Local Subject Documented in Film, ‘Wartorn’

A documentary on posttraumatic stress syndrome (PTSD) plaguing military veterans has brought national attention to Potter County. Cable television service HBO this week debuted the program, “Wartorn:1861-2010.”

Among the subjects explored by the producers is Angelo Crapsey, a Civil War veteran from Roulette Township who apparently suffered from PTSD long before it was diagnosed as a medical condition. Until recent years, the trauma was informally referred to as “shell shock.”

Crapsey was 18 when he volunteered for the Union

Army, much to the chagrin of his father, a pastor. He joined the famous Pennsylvania Bucktails brigade and was eventually promoted to the rank of sergeant. Crapsey experienced the horrors of war during battles in Pennsylvania and Virginia.

HBO chose him as an early example of PTSD due to the availability of numerous letters that Crapsey wrote during his service and the poignant story of his post-war life. Producers’ attention was drawn by the book, “Pathway To Hell – A Tragedy of the American Civil War,” by Dennis Brandt (pictured).

While reportedly enthusiastic and anxious to defend the Union when he signed up, Crapsey was discharged due to physical and mental illnesses. His letters to his friend Laroy Lyman of Roulette are compelling in their straightforward, descriptive language.

After three long years of war, Crapsey returned home to find only disappointment in love and the unrelenting memories of battle. Family members worried about his safety and ability to cope.

While hunting with friends in 1864, Crapsey was sent off to a section of the woods and did not report home that evening. His lifeless body was discovered in the forest, the victim of a self-inflicted gunshot would. He was 21.

Read this story and more in tomorrow’s edition of the Endeavor News. Simply the Better Paper. Make the Switch and Save $$$. Available at local retailers.

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