Orrin William Beach, First Sergeant of Company B, 34th New York Infantry, was in action at Antietam on 17 September 1862, and undoubtedly saw many of his “boys” killed or wounded as they fought beside the rookies of the 125th Pennsylvania in the West Woods just north of the Dunker Church that morning [map].

One of the men who fell near him was Corporal Arthur A O’Keefe of Company B. About 3 months later, a newly commissioned 2nd Lieutenant, Beach wrote Corporal O’Keefe’s father about his son’s death at Antietam. Here’s a typescript of that letter accompanied by a copy of a photo of young Arthur.


The CDV of Lt. Beach above is in the collection of the Wisconsin Historical Society in Madison. There’s also a lovely 1864 photograph of him as a Captain in the 16th NY Heavy Artillery in the NY State Military Museum.

The transcribed letter and O’Keefe photograph were shared to the FamilySearch database by Kathy McGerty.

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