At Antietam on 17 September 1862:

A short time elapsed after the bridge was taken before any other troops came forward to reinforce the two heroic regiments [51st PA and 51st NY]; during which time the 51st P. V. stacked arms on a line parallel with the creek, and about ten feet from it. A few fires were then kindled by the men for the purpose of making a cup of coffee, but as the smoke towered up to the tops of the trees and rising higher than the hill, it gave unmistakable evidence that the Union soldiers were still in the neighborhood of the bridge; the enemy taking the smoke as a point at which to range their batteries, opened their guns with case-shot, shell, and grape.

Lieut. Col. Bell had been up the creek about one hundred and fifty yards, and as he was returning towards the bridge and when within fifty yards of it he met private Hugh Brown, and giving him a friendly slap on the shoulder, remarked as he passed him. “We did it for them this time, my boy;” but he had not taken more than two or three steps when a grape-shot grazed his left temple. He made a whirl round as if on a pivot, fell on his side and rolled down the bank of the creek to where the guns of his regiment were stacked. The men rushed to his aid, and taking him up they found that he had received a frightful and mortal wound; he was carried to the other side of the creek in an unconscious state; he lived only a few hours after being removed to the field hospital.

Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Sloan Bell, Jr.’s photograph was contributed to his Findagrave memorial by Gregory Speciale.

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