Sunday, December 12, 2010


Thanks to John Elberfeld for transcribing and posting information on Michael H. Barckley from images, letters and documents in the collection of the Knox Historical Society at the Saddlemire Homestead museum in Knox
Knox - Barckley - Portrait - lithographed by Murray & Goodwin, Albany, NY 1865. 
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Here are some highlights from the biography of Michael Henry Barckley.

Landmarks of Albany County

Michael H. Barckley, born in the town of Knox, graduated at Union College, raised a company in his town, was wounded at Cold Harbor and died July 6, 1864.

Heroes of Albany

Michael Barcklay - Michael, born in Knox in 1840, educated in the public schools, and grew to manhood on his father's farm; when the civil war broke out he was active in raising a company and went to the front as lieutenant of Company K, Seventh New York Heavy Artillery; at the battle of Cold Harbor he was wounded by a bursting shell, taken to a military hospital at Washington, D. C., where he died from the effects of his wound, 1864; he was unmarried; his memory is preserved in Altamont where Michael Barckley Post, Grand Army of the Republic, is named in his honor.
Heroes of Albany - Complete Text
Michael Barckley Post, Grand Army of the Republic, in Altamont is named in his honor.
Photo by permission of Morrisville State College Library, Morrisville, NY
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Carnival of Blood

The following excerpt is from Carnival of Blood, by Richard Keating:
Page 3: - In the rural hamlet of Knox, in farm country ten miles west of Albany, young Michael Barckley gained a commission as first lieutenant in Company K, primarily because he was a recent college graduate, but he had also managed to convince twenty-one men from the small community to enlist in the Regiment. His recruiting efforts were then a cause for admiration and celebration, during the patriotic euphoria which gripped the Northern States in the summer of 1862. Three years later, Barckley and sixteen of the twenty-one were dead, and the mood would be far different."
Page 154-6: - Another popular officer was struck down that day. Nearly two years earlier, when he had been mustered in as a First Lieutenant in Company K, Michael Henry Barkley had been presented with a sword and sash, and a belt and pistol, given to him by the citizens of his small home town of Knox, in rural Albany County. At the ceremony , he had been reminded that the Bible "cursed [him] who keepeth back his sword from blood." And then they had sent him off to war, with a prayer that invoked God, not only to protect him, but also to grant him an honorable death and a heavenly salvation: " May God sustain you in your trials, give you a valiant heart, shield you from evil, and return you and your comrades to us again in peace. If it may be, or if it must be, that you fall, be yours an honored grave, and by to enjoy the bliss of heaven."
In accepting the gifts, the Union College graduate promised " hold them sacred, to use them where duty calls, and never return them dishonored." Keeping his word, his sword had been blooded during the assault, and on that Sunday morning, when a Rebel shell fragment ripped through his right leg just above his knee, his trial was indeed about to lead to an honored grave. In an effort to save his life, his leg was amputated above the knee that same day. Three days later, while waiting to be put aboard a hospital transport, he wrote to his father, explaining the situation, and urging him not to worry: "Do not be alarmed, as I am getting along first rate." But Barckley was destined to die in a Washington hospital on the evening of July 6. Just before his death, he remarked to his mother, "I could not die in a better cause."
Knox - Barckley - Grave
At his funeral in the Knox Dutch Reformed Church four days later, his sword lay amongst flowers strewn upon his flag-bedecked coffin. His pastor described the ceremony: "Citizens from every direction flocked to the house in mourning until the church was filled to its unmost capacity, the vestibule crowded, and the grounds in front filled by a multitude from far and near.... After the ceremony, the assembly followed his remains, in slow and solemn procession, to the new cemetery and on a most beautiful spot, overlooking the place that gave him birth,.... was deposited the lifeless form of the once loved and noble youth...."


Michael Henry Barckley's sword is on display at the Saddlemire Homestead in the center of Knox beside the Fire House and in front of the Knox Town Hall. Thanks to Allan Dietz for reminding us.
Knox - Barckley - Sword
Gallery of Sword Photos


Lt. M. H. Barckley is buried in Knox Cemetery.
Gallery of Barckley Grave Photos