Private Daniel Dailey (or Daly, Daily, Delay, Daylay, Delany), Company K, 50th Georgia Infantry was captured on South Mountain on 14 September 1862 and was issued a parole slip on 3 October at Boonsboro, MD. He was back with his Company by the end of the year and survived to go home in 1865.

The parole was signed by Major William Henry Wood, acting Provost Marshal General of the Army of the Potomac, and by Captain James Judson Van Horn. Both were West Point graduates and professional soldiers before the war. This document is from Private Dailey’s Compiled Service Records at the US National Archives, and is online thanks to fold3.

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.

This excellent photograph is in the collection of the Library of Congress and was taken in February 1863. It is of Captain James William Forsyth, then US Provost Marshall at Aquia Creek, VA – a large supply base for the Union Army. He’s sitting on a 50 pound crate of “Army Bread”, better known as hardtack, a staple of the soldiers’ diet.

Forsyth had been on the staffs of Generals McClellan and Mansfield on the Maryland Campaign, and was assigned to the Army of the Potomac’s Provost Marshall General after Antietam on 17 September 1862.

Probably typical of the work of the Provost Marshall after a battle, here’s an example of Forsyth’s signature on a parole given by Private John H. Reynolds of the 15th South Carolina Infantry who was captured at Sharpsburg (touch to enlarge). Slightly less typical, I expect, was Private Reynolds’ request to not be exchanged or returned.

That document is from Reynolds’ Compiled Service Record file, US National Archives. I got my copy from fold3.

James Forsyth moved across the River Tweed from his birthplace, Coldstream, Scotland, to Berwick-on-Tweed in England with his family as a small child in about 1842, and was a student there into the 1850s.

In 1861, by then a painter in Providence, RI, he enlisted in the 12th Massachusetts Infantry in Boston. He received a serious wound to his hand at Antietam and spent the next 9 months in Army hospitals and another year in the Veteran Reserve Corps before going home.

He was a painter to age 47, when he was killed in a railroad accident near his home in Lynn, Massachusetts, leaving a widow Isabella and 12 year old daughter Helen Eveline, the lone survivor of their 5 children.

The photograph here of part of the “old bridge” (built 1611-1634) into Berwick is from a promotional brochure [PDF] produced by English Heritage.

Here’s a photograph taken just after the war of Benjamin Crawford Brantley (left), late Private of Company B, 13th Georgia Infantry.

He went by Crawford or Croff and was not yet 17 years old when he enlisted in 1861. He was wounded at Sharpsburg in 1862, at Gettysburg (1863), at Spotsylvania (1864), and finally, and most seriously, at Winchester, VA in September 1864. He lost his left forearm to amputation at a Federal field hospital in Winchester and was in the prison hospital at Point Lookout, MD to February 1865.

Which gives me a good excuse to show you this lovely 1864 bird’s-eye view of Crawford’s temporary home at Point Lookout. Click or touch to see more detail.

The photograph at the top was shared online by by Ken Brantley on his Brantley Association of America website. The other man is not identified.

This copy of the Point Lookout print is online from the Library of Congress.

Private George Washington Reaves, 13th Georgia Infantry was about 30 years old when he was wounded in a most frightful way at Sharpsburg in September 1862. He later described it in his application for a Confederate veteran’s pension in 1896 (click to enlarge).

This helpful document is online from Georgia Archives Virtual Vault.

Wilbur Fiske Pope, a 20 year old private in Company A of the 13th Georgia Infantry was killed at Sharpsburg on 17 September 1862.

In a 17 November 1862 letter to her niece Martha Parks, his stepmother Susan Atkinson Pope, who had raised him from an infant, wrote:

… since my dear Wilbur’s death everything looks sad and gloomy. how hard it is to give him up, such a lovely youth. he was everything that a Mother’s heart could wish or desire. none knew him but to love him.

Capt. Mitchell wrote such a pretty letter after his death. I read two letters from William Gwynn telling how he was killed; said Wilbur was on his left side just in the act of caping his gun when the fatal ball struck him through the centre of his forehead. he fell forward on his side. said he looked right straight in his face the most imploringly, in a few moments he ceased to breathe. Billy said he never should forget the look that Wilbur gave him. said there was no doubt about his being fully prepared to die, oh that he could have died in my arms. the last letter i received from him was the very day that he was killed …

[I’ve added punctuation to make it a little easier to read]

A full transcription of this letter was posted to Facebook by Michael Parks for the Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp 1441, Midland, TX. The location of the original letter was not given.

In March 1862 22 year old Private John Barnett Mathews of the 13th Georgia Infantry wrote the Confederate President Jefferson Davis asking for appointment to a more important position so he could better help support his newly widowed and “nearly destitute” mother and 7 younger siblings back home in Heard County, GA.

Private Mathews may have felt deserving of special treatment because he had attended medical school and was a school teacher before the war. He’d enlisted as a Private in June 1861 but, as he wrote the President,

My qualifications I think, sir, render me capable of filling a station that would better enable me to relieve myself of the embarrassment [the poverty of his family] of which I have spoken.

The letter was received in the office of the President on 25 March, and was apparently answered (those may be the President’s initials at top right), but the reply in not Mathews’ file. In any case, no new position was immediately forthcoming. Instead, he was elected by his Company to Junior 2nd Lieutenant in September 1862, and was their Captain by 1864.

If you are a student of US Naval Aviation, this 1911 photograph may be something like the holy grail.

Pictured is the Curtiss A-1 aircraft with Glenn H Curtiss at the wheel. Seated (L-R) are his students – young US Navy officers John Rodgers, John Henry Towers, and Theodore Ellyson – who qualified that summer as Naval Aviators #2, #3 and #1, respectively. The man standing at left is not identified, but is possibly Eugene Burton Ely (1879-1911), Curtiss’ pilot and a pioneer of Naval Aviation in his own right – the first man to take off from and land on a ship.

All of these men had tremendous flying stories and family histories – well worth a look when you have the time.

Rodgers (USNA 1903) and Ellyson (USNA 1905) were killed in plane crashes, in 1926 and 1928 respectively, but Towers (USNA 1906) had a 45-year Navy career culminating in 4-star Admiral’s rank (1945) and command of the US Pacific Fleet (1946).

Here’s Vice Admiral Towers (arrow) in a famous photograph of General Douglas McArthur signing surrender documents aboard USS Missouri (BB-63) in Tokyo Bay on 2 September 1945.

Bringing this back home …

Towers’ grandfather, Colonel John Reed Towers, commanded the 8th Georgia Infantry from 2nd Manassas to Appomattox, including in action with G.T. Anderson’s Brigade in the West Woods and on Piper’s Farm at Sharpsburg on 17 September 1862.

Here’s Colonel J.R. Towers, just after the Civil War.

Colonel Towers’ 2nd son and Admiral Towers’ father, William McGee Towers (1846-1912), was also a Confederate veteran. He served as an 18 year old cavalryman with General N.B. Forrest in 1864 and 1865. He lived to see his son fly.



More details of Admiral Towers’ Navy career are in a bio sketch from the Naval History and Heritage Command.

They are also the source of the Curtiss photograph above.

The 1945 photograph on the USS Missouri is online from the US National Archives.

The portrait of Colonel John R Towers is thanks to family genealogists via RootsWeb.

Brothers Charles A. (left) and William Decatur Mangham enlisted together as 2nd and 3rd Corporal, respectively, in the “Confederate Guards” – Company A, 13th Georgia Infantry – in July 1861, and had their pictures taken in their new uniforms.

Will was badly wounded in the arm at Sharpsburg on 17 September 1862 and served afterward as a Lieutenant in a Reserve Company assigned as guards at Andersonville, GA.

Charles’ photograph is from Oh, For a Touch of the Vanished Hand (2000) by Col. Dana Mangham, who says Charles was also wounded at Sharpsburg. I’ve not found other evidence of that. Will’s picture is from Rosalee Mangham King as published in Rachel McDaniel’s Pike County (2011).

In a related find, here’s a Sharpsburg casualty list for Companies A and I of the 13th Georgia clipped from page 4 of the Savannah Weekly Republican of 4 October 1862.

The complete edition of that paper is online from Georgia Historic Newspapers, and it also contains extensive descriptions of the action at Sharpsburg and has similar lists for the 12th, 50th, and 61st Georgia, and 5th Florida Infantry (along with lists for the 9th and 11th Georgia at Manassas).