Dwight Canfield Kilbourn, a Litchfield native son who served as a First Lieutenant in the Union Army was honored as the March 2013 Veteran of the Month by Tyler-Seward-Kubish Post 44 American Legion on Saturday, March 2nd at the Bantam Borough Hall. (script read at ceremony)
Past Post 44 Commander Terry McGurk (right) presents the flag for 1st Lt. Dwight Canfield Kilbourn - BZ photo
Dwight Canfield Kilbourn was born in Litchfield October 9, 1837 the son of William P. and Caroline (Canfield) Kilbourn.
He received a public education and pursued his professional studies with the Honorable Origen. S. Seymour and Henry B. Graves. Upon completion of his studies at the Litchfield Law School he volunteered for the Litchfield County 2nd Connecticut Heavy Artillery Regiment when it was mustered in Washington, D.C. on November 23, 1863 under the second call for troops for the 19th CT Infantry.
The 2nd CT Regiment, at a strength of 1,600 men, proceeded to the vicinity of Alexandria, VA and during the ensuing year engaged in numerous battles including the Battle of Petersburg, which is one of the battles that marked the end of the Civil War.
The 2nd CT Heavy Artillery Regiment was mustered out of service on August 18, 1865 after having suffered battle casualties of 12 officers and 242 enlisted men and 2 officers and 171 enlisted men who died of disease. At the time of his release from active duty he held thre rank of First Lieutenant.
After the War, Kilbourn was admitted to the bar in his native Litchfield. In 1887 he was appointed clerk of the Superior Court for Litchfield and was secretary of his regiment for the next 47 years. When the Connecticut Regimental Veterans Association was organized in January 1891, he was elected as its Lifetime President.
He was a member of the Seth E. Plumb Post of the Sedgwick Monument Commission that was appointed by then Governor Baldwin to erect an equestrian statue of Major John Sedgwick at Gettysburg. He was appointed secretary of the Veterans Association of Connecticut in 1907 and held that office until his death.
He was also a Member of St. Paul's Lodge F. and A.M. and of Darius Lodge, R.A.M. of Litchfield. He was secretary of the Litchfield County Bar Association. As an author, his best known work was “The Bench and Bar of Litchfield County 1709- 1909,” which was the result of years of painstaking research using data from his home that was filled with books and pamphlets he had accumulated about Litchfield County.
He was a member of Connecticut, Kansas and Litchfield Historical Societies and a Vice President of the Litchfield organization. For many years he was Postmaster in East Litchfield, where the post office occupied part of his home. Kilbourn married Sarah M. Hopkins of Litchfield, the daughter of Edward Hopkins and Melissa (Alfred) Hopkins on July 5, 1866. They had no children. He died October 28, 1914.
The Civil War, often referred to as “The War Between the States,” left a lot to be desired in record keeping, especially with the numbers which Historians estimated Union troop strength at 2,500,000 to 2,750,000. Union Battle deaths were estimated at 110,070 and deaths from disease at250,152 for a total of Union deaths at 360,222.
Historians estimated Confederate troop strength at 750,000 to 1,250,000 with Confederate Battle deaths at 94,000 and deaths from disease at 164,000 for a total Confederate Deaths at 258,000.
Post 44 is honored to have this opportunity to pay tribute to Civil War Union Army First Lieutenant Dwight Canfield Kilbourn who survived the battles and left an indelible mark on Connecticut History through the thousands of his hand written notes about the Civil War.