Sheldon B. (Sheldon Brainerd) Thorpe.

Sixteenth Regiment Connecticut Volunteers excursion and reunion at Antietam Battlefield, September 17, 1889 online

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Online LibrarySheldon B. (Sheldon Brainerd) ThorpeSixteenth Regiment Connecticut Volunteers excursion and reunion at Antietam Battlefield, September 17, 1889 → online text (page 1 of 2)
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Connecticut Volunteers

Excursion and Reunion



Skpxember 17, 1889.



Press of The Case, Lockwood & Brainard Company.



Sixteenth Regiment Connecticut Volunteers.

Chairman, Frank W. Cheney, So. Manchester.
Sedyand Treas., B. F. Blakeslee, Hartford.
William H. Lockwood, Hartford.
Timothy B. Robinson, Bristol.
Alonzo G. Case, Simsbury.

Ira E. Forbes, Hartford.

Norman L. Hope, Hartford.





Saturday, Sept. 14. Leave Hartford 9.30 p. m.,
via N. Y., N. H. & H. Railroad, and proceed
to New York via N. H. Steamboat Company
(steamer C. H. Northam).

Sunday, Sept. I 5. Breakfast on Steamer. Leave
Jersey City at 8.00 a. m. via Penn. R. R. Co.
Lunch on train. Leave Philadelphia 10.30
A. M. Arrive Harrisburg 1.20 p. m. Leave
Harrisburg 1.30 p.m. Arrive Gettysburg
3.15 P.M.

Monday, Sept. 16. Leave Gettysburg 3.00 p. m.
Arrive Hagerstown 6.43 p. m.

Tuesday, Sept. 17. Leave Hagerstown 7.30
A. M. Arrive Antietam 8.00 a. m. Leave
Antietam 7 p.m. Arrive Hagerstown 7.30
p. M.

Wednesday, Sept. 18. Leave Hagerstown 7.45

V A. M. Arrive Philadelphia 1.25 p. m. Dinner.

Leave Philadelphia 2.30 p. m. Arrive New

rv York 4.50 p. m. Return to New Haven and

"^ Hartford via N. Y., N. H. & H. R. R.


Sunday. Breakfast, on Steamer C. H. Northam.
Lunch on train. Supper and Lodging, at
Eagle Hotel, Gettysburg.

Monday. Breakfast and Dinner, Gettysburg.
Guide and Carriages for visit to Battle-field.
Supper and Lodging, at Hotel Hamilton^

Tuesday. Breakfast, Hagerstown. Dinner^
Sharpsburg. Carriage ride over Antietam
Battle-field. Supper and Lodging, Hagers-

Wednesday. Breakfast, Hagerstown. Dinner,
Broad Street Station, Philadelphia.



Connecticut Volunteers.

Organized August, 1862.

Mustered in the service of the United
States, "for the war, unless sooner discharged,"
at Camp Williams, Hartford, Conn., August 24,
1862. Mustered out at New Berne, N. C, June
24, 1865.

Participated in the following engage-
ments : —

Antietam, Md., Sept. 17, 1862.
Fredericksburg, Va., Dec. 11-14, 1862.
Edenton Road, Va., Apr. 24, 1863.
Nansemond River, Va., May 3, 1863.
Siege of Suffolk, Va., Apr. 12-May 4, 1863.
Plymouth, N. C, Apr. 17-20, 1864.



Killed in action, Antietam, Md., . . 47

Killed in action, Edenton Road, Va., . . i

Killed in action, Nansemond River, Va., . 2

Killed in action, Plymouth, N. C, . . 3

Killed by rebel guard, Florence, S. Cf., . i

Killed by guerrillas, Charlotte, N. C, . i
Wounded, Antietam (fatally 22), . -177

Wounded, Fredericksburg, . . . i

Wounded, Harper's Ferry, . . . i

Wounded, Edenton Road (fatally i), . . 7

Wounded, Nansemond River (fatally 3), . 8

Wounded, Plymouth (fatally 3), . . . 12

Captured, Antietam, 26

Captured, Plymouth, ..... 435

Captured, Coinjock, N. C, . . . i

Died in prison, 164

Died soon after release from prison, . . 25

Died of disease, 76

Drowned, 9

Discharged for disability, . • . . . 255


Escaped from prison, .... 8
Buried at National Cemetery, Andersonville, 83
Buried at National Cemetery, Antietam, . 27
Buried at National Cemetery, New Berne, . 4
Rebel prisoners captured by the regiment, 5
The regiment as mustered into service num-
bered 1007

Recruits, 75

Officers appointed since first muster, . . 5

Number returning home with the regiment, 131




National Cemetery.

No. of





Aldrich, Henry ....

Private . .



Burr, Francis W.



1 140

Bont, Daniel . .



1 105

Cowan, William


. ' E

Case, Orville J. .




Evans, Henry D.




Foster, Philip H.




Grugan, James .




Gladding, Timothy




Grosvenor, Joseph H.




Himes, Stephen . .



Himes, James . .




Hamilton, Hancey .


1 104

Hollister, Bridgman J


1 H


Hunn, Horace . .


i B


Kent, John S. . .



Loveland, John . .


1 106

Lay, Horace . . .

i "



McGrath, James



1 102

Morgan, Robert P. .




Smith, Michael . .


1 ^


Twiss, Jason E. . .




Unknown, i6th Conn.


Wilsey, Julius C. .



1 108

Wilson, Orvil M. .




White, John J. . .

' i A

1 136

Wardwell, Emerson


. D



The National Cemetery.
Overlooking the valley of the Antietam.
Best point from which to view the field from the
rebel side.

The Pry House.
McClellan's headquarters. Best point
from which to view the field from the Union side.

Residence of Jacob H. Grove.
Lee's headquarters in Sharpsburg. Gen-
eral Lee's headquarter tents, and where he
watched the battle, was from the site now occupied
by the National Cemetery.

The Old Lutheran Church
Used as a Federal hospital after the battle.

Sunken Road

Now known as Bloody Lane.

DuNKER Church.

BuRNSiDE Bridge.


The Washington Monument on South


Erected to the memory of George Wash-
ington, by the citizens of Boonsboro and vicinity,
in 1827. It stands on the summit, a mile and a
half north of Turner's Gap. Originally it was
twenty feet high. In a tumbled-down condition,
it served as one of the Federal signal stations
during the battle of Antietam. In 1882 the
monument was rebuilt by the Odd Fellows of
Boonsboro ; the present height of tower, includ-
ing the observatory, is forty feet.



On the afternoon of September i6, 1862,
McClellan's plan had been decided upon, posi-
tions reconnoitered, the orders given, and Hooker
had put his troops in motion.

The Sixteenth Regiment Connecticut
Volunteers lay at Keedysville, watching the
movements of the troops and the peculiar white
puffs of smoke in the air from bursting shells.
Suddenly an order came directing that we move
to the front. After a tedious march through
ploughed fields and forests, passing brigades and
divisions, the booming of artillery and bursting
shells sounding louder and nearer, we finally
joined a brigade composed of the 4th Rhode
Island, and the 8th and nth C. V.

The brigade moved up, and lay in line of
battle all night behind a low ridge in rear of J. E.
* By Lieutenant B. F. Blakeslee.



^* ^ L^'r.

^ /!^^o;>.

Battle of Antietam.
From Lossing's "Civil War."

Miller's house on the farm of H. Rohrback, and
but a short distance from Antietam Creek.
While getting into this position, we could plainly
see the rebel gunners load and fire, some of the
shells coming quite near us. -^ We had been
assigned to the 2d brigade (Harland), 3d
division (Rodman), 9th corps (Cox), and on the
extreme left of the Army of the Potomac. It
was now eight o'clock in the evening, quite dark,
and we were within a few rods of the enemy. No
lights were permitted, and all conversation was
carried on in whispers. We heard Hooker's guns
far off on the right and front, and the cannonade
continued an hour or more, after it became dark.
We were ordered to make no noise and to lie
down on our arms. Occasionally the boom of
artillery was heard, and during the night there
were repeated alarms, so that the soldiers on
either side obtained but little rest. Scarcely had
the sun risen the next morning, when a shell from
the enemy dropped not far from our force, and
immediately another, a tv^lve-pounder, crashed
diagonally through the 8th Connecticut, killing
three men instantly, and wounding four. The
position was changed for one less exposed, but in
getting there the troops were obliged to pass
under a deadly fire from a rebel battery stationed
at short range distance. In this undertaking the


1 6th lost three wounded. We lay here several
hours watching what we could see on the right,
and noting the effect of the fire of our batteries.
We could see lines of troops advancing from our
right upon the other side of the Antietam, and
engaging the enemy. Near by was Benjamin's
Battery of 20-pounder parrots. Along our entire
front rebel batteries were constantly discovered,
till a long line of cannon could be seen. Our
batteries were exchanging shots with the enemy's
guns opposite. At 10 a. m. Burnside received
his order to cross the Antietam and attack the
enemy. Our brigade was advanced to support
the batteries of Mahlenberg, Cook, and Mc-
Mullen near the creek, and the Sixteenth came
again under a sharp fire, this time from Eshle-
man's Battery, on the opposite side.

The Eleventh was detached to assist
Crook in carrying the bridge, now known as
Burnside bridge.

At I o'clock the bridge was taken. The
charging regiments were advanced in line to the
crest above the bridge. Sturgis' division and
Crook's brigade were immediately brought over,
and were soon joined by our division (Rodman),
which had meanwhile crossed by wading the
stream (about waist deep) a mile below the
bridge. After crossing the creek Rodman's divi-

sion marched a short distance and took position on
the slope of a hill on the farm of J. H. Snively.
Wilcox's division was now sent over and formed
Hne. The cannonading had become furious.

*The Burnside Bridge.

Longstreet's entire artillery opened in all their
fury, and seemed to shake the very earth under
our feet. Solid shot swept the crest of the hill
in front, and tore up the ground behind, shells
burst overhead, and fragments dropped among
the men; grape and canister were showered

From Lossing's " Civil War.


down like rain. The air was filled with bullets
and fiendish missiles. The crest of the hill was
a great protection, and only about a dozen of the
Sixteenth were disabled.

At 3 o'clock, Rodman's division moved
their position and were now south of and within
a half mile of the town of Sharpsburg. The
Eleventh having been misled by an aid, had not
yet come up. The Sixteenth, and 4th Rhode
Island, had moved to the support of a battery on
the extreme left of the line, and had laid down in
a field of Indian corn * letting shot and shell —
which were coming like a storm — pass over

At this hour Burnside's heavy line was
moving over the hills. About half the batteries
of the division accompanied the movement, the
rest being in position on the hill tops east
of the Antietam. The earth fairly trembled. It
was a splendid and fearful sight. Wilcox's
division formed the right. Rodman's division
formed on the left. Hartland's brigade having
the position on the flank, and Fairchild's uniting
with Wilcox at the center. Scammon's brigade
was the reserve for Rodman on the extreme left.

* On the farm of Mr. Sherrich, now owned by his sonin-law
Victor Newcommer.


It was now half-past four in the afternoon, when
the order to advance was given. In this attack
Wilcox's division drove the enemy into Sharps-
burg, Rodman's division charged and was making
good progress when his left Hank was suddenly
attacked by A. P. Hill's division of six brigades,
and which had reached Sharpsburg since noon,
from Harper's Ferry. Those first seen were
dressed in the National blue uniforms which they
had captured at Harper's Ferry, and it was
assumed that they were part of our own forces
till they began to fire. General Scammon in the
reserve first saw them, and quickly changed front
to left and drove them back.

Fairchild advanced under a tremendous
fire from the enemy's batteries, dislodging them
and driving them down the hill toward the village.
He continued to pursue them down the hill,
when discovering Hill's troops on his left, called
on General Rodman to bring up rapidly Har-
land's brigade. Rodman directed Harland to
lead the Eighth, while he himself would bring
the Sixteenth and Fourth Rhode Island into
position. In performing this duty he fell mor-
tally wounded. Col. Harland at once took com-
mand of the division, sending an aid to order the
Sixteenth and Fourth R. I. forward. At the
order " Attention " from Col. Beach, a terrible

2 (19)

volley from Hill's men was fired into the Six-
teenth from behind a stone wall a few feet in
front. Volley after volley in quick succession
was hurled into our ranks. Amidst the terrible
uproar the rebels raised the Federal colors and
called out not to fire on friends. The position
was so exposed that we were ordered to fall
back, which was rapidly done. The brigade was
soon re-formed and placed in position for defense.
Says the Comte de Paris, " Hill's attack fell upon
Rodman, who was obliged to face to the left.
This attack in front was supported by Toombs,
who joined Hill in pressing the left flank of the
Federals. Exposed to a concentric fire Rodman's
division suffered terribly, saw its chief mortally
wounded, and lost ground. Fortunately Scam-
mon's brigade of Cox's division, making a
change of front to the left, arrived in time to
support it, and to check Hill's success. The
Ninth corps, pressed more and more closely, was
forced to fall back upon the range of hills which
border the Antietam, and command the passes
conquered a few hours before the battle of
Antietam was ended." After- sunset Harland's
brigade retired across the river, and bivouacked
for the night in a grove.

Arms were stacked, and the last call of
the day had been sounded, and the weary
( 20 )

soldier had laid down to rest. Of all gloomy
nights, this was the saddest one we ever experi-
enced. The cries and groans of the wounded
that lay on the battle-field could be heard
distinctly. Stacks of straw which had been fired
burned slow and dimly, and the occasional rejDort
of artillery sounded solemn and death-like.

The morning of the i8th dawned. The
Sixteenth had gone into the battle with 900 men.
General Burnside rode up and had some conver-
sation with our Colonel. Said he, " Only hold
out this day, boys, and the war is ended."

Col. Harland's brigade was moved for-
ward, and formed in line of battle near the
bridge. Here they remained until the next
morning, when the bridge was crossed and the
Sixteenth detached from the brigade to bury
their dead and care for the wounded, who were
still lying upon the field. Forty of our dead
were gathered and buried side by side near a
large tree on the ridge just above the point
where the gallant charge began. Of the forty-
seven killed, twenty have been taken up by
friends and sent North, the remaining twenty-
seven have been removed by the Government to
the Antietam National Cemetery, where

" The neighing troop, the flashing blade,
The bugle's stirring blast,
The charge, the dreadful cannonade,
The din and shout are past."


The casualties in the Sixteenth were :
Captains Manross, Drake, Brown, Lieut. Horton,
and forty-three enlisted men killed; Lt.-Col.
Frank W. Cheney, a shattered arm ; Major
Geo. A. Washburn, wounded severely in the
groin ; Captain Barber mortally wounded (dying
three days later); Captains Babcock and Hayden,
and Lieutenants Goodell, Gouge, Waters, and
Beach, and i68 men wounded. Twenty-six were
captured, and fifty-two missing, making a total
loss of 13 officers and 289 men. Of the
wounded, twenty-two died within a few days ; of
the captured, eight were wounded, three of
whom died within three weeks after the battle.
All houses and barns for miles around were con-
verted into hospitals, and yards and fields were
strewn with straw and the wounded laid there
without shelter. Three days after the battle the
wounded of the Sixteenth could be found in
almost any of these hospitals for a distance of
six miles. At Weaverton, Porterstown, and
Keedysville were several. Lt.-Col. Cheney and
Major Washburn were at Boonsboro, John Love-
land of Co. C was at Sharpsburg. At an impro-
vised barn hospital a half mile northeast of
Burnside bridge were about twenty-five of the
Sixteenth, among them Capt. Barber, B. F.
Blakeslee, and Gilbert B. Foster of Co. A. On

the west side of the Antietam, and near the main
bridge, in a large barn, were over forty of the
regiment under charge of Surgeon Mayer. Sep-
tember 2oth the regiment rejoined their brigade
at BeUnda Springs, a distance of two miles, and
thence moved to Antietam Iron Works on the



The contest was opened at dawn by
Hooker, with about eighteen thousand men. He
made a vigorous attack on the Confederate left,
commanded by Jackson. Doubleday was on his
right, Meade on his left, and Ricketts in the cen-
ter. His first object was to push the Confeder-
ates back through a line of woods, and seize the
Hagerstown road and the woods beyond it in the
vicinity of the Dunker Church, where Jackson's
line lay. The contest was obstinate and severe.
The National batteries on the east side of the
Antietam poured an enfilading fire on Jackson
that galled him very much, and it was not long
before the Confederates were driven with heavy
loss beyond the first line of woods, and across an
open field, which was covered thickly in the
morning with standing corn.

Hooker now advanced his center under

Meade to seize the Hagerstown road and the

woods beyond. They were met by a murderous

fire from Jackson, who had just been reinforced by

* Lossing's Civil War in America.


Hood's refreshed troops, and had brought up his
reserves. These issued in great numbers from
the woods, and fell heavily upon Meade in the
cornfield. Hooker called upon Doubleda}' for
aid, and a brigade under the gallant General
Hartsuff was instantly forwarded at a double-
quick, and passed across the cornfield in the face
of a terrible storm of shot and shell. It fought
desperately for half an hour unsupported, when
its leader fell severely wounded.

In the meantime Mansfield's corps had
been ordered up to the support of Hooker, and
while the divisions of Williams and Greene, of that
corps, were deploying, the veteran commander
was mortally wounded. The charge of the corps
then devolved on General Williams, who left his
division to the care of General Crawford. The
latter, with his own and Gordon's brigade, pushed
across the open field and seized a part of the
woods on the Hagerstown road. At the same
time Greene's division took position to the left of
the Dunker Church.

Hooker had lost heavily by battle and
straggling, yet he was contending manfully for
victory. Doubleday's guns had silenced a Con-
federate battery on the extreme right, and
Ricketts was struggling against a foe constantly
increasing/-, but was bravely holding his ground


without power to advance. The fight was very
severe, and at length the National line began to
waver and give way. Hooker, while in the van,
was so severely wounded in the foot that he was
taken from the field at nine o'clock, and to
McClellan's headquarters at Pry's, leaving his
command to Sumner, who had just arrived on the
field with his own corps. Up to this time the
battle had been fought much in detail, both lines
advancing and falling back as each received re-

Sumner at once sent General Sedgwick to
the support of Crawford and Gordon, and
Richardson and French bore down upon the foe
more to the left, when the cornfield, already won
and lost by both parties, was regained by the
Nationals, who held the ground around the
Dunker Church. Victory seemed certain for the
latter, for Jackson and Hood had commenced
retiring, when fresh troops under McLaws and
Walker came to Jackson's support, seconded by
Early on their left. These pressed desperately
forward, penetrated the National line at a Gap
between Sumner's right and center, and the
Unionists were driven back to the first line of
woods east of the Hagerstown road, when the vic-
tors, heavily smitten by the National artillery, and
menaced by unflinching Doubleday, withdrew to


their original position near the church. Sedgwick,
twice wounded, was carried from the field, when
the command of his division devolved on General
O. O. Howard. Generals Crawford and Dana
were also wounded.

It was now about noon, and the fighting had
been going on since dawn. The wearied right
needed immediate support. It came at a timely
moment. Franklin had come up from below, and
McClellan, who remained on the east side of the
Antietam, sent him over to assist the hard-pressed
right. He formed on Howard's left, and at once
sent Slocum with his division toward the center.
At the same time General Smith was ordered to
retake the ground over which there had been so
much contention and bloodshed. Within fifteen
minutes after the order was given it was executed.
The Confederates were driven from the open field
and beyond the Hagerstown road by gallant
charges, accompanied by loud cheers, first by
Franklin's Third Brigade, under Colonel Irwin,
and then by the Seventh Maine. Inspired by
this success, Franklin desired to push forward
and seize a rough wooded position of importance ;
but Sumner thought the movement would be too
hazardous, and he was restrained.

Meanwhile the divisions of French and
Richardson had been busy. The former, with

the brigades of Weber, Kimball, and Morris (the
latter raw troops), pushed on toward the center,
Weber leading ; and while he was fighting hotly,
French received orders from Sumner to press on
vigorously and make a diversion in favor of the
right. After a severe contest with the brigades
of Hill (Colquitt's, Ripley's and McRae's), not
engaged with Jackson, the Confederates were
pressed back to a sunken road in much disorder.
In the meantime the division of Richardson, com-
posed of the brigades of Meagher, Caldwell, and
Brooks, which crossed the Antietam between nine
and ten o'clock, moved forward .to the attack on
French's left. Right gallantly did Meagher fight
his way up to the crest of a hill overlooking the
Confederates at the sunken road, suffering dread-
fully from a tempest of bullets : and when his
ammunition was almost exhausted, Cadwell,
aided by a part of Brooks's brigade, as gallantly
came to his support and relief.

Hill was now reinforced by about four
thousand men, under R. H. Anderson, and
the struggle was fierce for a while, the Con-
federates trying to seize a ridge on the National
left for the purpose of turning that flank. This
was frustrated by a quick and skillful movement
by Colonel Cross with his " Fighting Fifth " New
Hampshire. He and the Confederates had a


race for the ridge along parallel lines, fighting as
they ran. Cross won it, and being reinforced
by the Eighty-first Pennsylvania, the Confederates
were driven back, with a heavy loss in men and
the colors of the Fourth North Carolina. An
effort to flank the right at the same time was
checked by French, Brooks, and a part of Cald-
well's force, and a charge of the Confederates
directly on Richardson's front was quickly re-
pulsed. The National line was steadily advanced
until the foe was pushed back to Dr. Piper's
house, near the Sharpsburg road, which formed
a sort of citadel for them, and there they made an
obstinate stand. Richardson's artillery was now
brought up, and while that brave leader was
directing the fire of Captain Graham's battery, he
was felled by a ball that proved fatal. General
W. S. Hancock succeeded him in command,
when a charge was made that drove the Con-
federates from Piper's in the utmost confusion
and only the skillful show of strength by a few of
his fresh troops prevented a fatal severance of
Lee's line. The Nationals were deceived, and
did not profit by the advantage gained. Night
soon closed the action on the right and center, the
Unionists holding the ground they had acquired.
In the struggle near the center, the gallant Gen-
eral Meagher was wounded and carried from the


field, and his command devolved on Colonel
Burke, of the New York Sixty-third.

During the severe conflicts of the day,
until late in the afternoon, Porter's corps, with
artillery, and Pleasanton's cavalry, had remained


Online LibrarySheldon B. (Sheldon Brainerd) ThorpeSixteenth Regiment Connecticut Volunteers excursion and reunion at Antietam Battlefield, September 17, 1889 → online text (page 1 of 2)