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.

H.T. McKay, 26th Alabama

27 August 2020

Harley Tuttle McKay was a 27 year old shoemaker in 1861 when he left his wife and two year old son and enlisted in the Sons of ’76 – Company H of the 26th Alabama Infantry regiment.

On 14 September 1862 near Turner’s Gap on South Mountain he was seriously wounded in the leg by a “bombshell.”  Soon afterward his leg was amputated and he was sent home to Marion County, Alabama on furlough. In April 1863 he was detailed from his Company to Columbus, Mississippi to use his skills as a shoemaker for the Confederacy. He was there for at least a year, but I have no further military information for him after April 1864.

After the war he was a shoemaker and farmer, and probably a preacher; in his native county to about 1880, then in Texas.  He lived to be 84 years old.

Although his life story is not especially noteworthy for a Civil War soldier, the way it became tangled with another McKay’s after his death  is very interesting. And, for a researcher like myself, also very confusing. I’m not certain I’ve sorted it out, even now. See what you make of it …

The issues first jumped out at me through a couple of cemetery markers.

Lieutenant Richard C. Shannon of the 5th Maine Infantry was assigned as aide-de-camp to Major General Henry W. Slocum, commander of the First Division, 6th Army Corps, in March 1862. Although a well-educated young man, he was still learning his profession as a staff officer in August and September 1862.

Shannon left behind some wartime diaries which, although not especially dramatic as narrative, offer insight into his day-to-day experience in the field.

Of particular interest to me is this field notebook/diary he had with him on the Maryland Campaign.

It is a flip-page style that he probably carried in his pocket, and he used it both as a traditional diary – writing a brief summary of each day’s activity – and as a working notebook to keep orders, names, maps, and other things he needed to remember.

I’ll pull out some pages to give you a flavor, here. Click on any of them to expand for easier reading.