While looking for something else, I came upon what may be the story of the first Confederate soldier killed on the Maryland Campaign of 1862. He was one of the earliest, certainly.

It happened on 8 September 1862, at Monocacy Junction near Frederick, MD, and probably did not involve gunfire.

On that date much of the Army of Northern Virginia (ANV) was in camp in and around Frederick, MD and Private Thomas Riley of the 6th Louisiana Infantry was part of a detail assigned to destroy the nearby railroad bridge across the Monocacy River. They succeeded in blowing it up, but Riley was killed in the process.

About a week later, after the ANV had moved on, the 14th New Jersey Infantry returned to their post at the bridge. In a somewhat gruesome postscript to our story, Sergeant Terrill of the 14th described what they found:

Everything looked desolate. The bridge destroyed, remnants of wagons, dead horses and mules lying around… It was raining hard and very muddy. Tents were pitched in a plowed field in regular order, guards were stationed around camp …

The rebels [had] left a squad of men to destroy the bridge; in the attempt one man was blown up and buried near the ruins, leaving his arms and head above ground. This was the first rebel the men had ever seen, and for some time was an object of curiosity to us; he lay exposed several days; at last his remains were taken up and decently interred by our men.


The picture at the top is a sketch by Alfred Waud of the railroad bridge as it looked in June or July 1863, after it had been rebuilt. The original is in the Library of Congress.

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