Two stories, one soldier:  Sergeant George A Jacobs, Company C, 61st New York Infantry, pictured here.

[After action at the Sunken Road at Antietam on 17 September] The firing had again quieted. [Lieutenant Colonel Miles] directed me [Sergeant Fuller] to take two men and go forward, part way through [Piper’s] corn field in front, and watch and report any appearance of the enemy. If I am not mistaken, I took Porter E. Whitney and George Jacobs of my company. We went forward half way through the corn field, which was for the most part trampled down. We arranged the broken stalks so as to be partially concealed.

After a time to our front and right, and on the brow of a considerable rise of ground, a body of officers appeared on horseback, and with glasses took observations. We discussed the propriety of aiming at these Confederates and giving them a volley. I finally concluded it was best not to take this responsibility, as it might bring on an attack that we were not ready for. In a short time these men disappeared. I sent back one of the men to report what we had seen. Very soon he came back with the word to join the regiment.

Longstreet in his book entitled ‘From Bull Run to Appomattox’ speaks of looking the field over about this time and from near this location, so, I judge, it was he and his staff that we had such a plain view of.

An interesting starting point for some great “what-if” stories, perhaps?

Jacobs was appointed First Sergeant of Company C in early 1863 and in September that year …

He was home on a ten days furlough. Of course, the best in the land was free to him, and he was feasted by parents and friends. As he was about ready to start back, he was taken violently sick with a stomach trouble and died in a few hours [on 18 September 1863 in New Berlin, NY].


These quotes from Charles A Fuller in his Personal Recollections of the War of 1861… in the Sixty-first Regiment (1906).

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