Friday, November 11, 2011

Stannard's Brigade at Gettysburg

The 3rd Brigade, 3rd Division, 1st Corps 
 Stannard’s Brigade. 

Brigade marker for 3rd Brigade, 3rd Division, 1st Corps
It is located on Hancock Avenue
It reads:
Brig. Gen. George J. Stannard
Col. Francis V. Randall

12th 13th 14th 15th 16th Vermont Infantry
The 12th and 15th were guarding Corps Trains

July 1.     Arrived at dusk and took position on right of Third Corps.
July 2.     Joined the Corps and went into position at the left and rear of the Cemetery. Just before dusk a  detachment advanced to the Emmitsburg Road and captured about 80 prisoners and recovered 4 abandoned Union guns.
July 3.     In position on left of Second Division Second Corps at the time of Longstreet’s assault. The 13th and 16th advanced against Major Gen. Pickett’s Division changed front forward and attacked its right throwing it into contusion and capturing many prisoners. The 16th and part of 14th then went to the left and attacked the advancing Brigades of Brig Gen. Wilcox and Perry (Col. Lang) and captured three flags and many prisoners.
Casualties Killed 1 Officer 44 Men Wounded 12 Officers 262 men Captured or Missing 32 Men Total 351

Brigadier General George Jennison Stannard

Colonel Francis Randall

2nd Vermont Brigade (12,13,14,15,16 VT inf)
2nd Vermont Brigade Memorial on Hancock Avenue
Located on  Hancock Avenue, @ 100 yards south of the Copse of Trees, it represents the position held by the brigade during the repulse of Pickett's Charge.  It is the only monument on the battlefield representing the 12th and 15th Vermont, 9 month regiments who missed earlier parts of the battle while guarding trains.

 Dedicated: Oct. 1889.

Commander:  Brigadier General George Stannard (Wounded during Pickett's Charge, replaced after battle by Colonel Francis Randall)

Number Engaged:  1,950 Engaged by the brigade

Casualties:  45 Killed, 274 Wounded, 32 Missing.

Notes and Facts about the Monument: The sculpture shows Brig. Gen. George Stannard holding a sword in his left hand.  The memorial cost $11,750.00. Overall height is 57 feet.

Inscriptions Read:  

On the Front of the Base:     
AND UNITY                                                  

Left Side of the Base:       

Right Side of the Base:

As this monument represents the 12th and 15th Vermont as their only marker on the battlefield, I will include their unit histories here.

12th Vermont Infantry
Brattleboro Vermont for 9 months service 10/4/1862

Brigadier General George Stannard ,
Original Commander:  Colonel Asa P. Blunt, replaced by
Brigadier General Edwin H. Stoughton who was taken prisoner December 1862.
Col. Blunt held command again from 12/62 until 4/63 with he was replaced by Stannard.

Major Battles and Events: 
 Picket duty near Fairfax Court House December 12, 1862, to January 20, 1863. Defence of Fairfax Court House from attack by Stuart’s Cavalry December 29, 1862.  March to Gettysburg, Pa., June 25-July 1. Detached at Westminster as train guard until July 4. Guard prisoners to Baltimore July 4-6. Moved to Brattleboro July 6-9, and there mustered out July 14, 1863. Lost by disease 2 Officers and 65 Enlisted men. Total 67.

Medal of Honor Awardee

2nd Lt. George G. Benedict
Company C, 12th Vermont Infantry
For actions at Gettysburg, July 3, 1863
Date of Issue:  March 29, 1899
 During Pickett's Charge on the last day of the battle, the 13th and 16th Vermont Infantry advanced to the front in a flanking movement on Pickett's forces. While this was happening, Lieutenant Benedict braved a murderous fire of grape and canister to deliver orders on the field. When the 13th Vermont wheeled to fire into Pickett's flank, many over-eager Union soldiers bunched up four to eight files deep. Heedless of the continuing rain of enemy fire, Lieutenant Benedict walked calmly along the line with his back to the enemy until he had straightened out the Union line and reformed them properly for combat.

2nd Lieutenant George G. Benedict MOH

15th Vermont Infantry
Battleboro Vermont, mustered on 10/22/1862 for 9 months service.

Colonel Redfield Proctor

Major Battles and Events:

 Picket duty at Occoquan Creek November 26-December 4.  Picket duty near Fairfax Court House December 12, 1862, to January 20, 1863. At Fairfax Station until March 24.  At Bristoe Station, Catlett’s Station and Manassas until June 25. March to Gettysburg, Pa., June 25-July 1. Detached at Westminster as train guard until July 4. Pursuit of Lee July 4-18. Moved to Brattleboro, Vt., July 18-21. and mustered out August 5, 1863. Regiment lost during service by disease 1 Officer and 80 Enlisted men. Total 81.

14th Vermont Infantry

14th Vermont Monument on Hancock Avenue
Located on Hancock Avenue, it marks the position held by the 14th Vermont on July 3, 1863.

Dedicated: Oct. 19, 1899.

Commander: Col. William T. Nichols 

Number Engaged: 722

Casualties: 19 killed, 67 wounded, 21 missing

Raised: Addison, Rutland, and Bennington counties.

Major Events and Battles:  Organized 10/21/1862 for 9 months service; Defense of Fairfax Courthouse from Stuart's Cavalry; Battle of Gettysburg; Pursuit of Lee; Mustered out 7/30/1863.

13th Vermont Infantry
13th Vermont Infantry Monument on Hancock Avenue

Close up of monument (Lt. Stephen Brown), note the hatchet at the bottom of sculpture.
Located on Hancock Avenue, south of The Angle.  It represents the position held by the regiment on the evening of 7/2/1863 through the close of the battle.  The officer depicted is an interesting story.  It represents Lt. Stephen F. Brown from Company K of the 13th.  He was arrested enroute to the battle for allowing his men to stop and refill canteens.  Since he was arrested, his sword was surrendered and sent to the rear of the regiment.  He fought a significant part of the battle using a hatchet he "liberated" from camp, this is represented at his feet on the sculpture.

Dedicated: Oct. 19, 1899.

Dedication of 13th Vermont Monument

Commander:  Colonel Francis V. Randall 
(who took command of the brigade following the battle, picture at top of page) 
replaced by:
Lieutenant Colonel William D. Munson, 
who was wounded and was replaced by:
Major Joseph Boynton

Number Engaged:  710

Casualties:  10 Killed, 103 Wounded, 10 Missing

Raised:  Chittenden, Franklin, Lamoille and Washington Counties

Major Events and Battles:  
Organized at Brattleboro October 10, 1862, for nine months. Picket duty near Occoquan Creek until December 5.  Picket duty near Fairfax Court House until January 20, 1863. Defence of Fairfax Court House from attack by Stuart’s Cavalry December 29. 1862. Guard duty at Occoquan Creek until June 25. March to Gettysburg. Pa., June 25-July 1. Battle of Gettysburg July 1-3. Pursuit of Lee to Middletown, Md., July 4-8. Left front July 8 and moved to Brattleboro, Vt., July 8-13. Mustered out July 21, 1863. 

Secondary Monuments and Markers
There are three secondary markers to the regiment.  They are along the Highwater Mark path.  They represent movements by the unit during Pickett's Charge and were erected by the state of Vermont in 1896.

Medal of Honor Awardee

Captain John Lonergan
Company A, 13th Vermont Infantry
For actions at Gettysburg, July 3, 1863
Date of Issue:  October 28, 1893
Citation: Gallantry in the recapture of 4 guns and the capture of 2 additional guns from the enemy; also the capture of a number of prisoners.
Captain John Lonergan MOH

16th VT Infantry
16th Vermont Monument located on Hancock Avenue
Located on Hancock Avenue, it represents the position held by the 16th on 7/3/1863.  Originally located in the Codori Thicket it was relocated in 1907.

Dedicated:  Sept 1892, relocated 1907

Commander:  Colonel Wheelock G. Veazey

Number Engaged:  715

Casualties:  16 Killed, 102 wounded, 1 missing.

Raised:  Windsor and Windham Counties

Significant Battles and Events:  
Organized at Brattleboro and mustered in October 23, 1862, for nine months.  Picket duty near Fairfax Court House to January 20, 1863. At Fairfax Station until March 20. Defence of Fairfax Court House from attack by Stuart’s Cavalry December 29, 1862.  At Bristoe Station, Catlett’s Station and Manassas until June 15. A March to Gettysburg, Pa., June 25-July 1. Battle of Gettysburg July 1-3. Pursuit of Lee July 4-18. Moved to Brattleboro, Vt., July 18-21. Mustered out August 10, 1863. 

Medal of Honor Awardee

Colonel Wheelock G. Veazey
Commanding Officer 16th Vermont INfantry
For actions at Gettysburg, July 3, 1863
Date of Issue:  September 8, 1891
Citation: Rapidly assembled his regiment and charged the enemy’s flank; charged front under heavy fire, and charged and destroyed a Confederate brigade, all this with new troops in their first battle.

Colonel Wheelock G. Veazey MOH

Sorry I haven't published more lately, however, I've been a little under the weather.  I hope you enjoy, and as always, feel free to comment, I promise to reply.


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Second Brigade, Third Division, First Corps
The Pennsylvania Bucktail Brigade

Brigade marker for 2nd Brigade, 3rd Division of the 1st Corps
It is located near the McPherson Barn on Stone Avenue
 It reads:
First Corps Third Division 
Second Brigade
Col. Roy Stone Col. Langhorne Wister
Col. Edmund L. Dana

143rd 149th 150th Pennsylvania Infantry
July 1.     Arrived and went into position at McPherson buildings between Reynolds Woods and the Railroad Cut and was subjected to a heavy front and enfilading artillery fire from the right. Repulsed repeated attacks of Brig. Daniel's Brigade Major Gen. Rodes's Division from the right as well as front attacks until pressed on both flanks and in front by superior numbers. It retired to Seminary Ridge and held temporary breast works there until the Corps retired before overwhelming numbers to Cemetery Hill when the Brigade with the Division took position at the left of the cemetery on and near the Taneytown Road.
July 2.     Late in the afternoon moved to left and took position previously occupied by First Division Second Corps 
July 3.     Remained in the same position under the heavy artillery fire in the afternoon.
The strength of the Brigade July 1st 1315
Casualties Killed 4 Officers 105 Men Wounded 35 Officers 430 Men Captured or Missing 8 Officers 271 Men Total 853

Colonel Roy Stone 
Colonel Langhorne Wister


Colonel Edmund Dana

143rd Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment
143rd Pennsylvania Monument on Chambersburg Pike

Located on The Chambersburg Pike (modern US 30) the monument represents the position held by the regiment from 11am July 1, 1863 until they fell back to Seminary Ridge.  The soldier on the front of the monument represents Sergeant Ben Crippen shaking his fist at the Confederates as his regiment retreats.  He was killed shortly after this act of defiance, and his body was never recovered and most likely is in an unknown grave at the National Cemetery.

Dedicated:  September 11, 1889

Commander:  Colonel Edmund L. Dana, who took over the Brigade for Colonel Stone (after he was wounded in the hips and arm during the fighting.), Lieutenant Colonel John D. Musser then took command of the regiment.
Number Engaged: 515

Casualties: 21 killed, 141 wounded, 91 missing

Raised:  Luzerne, Susquehanna, Wyoming and Lycoming counties.

Major Events and Battles:  Organized at Wilkes-Barre October 18, 1862; Chancellorsville; Bristoe Campaign; Wilderness; Spotsylvania; North Anna; Cold Harbor; Petersburg; Mustered out June 12, 1865

Medal of Honor Awardee
Sergeant James M. Rutter 
Company C, 143d Pennsylvania Infantry.
For actions at Gettysburg, Pa., 1 July 1863. 
Date of issue: 30 October 1896. 
Citation: At great risk of his life went to the assistance of a wounded comrade, and while under fire removed him to a place of safety.

Sergeant James M. Rutter MOH

Secondary Monument to the 143rd Pennsylvania
There is a secondary monument on Hancock Avenue that marks the position held by the regiment on July 3, 1863.  It is south of the Copse of Trees, and was erected in 1895.

149th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment 

"1st Regiment Bucktail Brigade"
149th Pennsylvania Monument on the Chambersburg Pike

Located on the Chambersburg Pike at the McPherson Barn, it represents the position held by the regiment from 1130 on Juy 1 until they retired to the Seminary and eventually to Cemetery Hill in the afternoon.

On July 1, 1863 in fighting along the Chambersburg Pike the regiment endured heavy losses as a result of  Confederate artillery. On July 1, all of the officers of the 149th were either killed or wounded.  In fact, three men were killed by a single shot.   Lt. Col. Dwight sent the colors fifty yards north to draw fire away from the regiment. This worked, although when the regiment retreated the colors were lost, in spite of the heroic death of Color Sergeant Henry Brehm, who was shot down after he had fought off a party of attackers and was running to return the colors to the retreating regiment.

Dedication Date:  September 11, 1889.

Commander: Col. Walton Dwight. Wounded on July 1.

Number Engaged: 450

Casualties: 53 killed, 172 wounded, 111 missing (336 total)

Raised: Clearfield, Huntingdon, Lebanon, Mifflin, Potter, and Tioga counties Pennsylvania

Significant Battles and Events:  Organized at Harrisburg August, 1862, Chancellorsville, Bristoe Campaign, Haymarket, Wilderness, Spotsylvania, North Anna, Cold Harbor, Petersburg, Mustered out June 24, 1865

Secondary Monuments and Markers

There is a secondary monument located on Hancock Avenue, it was dedicated on October 20, 1866, it represents the position held by the regiment on July 3, 1863 when they were used in support of Stannard's Brigade.  It was originally located on Reynolds Avenue and was moved to this location in 1889.

149th Pennsylvania Monument on Hancock Avenue

There is also a monument to D company of the 149th located at the intersection of West Confederate Avenue and Fairfield Road.  
It was dedicated in 1886 and honors the memory of Joseph Baldwin who was killed near this spot, and Alex Stuart who was mortally wounded near this spot.  Company D was detached as Provost Guard.  They held this location on the evening of July 1, 1863 for about 20 minutes covering the regiment's retreat.

Monument to Company D, 149th Pennsylvania

150th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment

150th Pennsylvania Monument on Stone Avenue
(McPherson Barn in background)

Located on Stone Avenue by the McPherson Barn it represents the location held by the regiment on the afternoon of July 1, 1863.

The regiment was initially under the command of Colonel Wister, who took over command of the brigade.  Lt Col Huidekoper held command of the regiment until he was wounded, Capt. Jones then took command.  Huidekoper received the Medal of Honor for continuing in a command role after being wounded.

Dedication Date:  September 11, 1889.

Commander: Col. Langhorne Wister

Number Engaged: 397

Casualties: 35 killed, 152 wounded, 77 missing (264 total)

Raised: Philadelphia and the counties of Crawford, McKean, and Union, 

Major Battles and Events:  Organized at Philadelphia and Harrisburg September 4, 1862, Chancellorsville, Bristoe, Mine Run, The Wilderness,  Spottsylvania, North Anna, Petersburg, Cold Harbor, Mustered out June 23, 1865.  Company K assigned as body guards to Lincoln from Febrary 63 to muster out.

Secondary Monuments and Markers

There is a secondary monument on Hancock Avenue.  It represents the position held by the regiment on July 3, 1863.  It was originally in the area of the main monument shown above, but moved when the larger monument was placed in 1889.

Secondary monument to the 150th Pennsylvania
Located on Hancock Avenue

Medal of Honor Awardees

Lt. Colonel Henry S. Huidekoper

150th Pennsylvania
For actions at Gettysburg Pennsylvania, July 1, 1863.
Issued May 27, 1905.
Citation: While engaged in repelling an attack of the enemy, received a severe wound of the right arm, but instead of retiring remained at the front in command of the regiment.

Lt. Colonel Henry S. Huidekoper, MOH

Corporal Monroe J. Reisinger
Company H, 150th Pennsylvania
For actions at Gettysburg on July 1, 1863
Awarded January 25th 1907
 Citation: Specially brave and meritorious conduct in the face of the enemy.
Grave of Sergeant Monroe J. Reisinger MOH 
Note that he was promoted after the actions for which he was awarded the Medal of Honor

Sadly I couldn't find a picture of  Corporal Reisinger.  As always, if you have anything you'd like to add, please feel free to comment.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

149th Anniversary of the Battle of Antietam

The 149th Anniversary of the Battle of Antietam
(or the Battle of Sharpsburg if you have rebel type leanings)

Yesterday (Sept. 17th) I traveled to Maryland for the 149th anniversary of the Battle of Antietam.  I've never been at a battlefield on an anniversary date, but from talking to folks that have been to Gettysburg, I wasn't sure quite what to expect (large crowds, traffic nightmares, etc).  I woke at 3am and was on the road by 3:15 for the drive from Pittsburgh.  It was a chilly 50 (or so) degrees, but the roads were devoid of traffic so I made great time.

Sunrise at The Cornfield (Antietam)
I arrived at the battlefield shortly after 6am, with plenty of time to spare for the sunrise walk of The Cornfield.  Driving past the Dunkard Church I saw an encampment of Confederate reenactors, smelling the smoke of their morning campfires made me a little jealous of their experience this weekend.  There was a crowd of about 80 of us at The Cornfield.  I watched a beautiful red sunrise over the mountains to the east.  We were joined by 5 park rangers who read quotes from the soldiers who fought at The Cornfield.  One of the rangers gave us a running timeline of the events as they occurred in The Cornfield on that morning 149 years ago.  It was truly a moving experience.  If I did nothing more at the battlefield, the time I spent in The Cornfield would have made the trip worthwhile.

You may have noticed I capitalize The Cornfield when I write of it.  There is a reason.  More than 25,00 men fought in this area (of about 27 acres), in about three hours upwards of 8,000 were killed or wounded during the two Union attacks and a Confederate counter attack (all in about 3 hours).  Of particular notes the 12th Massachusetts suffered 224 men killed and wounded out of 334 engaged (as casualty rate of 67%) by percentage it was the highest loss for any Union regiment at the battle; the 1st Texas Infantry (CSA) lost 82% of their men engaged, representing the highest loss by percentage for the Confederate army.

"In the time I am writing every stalk of corn in the northern and greater part of the field was cut as closely as could have been done with a knife, and the slain lay in rows precisely as they had stood in their ranks a few moments before."  General Joesph Hooker 1st Corps Union Army.

Privately owned field approaching Cornfield Avenue
The visitor center opened at 08:30, I paid my admission for the day, took a quick walk around the bookstore and killed time until the 09:00 start of the first part of the all day battlefield hike.
There were almost 150 of us that started the all day hike, we met at the rear of the visitor center.  After a brief discussion (including warnings about groundhog holes), and a group photo, we were given an up to this moment account of the battle.  Off we started through the field behind the visitor center towards the Smoketown Road.  It was kind of interesting when you realize that we were a fairly organized group, but had "straggling" in a distance of less than 1/4 of a mile.  Now multiply our group of 150 to an army of 100,000 and the logistics of moving an army from one position to another becomes a little more understandable.  We crossed through private property eventually winding up on Cornfield Avenue.  The part of the battle that occurred there was discussed as well as several specific regiments that had fought there.  We were also told the story of Union bugler John Cook.  He was a 15 year old musician at the time of the battle serving with Battery B, 4th US Artillery.  When the company's captain was wounded, Cook assisted his captain to safety and returned to the guns.  As many of the cannoneers were wounded, Cook helped load and fire the cannons in the face of an enemy attack occurring just yards in front of him.  As a result of his actions Bugler Johnny Cook was awarded the Medal of Honor in 1894.  He is one of the youngest recipients of this award.
Bugler Johnny Cook MOH
We continued the morning part of our hike south on the Hagerstown Pike to the approach of the West Woods. There we discussed the attack (and repulse) of Sedgwick's 2nd Division of Sumner's 2nd Corps.  In a period of about 20 minutes, the 2nd Division suffered 2,200 casualties.  We also had a spirited discussion regarding Union General George McClellan.  Our Rangers had explained that they were using a more even handed approach discussion McClellan and his actions at Antietam.  The essence of their point was that McClellan was 35 years old when he was given command of the Army of The Potomac.  When you take into consideration his youth, and the overall lack of experience (not just his, but everybody's) in dealing with the numbers of personnel, the logistics associated with it, and essentially having the future of the nation resting on your shoulders, he did as well as could be expected.  There were some in the group with differing opinions that they had no problems voicing.  My opinion (though I kept it to myself) is that he was great at organizing and training an army.  He was lacking in leading that army into a battle.  But enough on that subject.
We also discussed the area of the Philadelphia Brigade Monument.  The land was purchased by the City of Philadelphia after the war for their monument.  Eventually the land (and monument) was sold to the Park Service for the princely sum of one dollar.  An interesting part of the sales agreement was that the Park Service would preserve the appearance of the area in perpetuity, which is why despite efforts to have the battlefield appear the way it did on the day of the battle, this area will not.

Philadelphia Brigade Monument (photo taken spring 2009)
Have I mentioned the rain?  It wasn't particularly heavy, but it was enough to soak the grasses in the fields where we were traipsing.  Fortunately, I brought extra dry socks...unfortunately, I neglected to bring extra dry shoes.

We also had a few moments of surprise when an artillery demonstration was occurring in the area of the New York Monument.  Nothing like a loud unexpected explosion to start your heart.

Artillery Demonstration behind New York Monument
We headed back to the visitor center for a quick break where were privileged to see a group of Confederate reenactors before continuing our morning tour.

Confederate Reenactors
We continued to a row of cannons between the visitor center and Mumma Lane, the battery is the position held by the Rhode Island Battery of Captain John Tompkins.  This battery provided support for advancing infantry and counter battery fire against Confederate artillery across the valley on the Piper Farm.  Tomkins' Battery had 6 guns rather than the 4 represented here.  During the 3 hours they held this position they fired 1,050 rounds.

Union Artillery position (Mumma Road in background)

Down the rain slickened trail (to the left of the trees in the above picture) we walked, making our way to the Roulette Farm.  Two Divisions of the 2nd Corps walked through Roulette's fields on their way to the Sunken (Bloody) Lane.  Roulette's House and barn were both used as field hospitals.  After the battle, there were 700 soldiers buried in his fields.
Roulette Farm (house obscured by tree, barn on right)
We advanced through the fields between Roulette's Farm and the Sunken Road.  Roughly 200 yards from the Sunken Road, we formed a double line stretching across the area that the Irish Brigade occupied.  Due to the nature of the terrain (rolling hills) from the center position of the line (where I was) one couldn't see the far right or left of the line.  There was a rise in front of my position that would have sheltered me from fire that wasn't present on either of my flanks.

Hills approaching Sunken (Bloody) Lane,
The Observation Tower sits at the far end of  the lane.
The Sunken (Bloody) Lane was held by Rodes' Brigade and Anderson's Brigade of D.H.Hill's Division.  The nature of the lane being below grade and hills that Union troops had to cover to get to it made for a violent segment of this battle.  Union troops were silhouetted against the sky as they crested the hills only about 100 or so yards from the lane.  This combined with piecemeal attacks led to high casualty rates for the Union.  Eventually the right side of the Confederate line was flanked by Union troops who turned the sunken road into a shooting alley.  Confederate losses were approximately 2,500 men (including the mortally wounded General George Anderson), Union losses were about 3,00 (including the mortally wounded General Israel Richardson)

Mortuary Cannon showing location of the mortal wounding
of Major General Israel Richardson
Picture taken Spring 2009

Bloody Lane
(our approach was from the left)
Picture taken Spring 2009
From here we took a one hour break for lunch.  We were to meet up at Rohrbach Campground on the south side of Sharpsburg.  The directions we received were simple enough, drive on Md 65, cross Main Street to Church Street, continue about a mile (just after you cross Antietam Creek) you will see the campground on the left.  Great...except it was "Sharpsburg Heritage Days".  Main Street was closed for multiple street vendors, and there was a detour that I could have walked through faster than the drive was.  I wish I had known about the festivities, I would have planned my day better to at least have checked them out.  As it was, I choked down a sandwich that had been in my cooler all morning and chugged a couple bottles of water to chase it while sitting in traffic.  I made it to the campground with about ten minutes to spare.

We left the campground parking area and negotiated a Boy Scout encampment...that brought back fond memories watching them sitting around a campfire.  There is always the one kid who likes to sit in the smoke.  (that was usually me, but I grew up to become a firefighter)
We walked along the Union Advance Trail where Burnside's 9th Corps advance towards Antietam Creek and the Rohrbach (now Burnside's) Bridge.  We passed by the quarry on the east side of the creek where rocks were quarried for the building of the bridge.  The hillside was extremely steep on the direct approach to the bridge.  This was the area that Crook's Brigade and the 11th Connecticut made their initial attack.  Nagle's Brigade made the second movement on the bridge (but failed in their attempt).  Finally Ferraro's Brigade (notably the 51st Pa and the 51st New York) took the bridge following the promise of whiskey.  The 9th Corps suffered 500 casualties in their attempts to secure the bridge, to 160 suffered by Confederate forces.  There is a tree at the base of the bridge on the eastern side of the creek that is a known witness tree.  It is present in a famous picture taken by Alexander Gardner just 4 days after the battle.  Believe it or not, the bridge was open to vehicular traffic until 1966.

Burnside Bridge from east of Antietam Creek
Witness tree on left behind wall
We crossed the bridge and climbed the hill to the positions held by Toombs's Brigade (notably the 2nd and 20th Georgia), to the right of the trail we could see the remnants of rifle pits that were used by Georgian's charged with holding the position.  Just before we approached the McKinley Monument there were reenactors encamped representing members of the Kanawha Division of the 9th Corps.  They were nice enough to do a manual of arms for us and pose for a few pictures.

Unstacking rifles for manual of arms demonstration

We continued along hillsides and trails...
Final attack trail to 16th Connecticut Memorial

finally stopping at the 16th Connecticut Memorial.  We reviewed the battle at this point when A.P.Hill's Corps arrived from Harper's Ferry to turn the left flank of the 9th Corps line.  There the 4th Rhode Island, the 16th Connecticut (who had loaded their rifles for the first time the night before the battle), the 8th Connecticut were driven back from left to right along the left flank of the 9th Corps.  I don't know the exact number of casualties suffered but the Rangers said it was 4-5x the number suffered at the Burnside Bridge, so 2000-2500 sounds about right.

Along the way we were able to see the Union artillery position on a ridge line about 1/2 mile away from our position.  24 guns were positioned there and played prominently in the day's battle.
Clear ridge on right side of picture is site of Union Artillery Position
An interesting side note regarding this part of the battle.  The five Confederate Generals who played a significant part in this battle did not survive the war.  Brigadier General Lawrence Branch was killed about 200 yards in front of the 16th Connecticut Memorial. Brigadier General Maxcy Gregg was killed along Jackson's line at Fredericksburg in December of 1862. Brigadier General David R. Jones died of a heart attack in January of 1863.  Brigadier General James Archer was taken prisoner at Gettysburg and after being exchanged died of ill health outside of Petersburg in October 1864.  Major General A.P. Hill was killed outside of Petersburg Virginia a week before the war ended.

16th Connecticut Memorial

Thus ended the 2 part all day battlefield hike.  A member of our group had a pedometer with him, we had hiked as a group about 8 miles.  My feet, ankles and knees felt every bit of it too.  I wouldn't trade the experience for a million dollars and plan to repeat it next September.

My day wasn't done though...

There was a twilight tour of the National Cemetery given by Rev. John Schildt.  He was a fascinating individual.  Besides being an author, he served in the US Army on D-Day and was part of the assault on Normandy.  A true hero in my book.
I got there a little early and had the opportunity to take a couple pictures of "Old Simon" the monument to the private soldier that is the focal point of the cemetery.

"Old Simon"
The inscription reads, "Not for themselves, but for their country."

We started the tour with information on the cemetery itself, the design, the history etc.  Then we went to see significant parts of the cemetery.  There are 4776 Union soldiers buried here of those 1835 are known but to God.  There are 200 + soldiers from wars through the Korean War buried here.  The cemetery was officially closed to new burials in 1953.  

Unknown Soldier Grave

Until 1902 unknown soldier's graves were marked with a stone like the one above.  The first number is the plot number for the cemetery, the lower number is how many soldiers occupy that grave.

We paid respects to 4 unknown soldiers of the Irish Brigade who's remains were found on the battlefield in 1988.  Earlier this year at the Pry House I was able to see artifacts recovered from their battlefield graves that were used to at least identify their regiments.  It is believed that the soldier in grave number 4 is possibly Private James Gallagher, Company C, 63rd New York Infantry.
Memorial to 4 Irish Brigade soldiers, known but to God.

These are all from the graves of the 4 unidentified members of the Irish Brigade
They were used to help identify the regiment in which they served.
We heard the story of Sergeant George Simpson, he was the color bearer for the 125th Pennsylvania when he was killed near the Dunkard Church.  He is the soldier represented on the unit monument to the 125th Pa.

Grave of Sgt. George A. Simpson 125th Pa

125th Pa Monument,
Sgt George A. Simpson represented on top monument
We learned about Captain Werner Von Bachelle.  He was the commander of Company F, 6th Wisconsin.  He was killed near the cornfield along the Hagerstown Pike.  He had a Newfoundland that he had taught to do military salutes and such.  After the battle, the lifeless dog was found laying across Von Bachelle's body.  They were buried together on the battlefield, and it is believed they are still buried together in the National Cemetery.

Grave of Capt. Werner Von Bachelle,
Company F, 6th Wisconsin
The Iron Brigade

 An exception made regarding the closure of the cemetery for new burials for a Keedysville (about 3 miles from Antietam) sailor Fireman Patrick Howard Roy who was killed in the attack on the USS Cole.  
Grave of Fireman Patrick Howard Roy.

We also saw the grave of General Jacob Duryee (of Duryee's Zouaves fame).  We were told how the Lodge Building was the original visitor center for the battlefield.  And we were told about the VIPs who had given Memorial Day addresses at the cemetery.  Rev. Schildt told us about the one year when aircraft from a local Air National Guard base had dropped flowers on the cemetery during a flyover.  That was something I wish I could have seen.  We were told that it is believed that in the days leading towards the battle, it is believed that General Lee used the land in the cemetery to have an overview of the area to help him decide how and where to place his troops.

We ended our tour of the cemetery looking out the back towards the Hawkin's Zouaves Monument.  

Hawkin's Zouaves Monument in background looking out from
National Cemetery.

I called it a day around 19:30 and started driving home to Pittsburgh.  It was a long day, that I wouldn't trade for anything.

As always feel free to comment.