Just as surely dead

8 October 2012

click to see larger image
Arthur F. Hascall, (c, 1861, NY State Military Museum)

I’m scrubbing through unit rosters, regimental histories, and many other documents as part of the Antietam Roster Project. Most of the listings are sketchy and dry, and when I have the chance, I like to dig a little deeper for more information to flesh out the individuals who were at Antietam.

An example of how this sometimes goes, with a bit of an unexpected twist, is the case of Sergeant Arthur Hascall of the 61st New York Infantry.

There’s a large and active group among students of the American Civil War fascinated with the service of Irishmen in the conflict, and with the Irish Brigade of the Army of the Potomac in particular. There’s a vast amount of lore and legend on the subject, which I’ve only really noted in passing. I know … and with my surname, too.

So it is with some trepidation that I dig here into the life and passing of Patrick Phelan (Felan) Clooney. One of those heroes of the Irish Brigade at Antietam.

detail from the Soldiers Monument, Calvary Cemetery, Queens, NYclick to see larger image
detail from the Soldiers Monument, Calvary Cemetery, Queens, NY (2009, biostheoretikos.com)

I am prompted by an effort underway to rescue a memorial to Clooney in his native Waterford. Thanks to James Doherty, who is fund- and awareness-raising, and Damian Shiels, who brought him to my attention…

gravestone of Werner von Bachelle at Antietam National Cemetery
(Janet Richmond, via Flickr)

This is the stone at Antietam National Cemetery for Captain Werner von Bachelle, killed in action on 17 September 1862 at Antietam.  He’s something of a celebrity today. School kids hear of him in their packets at the cemetery and battlefield. Though he died a brave soldier, like so many others that day, that’s not why he’s so well known. He owes his celebrity to his dog.

In April 1861 von Bachelle volunteered with his local militia, the Citizens Corps of Milwaukee, for service in response to President Lincoln’s first call for troops.  In May the officers – Capt. William Lindwurm, 1st Lt. Frederick Schumacher, and 2nd Lt. Werner Von Bachelle – were commissioned in Federal service and their unit became Company F of the new 6th Regiment of Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry.  Like von Bachelle, nearly all of the men of the Company were German speakers, most German born …