Private John Henry Libben did not impress his commanding officer at Antietam.

Lieutenant Peter C Hains later wrote of his battery, “M” of the 2nd United States Artillery:

All the men of the company behaved with their accustomed coolness and courage with one exception, Private Litten [sic], who was not at all remarkable for coolness or courage.

Language not often found in an officer’s after-action report.

Libben served with the battery until discharged at the end of his enlistment in March 1864 and he enlisted in the US Marine Corps immediately afterward, in April. He was promoted to Sergeant and spent the last part of his enlistment (c. 1866-68) aboard the beauty above – USS Vanderbilt. I expect he gathered some coolness and courage by then.

This photograph of USS Vanderbilt is online from the US Naval History and Heritage Command.

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