Looking into the 11th Connecticut Infantry at Antietam this week, I found stories of two of the men in a period publication. The Colonel’s I had heard before, the Captain’s? Not …

Colonel Henry Kingsbury

[On 17 September 1862] Col. Kingsbury now received orders from Gen. Burnside to march his regiment to the [lower] bridge, after the batteries had shelled the works on the other side, and hold it until Gen. Rodman [sic] could march his column over. Col. Kingsbury approached the bridge through a narrow defile in the woods, thence through a cornfield, and over a plowed field adjacent to the road. Our skirmishers, advancing, were briskly engaged with the enemy on the opposite side. Col. Kingsbury gave Lieut. Col. Stedman command of the right wing, with directions to advance and occupy a hill between the road and the river overlooking the bridge. Having accomplished this under a heavy fire, the right wing immediately engaged the enemy and lost very heavily in this position; the sharpshooters of the enemy taking off our men very fast while the enemy’s main body was so concealed, that we had little to aim at. Col. Kingsbury at the same time brought up the left wing, where he was exposed to the most intense fire while attempting, as at that time supposed, to take up a position very near if not on the bridge.

All the rebel batteries were now roaring. The air rang with whistling balls and the ground quaked with the hard breath of artillery. The Eleventh Connecticut descended to storm Antietam Bridge. The rebel guns were pouring in a destructive fire of grape and canister; while continuous volleys from an unseen enemy in the woods were also showered upon them. Down the road leaped the Eleventh into this ‘valley of death.’

Companies A and B under Capt. John Griswold were deployed as skirmishers; and they plunged into the swift stream here some fifty feet wide and four deep, their dauntless commander taking the lead. He was shot through the breast while in mid-river but struggled forward, and fell upon the opposite bank, among the rebels.

Captain John Griswold

The left wing of the regiment was now near the bridge. Col. Kingsbury was active inciting his soldiers to the charge by his gallant bearing and the inspiration of his voice. Many men fell. The Colonel was a special mark; and he was soon shot in the foot, and immediately thereafter in the leg; when he was at last prevailed upon to leave the field. While he was being carried off, he received a third ball in the shoulder and a fourth in the abdomen, inflicting a mortal wound.

The men were still fighting; now falling back, and again charging on the bridge. The official report says, “When he fell the regiment felt their last hope was gone: we had lost the bravest of Colonels and the best of men.” Major Moegling now assumed command of the left wing, and led it gallantly; while Col. Stedman held the right wing firmly to the support of the battery. Volleys were frequent and effective …

— The Military and Civil History of Connecticut during the War of 1861-65 (1868)

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