Harpers Ferry. In October of 1863 Depung fell ill and had blood in his lungs, which the Nantucket comrades who fought with him blamed on the march. Depung was moved to the 6th Veteran Reserves Corps and died three months later.

Nearly 400 Nantucket men enlisted in the Civil War, and more than 70 were killed. The island sacrificed dozens of whaleships some of which were sunk to block Confederate vessels and others destroyed by Confederate raiders. In 1891 the island’s Civil War veterans formed a Grand Army of the Republic (pictured above) post.


Excerpted from On This Day In Nantucket History
By Amy Jenness
The History Press
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The Nantucket Historical Association preserves and interprets the history of Nantucket through its programs, collections, and properties, in order to promote the island’s significance and foster an appreciation of it among all audiences.

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