|Saluting Estes: Confederate officer honored in DeKalb County|
William Rosecrans and Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg; Longstreet, Polk, Stewart; Spencer rifles; Davis Cross Roads, Horseshoe Ridge, the Battle of ...
Tuesday, October 25, 2016
Posted by Michael Jones at 5:08 AM
Sunday, October 23, 2016
HISTORY AS IT HAPPENED -- Brilliant affair in Texas--two Yankee gunboats repulsed and destroyed — Failure of the expedition.
[The Richmond Daily Disptach, Sept. 23, 1863]
In the course of Monday night the entire fleet gathered in the vicinity of the Sabine. The gunboats and vessels of lightest draught crossed the bar, and preparations were made for the attack. Capt. Crocker, of the Clifton, was to feel the enemy, uncover the batteries, and ascertain his strength and position. Gens. Franklin and Weitzel examined the shore of the Pass to find the most eligible point for landing the forces. The Clifton steamed up the Pass, occasionally throwing a shell from her rifle guns at the only work visible — an earthwork of six large guns. No reply was made. She steamed within easy range of the fort, and received no response. She then returned to her former position without drawing the fire of the enemy.When the Clifton returned the order of battle was immediately arranged. The gunboats Clifton, Arizona, and Sachem, were to engage the enemy's works, while the Granite City was to cover the landing of a force of 500 men of-Gen. Weitzel's division, selected from the Port Hudson heroes, and composed of two companies of the 165th New York, four companies of the 161st New York, and a detachment of the 75th New York regiment, under command of Capt. Fitch, of the latter regiment.
The Clifton opened the engagement with a shell from one of her large pivot guns, which burst inside the enemy's works, raising a cloud of dust and dirt; instantly another shot followed; then the Sachem opened a broadside from her guns; next the Arizona followed. The firing, was excellent; from thirty to forty shells had exploded in the fort of the enemy. Not a shot had been fired in return — not a soldier nor a civilian could be seen — the only evidence that the neighborhood was not deserted was the movement of a couple of steamers vibrating between the city and the fort.
Presently a heavy shot was fired at the Arizona, passing over her; soon another was directed at the Sachem and at the Clifton, but without effect.
Soon the conflict became general and stormy, the shot and shell from our vessels making terrible havoc in the parapet. Just as the Sachem was passing out of range and victory seemed about to perch on our flag, a shot struck her amidships, rendering her useless, her flag was lowered, and the enemy concentrated his fire upon the Clifton, whose gallant officers and men fought bravely until a shot passed through her boiler, and she was compelled to raise the white flag. The Clifton had, besides her crew, 70 sharpshooters on board. The Sachem had a detachment of 30 sharpshooters. Five soldiers, one sailor, and one signal man, escaped down the beach from the Clifton. The number of killed and wounded is not known.
The Arizona, being unequal to the contest, fell back, and the order was issued to the fleet to withdraw. The expedition returned to New Orleans, Sept. 12, with its designs prostrated at the feet of adverse circumstances.
Another letter thus sums up the disaster:
Just as soon, however, as an attempt was made to land, the rebels poured in shot thick and fast, which they sent through and through our gunboats, and very soon sunk one--the Sachem — and blew up another. All our sharpshooters on one of the boats were captured, and it was only by prompt and rapid movements that the Commanding General, Franklin, managed to get away.
Posted by Michael Jones at 5:30 AM
Sunday, October 16, 2016
|Brig. Gen. Paul Hebert, Confederate|
commander of Galveston at the time
of its capture by Federal gunboats.
(Library of Congress)
Capture of Galveston, Texas, by the Federal fleet.
The Federal fleet off Galveston, Texas, attacked that city on the 4th inst. A Federal steamer ran past the battery at Fort Point under a heavy fire, and laid to at the central wharf. The battery was then destroyed by the Confederate troops, who marched to Virginia Point. The troops in Galveston left and went to the same Point. The Federal steamers lying off Galveston, five in number, gave the authorities of the town four days to remove the women and children from the place at the expiration of which time they would shell the place if it was not surrendered. The cause of the attack, or rather the initiation of the asssult, was the firing into the shipsteamerHarriet Lane by the guns at Fort Point. The Harriet Lane steamed in under a flag of truce, but went too far, and was fired into. The latest telegram from Galveston is dated the 6th inst., and speaking of the movements of the Federal says:
They landed yesterday again at the Point, but have not permanently occupied it, having a whole some fear of a cavalry dash. There are a sufficient number of troops on the Island to repel any landing. While the enemy occupy their present position Col. Cook is engaged, under orders from Col. DeBray, in removing such machinery and foundry works as can be got off, and it is not probable that the enemy will find much on the Island of value.
Orders have also been issued to inform the people that should our troops leave the island communication will at once be cut off, and those who remain will be compelled to depend on their own means of subsistence, as no supplies will be allowed to enter the city.
Measures are already on foot for a rigid police of the bay, and active cavalry force will continually scour the main land opposite the island and the country along Buffalo bayou, the Tricity, Neches, and Sabine.
The determination of the military authorities seems to be to confine the enemy to the bay contiguous to the island. The forces before the city, while not very formidable as a fleet, is yet sufficient to indicate the future movements of the enemy on our coast, and warn the people residing near the coast of the danger, should the bays and rivers be left unguarded.
Saturday, October 15, 2016
|Many Southern cities and towns were sacked by Federal troops. In this|
contemporary drawing, it is Federals sacking Fredericksburg, Va.
(Library of Congress)
[Richmond Daily Dispatch, July 15, 1863]
If there was any motive lacking to induce the people of the South to form associations for home defence, the following account of the sacking of Clinton, La., by Federal troops, should stir them up to the initiation of measures which may prevent their own homes becoming the scenes of similar outrages. The city was entered by Grierson's Federal cavalry about daylight on Sunday morning, and they immediately commenced searching for arms and arresting citizens. A correspondent of the Atlanta Appeal says:
They arrested the citizens and took them to the Masonic Hall, leaving none but the women and children at the houses, and when there was no one, the houses and everything in them were broken open and examined, and when anything suited the fancy or taste of the searcher he appropriated it. From some houses they took every suit of gentleman's clothes, not leaving the owner a change; from others they took as many shirts as they needed, and wherever a gold or silver watch was found, with a few exceptions, it was pocketed Many ladies breast pins found their way into the pockets of the 6th and 7th Illinois cavalry. Every dairy and cupboard was emptied of its eatables and every cook was employed in preparing them breakfast. From almost every corn-crib they took corn to feed their horses. The citizens around and near the Masonic Hall, where the officers [ were, were ] not molested, except the stores. Under the pretext of searching for arms they broke open every store and office in the town, scattering the goods and papers in every direction, and loading some of them in wagons. The windows and show cases were ruthlessly and needlessly smashed.
Some of the soldiers rode their horses into the stores and into some of the offices. While the citizens were at the Masonic hall hospital, many soldiers were seen riding by with boots, hats, and dry goods of various kinds, and large bundles of tobacco. The officers in command could not fail to see this, and knew that their men were pillaging the town. The men seemed to think that any amount of guns and ammunition were concealed in the iron safes, because they broke open almost every one in town, none of which had any money in them except one, and that but a small amount — Every horse they could see and catch, with every bridle and saddle, they took and carried off. A great many of the men urged the negroes, wherever they met them, to run away, and some one or two they forced to go, one of whom has returned. Some nine or ten went off with them, and during the week some twenty or thirty followed them from town. They burned the depot and machine shops, and the machinery of the Louisiana penitentiary, stationed here, which is a great loss to the Confederacy.
With pistols in hand, and presented, they demanded the watches and money from some of our citizens: They got some four or five gold watches, and perhaps as many silver ones. They even robbed an old negro man of Mr. F. Hardesty of an old silver watch.
They visited the residence of Mrs. Lee, and, presenting a pistol to her head, demanded all the money in the house. They cursed and abused her very much, and greatly terrified her and her daughter, Mrs. Batchelor. They put a pistol to the breast of Rev. Mr. Hamlin, at his residence, and demanded his watch, threatening to shoot him if they did not get it. They did the same with Dr. E. Delong, but neither of these gentlemen owned watches, and of course the members of Grierson's Western cavalry did not get them They paroled all the sick and all the straggling Confederate soldiers they found in town. They left about half-past 9 o'clock A. M. During their stay they were the most alarmed set of men our citizens ever saw.
A portion of the men who were detailed to guard the citizens, saw Capt. Hayden with a gold watch; when the citizens were dismissed they followed him to his home and presenting their pistols forcibly took his watch and chain. As soon as they finished paroling the citizens they left with their plunder. On Monday evening following five of them went to the residence of A. D. Palmer, about four miles from town, during the night, and inveigled the old man from his house some distance, and then pretending to have an order from Gen. Banks to take him and his papers and box to Gen. B., they forced the old man to give them his money box and papers, robbing him of six thousand dollars. A few days since they robbed Mr. George Keller, near Jackson, Louisiana, of fifteen thousand dollars.
Friday, October 7, 2016
|Private Samuel T. Cowley, Co. A, 2nd Va. Inf. fought at|
the Battle of Gettysburg, Pa. (Liljenquist Family Collection,
Library of Congress)
[The Richmond Daily Dispatch, July 7, 1863]
Latest from the North. The great battle at Gettysburg.
The fight of Thursday--the battle renewed--three Yankee Generals killed and four wounded only 1,600 Confederate prisoners taken — the Confederates hold Gettysburg.
We have received from Hon. Robert Ould, Commissioner of Exchange, New York papers of the 2d, 3d and 4th insts. The news of the battle of Gettysburg differs considerably from the first Yankee accounts. When they were first attacked they were some distance beyond Gettysburg, but were driven out, and are now this side of the town. The following dispatches in the New York World give an account of the progress of the fighting. The first contains extracts from the official report of Gen. Meade, which was all the War Department would allow to be telegraphed from Washington to the Northern papers:
Washington, July 3d.-- An official dispatch was received this afternoon from Major-General Meade, dated headquarters, army of the Potomac, 11 o'clock P. M., July 2nd, which says:
"The enemy attacked me about 4 P. M. this day, and, after one of the severest contests of the war, was repulsed at all points. We have suffered considerably in killed and wounded. Among the former are Brigadier Generals Paul and Zook, and among the wounded Generals are Sickles, Barlow, Graham, and Warren, slightly. We have taken a large number of prisoners. "
Washington, July 3.
--A later dispatch has been received from Major-General Meade, dated 8 o'clock this morning, which says:
"The action commenced again at early daylight upon various parts of the line. The enemy, thus far, have made no impression upon my position. All accounts agree in placing their whole army here. Prisoners report that Longstreet's and A. P. Hill's forces were much injured yesterday, and had many general officers killed. Gen. Barksdale, of Miss., is dead. His body is within our lines. We have thus far about 1,600 prisoners, and a small number yet to be started. "
Dispatches about the fighting.
--A prominent citizen of Gettysburg, who left there yesterday morning on a pass issued by Gen. Ewell to go to Heidleburg, met Stuart, Fitzhugh Lee, and Wade Hampton, with what he estimated at 10,000 cavalry, who were moving in the direction of Gettysburg. Their officers told him that Lee had no intention of leaving Pennsylvania, but was going to remain here until his army was destroyed or victorious. The gentleman arrived here this evening, the enemy making no effort to retain him.
Two militiamen from Susquehanna county were killed this evening at Camp Curtin by lightning.
A dispatch from London this morning states that yesterday the rebels left Chambersburg, taking the road in the direction of Gettysburg. Before leaving they burned the depot and workshops belonging to the railroad. London is fourteen miles west of Chambersburg.
The enemy also evacuated Shippensburg yesterday, moving in the same direction.
Everything goes to show that Lee has his whole army concentrated between Cashtown and Gettysburg.
The train that left Carlisle at seven o'clock this evening brought down twenty-four rebel deserters, who had come in from the mountains. They knew nothing about the result of the battle, but state that both armies are fighting with great desperation.
Firing was heard from daylight up to three o'clock this afternoon, at different points down the river.
Battle Field near Gettysburg,
Thursday, [July 2] 4.30 P. M.
Thursday, [July 2] 4.30 P. M.
The day has been quiet up to the present moment. The enemy are now massing a heavy force on our left, and have just began the attack with artillery. The probability is that a severe battle will be fought before dark.
The rebel sharpshooters have been annoying our batteries and men all day from the steeples of the churches in Gettysburg.
We hold the Emmetsburg and Baltimore roads.
Wrightsville, Pa., July2,
1 o'clock, midnight.
1 o'clock, midnight.
Our forces are known to have gained upon the enemy until 4 o'clock this afternoon.--Since 5 o'clock the firing has been much heavier and more rapid, indicating a general engagement between the entire armies. The rebel force is concentrated on South Mountain, toward Carlisle, six miles north of Gettysburg. Gen. Sedgwick's corps passed York in the direction of Dover, at 4 o'clock this afternoon. It is in the rear of the enemy. The 2d army corps moved up from Hanover at 8 o'clock this morning.
Philadelphia, July 3.--A special dispatch to the Bulletin, from Harrisburg, says:
Nothing is yet known as to results, but the impression prevails that the great decisive battle of the campaign has been fought in the neighborhood of Cashtown, between Gettysburg and Chambersburg.
It is believed that we have suffered heavy losses in officers and men, but Lee is so crippled as to be placed on the defensive.
Yesterday Gen. Meade assumed the offensive. The day before Lee had attacked Meade, and was repulsed with heavy loss.
Lee holds a gap in South Mountain, near Chambersburg, through which he hopes to escape, if defeated. A guard stationed at Bridge Eighty-four on the Northern Central Railroad, heard firing in that direction, like that of flying artillery; whence it is believed Pleasanton is again at work with his dashing cavalry, fighting for the possession of the gap.
Columbia, Pa.,July 3.--Capt. Roberts, of Philadelphia, who was captured near Gettysburg and paroled, has arrived here.
He reports that yesterday, beyond York, a courier from Gen. Meade to Gen. Couch stopped at a house to have his horse fed. The women in the house became alarmed and blew a born to collect the neighbors, when the courier; fearing that the noise would reach the rebels, threatened them if they did not desist. At this moment the owner of the house arrived and, taking the courier for a rebel, drew a pistol and killed him. The courier's dispatches were subsequently sent to Baltimore, very foolishly, instead of to Harrisburg.
Capt. Porter says that numbers of people in York and Adams counties offered every possible assistance to the rebels, pointing out to them the property of Union citizens and of the Government, and showing them the roads.
Heavy and continuous artillery firing was heard yesterday afternoon, and last night, in the direction of Dover, eight miles northwest of York.
The very latest from the battle field.
The following dispatches are published by the World as "the very latest:"
Philadelphia,July 3.--A special dispatch to Forney's Press, dated Hanover, 1 P. M., via Washington, July 3, says: "At 10 this morning our forces opened on about 5,000 rebels, who advanced on the field at day break for the purpose of pillaging our dead. The rebels hastily retreated. The fight thus far has been the most terrific of the war. The loss on both sides was heavy. Gen. Sickles was wounded severely. His right leg was amputated, and he is doing well. A desperate battle rages."
Washington,July 3.--The information received here is that the battle of Gettysburg last night was extremely fierce and stubborn. Heavy and determined assaults were made by the rebels, which were gallantly met by our troops.
This morning at daylight the contest was spiritedly renewed. Our army drove the enemy, who in turn drove ours, the fighting being desperately severe, and the fiercest, probably, of the war.
Prisoners report that Longstreet was killed, and this seems to be confirmed by later intelligence.
Colonel Cross, of New Hampshire, and General Zook, of New York, are among the killed. Gen. Sickles; it is said, was wounded, and had his leg amputated on the field.
Gen. Barksdale, of the rebel army, is killed, and his body is in our possession.
The latest intelligence received here was up to 11 o'clock to-day. [This "latest intelligence" the Yankee War Department did not allow to be made public--Ed]
A Recapitulation of the battle of Wednesday.
The correspondent of the New York World writing on the 2d inst., thus recapitulates the battle of Wednesday:
The engagement yesterday was quite severe, though confined to our advance, the First and Eleventh corps, the action being fought mainly by the First corps, under General Reynolds, who was killed by a sharpshooter early in the fight. We first attacked the enemy's advance just beyond Gettysburg and repulsed it, when the whole corps became engaged, and subsequently the Eleventh corps, which came up to support by the Emmetsburg road. The opposing forces were the rebel corps of Hill and Ewell. Our men gallantly sustained the fight, holding their own until 4 o'clock, when they retired to a strong position just to the east ward and southward of Gettysburg. This was maintained until the arrival of reinforcements at night, and our lines are now well formed.
No general engagement has yet taken place, but the probability is that a great battle will be fought this afternoon or to morrow. The enemy is in great force. Our troops are now all up and well in hand.
The battle yesterday was sanguinary in the extreme. Wadsworth's division sustained the early portion of it with great valor, charging the enemy and taking a whole regiment of prisoners with Brigadier-General Archer. We have taken fully one thousand prisoners and lost many, most of them being wounded and in Gettysburg, the greater portion of which the enemy now hold.
The rebels occupy Pennsylvania College as an hospital. Robinson's division and one brigade of Doubleday's supported Wadsworth with great gallantry. The 11th corps, most of it, fought well, and redeemed the disgrace of Chancellorsville. Among the general officers we lose, besides Major-General Reynolds, General Paul killed, and General Barlow wounded. Gen. Schimmel fanning is a prisoner. An estimate of yesterday's casualties cannot now be made.
Gettysburg was injured by shells to a considerable extent. Most of the inhabitants remain in the burgh, many got away yesterday. It is a beautiful place, surrounded by a beautiful open and rolling country.
There has been more or less skirmishing all the morning, but no engagement of dimensions. Both parties are preparing for the great contest before them. Our troops are in splendid condition, and fight like veterans.
Among the casualties in yesterday's engagement were the following:
Lieutenant Bayard Wilkison, commanding Battery G, Fourth regular artillery, son of Samuel Wilkison, Washington correspondent of the Times, right leg shot ofi below the knee, while gallantly fighting his battery against an eight- gun battery of the enemy, enfilading his position; believed to be a prisoner.
Col. Stone, 149th Pennsylvania, commanding brigade, badly wounded.
Col. Root, 94th New York, wounded and prisoner.
Col. Tilden, 16th Maine, taken prisoner.
Capts. Hovey and Thomas, of Gen. Robinson's staff, wounded.
Col. Muhier, 75th Pennsylvania, dangerously wounded.
Col. Lockman, 119th New York, wounded.
Adj't Dodge, 119th New York, wounded and captured.
Lieut. Col. Arrowsmith, 157th New York, killed.
The following is a list of losses of officers in Gen. Sol. Meredith's brigade, Wadsworth's division, first army corps, in yesterday's fight:
Gen. Meredith, bruised on top of the head by a fragment of shell. His horse was shot under him and fell upon him, bruising and injuring him internally.
Lieut. Col. G W Woodward, Aid de-Camp to Meredith, wounded in right arm.
The New York papers have not a single exultant paragraph over the fight, which is very significant. The World, of the 4th, says:
At last a gleam of intelligible light relieves the murky chaos of official telegrams, in which, for three days past, the battle-fields of Pennsylvania have been enshrouded. In a dispatch which would have better satisfied the general expectations, and gone further to appease the general anxiety, had the War Department thought fit to publish it in full, but which, even in the mutilated form in which Mr. Stanton presents it, commands attention and inspires confidence by its modest and manly tone, General Meade announces that a great battle really began on Thursdayevening, and was renewed yesterday morning, between his own army and the whole force of the enemy.
He claims for his troops the credit of a stern and solid resistance to an attack of which he does not conceal the fierce and formidable character, and at 8 o'clock on Fridaymorning he asserts the continued success of that resistance.
Since 8 o'clock on Fridaymorning, however, nothing seems to have been heard from the scene from this supreme conflict, and further tidings must therefore be looked for with an eagerness positively painful in its intensity.
These tidings may — indeed, if the Government will but do its duty, they must — reach us at any moment. Let us hope that they may come to throw a sudden glory of victory and of hope over the solemn hour of the great anniversary which the nation this day celebrates.
Posted by Michael Jones at 4:49 AM
Thursday, October 6, 2016
|Pvt. George H. Guinn, Co. A, 52nd Va. Inf.|
fought in Brig. Gen William Smith's Brigade at
the Battle of Gettysburg, Pa.
[The Richmond Daily Dispatch, Va., July 6, 1863]
The Battle of Gettysburg
The Battle of Gettysburg
It is difficult to say, from the accounts which we publish to-day, (all Yankee, of course) what portion, or whether all of our army was engaged. We presume, however, that it was only a portion, as the main body is supposed not to be in the immediate neighborhood of Gettysburg.
It is evident to us, at any rate, that our troops have gained a great victory. The Philadelphia Inquirer cannot conceal the fact, although it lies with an order and an earnestness that deserved better success. We are told, in the first place, that "our troops"--to wit, the Yankee troops — maintained their position in Gettysburg, in spite of the most obstinate attempts on the part of the rebels to capture it. A paragraph or two lower, we are told that at the "end of the battle" the rebel cavalry made a dash through the town, capturing all the sick and wounded, stores, &c.
Now, dashing through a town, which the enemy has held during a severe battle, to ordinary comprehensions, certainly means that the town was carried and left in the rear by the victorious party in their pursuit of a flying enemy. Again, we are told that the "rebels" were triumphantly beaten back. But a little farther on we discover that towards the close of the action these same "rebels" made an attack upon one of the enemy's flanks, and that he fell back a mile, fighting valiantly, of course, as Yankees always do--on paper.--Lastly, the Yankees say the affair is "indecisive," which is proof enough that they have been badly beaten. Had it--really been indecisive, they would have claimed a decided victory. It is only necessary to remember what McClellan did at Sharpsburg to be convinced of this.
That affair was anything but indecisive McClellan was beaten with immense slaughter. He retreated in the night, and the next day Gen. Lee could hear nothing of him; although he shelled all the woods in the neighborhood to start him from his covert. Had Gen. Lee followed him, beyond a question he would have continued his retreat. But the force of that General was too feeble, in comparison with the enormous Yankee army, to justify the risk.
After holding the battle field twenty-four hours he withdrew, and McClellan, learning the fact by his scouts, sneaked up, occupied it, and wrote: "I think I may now say that we really have gained a victory." He was so crippled, in the meantime, that he would not follow, and was removed for not doing what was impossible. Can any one doubt, after this, that when the Yankees say an affair is indecisive, they are in fact badly whipped?
But if they are not whipped, why do they shout so vociferously for reinforcements?
The Baltimore American tells us that up to Thursday they had captured 6,000 prisoners. but it accounts for only 800, although General Schenck announces that 1,500 more were to come on. On Thursday there was no general battle, but heavy skirmishing, in which 5,000 prisoners, making 11,000 in all, were captured. The gallant Dutchmen who distinguished themselves by running so at Chancellorsville, it seems, demolished Longstreet's corps and captured a thousand prisoners. These lies are for gross even for Yankee credulity.
The fact seems to be that a division of the army has kept the whole Yankee force at bay two days, and that Gen. Lee is rapidly concentrating in the neighborhood of Gettysburg In a few days we expect to hear that Meade's army has been defeated, and probably annihilated.
Posted by Michael Jones at 3:13 PM
Saturday, September 17, 2016
|[Article excerpted from Confederate States Rangers by Michael Dan Jones]|
|Confederate dead along the Hagerstown Pike fence at the Battle of Sharpsburg.|
The Bloodiest Day, September 17, 1862
The fatigued men of the Confederate States Rangers got little rest the night before the battle. Sporadic skirmishing throughout the night made sleep very difficult. The two advance brigades of General J.R. Jones’ division were those of his own brigade, under Colonel Bradley Johnson and the Stonewall Brigade under Colonel A.J. Grigsby—both on the west side of the fence. Behind them were Captain J.B. Brockenbrough’s Baltimore battery and in support of the artillery were Starke’s and Taliaferro’s brigades. On the east side of the fence in the field was Lawton’s (Ewell’s) division. To the south of Stonewall Jackson’s position were Longstreet’s divisions. About 12,000 Federals were massed for the assault on Jackson’s line on the Confederate left. Hooker’s corps was massed to the north of the North woods. Their immediate target was the Dunker Church on the west side of the Hagerstown Pike, just south of where Starke’s brigade was located in the West Woods.
The battle started shortly before 6 o’clock with a massive artillery barrage cutting across the Confederate positions. The Confederate artillery returned fire but was heavily outgunned. The advance brigades of Jones’ and Lawton’s divisions absorbed the first blows and returned fire until overwhelmed. General Jones was stunned by an overhead artillery burst and had to be removed from the field. General Starke assumed the command of the division, and with his sword and battle flag in hand, rallied the retreating Confederates. But Starke was soon pierced by three bullets through the body and fell from his horse, dead. Colonel Grigsby then took command of the division. The 1st Louisiana Brigade, under Brigadier General Harry T. Hayes, was part of Lawton’s division and took part in the fighting in the Miller Cornfield east of the pike. The brigade had only 550 men going into the battle and suffered heavy losses, 323, before it was relieved by Hood’s Texas Brigade.
As the battle rolled back to where Starke’s brigade was located, Colonel Stafford, who assumed command of the brigade when Starke was called upon to replace the wounded General Jones, received orders at 7 o’clock to move out of the woods in a counterattack on the advancing Federals. As soon as they emerged from the woods, they found themselves practically “face-to-face” with the enemy in close musket range. They charged through the murderous shower of bullets coming their way but found it all but impossible to get any further than the sturdy rail fence along the Hagerstown Pike. They were battling mainly, again, with Gibbon’s “Iron Brigade” of Abner Doubleday’s division. These were the same Mid-Westerners with whom they fought at Brawner’s Farm at the Second Battle of Manassas. The Iron Brigade was reinforced in the firefight by the 2nd U.S. Sharpshooters, 14th Brooklyn and Battery B, 4th U.S. Artillery. The men of both sides loaded and fired at a blistering rate.
Colonel Edmund Pendleton of the 15th Louisiana, said in his report on the battle, “The men, being formed along this fence, kept up an accurate and well-sustained fire, which visibly told upon the enemy’s ranks; and, although we suffered greatly, as well from musketry in front as from a battery on our left, which enfiladed us with grape and canister, still, not a man was seen to flinch from the conflict. By some mistake or misapprehension, the troops which were intended, as I have since been informed, to support us on the left, failed to get in position as early as was expected, and, our left being unprotected, we were outflanked, when the order to retire was given and obeyed, the men withdrawing in tolerable order, and fighting as they fell back.” Stafford reformed the men in the woods. Determined to counterattack the enemy, Stafford gave the order to charge and the Louisianians, determined to “win or die,” then hurled themselves against the exulting Yankees and drove them from the field. “The enemy being thus completely repulsed on his right, did not again offer to renew the combat on that portion of his lines during the day,” Pendleton said.
Captain Monier, writing of the latter action, noted in his journal that at 10:30 o’clock that morning the brigade was marched by the left flank to support Stuart’s cavalry. They fell into the right of Stuart where the enemy was massing and held firm, then drove the blue tide back. The brigade settled in while the battle moved on south of them. Later in the day, however, Starke’s brigade was called upon to support a Confederate battery and at that time Stafford received a wound to the foot and had to withdraw. Pendleton then stepped up to command the brigade. Also wounded was Colonel J.M Williams of the 2nd Louisiana regiment, Lieutenant Colonel Michael Nolan of the 1st Louisiana and Pendleton received a minor wound to the ankle. Lieutenant Colonel Gaston Coppens of the 1st Louisiana Zouave Battalion was killed in action. Captain Henry Monier of the 10th Louisiana was the only regimental commander who came through the battle unscathed.
Among the severely wounded enlisted men left at the rail fence on the Hagerstown Pike was Private Armelin Linscomb, spelled Lincicome in his military records, of Company K, Confederate States Rangers. He was disabled and probably knocked out and left for dead. In fact, Lieutenant Seton, in a letter written after the battle, listed Linscomb among the dead. His plight was similar to many of the Confederate prisoners. He had been disabled by a gunshot wound to the neck. Since he was unable to read and write and probably had a thick Louisiana French accent, his Yankee
captors were unable to correctly spell his name. The 20-year-old farm boy was from Vermilion Parish, deep in South Louisiana’s Cajun country. Up until the time of his wounding, he was always present for duty in the ranks and was there for every battle up to Sharpsburg. He was first brought to the U.S.A. General Hospital in Frederick, Maryland where his medical complaint was listed as “Vulnus Sclopeticum” which was an archaic Latin medical term for gunshot wound. He was quickly paroled, but because of his medical condition was transferred to the hospital at Fort McHenry in Baltimore. He was then sent to Fort Monroe to the hospital there and on November 12, 1862, was transferred to City Point for exchange. Linscomb never rejoined his unit and the last record in his file was made March 22, 1865 at Petersburg, Virginia. It just noted he was absent due to a gunshot wound to the neck. The records are silent on where he was, but most likely he spent the rest of his time in army in hospitals. He did survive the war and eventually recovered from his wound
Another member of the Confederate States Rangers, Private Asa Ryan, was also severely wounded in the battle. He was crouching down at the fence on the Hagerstown Pike when he saw men on either side of him shot down. Then a bullet slammed into his left leg above the knee. Ryan went down also and was left behind when the Federals overran his position. A rugged 26-years-old carpenter from Lake Charles, Louisiana, Ryan, like Linscomb, was present for every battle up to Sharpsburg. His leg was amputated and he was sent to the prisoner of war camp at Fort McHenry in Baltimore. Ryan wasn’t a prisoner for long. He was paroled and exchanged at Aiken’s Landing, Virginia. Ryan was the older brother of Joseph Lawrence Ryan who was wounded at Second Manassas.
Other casualties in Company K at Sharpsburg included corporals Joseph Auge Jr., James McKinney, and Private Justice Jackson, all killed in action; and also wounded privates Easton Hoffpauir, Dupre Marcantel, in the heel and disabled, and Raphael Foreman.
General Hood had been alerted by Lawton that he would be needing assistance as soon as possible. Hood’s division was part of Longstreet’s corps. As he had done many times, Hood called upon his old command, the Texas Brigade made up of the 1st, 4th and 5th Texas, along with the 18th Georgia and the South Carolina infantry companies of Hampton’s Legion, to lead the counterattack. They were followed by Brigadier General Evander Law’s brigade. Hood’s men had been cooking breakfast when they were notified to fall in. They did so but were as mad as hornets. Hood said the battle had been raging with great fury and he noted, “It was here that I witnessed the most terrible clash of arms, by far, that has occurred during the war.” At about 7 o’clock, the Texas Brigade clashed with the Federal Iron Brigade under Gibbon, which had already suffered heavily in its battles with the divisions of J.R. Jones and Lawton. The Federals were taken by surprise by the ferocity of the counterattack and fell back in disorder. Major Rufus Dawes of the 6th Wisconsin said the attackers volley went through his regiment like a “scythe.” They retreated through the Miller Cornfield with the Texans and others on their heels. Hood’s men stretched out from the Cornfield to the East Woods. D.H. Hill’s Confederate division also came up to keep the momentum going.
The Federals then staged their own counterattack with two brigades of Meade’s division. The Texans were caught in a crossfire with the 1st Texasbeing particularly hard hit. They lost 186 men out of 226 which was a casualty rate of 82.3 percent—a record high for the war. But Hooker’s assault was blunted and his corps lost 2,600 men out of 9,000 engaged, and it was only 7:30 o’clock. Joseph Mansfield’s 12th Corps fed in some 7,200 more men into this meat grinder. At 9:20 o’clock, fresh Federal troops were seen approaching from the east headed for the West Woods. These were men from John Sedgwick’s division of the 2nd U.S. Army Corps. Confederates in McLaw’s division countered this move and drove off the Federals within 20 minutes of savage fighting. The bluecoats retreated having suffered 2,200 casualties. It had become evident that the Confederate left couldn’t be moved. Mansfield himself was among those dead on the field of battle. So far Lee had moved his divisions in the battle like a master chess player moving his pieces on a chess board. The battle would now move to the center of the Confederate line at a sunken farm lane.
Holding the Confederate center were 6,000 men under generals George B. Anderson, Robert Rodes and R.H. Anderson. They were attacked by 8,000 men in two divisions from the 2nd U.S. Corps. First came the division of William French which was repulsed with great casualties on both sides. Then the division of Israel Green attacked and, following the death of General G.B. Anderson, the confused Confederates mistakenly abandoned the sunken farm lane, now known as “Bloody Lane.” But astoundingly, McClellan didn’t follow up on this breakthrough. Instead, McClellan sent in his 12,000 man 12th U.S. Army Corps against the Confederate right, which was held by just 500 Georgians under Brigadier General Robert Toombs. Burnside’s focus was a bridge over Antietam Creek which negated a massive frontal assault. Instead, he sent individual brigades against the bridge, which was like a funnel, enabling the well concealed Georgians to repulse attacks for three hours. Then, at 1 o’clock, two regiments, the 51st New York and 51st Pennsylvania managed to get across the bridge and establish a line of battle on the Confederate side. Then, when Toombs saw he had also been outflanked to the right by the Federal division of I.P. Rodman, he retreated from the position leaving it in enemy hands.
Burnside spent the next two hours building up his corps for a grand assault on the Confederate right. When he launched the attack, Toombs had only some 700 men to stop it. All seemed lost for the South because Lee couldn’t weaken the other parts of his line. But just then, A.P. Hill dramatically came up with 3,000 men in a nick of time. They had been on a forced march of 17 miles in seven hours from Harper’s Ferry, where they had been left behind to parole the Federal garrison that had been captured. Lee immediately sent Hill’s men in on Burnside’s left flank, crushing it and sending the Federals back over Antietam Creek. The day and the battle had been saved. The men of both sides settled in but Lee readjusted his line that night to a stronger position and waited for another attack the next day, September 18, but it never came. McClellan was waiting for more reinforcements. Lee, seeing it would be fatal for the Army of Northern Virginia to remain in that position, retreated across the Potomac that night. While the Federals held the battlefield and claimed a victory, it was a tactical
draw at a massive cost in human lives.
The Confederates lost 1,546 killed, 7,752 wounded and 1,018 missing for a total of 10,316 casualties. The Federals suffered 2,108 killed, 9,549 wounded and 753 missing for a total of 12,410 casualties. The overall total was 22,726 – the bloodiest day in American history. Starke’s (Stafford’s) brigade losses were—less Coppen’s battalion which never gave a report—81 killed, 189 wounded and 17 missing for a total of 287. The 10th Louisiana lost 24 killed, 34 wounded 19 missing for a total of 77. This figure is a revision from the Official Records, based on examination of individual service records for the 10th Louisiana. The other regiments in the brigade lost 71 total in the 1st Louisiana, 62 in the 2nd Louisiana, 82 in the 9th Louisiana and 15 in the 15th Louisiana. A few days after the battle, renowned photographer Mathew Brady sent Alexander Gardner to take pictures of the battlefield and the dead that still were unburied. The picture of the dead Confederates along the Hagerstown Pike were, in one of Gardner’s photographs, specifically identified as being Louisiana troops. Since that is where Starke’s brigade fought and most of the killed and wounded occurred, it is believed most of the bodies in the picture must be from that brigade. In addition, in his book Antietam: The Photographic Legacy of America’s Bloodiest Day, William A. Frassanito, notes that while it is impossible to know which specific Louisiana regiments to which those dead belong, he specifically mentions many of the dead of the 10th Louisiana being among the possibilities, , , ,
Posted by Michael Jones at 9:25 AM