I was in Greenwood Cemetery earlier this afternoon. It was a cool, rainy day and there were few visitors even by normal standards. I had reached the part of the cemetery where a good number of Civil War soldiers happen to be buried and, walking up to one, was stunned to see that he had been killed in action on May 5, 1862–150 years ago today. What are the odds of such a thing happening?

Herrick Hayner, Brooklyn’s Greenwood Cemetery

I was not able to find a whole lot about Hayner. The reason, really, is because he died before having a chance to live. Herrick Hayner was born in Troy, New York in 1837. In New York City on New Year’s Day 1862 he was commissioned a second lieutenant in Company H of the 70th New York Volunteer Infantry. The 70th New York was part of the Third Corps at this time, and that May found itself part of General McClellan’s Peninsula Campaign.

Hayner lost his life in Virginia at the Battle of Williamsburg…

Currier & Ives

…and now rests here in Brooklyn near these trees.