Almost exactly 20 years ago Carolyn Ivanoff shared with me (and AotW) her research about and transcription of the wartime diary of Charles D. M. Broomhall, Sergeant in the 124th Pennsylvania Infantry, describing his experience on the Maryland Campaign.

On my visit to the battlefield last Friday morning I saw this wayside for the first time. Maybe I just never stopped at that spot before.

[touch to expand]

I was stunned to see the heading quote from Sergeant Broomhall, from Carolyn’s work in the diary. That “fluttering” reference comes from a few lines earlier in his narrative:

At the commencement of the battle at day dawn [on 17 September 1862], our boys had been listening to the stray shots on the edge of the 1st named woods called the East Woods, the rebels had come through the corn and deployed pickets on the edge of the East Woods. Our pickets were deployed in the edge of this woods, consequently, at daylight the two picket lines found themselves face to face and that caused the suddenness of the onset. Our brigade was about 1/4 of a mile to the right and rear, and our regiment was brought up to near the clear sod field first spoken of while shot and shell went fluttering over our heads like partridges for sound.

Thanks again, Carolyn!

New map and a minor re-org

13 February 2023

It had been nearly 20 years since I last added a battle map segment to Antietam on the Web, and now I’ve put up two new ones in two days. I felt the call to do the first one as I began a deep dive into the men of the 7th Maine Infantry [previous blog post], and the second follows from some excellent field walks and discussions at the Antietam Institute Fall Conference last October.

That second new map covers a series of disjointed but remarkably effective Confederate counter-attacks near the center of their position at Sharpsburg about noon on 17 September 1862. Most ended quickly in apparently bloody failure, but taken together they were a strategic success: critical to keeping the Federals from advancing much beyond the Bloody Lane that afternoon.

[Battle Map #10 on AotW]

While I was at it, I re-ordered the 15 map sections in approximately chronological rather than simply north-to-south order, and replaced the old top-level “menu” map with this one:

[from the main Battle Map page on AotW]

I hope this sequence encourages viewers to think a little differently about the combat events of 17 September 1862.

So what neglected action or part of the field should I do next?

One of the saddest stories of Antietam is that of the vain heroism of the men of the 7th Maine Infantry on the Piper Farm at about 5 pm on 17 September 1862. Their ill-considered charge there destroyed the regiment as a fighting force and obtained little result.

[Battle Map #15 on AotW]

Their commander, Major Thomas Worcester Hyde of Bath, Maine, described it in his after-action report 2 days after the battle and refined his narrative in his later memoir Following the Greek Cross, or, Memories of the Sixth Army Corps (1894), which I’m excerpting here to accompany a new battle map on AotW.

Colonel Irvin [William H Irwin] of the 49th Pennsylvania commanded our brigade at Antietam. He was a soldier of the Mexican War, and had been wounded at Resaca de la Palma. He was a gallant man, but drank too much, of which I was then unaware.

21K milestone

30 August 2022

I’ve been spending more time than I used to with each soldier I enter into the database, so it’s taken almost two years to add the last thousand. There are now just over 21,000 people-pages on Antietam on the Web.

The latest additions are from the 5th Alabama Infantry, who suffered more than 150 casualties in Maryland, notably at Turner’s Gap on South Mountain on 14 September 1862, where most of three Companies were killed or captured.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of Antietam on the Web (AotW).

My work online about the battle began in 1992 with a collection of text files, but I consider the birthday of AotW to be 1 November 1996 when I first launched the website.

That first site on a free service called GeoCities consisted of 3 simple battlefield maps, profiles of about 100 senior officers, a basic order of battle, and some text exhibits.  It’s somewhat larger in depth and scope now.

A decade later, in March 2006, I started posting here on behind AotW as accompaniment. So the blog celebrates a big anniversary, too, now in its 15th year.

I plan to keep adding to Antietam on the Web and occasionally blogging for at least a couple more years, so I hope both my readers will stick around for that.

In 1864, building on information collected by others, civil engineer Simon G. Elliott documented the locations of more than 5,800 soldiers’ burials on the battlefield of Antietam on a map. His similar work for burials at Gettysburg has long been known, but a copy of his Antietam map lay largely unnoticed in the New York Public library for many years until library staff digitized the map and made it available online between 2015 and 2018.

In June 2020 Gettysburg researchers Tim Smith and Andrew Dalton were looking into Elliott, came upon this map, and brought it to the attention of other historians and the public.

I’ve broken my digital copy into 14 large segments, each covering about 1/2 square mile of the battlefield, to make it a little easier for you to explore and make sense of this huge map. They’re all now up on Antietam on the Web (AotW) in a special exhibit.

49 individual soldiers and 32 regiments are identified on the big map. I have highlighted each of them in white and linked them to related pages on AotW so you can get more information about them.

On the occasion of the battle anniversary this month I’ve taken stock of the AotW database. There may be another lifetime’s work to do in other areas of the Campaign, but I now have a reasonably complete list of the troops who were killed and mortally wounded at Sharpsburg.  The first of its kind anywhere, as far as I know. Pretty cool!

I’ve created a couple of new reports on the subject which you can download at the end of this post.

When I count the individuals who were killed outright or were mortally wounded and died on 16, 17, or 18 September 1862 I get 1,653 Confederates (the Official Records say 1,550 were killed) and 2,205 Federals (OR has 2,100).

I’ve also pulled the names of the soldiers who died of their Sharpsburg wounds in the days and weeks afterward.  These make an additional 772 Confederates and 980 Federals.

So if you suspected the official numbers were a little low, you were right. As a caution, let me remind both my readers that the records are sometimes awful and occasionally missing altogether, and besides, I’ve certainly not seen every source there is to see. I’m sure I’ll find more names to add.

Also, I need to look at it some more, but there may be enough in my collection to name most of those 5,800+ burials on the newly-identified  S.G. Elliott map.  Just don’t ask me to guess which of those little marks are which person.  I haven’t looked at any others on the map yet [update: see my annotated exhibit on the Elliot map], but the man listed in the map portion above as F.L. Fraser is E. L. Fraser, Private of Company I, 12th South Carolina. Later records of his field burial correlate well with the 1864 Elliott map.

Ok, so just in time for the anniversary, here are 2 versions each of two reports listing the killed of Antietam. As always, if you can add names or improve the information please let me know.

Men Killed in the Battle of Antietam at Sharpsburg, Maryland 16-18 September 1862
Sorted by state | Sorted by rank [3834 names, 1.0 MB pdf]

Men Who Later Died of Wounds from the Battle of Antietam at Sharpsburg
Sorted by state | Sorted by rank [1736 names, 500 KB pdf]


These new lists and the ongoing Dead of the Campaign list are also hosted, and will be updated in the future, under Antietam 150: The Dead of the Maryland Campaign elsewhere on this blog.

19K milestone

2 April 2020

It’s turning out to be another productive year for Antietam on the Web.

Soldier profiles I added today for Parker’s Richmond Battery put the total number of individuals in the database over 19,000.

More tomorrow.

New on AotW: a handy pocket guide to the field artillery pieces of each of the Confederate and Union batteries at Antietam and on the Maryland Campaign of 1862. In spreadsheet form, it shows counts by gun type for all 135 batteries present, and it’s available as a PDF and also as a link on the main AotW Weapons page .

I welcome your feedback.

OK, so it’s not really a “pocket” guide and the print is really small on a letter-sized sheet. But it is concise and reasonably complete. Perhaps best read zoomed-in on your computer screen.

Some patterns are easy to see in this form. Have fun with the analysis – Confederate vs Federal.

As always, there’s more info about each gun type and every battery online at Antietam on the Web.

Another AotW milestone

29 September 2019

We’re having a great year collecting soldiers here at AotW.  You have a lot of reading to catch up on.

Lieutenant John A Steel, 106th Pennsylvania Infantry was #18,000, added today.