Here’s Sergeant Lester Edwin Forrest Spofford after he lost his left arm to a wound and resulting amputation at Antietam on 17 September 1862.

You’d have thought that would have been enough of war for 18 year old Forrest, but it wasn’t. He was appointed Sergeant Major of the 8th Connecticut Infantry in January 1863 and he returned to serve with them to May of 1864, when he was wounded again. In the other arm.

After recovering from that wound he attempted to reenlist, but was turned away by a medical board and discharged at the end of his original term of enlistment on 20 September 1864.

This fine photograph is from the Buck Zaidel Collection, and was published in Military Images in Spring 2015 and featured in Longley & Zaidel’s Heroes for All Time: Connecticut Civil War Soldiers Tell Their Stories (2015).

Troup Artillery redux

30 April 2024

Fellow researcher Laura Elliott sent me a couple of lovely news clippings with further detail about the Troup Artillery on the Maryland Campaign of 1862. The first piece is from the the Athens, Georgia Southern Banner of 8 October 1862 reproducing a casualty list Captain Henry H. Carlton put in a letter to his parents:

The second is from the Banner of 1 October 1862 and has more details about some of the casualties; it was taken from a letter Corporal W A Hemphill wrote his father:

The Athens Guards, by the way, were Company K of the 3rd Georgia Infantry, also at Sharpsburg.

Thanks to Laura, I’ve had more names to look into this week.

While doing that I came upon this fine photograph of the surviving members of the Troup Artillery at their reunion in Athens on 20 July 1892 – 30 years after Sharpsburg.

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That might be former Captain Carlton at the far right holding the sponge-rammer, and the man with the huge sideburns in the center of the picture beneath the battle flag is probably former Corporal Hemphill, then Mayor of Atlanta. The photograph was made by their own ex-Lieutenant C.W. Motes and was published in the Banner of 26 July 1892. This copy was posted online by the volunteers of RootsWeb.

That first piece is a little hard to read, so Laura kindly transcribed the casualties for us:

September 14 at Cramptons Gap
Killed, private John J Kinney, Serg’t John O Waddell mortally wounded, shot through the head and left on the field. Private Robert S. Thomas seriously though not dangerously wounded – shot through both legs; E. A. Lee, slightly, flesh wound, through the thigh.

September 17 at Sharpsburg
Killed – Private B R Carlton. Wounded – Lieut. C. W. Motes in side and shoulder, though not dangerous; Serg’t J. H. L. Gerdine, in thigh, dangerously; Private George B. Atkisson, breast and thigh, dangerously; W. H. P. Jones, in thigh, slight; E. C. Kinnedrew, very slight, in face; R. W. Pitman, shot through leg, not dangerous; R. W. Saye struck with ball, not serious. Privates Robert Moon, J. F. Murray and Corp’l J. M. A. Johnson badly bruised but now on duty.

Here are the soldiers of the Athens Guard mentioned by Hemphill:

George Graham, killed;
James Dorsey, shot through leg;
Dick Baxter, shot through the hand;
George Palmer, wounded;
George Daniel, wounded;
Henry Morton, wounded;
Ab Edge, well;
O’Farrell, also well.

The Troup Artillery members present at that 1892 reunion were listed in the newspaper:

Capt. H. H. Carlton, Athens, Ga.
1st Lieut. C. W. Motes, Atlanta, Ga.
H Jennings “ “
1st Lieut. A F Pope, Crawford, Ga.
J O Waddell, Atlanta, Ga.
J F Dillard, Crawford, Ga.
Howell Cobb, Corporal.
R K Pridgeon, Sergt.
A B C Dorsey, Q M Sergt.
J J Jennings, Athens, Ga.
Jesse Williams, Jefferson, Ga.
R W Pittman, Athens.
Robert Dicken, McNutt, Oconee Co.
E L Edwards, Covington.
E C Kinnebrew, Athens.
J W Hale, Winterville.
J T Hale, “
G B Atkisson “
Lee M Lyle, Middleton,
Corporal B F Culp, Athens.
H T Boneshell, Maxeys, Ga.
W J Jennings, Bethlehem.
Jas. J Jennings, Watkinsville.
W S Barrett, Ila, Madison Co. Ga.
E A Robertton, Atlanta.
D J Matthews, Bascobel.
W A Hemphill, Atlanta.
R W Saye “
T F Hudson, Athens.
F M Doster, Bascobel.
J E Bradberry, Athens.
J W Bradberry, Watkinsville.
Jesse Gann, Athens.
T S Richards “
Corporal J D Thomas, Rome.
John Lilly, Athens.
Thomas Jones, Athens.
Geo W Moon, “
Isaac Vincent, “
Obadia Vincent, “
J R Hale, ________
J W Ledbetter, [Joseph William Ledbetter, Madison, Co., GA]
O J Oliver, Atlanta.
A W Reese, Macon.
E W Porter, Athens.
J M Barry, “
T S Richards, “
Bob Flournoy “
D D Blackman, Atlanta.
G W Simmons, McNutt, Oconee Co.
J E Pittman, Athens.

2,000 faces of Antietam

24 April 2024

Antietam on the Web achieved a milestone today – we now can show you faces of 2,000 of the participants in the Battle of Antietam as they probably looked when they were there.

This is not far from 10% of the nearly 22,000 people in the AotW database and is amazing to me – I’ve been putting up pictures of them one at a time as I find them, for many years, not really keeping score.

A big thank you to all the descendants and collectors who have shared their treasured pictures with me, and to all the organizations large and small who have posted theirs online for me to find.

W.E. Hacker photograph

To mark the day, here’s one of my most recent finds and poignant faces – that of 17 year old William E Hacker of Worcester, Massachusetts. A recent graduate of a military prep school in Worcester, he was appointed 2nd Lieutenant of Company A, 3rd Maryland Infantry in March 1862, and fought with them at Antietam, where he was shot in the chest. He survived that and returned to duty in January 1863, soon after promoted to Captain, but died of typhoid fever in March 1863 at age 18.

His carte de visite (CDV) here is one of two of him in the Liljenquist Family Collection of Civil War Photographs at the Library of Congress – a massive and growing resource for people like us.

If you have a wartime picture of someone who was at the battle, or know of one online I haven’t seen yet, please let me know. I have so much more to do.

Here’s another excuse to show you Surgeon B. A. Vanderkieft‘s fabulous signature. In this case, on a certificate for Corporal Edmund Davis of the 35th Massachusetts Infantry, who suffered a terrible wound to his right thigh at Antietam on 17 September 1862. He recovered, in the sense that he didn’t die, but was afterward permanently disabled.

Davis returned to Massachusetts, studied the law, and began a lifelong career as a lawyer.

Sadly, nearly 35 years later, he killed himself – under threat of arrest for losing $30,000 of a client’s money in bad investments:

complete article: page 1 | page 2


His Certificate is among Corporal Davis’ Compiled Service Records at the National Archives; I got this copy from the fold3 collection.

The clipping and picture above are from a lengthy piece about Davis and his death published on the first two pages of the Boston Globe on 10 July 1897. These are online [page 1 | page 2] from

First Sergeant Oliver Peter Forbes was seriously wounded in the thigh at Antietam on 17 September 1862, and his surgeon thought he’d recovered by the end of the year, but he later faded and died of his wound in a field hospital at Keedysville. This notice is from the New York Times of 4 June 1863:

This item from the Frederick Examiner of 29 April 1863 is online thanks to Crossroads of War from the Catoctin Center for Regional Studies. My transcription:

About 3 o’clock on last Saturday afternoon, Mr. D Keplinger, living near the Battle field of Antietam, came to his death through the bursting of a conical shell. He was trying to remove the screw or cap of the shell found on the field, when it exploded, blowing off two of his fingers and driving the cap through his leg, severing the femoral artery. He lingered about eight hours, when death terminated his sufferings. He leaves a wife and children.

There were quite a number of Keplingers living in Sharpsburg and elsewhere in Washington County at the 1860 US Census, but I haven’t found a good match for this one.

This is the first time I’ve seen this in many years visiting Antietam National Cemetery: an obvious replacement headstone. And not just because of wear and tear. An Ohioan in a row of Connecticut soldiers.

There’s a great story here, I’m sure, but I only know part of it.

William Whitney Farmer, 34, of Wakeman, Ohio enlisted as a Corporal in Company D, 8th Ohio Infantry in June 1861, and was killed by artillery at Antietam on 16 September 1862. He was mis-identified as being in the 8th Connecticut Infantry when he was removed from his resting place on the battlefield and re-buried in the new Antietam National Cemetery in 1867.

Here’s the headstone that’s been over his grave since then:

On my visit last Friday, though, this brand new, fresh cut stone jumped out at me:

I hope a reader will let us know how this came about. You won’t be surprised to hear there are many, perhaps hundreds of headstones in the Cemetery with errors large and small, and I would never have expected the Park Service or the VA to replace any of them.

And yet … here we are.


The photos above of Farmer’s new headstone are by the author, taken at the Antietam National Cemetery on Friday 12 April 2024.

His original headstone photo is from contributor Birdman on Farmer’s online memorial at Find-a-grave.

The page image here is from the 1890 version of the History of the Antietam National Cemetery, including a descriptive list of all the loyal soldiers buried therein …, published by George Hess, late Private, 28th Pennsylvania Infantry; online from the Library of Congress. His work is a virtual copy of the History published by the Cemetery Board of Trustees in 1867, except that Hess noted the headstone numbers, which I find more useful than the section/lot/grave numbers in the original volume.

Here’s 2nd Lieutenant Maximilian Wimpfheimer of Company G, 2nd Pennsylvania Reserves, who was killed at Antietam on 17 September 1862, just about 2 months after this picture was taken.

He was born in Germany and was about 21 years old at his death. His father David brought his family to America between 1852 and 1860, and was a vinegar manufacturer in Philadelphia before the war.

This photograph was contributed by Susan Johnson and hosted online by the Shapell Manuscript Foundation, part of an exhibit on Jewish soldiers killed in the Civil War – two of whom were identified as being buried in Antietam National Cemetery: Wimpfheimer and Adolph Brinkmann, a Private in the 2nd Delaware Infantry, also killed at Antietam.

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.

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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!

Here’s Lawrence Houston Scruggs in a photograph taken in October 1862 after he’d been promoted to Lieutenant Colonel of his regiment, the 4th Alabama Infantry.

He enlisted as a Private in his hometown of Huntsville in May 1861, and was successively promoted to Sergeant, Lieutenant, and Captain by September of that year. He commanded the regiment in combat at Sharpsburg on 17 September 1862 as senior officer still standing until he was wounded there in the East Woods about 8 am.

Very shortly afterward, on 30 September, he was promoted to Major and just two days later, Lieutenant Colonel. He was afterward in command of the 4th Alabama to their surrender at Appomattox in April 1865.

His photograph is in the Alabama Archives.