By all accounts Bristol’s greatest Civil War hero was Capt. Henry Clay Beatty. Former student at Burlington College in New Jersey, was a member of the Fraternity known as Delta Psi, refer to “Catalog of the Members of the Fraternity of Delta Psi; Revised and Corrected to July, 1906, compiled and issued under the authority of the fraternity by H. L. G. Meyer”. A successful lawyer, Beatty was among the first to join the Pennsylvania Reserves at the outbreak of the war. He was assigned to Company I, 3rd Regiment, Pennsylvania Reserves and was soon named company commander.
Beatty and his company fought gallantly at Richmond. Later, at the Battle of White Oak Swamp, Beatty was severely wounded but stayed with his men throughout the fighting. Such was Beatty”s courage that the Regimental Commander, Col. Sickles, wrote a letter of commendation to Gov. Curtin citing the Bristol captain”s devotion and spirit.
At Bull Run, Beatty was again wounded while leading his men. Again, he stayed on the front throughout the battle. So serious was his wound that Beatty”s arm had to be amputated the next day.
Unable to continue as a fighting soldier, Beatty was assigned to Washington but illness and injury had taken a devastating toll. He died quietly during the steamship journey. Henry Clay Beatty was brought back to Bristol and was buried in St. James Cemetery.
As the Civil War ended, Bristol faced the task of rebuilding its spirit.
“THE SECOND HUNDRED YEARS 1781-1880” By Joseph Larrisey
Inscription on his grave: “In testimony of his worth and in commemoration of his voice in the cause of his country, this monument, is erected by his friends ____? the members of the Philadelphia Bar.
Note: Capt. Company I, 3rd Pennsylvania Reserves. Died Sept. 1, 1862 of wounds received in the battle fought on the Plains of (2nd) Manassas, August 30th, 1862. Aged 27 years.
Burial: Saint James Episcopal Churchyard, Bristol, Bucks County, Pennsylvania.