Thomas Francis Burpee (1830-1864) was born in Stafford, Connecticut. He married Adeline Harwood in the early 1850s and they had three children. The family lived in Vernon, Connecticut at the outset of the war and Burpee enlisted as a Captain in Company D of the 14th Connecticut Infantry in July, 1862 before being transferred into Field & Staff of the 21st Connecticut Infantry in September. He was quickly promoted to Major and then Lieutenant Colonel.
Burpee distinguished himself at the Battle Drewry’s Bluff in May, 1864, where “his coolness and good judgment…won for him the high admiration of his comrades”, according to Major Hiram C. Crosby. Following the death of Colonel Arthur H. Dutton on June 5, 1864, Burpee was recommended for promotion to colonel. He was mortally wounded by a rebel sharpshooter while inspecting picket lines on June 9 during the Battle of Cold Harbor and died two days later at Fortress Monroe in Hampton, Virginia, never having learned of his promotion and leaving his wife and children destitute. He was buried at Grove Hill Cemetery in Rockville, Connecticut. Written by Connecticut Governor William A. Buckingham, the inscription on his headstone reads: In the hour of national peril he gave his life to his country, leaving this testimony, that he was a brave patriot, a faithful soldier, and a sincere Christian.