Lone Star by Don Troiani
(The 1st Texas Infantry in the Cornfield at Sharpsburg)

I’ve recently been catching up on Confederate staff officers who were at Sharpsburg, those serving Division and Brigade commanders .  One of the ways I find them by is rummaging through after-action reports. Over the last couple of days I’ve been sorting through that of Brigadier General John Bell Hood for the period 22 August to 17 September 1862.  He writes about quite a number of his officers, but down toward the bottom, he thanks and lists his couriers.

That’s something out of the ordinary, and it pulled me off the staff officer track to look into them.

Commonly known as mounted couriers, these men were also often Hood’s scouts, as well. Scouts which, in at least one case, could be hard to tell from spies.

At the very end of his life, in combat on the open ground south of the Miller Cornfield at Sharpsburg, John S. Taylor was entirely fearless ...


J.S. Taylor  c. 1845

He was born in Norfolk, Virginia in 1820 to a family with a tradition of military service. His grandfather John Saunders had been a US Army Major General, and his great-grandfather Celey Saunders commanded the Virginia State Navy ship Thetis (1778) in the Revolution.

He began his own career in December 1836, then 16 years old, when he joined the US Navy.

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.