25 August 2012
Attached to this post is my first feeble attempt at a list of individual soldiers who died on the Maryland Campaign of 1862 – those killed or mortally wounded in action, or otherwise died as a result of their presence there. As far as I know there is no single, comprehensive list anywhere. This one is a start.
I have been motivated in part by the upcoming memorial reading of the names of the Dead of Antietam at the Antietam National Cemetery on Sunday, September 16. ANB Ranger Alann Schmidt is leading the effort, and put out a call for names to add to the lists of local burials he already has available (National Cemetery, Rose Hill, Mt Olivet, and Elmwood). I hope to be able to contribute some others.
The following nicely summarizes what we’re up against here, though. It’s from the folks at the Western Maryland Regional Library:
According to the Antietam National Battlefield website 2,100 Union solders were killed, 9,550 were wounded, and 750 were listed as missing or captured. Of the Confederate soldiers, 1,550 were killed, 7,750 were wounded and 1,020 missing or captured. The number of men who died of their wounds or the number of missing who had been killed is not known. A conservative estimate of 20% of the wounded dying of their wounds and 30% of the missing killed gives an approximate number of soldiers who died as a result of this battle at 7,640.
This doesn’t even consider the hundreds who died in other action and of other causes during the Campaign – on South Mountain, at Harpers Ferry, at Shepherdstown, and in all the skirmishes in between.
The initial list contains a little over 2,700 names – less than 1/3 of those who died. I’m adding names to my database at a good clip, though, so the list will get larger over time. I plan to post new editions here periodically.
The Current List
[PDF 1.5M] Cover
[PDF 52K] Introduction/Guide
[PDF 713K] The Dead List (4386 names) v5.0 24 March 2013
[PDF 536K] The Dead List (3688 names) v4.0 6 January 2013
[PDF 484K] The Dead List (3316 names) v3.0 21 October 2012
[PDF 472K] The Dead List (3016 names) v2.0 9 September 2012
[PDF 472K] The Dead List (2722 names) v1.0 24 August 2012
The iconic photograph here is by Alexander Gardner. He took it on September 19th or 20th, 1862 on the battlefield at Antietam, and titled it “A Lonely Grave“. Bill Frassanito did some masterful research for his book and identified the grave in question as that of Private John Marshall of the 28th Pennsylvania Infantry. I got my copy of the photograph from the Library of Congress.
The quote above from the Western Maryland Regional Library is on their fine WHILBR site in a page about Confederate burials on the campaign.
13 February 2010
Because he was conspicuous on his white horse and close to the battle-front on the morning of Wednesday, 17 September 1862 near Sharpsburg, Maryland, perhaps it was inevitable that Major General Joseph Hooker would be killed or wounded in the ferocious combat there.
And wounded he was. Although it is fantasy to speculate, there were those who thought the battle of Antietam would have gone differently had Hooker not been knocked from command of the Federal First (I) Army Corps by a bullet through the foot at about nine o’clock that morning.
Sharpsburg, September 20, 1862.
MY DEAR HOOKER: I have been very sick the last few days, and just able to go where my presence was absolutely necessary, so I could not come to see you and thank you for what you did the other day, and express my intense regret and sympathy for your unfortunate wound. Had you not been wounded when you were, I believe the result of the battle would have been the entire destruction of the rebel army, for I know that, with you at its head, your corps would have kept on until it gained the main road. As a slight expression of what I think you merit. I have requested that the brigadier-general commission rendered vacant by Mansfield’s death may be given to you. I will this evening write a private note to the President on the subject, and I am glad to assure you that, so far as I can learn, it is the universal feeling of the army that are the most deserving in it.
With the sincere hope that your health may soon be restored, so that you may again be with us in the field, I am, my dear general, your sincere friend,
GEO. B. McCLELLAN,
Looking into the nature of the General’s injury led me in a somewhat different direction, however – toward learning about the medical care he received, and more about the life and career of his doctor, Assistant Surgeon Benjamin Douglas Howard, USA …
17 January 2010
Frank Schell accompanied the Army of the Potomac on the Maryland Campaign of 1862, and was on the field for the battle on 17 September. He was a civilian there from New York – a sketch artist for Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper.
Fortunately for those who study the battle, a number of his original battlefield sketches have survived. I’ve recently discovered a set sold at auction in 2007, and a group preserved in a collection at Boston College, in particular. I’ve grabbed some selected gems among them to use here.
Even better, in 1904 Schell published his recollection of the events that were going on around him as he was drawing these same pictures. So in sharing his pictures and his superb eye, I can also leave the writing to Frank – to narrate his own drawings and give us a sense of his Battle of Antietam.
As I awoke soon after daylight on the morning of September 17, 1862, the air was already vibrating with mighty sounds of battle … With spirits aflame, I speeded at my best from Keedysville for the headquarters of the commanding general … I joined the group about the commanding general, who was anxiously scanning through his field glass the situation to the right, across the Antietam. Looking more to the left, the thick west wood, with its dark, broad front so clearly emphasized by the little white Dunker church, was clearly in view along its entire extent upon the Hagerstown turnpike.
General McClellan suddenly lowered his glass, and, with a few animated words and expressive gestures, called Porter’s attention to something that caused an immediate ferment of buzzing excitement throughout the group and a close scrutinizing of the bit of woodland, for the time being, the focus of such absorbing interest …