Credited to Timothy O’Sullivan, but probably by Alexander Gardner, this photograph is titled Signal tower on Elk Mountain, Maryland, overlooking battlefield of Antietam, and was taken in late September or early October 1862, not long after the battle of Antietam. It is one of several taken of this place and these men.

Here’s a blow-up of the two officers seen in this view.

The man seated at the top is Lieutenant Aaron Brainard Jerome of the First New Jersey Infantry, detailed as a Signal Officer since March 1862. The other, with the telescope, is Lieutenant Edward Corbin Pierce of the 3rd Maine Infantry, a Signal Officer since December 1861. Not in this view was the third officer at this station, Lieutenant Frederick Wooster Owen, detailed from the 38th New York Infantry.

Standing on the ground at the left is Private Robert J. Morgan, on detail from the 3rd Maine, as is the flagman on top, Private Harrison Winslow “Harry” Gardner.

Although it was the site of a signal station the day of the battle, neither the log tower nor these officers were there on Elk Ridge on 17 September; the tower built afterward, Lieutenants Pierce, Jerome, and Owen assigned on September 20.

Here’s a lovely photograph of the group of signalmen on Elk Ridge, also by Gardner, titled Signal Corps Detachment, Elk Mountain, Md., October 1862.

… a group portrait that may have been taken on a different day [from those of the signal station]. Seated against the tree to the left is Private Morgan. Lieutenant Owen is posed seated with his left hand on his thigh in front of and to the left of the white signal flag; the man seated to the right of him, a telescope in his lap, is Lieutenant Jerome. Standing behind Jerome to the right is Private Gardner … And finally, the last seated officer on the right is Lieutenant Pierce. (The black men in this scene are servants.)

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Notes

My copy of the top photograph is from the Library of Congress, online, as is the group photograph below.

Details about these pictures from William A Frassanito in Antietam: The Photographic Legacy of America’s Bloodiest Day (1978).

Gottfried Heinrich Theodor Ferdinand Axt was an acting Hospital Steward with his regiment, the 20th New York Infantry, on the Maryland Campaign of 1862. Like many in the regiment, he was born in Germany, but had excellent English as well.

He was later commissioned an Assistant Surgeon, first of Volunteers and then in the Regular US Army. This suggests prior medical training, perhaps in Germany, though I’ve not yet found evidence of it.

In January 1870, a month before he resigned his US Army commission, he applied for a passport in Washington, DC indicating he was planning travel overseas. This lovely document helped me nail down his full name along with place and date of birth, and includes details of his physical appearance. I found it online via Ancestry.com.

“The woman at the left of our picture, the mother,” Mrs Adams explained when she showed me the picture, “is my great and Minna Mar’s great-great-grandmother. Her grave is at Pittsfield. She came to Illinois in 1830. Her name was Elizabeth Kennedy [1779-1850] and she married Kennedy Long [1763-1821] of Baltimore, a colonel in the War of 1812. The baby standing on the sofa next to his mother, the little fellow in the dress, is my great-granduncle George Long [1798-1815]. Next to him sits my great-grandaunt Elizabeth [1802-1870]. She’s the one extending her hand with proud, patronizing largess toward her brother, the little chap in the dark jacket helping himself to the cherries in the basket. His name was Andrew Kennedy Long [1804-1866] and he grew up to be a member of the antarctic exploring expedition led by Captain Charles Wilkes – the Wilkes who later almost caused a war between England and America when he insulted the British flag by snatching Mason and Slidell from the deck of an English packet.”

“Andrew Kennedy [Long] served also as a captain in the Mexican War,” Minna Mar reminder her mother. “And his son acted as secretary for Andrew Johnson.”

To bring this back to the Maryland Campaign of 1862, that son was Andrew Kennedy Long, Jr.

He enlisted in the 3-month 9th Pennsylvania Infantry in early 1861 at age 18, then in the 7th Pennsylvania Reserves, and was in action with them at Antietam. He was appointed First Lieutenant in the 12th Tennessee Cavalry (US) in February 1864 and in 1865 commissioned Major and Assistant Adjutant General – a staff officer – in the US Volunteers. It was probably in that role that he was military secretary to President Johnson. He was an officer in the Regular Army after the war and was a Captain and Commissary of Subsistence at his death by suicide in 1878 at age 34.

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Notes

The quotes above are from the painting’s owners in 1941, Minna Adams and her daughter Minna Margaret Adams of Jacksonville, IL, as published in Jay Monaghan’s Old Masterpieces Discovered in the Corn Belt in the Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, Volume 34, Number 3 (September 1941).

I think Mrs Adams had the children George and Andrew confused. From their birth dates according to family genealogists, Andrew was the younger boy, with sister Eliza between them. In 1805, Andrew would have been a baby in a confirmation gown and George about 7 years old.

The painting is by the “earliest documented professional Afro-American painter”, Joshua Johnson/Johnston (c. 1765-1830) [National Gallery of Art bio sketch]

This copy of the painting was shared online to the FamilySearch database by Peggy T Robinson in 2014 (free membership required).

This work and others of Johnson were part of a 1976 exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York [catalog pdf].

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]

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Notes

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.

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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.