About Me

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I am a lifelong student of military history with particular interest in the Battle of Antietam. I work for the federal government in Washington DC and have two young adult children who I love very much. I currently volunteer at Antietam and devote much time to the study of this battle and the Maryland Campaign. I enjoy collecting notable contemporary quotations by and about the men of Antietam. Since 2013 I have been conducting in depth research on the regular artillery companies of the Union Army and their leaders. I hope to turn this into a book on this subject in the future. My perspective comes from a 28-year career in the U.S. Army. Travels took me to World War II battlefields in Europe and the Pacific where American valor ended the tyranny of Nazism and Empire. But our country faced its own greatest challenge 80 years earlier during the Civil War. And it was the critical late summer of 1862, when Robert E. Lee launched the Maryland Campaign. It is an incredible story of drama, carnage, bravery, and missed opportunities that culminated around the fields and woodlots of peaceful Sharpsburg MD. So join me as I make this journey South from the North Woods.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Antietam's Confederate Regiments at Bull Run

Here is the last installment of my Bull Run series. This is a list of Confederate regiments that served at Bull Run and Sharpsburg. It is organized by the order of battle at Sharpsburg and then shows the brigade that the unit served with at First Bull Run.

Jackson’s “Stonewall” Division

Grigsby’s Brigade

4th Virginia Infantry, Jackson’s Brigade, Army of the Shenandoah

5th Virginia Infantry, Jackson’s Brigade, Army of the Shenandoah

27th Virginia Infantry, Jackson’s Brigade, Army of the Shenandoah

33rd Virginia Infantry, Jackson’s Brigade, Army of the Shenandoah

Lawton’s Division

Hay’s Brigade

6th Louisiana Infantry, Ewell’s Brigade, Army of the Potomac

7th Louisiana Infantry, Early’s Brigade, Army of the Potomac

8th Louisiana Infantry, Bonham’s Brigade, Army of the Potomac

Hood’s Division

Law’s Brigade

4th Alabama Infantry, Bee’s Brigade, Army of the Shenandoah

2nd Mississippi Infantry, Bee’s Brigade, Army of the Shenandoah

11th Mississippi Infantry, Bee’s Brigade, Army of the Shenandoah

6th North Carolina Infantry, Bee’s Brigade, Army of the Shenandoah

D.H. Hill’s Division

Garland’s Brigade

5th North Carolina Infantry, Longstreet’s Brigade, Army of the Potomac

Rode’s Brigade

5th Alabama Infantry, Ewell’s Brigade, Army of the Potomac

6th Alabama Infantry, Ewell’s Brigade, Army of the Potomac

McLaw’s Division

Kershaw’s Brigade

2nd South Carolina Infantry, Bonham’s Brigade, Army of the Potomac

7th South Carolina Infantry, Bonham’s Brigade, Army of the Potomac

Barksdale’s Brigade

13th Mississippi Infantry, Early’s Brigade, Army of the Potomac

17th Mississippi Infantry, Jone’s Brigade, Army of the Potomac

18th Mississippi Infantry, Jone’s Brigade, Army of the Potomac

David Jones Division

George T. Anderson’s Brigade

7th Georgia Infantry, Bartow’s Brigade, Army of the Shenandoah

8th Georgia Infantry, Bartown’s Brigade, Army of the Potomac

Garnett’s Brigade

8th Virginia Infantry, Cocke’s Brigade, Army of the Potomac

18th Virginia Infantry, Cocke’s Brigade, Army of the Potomac

19th Virginia Infantry, Cocke’s Brigade, Army of the Potomac

Kemper’s Brigade

11th Virginia Infantry, Longstreet’s Brigade, Army of the Potomac

24th Virginia Infantry, Longstreet’s Brigade, Army of the Potomac

Jenkin’s Brigade

5th South Carolina Infantry (redesignated by the Battle of Antietam as the Palmetto Sharpshooters), Jones Brigade, Army of the Potomac.

Finally, we cannot forget J.E.B. Stewart's 1st Virginia Cavalry Regiment that served at both battlefields.

In looking this list over, there are a number of brigades that contain large numbers of Bull Run regiments. The include the Stonewall Brigade, Hay’s brigade, Barksdale’s Brigade, and Garnett’s Brigade. Also interesting is that David Jones division contains Bull Run regiments in four out of six of his brigades. Jones himself as you recall commanded a brigade at Bull Run. I don’t know what if any connection there might be there. If anyone can shed some light on this, please let me know.

This series of posts has been a pleasure to put together. I am indebted to Brian Downey’s terrific Antietam on the Web (AOTW) site for much of my work for much of the information. I also discovered a great site on Federal organizations called Civil War in the East. Take a look at it here. I never saw it until I started this project. Steve Hawks did a great job. Bradley Gottfried’s The Maps of First Bull Run was also exceedingly helpful in helping to visualize things. And finally, Civil War High Commands by John and David Eicher as usual is my go to source on anything having to do with the general officers of both armies.

So now we turn from First Bull Run to the next round of battles in the 150th anniversary. It will be interesting to see what lessons were learned by the National Park Service in this large scale observance. My own personal observances were that while the heat was a factor, the federal park was competing with the county organized reenactment and I think both sides were not as successful as they could have been. I don’t think the general public understood the distinction and that fact alone should be weighed at other battlefields that don’t normally have reenactments but may be planning them in the next four years. That’s my two cents.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

"Keep your ranks, do your duty, and show you are worthy of the state from which you came!" Antietam's Confederate Commanders at First Bull Run

Colonel W. M. Gardner of the 8th Georgia Infantry Regiment shouted this to his regiment as his unit prepared for action at First Bull Run. Gardner would be seriously wounded in the fighting but would eventually recover. The 8th Georgia would find itself 14 months later in George T. Anderson's brigade at Sharpsburg.

This post addresses Antietam’s Confederate commanders who fought at the first Battle of Bull Run. The photo at the left is of the Henry House, taken yesterday at the 150th anniversary celebration. Just as we saw with the case of the Union Army commander at Antietam, Robert E. Lee was not present at Bull Run. General Lee was in Richmond coordinating the campaign in northern Virginia and advising President Jefferson Davis. Lee’s two wing commanders at Antietam however played a prominent role at First Bull Run.

James Longstreet (left) commanded the 4th Brigade in Beauregard’s Army of the Potomac. On the Confederate right, Longstreet’s brigade engaged Israel Richardson’s brigade at the Battle of Blackburn’s ford on July 18th. His brigade did not see significant action on July 21st. Among the promising young officers in Longstreet’s brigade was Colonel Samuel Garland of the 11th Virginia Infantry.

Thomas Jonathan Jackson (left) was destined to earn his immortal nickname at Bull Run. Jackson’s brigade of Virginia troops just arrived from the Shenandoah Valley made the crucial stand early in the battle that blunted the Union initial successes. With Jackson that day were Captain John R. Jones

of the 33rd Virginia Infantry, Regiment and Major Andrew J. Grigsby of the 27th Virginia Infantry Regiment. Jones would briefly command the Stonewall Division at Sharpsburg before heading to the rear after being stunned by an artillery round exploding near him. It is not recorded if Jones had any difficulties staying on the field at Bull Run. Grigsby would fight well at Antietam but would resign shortly after the battle when Jackson refused to give him permanent command of the Stonewall Brigade.

Three other Confederate leaders at Antietam commanded brigades at Antietam. Brigadier General David R. Jones (left) commanded the 3rd Brigade of the Army of the Potomac at Bull Run. This South Carolina officer had been at Beauregard at Charleston in the early days of the Civil War. In Jone’s brigade was the 5th South Carolina Infantry Regiment. Commanding Company K at Bull Run was Captain Joseph Walker. At Sharpsburg, Walker commanded Jenkins Brigade in David Jone’s Division.

Colonel Jubal Early (left) commanded the Sixth Brigade of the Army of the Potomac. Early had the largest concentration of Antietam commanders underneath him. William Barksdale commanded the 13th Mississippi Infantry Regiment. James Kemper commanded the 7th Virginia Infantry Regiment, and Harry T. Hays commanded the 7th Louisiana Infantry Regiment.

Nathan “Shanks” Evans (left) commanded the 7th Brigade of the Army of the Potomac. It was Evans who at Bull Run spotted the Federals beginning their move on the Confederate left flank. The initiative he took to promptly redeploy his brigade to blunt this attack gave Beauregard and Johnston the time they needed to react to McDowell’s attack on their left.

A total of 11 Antietam brigade commanders fought at Bull Run. We have accounted for eight so far (John R. Jones, Grigsby, Barksdale, Kemper, Hays, Walker, Evans and Garland). The other three commanded regiments in other brigades of Beauregard’s Army. Joseph Kershaw commanded the 2nd South Carolina Infantry Regiment in Milledge Bonham’s First Brigade of the Army of the Potomac. Evander Law was Lieutenant Colonel of the 4th Alabama Infantry in Bee’s Brigade of the Army of the Shenandoah. Finally, Colonel Robert Rodes commanded the 5th Alabama Infantry Regiment in Richard Ewell’s Second Brigade of the Army of the Potomac. Also with the Alabama troops in the 6th Alabama Regiment was Major John Gordon.

Confederate cavalry was well represented at Bull Run as well. J.E.B. Stuart commanded the First Virginia Cavalry. Regiment. Wade Hampton’s Legion was on the scene. Fitzhugh Lee, a First Lieutenant was an Assistant Adjutant General in Milledge Bonham’s 1st Brigade. Thomas Munford was a lieutenant colonel in the 30th Virginia Mounted Infantry, a unit letter reorganized and redesignated as the 2nd Virginia Cavalry. Tom Rosser was a first lieutenant in the 2nd Company of the Washington Artillery.

On the artillery side Colonel William Pendleton commanded Johnston’s Army of the Shenandoah. First Lieutenant John Pelham served in Wise’s (Virginia) Artillery in Bartow’s Brigade.

Below is a list of other Confederate division and brigade commanders and their whereabouts during the Battle of Bull Run.

Other Confederate Division Commanders (7)

Daniel H. Hill, Colonel, 1st North Carolina Infantry

Ambrose P. Hill, Colonel, 13th Virginia Infantry

Lafayette McLaws, Colonel, 10th Georgia Infantry

Alexander Lawton, Colonel, 1st Georgia Infantry

John B. Hood, Captain, Department of the Peninsula (Yorktown VA)

Richard Anderson, Brig Genl, Department of South Carolina

John Walker, Captain, US Army, Regiment of Mounted Rifles, Ft Union New Mexico. Note that Walker was still on active duty with the United States Army at the time of the Battle of First Bull Run.

Other Confederate Infantry Brigade Commanders (27)

McLaws Division

Paul J. Semmes, Colonel 2nd Georgia Infantry, Brunswick GA

Howell Cobb, Colonel 16th Georgia Infantry

Anderson’s Division

Alfred Cummings Colonel, 10th Georgia Infantry

Carnot Posey, Colonel 16th Mississippi Infantry

Lewis A. Armistead, Major, ACSA Infantry

Roger A. Pryor, Colonel 3rd Virginia Infantry Yorktown

William A. Parham, Lieutenant, Co A, 41st Virginia Infantry Norfolk area

Ambrose R. Wright, Colonel, 3rd Georgia Infantry

David R. Jones’s Division

Robert Toombs, Secretary of State, C.S.A. and Brigadier General CSA

Thomas F. Drayton, Planter and Militia Captain USMA 1828 28/33

Richard B. Garnett, Major ACSA Artillery

George T. Anderson, Colonel, 11th Georgia Infantry arrived just as battle ended

Walker’s Division

Van H. Manning, Captain 3rd Arkansas Infantry, Lynchburg VA

Robert Ransom Captain ACSA Cavalry

Hood’s Division

William T. Wofford, Colonel 18th Georgia Infantry, Camp Brown Georgia

Ewell’s Division

Marcellus Douglas, Lieutenant Colonel, 13th Georgia Infantry Regiment

James A. Walker, Lieutenant Colonel, 13th Virginia Infantry

A.P. Hills Division

Lawrence L. O’Brien Branch, Brigadier General, QM General and Paymaster Gen NC Militia

Maxcy Gregg, Colonel 1st South Carolina Volunteers in Richmond

John M. Brockenbrough, 40th Virginia Infantry

James J. Archer, Captain, CSA Infantry

William D. Pender, Colonel 3rd North Carolina Infantry (13th North Carolina Infantry)

Jackson’s “Stonewall” Division

James W. Jackson (Taliaferro) Physician, Lafayette Alabama Captain “Lafayette Guards”

John E. Penn (John R. Jones) Captain Company H, 47th Virginia Infantry

William E. Starke, Lieutenant Colonel ADC to Robert S. Garnett

D.H. Hills Division

Roswell Ripley, Lieutenant Colonel, C.S.A. South Carolina Regular Artillery

George B. Anderson, Colonel, C.S.A. 4th North Carolina Infantry

Alfred Colquitt, Colonel, 6th Georgia Infantry, Yorktown Virginia

Much of the Confederate leadership at Antietam was already present in the Confederate Army at Bull Run. The experience that they gained there and at other campaigns before the Maryland Campaign would serve them well at Sharpsburg.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

“I am a damned sight better General than you, Sir, had on that field.” ANTIETAM's UNION LEADERS AT BULL RUN

There were a fair number of Antietam’s Union commanders who were also present at First Bull Run. But George McClellan was not one of them. On July 21, 1861, McClellan was at Beverly Virginia. As the second ranking Major General in the United States Regular Army, McClellan commanded the Department of Ohio and the Army of Occupation (of Western Virginia). McClellan’s troops had just defeated Confederate forces at Rich Mountain, and then again at Corrick’s Ford on the Cheat River. McClellan was not present at either battle but got the credit for the victory. On July 22, 1861 a telegram from Secretary of War Simon Cameron in Washington was handed to McClellan. It said, “Circumstances make your presence here necessary. Charge Rosecrans or some other general with your resent department and come hither without delay.” McClellan would soon be on his way to Washington and arrive on the afternoon of July 26 to take command of the newly created Division of the Potomac.

Before going any further, let us consider Colonel Dixon Miles (picture at left). Miles commanded the Fifth Division of the Army of Northeastern Virginia and was therefore the senior officer from First Bull Run to play a role in the Maryland Campaign. Mile’s division included Captain John Tidball’s Battery A, 2nd U.S. Artillery, and four New York Regiments (the 16th, 18th, 31st, and 32nd) that fought at Antietam. Miles did poorly at First Bull Run. Charged by Israel Richardson among others with intoxication, a Court of Inquiry cleared him but enough of a cloud remained over his head that he was essentially exiled to command the Railroad Brigade at distant Harpers Ferry. Miles surrender of the Union garrison two days before the Battle of Antietam was the largest surrender of U.S. military forces until the Japanese conquest of the Philippine Islands in World War Two. It was an important factor in Lee’s decision to fight at Sharpsburg. Fortunately for Miles, he avoided another Court of Inquiry by being killed by a final Confederate artillery round fired just as the surrender was commencing.


Of McClellan’s six Antietam corps commanders, two served as brigade commanders in McDowell’s army. Sixth Corps’ commander William Franklin, (picture at right) commanded the 1st Brigade of Samuel Heintzelman’s Second Division at Bull Run. Franklin’s brigade included Willis Gorman’s First Minnesota Regiment and also Battery I, 1st U.S. Infantry commanded by Captain James Ricketts. Ricketts would be wounded and captured at Bull Run. He would be exchanged and accept a commission as a brigadier general and command the 2nd Division of the First Corps at Antietam. Rickett’s old battery would also be at Antietam, part of Sedgwick’s Second Corps division. Gorman would also be promoted to brigadier and command the 1st Brigade of Sedgwick’s division. His old regiment, the 1st Minnesota Infantry would be part of his brigade as it advanced into the West Woods on September 17th, 1862. Ninth Corps’ commander Ambrose Burnside (picture at left) also led a brigade at Bull Run. It was the 2nd Brigade of David Hunter’s Second Division. This brigade included his former command the 1st Rhode Island Infantry. Rhode Island’s other regiment in McDowell’s army was the 2nd Rhode Island Infantry and was also part of Burnside’s brigade. In command of Company E was Captain Isaac P. Rodman, who would eventually serve Burnside in North Carolina and as a division commander in the Ninth Corps at Antietam where he would fall mortally wounded. One other Antietam corps commander was on the field, but not in a military capacity. Joseph Hooker recently arrived from San Francisco and frustrated at not being able to secure a general officer’s commission viewed the battle as a civilian observer. Hooker way back in 1848 made the mistake of testifying at a court of inquiry in favor of political general Gideon Pillow against General Winfield Scott. Scott would remember this slight thirteen years later when Hooker sought a commission. A few days after the battle, Hooker had the opportunity to meet President Lincoln in a receiving line at the White House. As the President turned away after shaking his hand, Hooker uttered the memorable sentence that endeared him to Lincoln and finally secured his commission: “And while I am at it, Mr. President, I want to say one thing more and that is, that I was at the battle of Bull Run the other day, and it is neither vanity or boasting in me to declare that I am a damned sight better General than you, Sir, had on that field.” By the end of the July, Hooker’s name along with those of William Franklin and Ambrose Burnside would be sent to the Senate as nominees for commissions as brigadier general in the Unites States Volunteers. Two other future corps commanders were not far from Bull Run. Colonel Joseph Mansfield commanded the District of Washington and had been responsible for forwarding new troops to McDowell’s army. Some think that Scott preferred Mansfield for the command of the Army of Northeastern Virginia. In the Shenandoah Valley, Colonel Fitz-John Porter served as an Assistant Adjutant General in Robert Patterson’s Department of the Shenandoah. The last corps commander was Brigadier General Edwin V. Sumner. Commanding the Department of the Pacific in San Francisco Sumner was one of the senior general officers in the Army and the farthest from the action. At the time of his promotion on March 16, 1861 and appointment to the Pacific command, he was one of only three brigadier generals in the entire Army.


Of the sixteen Antietam division commanders, six commanded troops at Bull Run and one served as a primary staff officer for McDowell. Of the troop commanders, there were two brigade commanders, and one each regimental, battalion, battery and company commander. Israel Richardson (photo at left) of Sunken Road fame, commanded the 4th Brigade of Brigadier General Tyler’s 1st Division. Richardson was in command of the 2nd Michigan Infantry Regiment when he arrived in Washington but was quickly elevated to brigade command. His brigade included the 12th New York Infantry Regiment that was part of the Fifth Corps at Antietam. He also had two regular artillery batteries that both fought at Antietam. Acting Major Henry Hunt commanded Battery M, 2nd U.S. Artillery at Bull Run. Hunt would be administratively in charge of the artillery at Antietam but did not exercise operational command. Battery M would be part of the artillery assigned to Pleasanton’s cavalry division. Battery G, 1st U.S. Artillery also fought under Richardson at Bull Run and was part of the Fifth Corps artillery at Antietam. The other brigade commander was Ninth Corps division commander Orlando Willcox (picture below at left) who lead the final assault on Sharpsburg. Willcox commanded the 2nd Brigade of Heintzelman’s 3rd Division at Bull Run. Like Richardson, he brought a Michigan Infantry Regiment (the First) to Washington and was subsequently elevated to brigade command. McDowell sought West Pointers like Richardson, Willcox, Burnside and Howard for brigade commands whenever he could avoid taking political generals as he organized his army in July 1861. Wilcox’s brigade contained the 4th Michigan Infantry Regiment, and Battery D, 2nd U.S. Artillery which both fought at Antietam. One of McDowell’s regimental commanders was another West Pointer who later commanded a Sixth Corps division at Antietam. Henry Slocum, like Richardson and Willcox, left the regular army but returned to duty as the Civil War began. Slocum commanded the 27th New York Infantry Regiment at Bull Run. Recruited out of the Syracuse area, Slocum’s regiment was assigned to Colonel Andrew Porter’s First Brigade of David Hunter’s Second Division. The 27th New York included in its ranks Major Joseph Bartlett. Later as a brigade commander in Slocum’s division, Bartlett was instrumental in the successful attack against the Confederate line at Crampton’s Gap. It appears that Slocum and Bartlett kept an eye on their old regiment for participating in that attack would be the 27th New York. Major George Sykes association with regular army troops began at Bull Run where he led a composite battalion of infantrymen from the 2nd, 3rd, and 8th U.S. Infantry. He would similarly command a division, again of regulars in the Fifth Corps at Antietam. Despite popular conceptions that the Fifth Corps was idle at Antietam, Sykes’ regulars were engaged against the center of Lee’s line advancing over the Middle Bridge toward Sharpsburg at various times during September 17th 1862. James Ricketts as we already discussed was a battery commander at Bull Run and commanded the 2nd Division of the First Corp at Antietam. The last Antietam division commander at Bull Run and only non West Pointer was Isaac Rodman. As mentioned, Rodman at Bull Run was a captain in the 2nd Rhode Island Infantry in Burnside’s brigade. Also with McDowell’s Army of Northeast Virginia was Colonel George Morell who served on the Quartermaster staff. Morell commanded the Second Division, Fifth Corps at Antietam. Though Morell was assigned to McDowell’s department, I have not been able to determine if he was actually present on the battlefield. What of the other nine division commanders? Of the remaining West Pointers who would later commander divisions at Antietam, in this group, five were still serving in their regular army assignments, one had already secured a volunteer regiment and the last one was still a civilian. Of the officers still with the regular army, the most senior officer among them was Colonel John Sedgwick commanding the First United States Cavalry. Sedgwick was in Washington but was recovering from a bout with cholera at the time of the battle. Had he been well enough, he would no doubt have accompanied the army. Major Abner Doubleday commanded artillery in Patterson’s Army of the Shenandoah. Farther afield was Major Samuel Sturgis with part of the 1st Cavalry Regiment in Missouri, Captain George Meade impatiently seeking a senior billet while located at Detroit in charge of the Great Lakes Survey, and Captain William French at Fort Taylor, Florida. William F. “Baldy” Smith commanding a Sixth Corps division at Antietam had already secured a colonel’s commission in the U.S. Volunteers. He had just assumed command of the 3rd Vermont Infantry and was enroute to Washington DC as the battle raged. The sole West Pointer not yet returned to the Army was George Sears Greene, a prominent engineer in New York City. At the advanced age of 61 there may have been some concerns about Greene’s ability to actively serve in the field. Greene did not receive a command until January of 1862 when he became colonel of the 60th New York Infantry. That leaves only two other division commanders not at Bull Run. Brigadier General Jacob Cox commanded the Kanawha Brigade and was in the field with George McClellan in western Virginia at the time of the battle. While George Meade was hoping to wrap up his affairs in Detroit, Alpheus Williams had been commissioned a brigadier general of Michigan troops and was conducting a school of military instruction at Fort Wayne. He would soon receive a brigadier general’s commission and be sent to command a brigade in Nathaniel Banks division in western Maryland.


Of the 45 infantry brigade commanders at Antietam, six saw service at First Bull Run. We have already mentioned Willis Gorman with the 1st Minnesota Infantry Regiment, and Joseph Bartlett, major of the 27th New York Infantry. The brigade commander holding the highest command at Bull Run was Oliver Otis Howard (pictured at left). At Bull Run, Howard commanded the 3rd Brigade in Heintzelman’s division. Howard, from the West Point Class of 1854 brought the 3rd Maine Infantry Regiment to Washington. Like his other three Antietam colleagues, he was quickly elevated to brigade command. Within his brigade were the 5th Maine Infantry Regiment and the 2nd Vermont Infantry Regiment, both Antietam units. Unlike his Antietam colleagues at brigade command at Bull Run, Howard still remained at that command level fourteen months later. No doubt part of the reason was that he was seriously wounded at Fair Oaks during the Seven Days Battles. However despite this slow start, Howard was the only commander at Antietam besides Burnside, Hooker, and Meade who would command an Army during the Civil War. Howard in May of 1864 to the utter disgust of Joseph Hooker would be selected by Grant and Sherman to replace the fallen James McPherson as commander of the Army of the Tennessee instead of Joseph Hooker. Hooker would immediately resign his command as a result of this humiliation. There were x other brigade commanders who saw action at Antietam. Thomas Meagher was acting major of the 69th New York Militia. A predominantly Irish organization the 69th New York Militia after mustering out would largely fill the ranks of the new 69th New York Infantry. The regiment contained other men who would later figure prominently in the Irish Brigade. James Kelly who would lead the 63rd New York Infantry at Antietam commanded Company H and Patrick Kelley who commanded Company E would command the 88th New York Infantry at Antietam. Charles Griffin at Bull Run commanded Battery D “The West Point Battery”, 5th U.S. Artillery at Bull Run. Like Ricketts, Griffin would suffer the capture of his battery during the height of the Bull Run fighting. The last Antietam brigade commander who fought at Bull Run was Edward Harland, commander of Company D “Norwich Rifles” of the 3rd Connecticut Infantry Regiment, a 3-month regiment assigned to Keyes’s First Brigade of Tyler’s First Division. When the regiment mustered out, Harland would then be commissioned a colonel and take command of the 8th Connecticut Infantry.

I didn’t mention the cavalry. None of the senior cavalry leadership present at Antietam was at Bull Run. That is probably explained by the fact that there was only one small composite cavalry battalion composed of U.S. Regulars at the battle. On July 21, 1861, Captain Alfred Pleasanton was with the 2nd U.S. Dragoons at Fort Crittenden, Utah. There were two regular army cavalry, and three volunteer cavalry brigades at Antietam. For the regulars, Captain Charles Whiting was with the 5th U.S. Cavalry and probably stationed at Carlisle Barracks. First Lieutenant Benjamin F. “Grimes” Davis was still with the 1st U.S. Dragoons in New Mexico or California. The three volunteer cavalry brigade commanders were still civilians. All three men were taking steps to organize cavalry regiments in July of 1862. John Farnsworth at Chicago Illinois was organizing the 8th Illinois Cavalry Regiment. Andrew T. McReynolds was similarly organizing the 1st New York Cavalry Regiment in New York City. In Philadelphia, Richard Rush was unsuccessfully attempting to be placed in command of the state of Pennsylvania’s artillery units. Rush was a West Point graduate who served in the artillery previously. Denied this position by Governor Curtin, Rush would instead organize the 6th Pennsylvania Cavalry Regiment known as the Rush Lancers.

I could go on an on. Antietam veterans Adelbert Ames, George Custer, Henry Kingsbury, David Morrison, and John Tidball were at Bull Run and deserve mention. It was the leavening of these men and countless other Bull Run veterans from 1861 that would give the Army of the Potomac the resilience that it needed in the summer of 1862 to incorporate thousands of rookie soldiers and be a formidable fighting force that could take on Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia on the banks of the Antietam, just east of Sharpsburg.

Next: Antietam’s Army of Northern Virginia at First Bull Run

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Antietam Units at First Bull Run

As we observe the 150th anniversary of the First Battle of Bull Run, I wanted to acknowledge the role that Union and Confederate units and leaders from Antietam, played at that earlier battle. I will try to describe that role in a series of posts over the next several days.

Below is a list of Union regiments and artillery batteries that were present at both the First Battle of Bull Run and the Battle of Antietam. I used the compilation of the First Bull Run Order of Battle found in The Maps of First Bull Run by Bradley M. Gottfried (El Dorado Hills: Savas Beatie, 2009). There are a total 52 infantry regiments listed. This includes those that did not see any action on the day of battle. Of these, 19 would fight fourteen months later during the Maryland Campaign. That’s about 37%. On the artillery side, there are 11 artillery batteries at First Bull Run. All but two are regular army formations. Six of these batteries would see action at Antietam as well.

The list below is the Order of Battle for McDowell’s Army of Northeastern Virginia. Broken out by division and brigade, it only lists the Antietam regiments within these brigades. In parentheses is the assignment of those units at the Battle of Antietam.

ARMY OF NORTHEASTERN VIRGINIA (Brigadier General Irvin McDowell)

FIRST DIVISION (Brigadier General Daniel Tyler)


2nd Maine Infantry [Barnes Brigade, Morell’s Division, Fifth Corps]

SECOND BRIGADE, FIRST DIVISION (Brigadier General Robert Schenck)


THIRD BRIGADE, FIRST DIVISION (Colonel William T. Sherman)

13th New York Infantry [Barnes Brigade, Morell’s Division, Fifth Corps]

69th New York Militia [Meagher’s Brigade, Richardson’s Division, Second Corps]

79th New York Infantry [Christ’s Brigade, Willcox’s Division, Ninth Corps]

2nd Wisconsin Infantry [Gibbon’s Brigade, Doubleday’s Division, First Corps]

FOURTH BRIGADE, FIRST DIVISION (Colonel Israel B. Richardson)

12th New York Infantry [Stockton’s Brigade, Morell’s Division, Fifth Corps]

Battery G, 1st U.S. Artillery [Sykes Division, Fifth Corps]

Battery M, 2nd U.S. Artillery [Pleasanton’s Cavalry Division]

SECOND DIVISION (Colonel David Hunter)


27th New York Infantry [Bartlett’s Brigade, Slocum’s Division, Sixt h Corps]

Battery D, 5th U.S. Artillery [Morell’s Division, Fifth Corps]



THIRD DIVISION (Colonel Samuel Heintzelman)

FIRST BRIGADE, THIRD DIVISION (Colonel William Franklin)

1st Minnesota Infantry [Gorman’s Brigade, Sedgwick’s Division, Second Corps]

Battery I, 1st U.S. Artillery [Sedgwick’s Division, Second Corps]


4th Michigan Infantry [Griffin’s Brigade, Morell’s Division, Fifth Corps]

Battery D, 2nd U.S. Artillery [Slocum’s Division, Sixth Corps]


5th Maine Infantry Regiment [Bartlett’s Brigade, Slocum’s Division, Sixth Corps]

2nd Vermont Infantry Regiment [Brook’s Brigade, Smith’s Division, Sixth Corps]

FOURTH DIVISION (Brigadier General Theodore Runyon)

1st New Jersey Infantry [Torbert’s Brigade, Slocum’s Division, Sixth Corps]

2nd New Jersey Infantry [Torbert’s Brigade, Slocum’s Division, Sixth Corps]

3rd New Jersey Infantry [Torbert’s Brigade, Slocum’s Division, Sixth Corps]

4th New Jersey Infantry [Torbert’s Brigade, Slocum’s Division, Sixth Corps]

FIFTH DIVISION (Colonel Dixon Miles)


Battery A, 2nd U.S. Artillery [Pleasanton’s Cavalry Division]


16th New York Infantry [Bartlett’s Brigade, Slocum’s Division, Sixth Corps]

18th New York Infantry [Newton’s Brigade, Slocum’s Division, Sixth Corps]

31st New York Infantry [Newton’s Brigade, Slocum’s Division, Sixth Corps]

32nd New York Infantry [Newton’s Brigade, Slocum’s Division, Sixth Corps]

In my next post, I will list those Antietam Union leaders (down to at least brigade level) that were at the Battle of Bull Run.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

"It was galling to have to serve under such people"

Today I discovered an autobiography of George Crook. Crook is perhaps best known as one of the premier Indian fighters in the west after the Civil War. However he participated in many of the important campaigns in the Civil War and was a brigade commander in the Kanawha Division of the Ninth Corps during the Maryland Campaign. His Ohio men fought at the Battle of Fox Gap on September 14th, 1862 and at the Burnside Bridge on September 17th. Crook’s rough autobiography was discovered by Martin F. Schmitt pasted into a scrapbook at the Army War College. Mr. Schmitt subsequently edited and published it in 1946. Titled General George Crook – His Autobiography, (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1946), it covers the period from his graduation in 1852 from West Point to June 18, 1876, the day after the Battle of the Rosebud. Crook was apparently in the process of working on his memoirs when he died in 1890. While his focus is on his campaigns against the Indians both before and after the Civil War, he devotes much attention to his Civil War service and the Maryland Campaign in particular.

This post covers contains Crook’s narrative on the Maryland Campaign. This chapter, aptly titled “It was galling to serve under such people”, begins immediately after the Battle of Second Bull Run with Colonel Crook still commanding just the 36th Ohio Infantry Regiment:

I was shortly after this relieved from my bodyguard duty, and proceeded to hunt up my brigade, in company with Hugh Ewing,Colonel of the 30th Ohio. As we were passing near Gen. McDowell's headquarters, he called us in, saying that as we were from Ohio, and he was so misunderstood and was likely to be more so growing out of this recent campaign, he wanted us to understand the whole matter.

He showed us the correspondence between himself and the Secretary of War in relation to the Peninsula campaign. Here he protested against being sent to Shenandoah instead of being allowed to carry out McClellan's original plan of joining him via Hanover Court House. He showed us the communications pro and con which to my mind made out a very clear case against the War Department.

From here we marched through Washington, where we were joined by the remainder of our division. We marched along with the army going towards Harper's Ferry. We were placed in Burnside's command after McClellan was placed in command of the army. The brigade to which I belonged was composed of the 11th, 28th, and 36th Ohio, Col. Moore in command. While marching through Frederick City [Fredericksburg], our brigade being in advance, Col. Moore with some of his staff got too far in advance of his command, and was captured, which placed me in command of the brigade.

[South Mountain – Fox Gap – September 14, 1862]

After leaving Frederick City we turned to our left, and entered some fields. The country was rolling. At the far end of the field the ascent was rather steep. This side was surmounted partially by a stone wall, with timber beyond. We knew in a general way that the enemy was somewhere in front, but had no idea of their exact locality.

Just under the crest of this hill our division was drawn up in line of battle, while the enemy was occupying the crest in the edge of the timber, and the stone wall. We lay down as close as we could get to the enemy without exposing ourselves. Some of our men amused themselves by sticking their hats on their ramrods, and raising them high enough to meet the enemy's vision. A dozen bullet holes were made through them.

The two lines of battle were not over fifteen or twenty yards apart, with the advantage being on the other side. Fortunately, we received the order to charge just before they were going to charge us, and by taking the initiative, and by the impetuosity of our charge, their ranks were broken. Their men fled, not to return against us any more that day. A great many of their men were killed. Some of them were bayoneted behind the stone fence. Many more were killed farther down in the woods, near an old well or sunken road.

Farther to our right General Reno was killed that day. Our losses were comparatively light. I cannot help but shedding tears over some of my regiment who were killed, and one pretty boy not over 16 or 17 years of age, a nice mother's boy, who lay mortally wounded, whose pleading face looked so pitiable. I had seen so much of them for the last year, knew them all, and felt as though they were my own family.

This was the battle of South Mountain, fought on the 14th day of September, 1862.

I afterwards learned from my family that the farm where this battle was fought was near to, or the same farm where my mother was born and reared.

The next day we took up our line of march by the sunken road, where so many of the enemy's dead were still lying, unburied. We passed by a great many troops, and were shown into a sunken cornfield on the left of our army, or at least my brigade was. The enemy was occupying a bluff about one-half of a mile in front of our line, and as soon as I went into the field, they opened on us with spherical case, filled with old, round musket balls. We lay flat on the ground, and could see the shells coming by their burning fuses long before we could hear the report of the gun. The fuses were so timed that they burst overhead, throwing the musket

balls in our midst, which amusement they kept up as long as it was light enough to see. Strange to say, we had but very few men hurt

by these missiles.

[Battle of Antietam – September 17, 1862]

As I stated before, my brigade consisted of the 11th, 28th, 36th Ohio. The 11th was commanded by Lt. Col. Coleman, the 28th by Lt. Col. Bolinger, and the 36th by Lt. Col. Clarke. As none of our wagons came up, we had to go to bed supperless, nor did we have anything to eat since morning. The next morning my servant went to a house on neutral grounds between the lines of skirmishers. He found that the occupants had fled, but they had left a batch of bread ready to bake, and plenty of nice butter and milk in the cellar. We baked the bread, and returned with such a breakfast that none of us had tasted for many a day.

We could hear firing on our right and front, but knew nothing more. About ten A.M., Capt. Christ on Gen. Cox' staff came to see me, and said, "The General wishes you to take the bridge." I asked him what bridge. He said he didn't know. I asked him where the stream was, but he didn't know. I made some remarks not complimentary to such a way of doing business, but he went off, not caring a cent. Probably he had done the correct thing.

The consequence was that I had to get a good many men killed in acquiring the information which should have been supplied me from division headquarters. I at once sent the 11th Ohio to reconnoiter toward the bluffs from where the shrapnel came the evening before, while I left the 36th near the house, intending, when the position of the bridge was located, to charge it with this regiment and with the 28th Ohio. I went with it to reconnoiter, to our right. I soon saw the situation, and saw that there was a stream running close to the bluff before mentioned, and that the road passed into the bottom of the creek, and thence parallel to the bluff and creek for a couple of hundred yards to the bridge.

I at once ordered a battery of artillery to a commanding position to the right, which commanded and enfiladed the bluffs. In the meantime the 28th found the creek a little further up not over knee deep, with good crossing. As soon as they had crossed, the enemy's position was untenable except with a superior force to the one they had there.

This crossing, together with the enfilading fire of the artillery, caused the enemy to evacuate before I could get back to the 36th. Two Pennsylvania regiments crossed it without loss, and got the credit of taking the bridge. I understood that both of their Colonels were made Brigadier Generals for this service. The 11th Regiment pushed near enough to the bluff to lose a large number of men killed and wounded, amongst the former Col. Coleman.

I learned afterwards that Gen. Sturgis with a division was repulsed in trying to take the bridge earlier in the morning, losing some six hundred men, principally against the bluffs where Col. Coleman lost his life. I was expected to accomplish with my brigade what a division had failed to do, and without ever getting the benefit of the knowledge he had gained in his reconnaissance. Such imbecility and incompetency was simply criminal, a great deal of which lasted until the close of the war. It was galling to have to serve under such people. But many of them, by maneuvering in politics and elsewhere, are looked upon by certain people throughout the land as some of our military luminaries.

After the opposite of the creek, Antietam, was occupied, Gen. Cox came over for the first time I had seen him since the South Mountain fight. I was informed that I was to support the Philadelphia Corn Exchange Brigade, who were going to make a charge to the left of Sharpsburg. I was to use the 11th and 36th, the 28th being detached. I remonstrated that my line would be so attenuated that it would be emasculated, but all to no avail.

While we were lying under the bluffs waiting for the troops to get into position, I strolled up the creek to a wooded knoll that looked over towards the enemy's position at Sharpsburg. I could see from this position. I saw two batteries on a clear field, trained on the road leading to Sharpsburg, evidently intended to open on our troops immediately at the rise of the hill. I reported this to Gen. Cox, who asked Gen. O. B. Willcox to accompany me back and look at the situation. When I had pointed out the batteries, he remarked that they had no men with them, which so disgusted me that I left him and went off.

About two P.M. the Corn Exchange Brigade was in line just on the crest of the bluff, out of sight. They relieved themselves of all encumbrances in the shape of knapsacks, blankets, and a lot of things we people from the West didn't have. Besides, they had on gaudy uniforms, like the Zouave's red pantaloons. Close behind them, also lying in line of battle was my little attenuated line, plainly dressed, unassuming in actions and appearance, looking more like retainers to those in front than what we really were.

Finally the order for the charge was given, but the moment we raised the crest of the hill and were in full view, we were met with such a hail of musketry bullets, with several batteries dealing death and destruction amongst our ranks, that it would seem nothing could survive it.

After reaching the crest of the hill, we had to pass over quite a stretch of ground before we commenced descending into a hollow lying between the ridge occupied by the enemy and ourselves. The enemy not only had a direct, but a cross fire on us. It was in going down this slope that Col. Clarke, commanding the 36th, was killed by a round shot that came from our left. It struck him sideways, just above the hips, tearing him almost in twain. He died instantly.

We were but a short distance apart when it occurred.

By the time we fairly reached the bottom of the hollow, there was not the color of the Corn Exchange left. They had all disappeared somewhere. I noticed comparatively few who were left in the field.

The enemy was occupying a cornfield on this second high ground. The side of this field towards us had a stone fence, behind which we took shelter. To our right a short distance was Gen. Willcox, aiming a gun in person, all his men gone. He sent out word to us to know why in hell we were not advancing. Just then Col. Scammon came up from my left. He was in temporary command of our division, and sent word back to Willcox that if he would give him written orders, he would march.

The facts were that we were the only troops between the enemy and our transportation, hospitals, etc., just on the other side of the Antietam. Then too, the enemy in this cornfield were as thick as blackbirds, and my few orphans would not have lasted ten minutes had we once gone on their side of the fence. We had our hands so full that we knew but little of what was going on elsewhere, but of course knew that a big battle was going on.

And this was the 17th day of September, 1862.


Under the cover of dark we withdrew to the crest of the bluffs from where we started the charge from earlier in the day. We lay on our arms all night in the midst of the leavings of the Corn Exchange Brigade. We had been unable to get a full supply of clothing out. Most of our men had not seen shelter tents before, so they were thrilled by these luxuries, and as their owners now returned for them, our men were sick.

It was heartrending to hear the wails of the wounded and dying in our front all night. Our men alleviated all this suffering they could, but we had to keep ourselves intact for fear of an attack. Since in the morning when we breakfasted in the sunken cornfield, we had lost the two commanders of the 11th and 36th, besides many others. Also learned that Col. Jones of the 30th Ohio had been wounded, and fell into the hands of the enemy during the day.

We stopped here all the next day in the hot, broiling sun, still all that was between the enemy and our impediments. Toward evening it commenced raining. Just about dusk we were relieved, and sent back not far from the sunken cornfield, to bivouac for the night.

Here our division was reassembled near a small country house occupied by some of the officers. Col. Hugh Ewing became full of "jig water," and ventilated [sic] himself on Gen. Cox, abusing him for being a coward and imbecile, and declaring he would never obey an order of his again, etc.

Although I was appointed to be a Brigadier General of Volunteers from the 7th of September for the battle of Lewisburg, I did not get it until after this campaign ended.

Soon after we left the Kanawha Valley, the enemy, under Gen. Loring, drove our people out of that country. So I was ordered back to take possession of that country. Soon after we started, Gen. J. E. B. Stuart of Rebel fame made a raid in the rear of our lines. So I was detained at Hancock for a couple of days, hoping I might intercept him. I marched from Clarksburg across the country so as to strike the Kanawha Valley high up, and come on the enemy's flank. But as I neared the valley, they evacuated without any resistance.

Those readers who are attentive students of the Maryland Campaign will notice some discrepancies between Crook’s recollections 28 years after the battle and what we have come to understand as the events that occurred on that day. He confuses Frederick with Fredericksburg. Additionally, he places Sturgis’s attack before his. He recalls supporting the Philadelphia Corn Exchange Brigade during the final attack. There are some interpersonal dynamics that subtley emerge when he mentions fellow Ninth Corps officers like Jacob Cox, Orlando Wilcox, Hugh Ewing, and Eliakim Scammon. Crook’s account makes interesting reading. His prose is engaging, in some places humorous, and indicates a man that maybe does not really take himself as seriously as many military men do. Judge George Crook for yourself.