Here are Oliver B Blanchard and his wife Sally Maria Rundell. Oliver enlisted just weeks before the battle of Antietam as a Private in the 132nd Pennsylvania Infantry and died of wounds there a week afterward, on 24 September 1862.

Oliver and Maria married in 1857 and had daughters Isadore Adele Blanchard Lincoln (1859-1906) and Rose Belle Blanchard Persons (1862-). Wife and daughters all seem to have gone by their second names – Maria, Adele, Belle.

These fantastic photographs are thanks to descendant Michael J Phillips III.

This fine photograph is of Sharpsburg survivor William Anderson Trayler (left), late Private, 13th Georgia Infantry, and his second son, Benjamin Franklin Trayler (1868-1958) many years after the war, probably about 1910.

Here’s another of William, with his youngest son Will Anderson Trayler (1874-1947) and grandson Will, Jr (1910-1998), taken about 1920.

Both of these family heirlooms were shared to his Findagrave memorial by Judy Trayler Howe in 2021.

This formal portrait by Mathew Brady is of then-Congressman Charles Russell Train of Massachusetts. He was elected to his second term in March 1861 to serve to March 1863, but left Washington in early September 1862 with a Volunteer Captain’s commission on the staff of Brigadier General George H Gordon, a brigade commander in the Twelfth Army Corps – headed for Antietam.

He resigned that commission and returned to Massachusetts politics and his law practice soon after the Maryland Campaign, in November 1862.

An interesting note on his résumé is that he declined a nomination from President Millard Fillmore in 1852 to be an Associate Justice on the US Supreme Court. It turns out that, even after submitting 3 nominees to the US Senate in 1852 and 1853, President Fillmore failed to fill the seat. Franklin Pierce, his successor of the other party, had his nominee John A. Campbell confirmed within 3 weeks of his inauguration in March 1853.

Perhaps Train knew something of his chances when making his decision.

The history of Supreme Court nominations and executive and legislative action or inaction on them is fascinating. For a complete rundown, see this lovely document:

[click image for 1.7MB PDF]



Congressman Train’s photograph is online and is from the Brady-Handy photograph collection, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.

The Congressional Research Service’s Supreme Court Nominations, 1789 to 2020 was posted online by the Federation of American Scientists in 2022.

Thousands of Georgia soldiers died during the war, and at least two Georgia lawyers left the state and set up shop in Richmond, VA to help families back home collect the final pay and allowances due these men – serving as Claim Agents dealing with the bureaucracy of the Confederate government.

If you spend any time in the Compiled Service Records of Georgia troops you’ll see their names. A lot. They are H C Barrow and W A Walton.

Henry Columbus (or Clay) Barrow (1837-1918) was a 22 year old lawyer in 1860, living on the Gideon Barnes’ plantation at Zebulon, Pike County, GA along with other young, single professionals. He married in 1861.

Once in Richmond, certainly by 1862, he had a lot of business. I found these pages – Barrow’s notes about his clients or prospects, I think – in the Compiled Service Record jacket of one such client, Private James Irvin of Company A, 13th Georgia, who died of fever in Culpeper, VA in October 1862. I expect they arrived in Irvin’s file by accident, or on the backs of other documents.

William Augustus Walton (1822-1882) was admitted to the bar in 1842 and was an attorney in Augusta, GA immediately before the war, married, with 4 small children.

He represented families in claims on the CS government as early as 1862 and by March 1864 was agent for the Georgia Relief and Hospital Association in Richmond. Here’s a sample from the form used by Frances H Pool, widow of Private James J. Pool of the 13th Georgia who died, probably of kidney disease, in January 1864.

How’s this for an interesting relationship: 3 doors down from Walton in Augusta, GA in the 1860 US Census is the home of US Army Captain Lafayette McLaws. McLaws, of course, commanded a Division at Sharpsburg.

Lawyer Walton is listed as trustee for an Annie Butler living at McLaws’ address, perhaps a relative or ward of McLaws? There are no nearby Butlers in his family tree.

S.W. Greening (1860)

24 October 2022

This fine photograph is of Swepson Whitehead Greening and, according to a pencilled note on the back, was taken in May 1860.

At that time he was a 20 year old druggist in Mansfield, De Soto Parish, Louisiana.

About a year later he enlisted in the 2nd Louisiana Infantry in New Orleans. He was detailed and left behind at Sharpsburg to tend to the regiment’s wounded, was captured and exchanged, and had later home defense service as a 2nd Lieutenant in the De Soto Militia.

This photograph was posted online by Sadie Greening Sparks in October 2000.

The Fayetteville, NC Observer of 29 September 1862 has the following casualty lists from the battle of Sharpsburg. I’m stashing them here until I get back from this weekend’s Fall Conference at the battlefield. I’ll look into each of the names then.

The whole of page 3 from which these clippings came is online from North Carolina Newspapers, from DigitalNC. Thanks to Tom DeNardo for the pointer to the list for the 3rd Infantry, which started me down this path.

Dr B A Vanderkieft (1864)

17 October 2022

Here are two excellent CDVs of Federal Surgeon Bernard Albert Vanderkieft from Mike Fitzpatrick’s collection.

From 16 September 1862 to 13 May 1863 Dr Vanderklieft was in charge of the largest Antietam field hospital, known as the Antietam or Smoketown Hospital, and he and the other surgeons there treated hundreds of patients during and after that bloody battle.

Here’s a shot of Dr Vanderkieft (center, on the tent pole) with other surgeons and staff at the hospital taken in October or November 1862. It’s from Bob Zeller’s The Blue and Gray in Black and White: A History of Civil War Photography (2005).

And here’s a look at Dr Vanderkieft’s distinctive signature, from the December 1862 Certificate of Disability for Discharge of Pvt John Westbrook, 104th New York.


Mike Fitzpatrick kindly shared his CDVs of Vanderkieft on his flickr feed here and here. Both were taken in about 1864 when he was Surgeon in Charge of the Naval School Hospital in Annapolis. The left one taken by hospital resident photographer A. H. Messinger, and the one on the right by Hopkins, Cornhill Street, Annapolis.

This is 20 year old Rasmus Lee Hopson of Troup County Georgia, probably taken soon after he enlisted in July 1861. I expect the sword is a photographer’s prop, as may be the uniform he’s wearing.

Private Hopson survived a wound at Sharpsburg in 1862 but was disabled for field service and spent the last year or more of the war detailed to enrolling duties back in Troup County, GA.

Almost 100 years after he enlisted, Mrs Thomas Spencer of the Agnes Lee Chapter, United Daughters of the Confederacy in Decatur, GA got him a government marker for his grave in Hogansville, though he already had a basic headstone.

She was a little off on his service particulars, but the Army clerk got them right.


Hopson’s photograph was contributed to his Findagrave memorial by Mike Moon.

His marker application is from Headstone Applications for Military Veterans, 1925-1970 from the National Archives via

20 year old William Elmer Thorp enlisted in the 21st New York Infantry – the First Buffalo Regiment – in May 1861, was wounded at Antietam in September 1862, and mustered out with his regiment in May 1863, their two year term of service expired.

He enlisted again, though, in the US Navy in August 1864 at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. He served a year or less, as a Landsman aboard USS North Carolina and USS Princeton – both receiving and training ships.

North Carolina may have been bolted to the pier at the New York Navy Yard in 1864, but was a top warship, a 74-gun ship of the line, all sail, when on active service between 1820 and about 1840.

The first USS Princeton, launched in 1843, was the Navy’s first screw steam warship, but had an unhappy history (see “Explosion of the Peace-maker“) and was scrapped as too expensive to maintain in 1849.

Landsman Thorpe’s Princeton, seen here in about 1853, was the second of her name, a clipper-built steamship launched in 1852. Some of the timbers of the first Princeton were used in her hull. She saw active service off the Eastern US and in the Caribbean from 1853 – 1855, then was stationed at Philadelphia as a receiving ship from 1857 to her sale in 1866.

William’s carte de visite photograph above is from the New York State Military Museum, online among the New York Heritage digital collections.

These fine ship images are online thanks to the US Naval History and Heritage Command.

North Carolina is a photograph of a watercolor from the 1820s “attributed to Warren (?), and Princeton is of a daguerreotype from the 1850s; the original is in the Mackay Collection, international Museum of Photography at George Eastman House, Rochester, NY.

Joseph S Hayden of Company E, 13th Georgia Infantry survived a slight wound at Sharpsburg in 1862 but was mortally wounded and captured at Gettysburg in 1863.

Here are the two pages of notes US Surgeon Newcombe kept about Hayden’s treatment in the hospital at Camp Letterman up to his death on 30 August 1863. I found these among his Compiled Service Records, National Archives, online from fold3. Touch to enlarge.


Dr. James Newcombe was Acting Assistant Surgeon, US Army and in charge of a ward in the General Hospital at Camp Letterman near Gettysburg, PA by August 1863 and to at least October 1863. He was probably a contract physician with the Army and may have been the James Newcombe who graduated from medical school at Victoria College, Cobourg, Ontario, Canada in 1860.