On the occasion of the battle anniversary this month I’ve taken stock of the AotW database. There may be another lifetime’s work to do in other areas of the Campaign, but I now have a reasonably complete list of the troops who were killed and mortally wounded at Sharpsburg.  The first of its kind anywhere, as far as I know. Pretty cool!

I’ve created a couple of new reports on the subject which you can download at the end of this post.

When I count the individuals who were killed outright or were mortally wounded and died on 16, 17, or 18 September 1862 I get 1,653 Confederates (the Official Records say 1,550 were killed) and 2,205 Federals (OR has 2,100).

I’ve also pulled the names of the soldiers who died of their Sharpsburg wounds in the days and weeks afterward.  These make an additional 772 Confederates and 980 Federals.

So if you suspected the official numbers were a little low, you were right. As a caution, let me remind both my readers that the records are sometimes awful and occasionally missing altogether, and besides, I’ve certainly not seen every source there is to see. I’m sure I’ll find more names to add.

Also, I need to look at it some more, but there may be enough in my collection to name most of those 5,800+ burials on the newly-identified  S.G. Elliott map.  Just don’t ask me to guess which of those little marks are which person.  I haven’t looked at any others on the map yet, but the man listed in the map portion above as F.L. Fraser is E. L. Fraser, Private of Company I, 12th South Carolina. Later records of his field burial correlate well with the 1864 Elliott map.

Ok, so just in time for the anniversary, here are 2 versions each of two reports listing the killed of Antietam. As always, if you can add names or improve the information please let me know.

Men Killed in the Battle of Antietam at Sharpsburg, Maryland 16-18 September 1862
Sorted by state | Sorted by rank [3834 names, 1.0 MB pdf]

Men Who Later Died of Wounds from the Battle of Antietam at Sharpsburg
Sorted by state | Sorted by rank [1736 names, 500 KB pdf]

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These new lists and the ongoing Dead of the Campaign list are also hosted, and will be updated in the future, under Antietam 150: The Dead of the Maryland Campaign elsewhere on this blog.

My project on the visual history of the Antietam National Battlefield continues, focused today on one of the most iconic features on the field – the Observation Tower. Since it was built in 1896 the tower has been a central memorial and educational feature of the National Battlefield, and it has always been a popular destinations for visitors.

So how did it come to be, and how has its story evolved in the last 122 years?

It starts with the origins of the battlefield park itself.

The Wounded Lion

21 October 2018

On our most recent trip to the battlefield we walked part of the West Woods Trail, mostly to see the most unique monument on the battlefield – that for the 15th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. One of my favorites.

There’s been a lot of interest in this lion online lately, at least in the places I go, but nothing about its maker. I was inspired to look into the sculptor by the “signature block” he left on the slab under the lion’s left front paw.

I greatly enjoyed a rainy afternoon last Thursday in Sharpsburg, spending part of it at the Antietam National Cemetery.  I’m working on a project tracing the history and evolution of the Antietam National Battlefield, and the Cemetery, created shortly before the Battlefield was established, is a big part of that story.

But it is also a beautiful place in its own right, so I hope neither of my readers will object if I hit some highlights.

Summer fly-by visit

12 July 2017

On the return leg of an excursion north to visit family and friends, we made a stop at the Battlefield last Sunday. It was a glorious day, as is so often the case there, and perfect for catching up on some of the changes at the Park.

First stop after checking in at the Visitor’s Center was the recently restored Lower (Burnside’s) Bridge.

Anniversary Visit 2015

22 September 2015

It was another fantastic day in Sharpsburg on the 153rd anniversary of the battle. I was very glad to be there for an early morning visit. Here are some quick snaps and impressions.

Sunrise at Antietam National Battlefield, 17 September 2015
Sunrise at Antietam National Battlefield, 17 September 2015

I made it to the Park in time to join the 7am group – off the turnpike and through the wet grass to the Northern edge of farmer Miller’s cornfield – to hear the the now-traditional readings of eyewitness accounts of the long night and early dawn of 16-17 September 1862.

From the end of the day of the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Antietam, a couple of quick shots of how it looked at its start.

First, early dawn horizon behind the 14th Brooklyn Monument at the south edge of The Cornfield.
14th Brooklyn monument, Cornfield Avenue, 9/17/2012

Then, the sun slightly higher from within the corn.

Finally, full daylight; a little black powder smoke lying low over the Cornfield.
click to see larger image

Antietam Illumination

15 November 2009

One of the most moving experiences you can have anywhere is driving through the battlefield during the annual Antietam Memorial Illumination. This year the tradition returns on Saturday, December 5th to the Antietam National Battlefield, Sharpsburg, Maryland.

On that evening, volunteers will light over 23,000 luminaries – candles in small paper bags – distributed across the Park to represent each of the soldiers who were casualties on that ground on 17 September 1862.

New AotW member Tim Dicke has sent us some of his photographs from last year’s event. It can be tricky to capture any kind of image of those little flickering lights, but Tim has done a fine job of illustrating something of what it’s like at the Illumination.

Illumination - VT Brigade Cannonclick to see larger image
Vermont Brigade Cannon

Near anniversary 2009

20 September 2009

Saturday was another great day to be at the Antietam National Battlefield Park.

battlefield sign

It began early for me with an uneventful drive up the National Pike route, and a SHAF meeting in Keedysville which introduced promise of more website improvements and some exciting initiatives for the organization for the near future.

After a photo-op at the battlefield Visitor Center and a low-fat gourmet lunch at the Battleview, I walked the newish Bloody Lane Trail with Craig Swain. Craig is a former Armor Officer and an excellent companion in the field. Thanks Craig!

As I always find when walking a part of the field I hadn’t seen before, the new perspective brought me an entirely different appreciation of the history of the place. And some new views that I enjoyed for their own sake…

It’s below freezing and we’ve seen snow flurries here in Northern Virginia. A good time to burrow in and wish for Spring. Or at least for warmer battlefield tramping weather.

I am inspired to plan some serious hikes by the news that the new Three Farms Trail is open at Antietam National Battlefield. Roulette, Newcomer (below), and Sherrick, are the three, I’d guess. This new path ties together a network of 9 trails which covers much of the battlefield terrain which saw combat 17 September 1862.

Middle Bridge from the North East (Newcomer Farm - A. Gardner, Sept 1862)click to see larger image

So, with a goal to follow all of the trails and tramp the whole battlefield in a season, I’m wondering what would be the best way to do it? I’ll take a shot at a plan over the next few weeks … who’s with me?