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Movement around Pope's Army
Timothy Webster, Pinkerton Man and Spy
The Third Day at Gettysburg
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Stanley at Shiloh: A Improbable 'Indiana Jones'
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Special Order 191: Ruse of War?
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Confederate Railroad
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Commanders and Censors
Unconventional Warfare
Sun Tzu and Overland Campaign
ACW Military Theory
Bear Creek Massacre
Nutmeggers on Antietam Creek
Nathan Bedford Forrest
The City Point Explosion
Dalton to Atlanta-Sherman vs. Johnston
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History of 138th PA
The Battle of Franklin
Want of Nail: Confederate Ironclads
Battle of Wilson's Creek
Life and Death of the 10th NJ Inf
The Death of General Zook
Barrancas: The First Shots
Custer and the Battle of Waynesboro
Skirmish in the East Woods
The Battle Rainbow
The Mistake of All Mistakes
Stony Hill Tour
6th WI at Gettysburg
Witmer Farm
Barlow's Knoll
Wheatfield at Gettysburg

Larry Freiheit Articles
Nutmeggers on Antietam Creek
Nathan Bedford Forrest

Nutmeggers on Antietam Creek
Nutmeggers on Antietam Creek: Major Generals Joseph K. F. Mansfield, John Sedgwick, and Connecticut Regiments in the Maryland Campaign. 2 September through 20 September 1862
by Laurence Freiheit

Page 2 of 2

V. Eighth Regiment, Connecticut Volunteer Infantry

The 8th regiment, 995 strong, was mustered into Federal service on 5 October 1861 and spent two weeks in a camp of instruction on Long Island, New York, with Colonel Edward Harland in command. It was fortunate having him as commander since the well-to-do lawyer and close friend of the governor made sure that it was well-equipped before it left the state.[53] On 1 November it boarded a boat for Annapolis, Maryland, where they joined the 11th Connecticut as part of Brig. Gen. Ambrose Burnside's secret Expeditionary Corps on the way to the coast of North Carolina. As already noted for the 11th Connecticut, a stormy passage ensued but the 8th, unlike the 11th, was not shipwrecked as it weathered the storms on the bark J.P. Brookman and the steamship New Brunswick. [54] After the fleet reunited at Fort Monroe, it set sail again and the survivors of the storms reunited off the coast near Hatteras Inlet and proceeded to attack Roanoke Island.

At Roanoke Island, the 8th was in reserve suffering no casualties. However, about a month later on 14 March, the 8th found itself at sea heading for the city of New Berne. About sixteen miles below the city, the boats became stuck in the mud so the men disembarked, and after joining with the 11th Connecticut which had arrived after its shipwreck adventure, marched to New Berne. The Union force totaling 12,000 men and eight pieces of field artillery faced 8,000 well-entrenched and fortified Confederates with forty-one heavy guns and nineteen field pieces. The 8th was in Reno's brigade on the extreme right and flanked the Confederate line which began to collapse finally fleeing through New Berne leaving behind 578 casualties and 66 pieces of artillery.[55] The 8th suffered only six casualties.[56]

Burnside, obviously happy with his successes, now quickly moved on to capture with little resistance Carolina City, Morehead City, and Beaufort but the fort at Macon resisted surrender demands. With its 67 guns and 500 men, it resisted for a month until Burnside's siege guns combined with the news of the loss of the large Confederate fort near Charleston, South Carolina, forced its surrender on 25 April. Burnside now rested for two months allowing the 8th and 11th to have a small vacation on the North Carolina coast camping near New Berne.[57] In early July, it moved by train and ship to Newport News, Virginia, resting another month before joining with the 11th Connecticut on the way to Fredericksburg, Virginia. There they camped across the Rappahannock River from the city spending August doing picket duty with the 11th. Ordered to Washington, D.C., they arrived on 3 September and camped on Capitol Hill until 8 September when they began their march west to join the Army of the Potomac in its chase after Lee.[58] Along with the 11th and 16th Connecticut and the 4th Rhode Island, they became part of Burnside's 9th Corps, Rodman's 3d Division, in Harland's 2d Brigade. Because Harland had taken command of the 2d Brigade, Lt. Col. Hiram Appelman took command of the 8th Connecticut.

As already seen, the 8th and 11th followed Lee's army from Frederick, Maryland, through the Catoctin Mountains, to the foot of South Mountain near Turner's Pass where the regiments supported the cavalry. Then both regiments marched to Antietam Creek near Sharpsburg arriving on 16 September. It was the next morning when the fortunes of the 8th diverged from those of the 11th: the latter was chosen by Burnside to help take the Lower Bridge at about 10 A.M. while the 8th remained with the 2d Brigade closer to Snavely's Ford under the Confederate-occupied western bluffs across the Antietam.

Rodman's division crossed Antietam Creek at Snavely's Ford at about 1 P.M., the same time Burnside's other units finally fought their way across the Lower Bridge to the north. Rodman's division was to link up with those units and join them in angling to their right joining in on the attack on Sharpsburg.

Fig. 6. Rodman's Division crosses at Snavely's Ford: 1:00 P.M.

Map from website: "Antietam on the Web;"; Internet, accessed 10 January 2007, used with permission.

Rodman did not know the terrain over which his division had to pass nor was he at all aware of the approach of A.P. Hill's division crossing the Potomac ford after its forced march from Harper's Ferry. After all of Burnside's brigades rested and resupplied following the three-hour fight to cross the Antietam, Harland's brigade continued its sweep around the Confederate right threatening to cut it off from its Potomac ford.

Fig. 7. Burnside climbs toward Sharpsburg: 3:30 P.M.

Map from website: "Antietam on the Web;"; Internet, accessed 10 January 2007, used with permission.

Rodman was delayed in linking up with Willcox's Division to the north by the stubborn defense of some Confederate units under Toombs which were the residuals of the regiments forced back from the bluffs overlooking the Lower Bridge. After the Union units to the north had received more ammunition the advance continued. At about 4 P.M. Harland ordered his three regiments to advance but apparently only the 8th heard the order and moved forward. Harland sent his aide to hurry up the other two regiments. Then, Rodman riding up ordered Harland to stay with the 8th trying to catch up and support General Willcox's 89th New York; Harland accompanied the 8th as it continued on its advance forward and to its right. Rodman then left to go after the 16th and the 4th Rhode Island but just as he turned to leave, he was fatally wounded. Harland, still nearby, took command.

The 8th was alone about a half mile from its starting point with the brigade; it was only 120 yards from the Harper's Ferry Road near a battery of abandoned Confederate cannon, the South Carolina Pee Dee battery, which they and the 9th New York had taken. But then, they saw Confederate troops advancing on the road from the west. Confederate General Toombs saw the 8th "standing composedly in line of battle" apparently waiting for support. The 8th in its forward position was under heavy artillery and musket and took about fifty percent casualties, a severe loss demonstrating the fury it faced: 34 killed, 139 wounded, and 21 missing.[60] A company commander described the fight:

"bullets came in terrible showers and from all sides of us…but we were trapped on our left flank…full of rebels. Where was our support [?]. Where was the first brigade none of them to be seen on the right where they had gone. Where was the 16th and 4th regit. who were on left? It was death to remain in this advanced position longer. The Lt. Colonel was wounded and taken to the rear 6 out of my little company of 39 men lay dead at my feet and some 15 had been wounded…My Lt. also wounded. I had but seven men left of my company [after detaching 4]. [A]fter forming we marched down to creek… [a] sad exhausted little company."[61]

The major reason for this heavy loss was that it faced the Confederates by itself on a plateau because its two sister regiments, the 16th Connecticut and 4th Rhode Island, never made it out of the 40-acre cornfield located in a hollow to the southeast. While some of the 8th retreated without firing a shot, most of the veterans, according to an unidentified officer of the 37th North Carolina, it "'held ground quite stubbornly, fought splendidly, and went off very deliberately, firing back at [us] and waving its flag.'"[62]

Fig. 8. Confederate General Hill hits Burnside's flank: 4:20 P.M.

Map from website: "Antietam on the Web;"; Internet, accessed 10 January 2007, used with permission.

Harland's aide had found the 16th Connecticut with its 900 raw recruits and ordered it up to rejoin the 8th, but a Confederate regiment opened fire from a few yards away on its left flank; the 16th's colonel ordered it to change front but the men had little idea how to accomplish this complicated maneuver. A few minutes later, after leaving over three hundred casualties in the cornfield now turned red, the survivors ran toward the Antietam.[63] The 16th Connecticut and 4th Rhode Island had been hit in the left flank by the full fury of Gregg's brigade of Hill's division in a downhill attack sustaining 285 casualties in the two regiments within minutes. Just to the northwest at about the same time, the 8th was hit on its left flank by Confederate Brig. Gen. O'Brien Branch's brigade; Branch was killed in that attack while 346 in his brigade joined him as casualties.[64]

The two-hour respite given the Confederates had allowed them to fall back and regroup; and this also permitted the unexpected arrival of Hill's division which extended the Confederate right beyond the Union line. McClellan's total failure to make any use of the 4,000 cavalry he had available for scouting and reconnaissance allowed Hill to approach undetected. Burnside's assault was in jeopardy even though Hill was able to bring only about 2,000 men against Burnside's several thousand; Hill's depleted brigades were able to take Rodman's division in its left flank and combined with the element of surprise against the green troops, resulted in a rout.

The remnants of the 14th Connecticut and 4th Rhode Island retreated as fast as they could to the east with only a few pausing to fire at the pursuing Confederates. Men continued to be hit as the Confederates continued their pursuit soon threatening to push the men into the Antietam. However, closer to the creek, Ohio regiments which had formed a line behind the shattered remains of Harland's brigade were able to stem the Rebel tide just before dark. The 8th, from its isolated position ahead of and to the north of its brigade, retreated more towards the northeast ending up on the Rohrbach Bridge Road moving south on the road to rejoin the rest of the brigade. Fortunately for the Union regiments on the west bank, Confederate officers had decided not to continue the attack. The shaken survivors of Harland's brigade could now try to rest amid the moans of the wounded and dying. The 8th had sustained its highest loss it would experience during the entire war: 194 men killed wounded and missing.[65]

Fig. 9. Connecticut regiments at Burnside Bridge: 5:30 P.M.

At the upper left and center, the 8th retreats to the Burnside Bridge (Rohrbach) Road while the 16th joins the 11th to help form a line at the right lower section of the map. Detail from the Library of Congress Cope Antietam maps; Internet;; accessed 10 January 2007

The monument for the 8th Connecticut was dedicated on 11 October 1895; it is located near its most advanced position east of the Harper's Ferry Road. The imposing monument is fittingly located next to the mortuary cannon for General Rodman, its division commander.

Fig. D. 8th Connecticut Infantry monument

Front view, Antietam Creek in rear towards hills. Image from U.S. National Park Service;; Internet; accessed 10 January 2007.

VI. Sixteenth Regiment, Connecticut Volunteer Infantry

The 16th Connecticut was mustered into Federal service on 24 August 1862 one day after the 14th was mustered in. At an inspection on 28 August during which several men fainted due to the heat, many realized that the equipment they proposed to carry was not realistic and so commenced the reduction in the size of accoutrements which all new recruits undergo, including steel vests.[66] The regiment, 1,010 strong, boarded steamers and left for New York City where they boarded another boat bound for Elizabeth, New Jersey. They finally arrived in Washington, D.C., by train on 29 August and went into camp on Arlington Heights. After being moved to Fort Ward spending the first night in the rain without tents, they spent a few days in camp still without their tents but fortunately without precipitation. Like the 14th Connecticut before them, the men marveled at the new sights they saw in the capitol—the swarms of African-Americans, the squalor of much of the city, and the thousands of soldiers and civilians that the war effort had brought there. Like all new regiments most of the men were visiting the city for the first time, and they also were undertaking martial affairs as a new vocation, so their wonderment is understandable.[67]

They then packed up for their march west beginning on 7 September to catch up with the rest of their 2nd Brigade which had preceded them by a few days. In light marching order, they proceeded during the next few days to travel through Maryland camping near Leesboro, Brookville, Mount Lebanon, New Market, and then Frederick where, arriving on 14 September, they camped outside of town. The nights in camp after long marches were made more enjoyable since, even as new troops, they quickly learned that foraging would be needed to supplement meager or missing rations.[68] They, like other Union troops who marched through Frederick, also enjoyed the warm greetings they received from its citizens. Again, like the other green regiment, the 14th, they gazed in shock at the destruction that the fighting the days before their arrival had caused: Confederate dead were still unburied as were dead animals; destroyed civilian and military property lined the roads.[69]

On 15 September, the 16th marched west on the National Road still trying to catch up with the rest of their brigade; it camped at the foot of South Mountain near Turner's Gap where Union soldiers fought the Battle of South Mountain the day before successfully pushing Lee's troops off to the west. On 16 September, they marched through the battlefield and continued over the mountain through Boonsboro to the west of Turner's Gap then south to Keedysville where it rested before continuing on to end a very long day of marching by joining its brigade near Antietam Creek. As they passed their fellow "fresh fish" in the 14th Connecticut who had left Hartford a few days before the 16th, they gave the newcomers a hearty greeting as their regimental commander, Col. Francis Beach, reported in to the brigade commander, Colonel Harland.[70] They had averaged about fifteen miles a day of hot, dusty marching, a grueling introduction to army life, leaving many stragglers in its wake. After seeing the devastation on its march west from Frederick and over South Mountain, the men had to know that their turn would soon come. And those who contemplated their baptism of fire very likely reflected on their entire lack of training and little knowledge of martial ways, and found little sleep that rainy night. Tomorrow would be their twenty-fifth day since being sworn into Federal service, and by the end of that first day of battle, 223 of those restless sleepers men would fall.[71]

The 16th's introduction to battle the next morning came early as Confederate batteries fired on the brigade causing it to be moved to a more sheltered location closer to Antietam Creek; this movement resulted in several men being wounded as it had to maneuver in sight of the enemy.[72] The brigade was able to take cover closer to the creek behind some low hills out of direct sight of the hill on which the Confederates were dug in on the west side of the creek. The regiment, following the 8th, then continued to move to the left endeavoring to flank the Confederates at the Lower Bridge; they forded at Snavely's Ford, about shoulder high for some at 1 P.M., then moved to the north climbing an incline. They then halted awaiting the report from a company which was sent ahead to scout the area. As that company returned, the Confederates, some of whom were those who had retreated from the Union assault at the bridge, noticed the regiment and it came under artillery fire. A Union battery was brought up and the regiment supported it as it silenced the Confederate guns. The ominous message from the Federal signal station on Elk Mountain signaled the doom of Harland's brigade and all of the other units heading for the town of Sharpsburg: "To General Burnside: Look out well on your left; the enemy are moving a strong force in that direction."[73] Colonel Beach had sent his noisy, unruly 16th ahead of the battery forming a line northwest with the 4th Rhode Island on its right in the middle of a cornfield. The 8th Connecticut was already ahead of the two regiments on their right. Colonel Harland had ordered the whole brigade to move up to maintain contact with Colonel Fairchild's to the right but the 16th and 4th Rhode Island did not hear the order. Just then, Confederate infantry appeared on the 16th's front and left flank.[74] They were confronting veteran South Carolina regiments in Maxcy Gregg's brigade to their front and left flank. The large size of the Connecticut unit, some 700 to 900 strong, probably impressed the South Carolinians especially compared to their decimated units: many had been left along the route of their difficult forced march up from Harper's Ferry. Some of the South Carolina units were behind a stone wall to the Nutmegger's front.[75]

Colonel Beach tried to refuse the left companies to meet this threat planning to have the 4th Rhode Island, still to his left rear, conform to this alignment and extend the left flank which was in the air. Unfortunately, the green officers and men did not understand the orders even if they could hear the Colonel's commands. The regiment was ordered to fix bayonets but most participants did not believe that this was given preparatory to making a charge, but rather perhaps to repel one.[76] In addition, the 4th Rhode Island was firing into the 8th and if that was not confusing enough, many of the South Carolinians to their front and left flank were wearing Union blue. Apparently many of the Confederate units which had just come up from Harper's Ferry had taken advantage of the new uniforms worn by surrendered Union forces there. Thus, it appeared to the shaken 16th than they were being attacked from three sides at once and by Union soldiers. Even veteran troops likely would have panicked in this situation so it is not surprising that these green troops broke for the rear. Depending on who told the story of the ensuing scene, the troops were "[b]roken and shattered[;] the regiment… [left] the field by routes of our own choosing."[77] The 4th Rhode Island accused the Connecticut troops of breaking leading to the 4th's retreat while the 16th said that "the 4th Rhode Island broke to the rear and plunged through [our]... moving companies."[78]

The 223 men lost in the 16th were the highest of the Connecticut units at Antietam reflecting the ferocity of the fire in the cornfield and the inexperience of the unit.[79] The large number also was obviously due to the large size of the new regiment even though it was not up to full strength since stragglers from its forced marches continued to arrive the next day.[80] Needless to say, having untested regiments at a crucial point on the Union line was a critical failure of the Union high command. Had not the Southern commanders on the scene halted attacks late that day, it is possible that the 9th Corps could have been pushed back across the Antietam with even heavier losses.[81] The 16th's inexperience under fire is clearly shown in comparing the casualties of the two South Carolina regiments who fought the Nutmeggers: the South Carolina regiments "had very likely inflicted casualties of eight or nine to one in their engagement with the 16th."[82] The regiment stayed the next day on the field and then camped near Antietam Furnace on the Harper's Ferry Road.

The monument to the 16th is located about one-half mile to the east of Harper's Ferry Road and 700 yards southeast of the 8th Connecticut's monument. This tall, obelisk-shaped monument, is unlike the other three regiments' as it is made up of many pieces of variegated colored stone vice monochromatic large blocks. The monument states that it was erected at the position of the regiment at 5 P.M. and that the regiment sustained 204 killed and wounded out of 779 engaged, a 26 percent loss. The regiment's luck continued to be bad as it never had a chance to exact revenge for Antietam. It saw sporadic fighting until April 1864 when most of it was captured at Plymouth, North Carolina; transported to the infamous Andersonville, Georgia, prison camp, two hundred died. While soon after the battle, some participants recorded the panic and poor performance of the unit, Connecticut newspapers and other veterans then and later glossed over their failures and emphasized the positive aspects of which there were few. The 16th was the "bad luck" regiment at Antietam and for the duration of the war.[84]

Table of Connecticut Regimental Losses during the Maryland Campaign*
Regiment Killed Wounded Captured of Missing Aggregate
Officers Enlisted Officers Enlisted Officers Enlisted
Eighth 1 33 10 129 0 21 194
Eleventh 2 34 1 102 0 0 139
Fourteenth 2 18 3 85 0 48 156
Sixteenth 4 38 9 134 0 0 185
Totals 9 123 23 450 0 69 674
*Data from OR, pt. 1, 193, 197.

The data clearly show the plight of the veteran 8th which was almost surrounded so lost most heavily. That its officers desperately tried to hold the unit together is demonstrated as 10 were wounded in the attempt. The 11th's smaller losses reflect that after their suicidal attempt at Burnside Bridge, they were little involved. The 14th which fortunately found cover and did not closely assault Bloody Lane suffered fewer killed and wounded than their green counterpart, the 16th. The 16th which was heavily involved lost the most in killed and wounded during their precipitous retreat having none captured. This green regiment also lost the most officers killed as they were caught as surprised and unprepared as their men.

Because the number of men actually brought to the firing line cannot be accurately determined the percent of loss for each regiment of men involved is not presented here. Such numbers as can be estimated are noted in the discussions for each regiment.

Fig. E. 16th Connecticut Infantry monument

Antietam Creek in rear of picture. Image from U.S. National Park Service;; Internet; accessed 10 January 2007.

VII. Maj. Gen. Joseph King Fenno Mansfield

Union Maj. Gen. Joseph King Fenno Mansfield's role during the Maryland Campaign in September 1862 was regrettably brief given his long and distinguished forty-year military career in the U.S. Army. His participation in the Battle of Antietam was cut short only two days after he took command of the 12th Corps to which he was assigned by order of Maj. Gen. McClellan on 15 September 1862.[85] Coincidentally, another Connecticut native who declined the honor of the command of the 12th, Maj. Gen. John Sedgwick, was McClellan's first choice to command the 12th Corps.[86]

Fig. F. Joseph King Fenno Mansfield
Source: Library of Congress

Mansfield was born in New Haven, Connecticut, on 22 December 1803 as the youngest child of six children to Henry and Mary (Fenno) Mansfield both of old and distinguished American colonist stock. He moved to Middletown, Connecticut, in 1804 after his mother divorced. His brother, John, who became his guardian, died from an illness contracted after leading an infantry unit in Lower Canada in the War of 1812.[87] Joseph was educated in public schools and was remembered as one who was made to feel that he should depend upon himself, perhaps not unexpected in a family without a father.[88] His military career began at the age of thirteen[89] upon his entrance into the U.S. Military Academy in October 1817[90] the youngest in his class. The Mansfield family history likely helped young Joseph's aspirations to military service. He had an uncle in the military service, Jared Mansfield,[91] who not only fueled his desires for martial endeavors, but helped obtain Joseph's admission to West Point.[92]

After graduating second in his class of forty to his cousin, George Dutton, in 1822, he was brevetted a second lieutenant in the Corps of Engineers where the best and most promising were appointed. Just a few weeks later he was appointed a regular second lieutenant but, as was not unusual in the peace-time army, had to wait ten years to become a first lieutenant being appointed in March 1832. The same year he was promoted to captain, 1838, he married Louisa Mary Mather, who was from a wealthy New England family.[93] He spent his career in the Corps of Engineers until after the Mexican War when in 1853 he was unexpectedly appointed a regular army colonel and inspector general of the army by Secretary of War Jefferson Davis. Davis, a Mexican War veteran and hero, who had heard of Mansfield's experience during that war was obviously impressed by his bravery and dedication.[94] As Davis remembered, Mansfield's service during the Mexican War, a training ground for many future Civil War generals, was excellent.[95]

Prior to the Mexican War, Mansfield had spent twenty years mainly in supervising the building of forts, such as Fort Hamilton in New York Harbor, Fort Monroe on the Virginia peninsula, and Fort Pulaski in Savannah, Georgia, where he oversaw construction from 1831 until 1845.[96] While he was a superior, dedicated engineer, he was not known for his felicitous prose nor elocutionary prowess, but rather for his direct, sound and thorough writing and speech.[97]

In Mexico, Captain Mansfield was the chief engineer of Brig. Gen. Zachary Taylor's army responsible for doing field surveys and building field fortifications such as Fort Texas near Matamoras, Mexico; he was brevetted major for gallantry and distinctive service while helping defend that fort.[98] But his efforts there were not confined to mundane matters: he directly participated in assaults on Mexican positions most notably during the Battle of Monterrey where he was far out in front designating points for attacking units. Both he and his companion topographical engineer officer were wounded, Mansfield sustaining a severe leg wound which kept him out of action for six weeks while his compatriot was mortally wounded. He remained on the battleground pointing out other avenues of approach for the attacking infantry units until his wounds forced him to leave the field.[99] He was this time brevetted to lieutenant colonel for gallantry and meritorious service. Finally, he recovered to participate in the Battle of Buena Vista for which he was brevetted colonel, one of only a few to receive three such brevets during the war.[100]

Appointed by Davis as inspector general in 1853 after a tour as a member of the Army Board of Engineers, he spent the years up to 1861visiting, inspecting, and reporting on virtually every post west of the Mississippi to the Pacific Ocean and from the Mexican border to the Canadian border. He performed his duties well and managed to stay out of the internecine quarrels between the commanding general, Winfield Scott and the Secretary of War, Davis. Mansfield was described "as an 'exceedingly energetic and productive inspector general'…was his own man, and managed to avoid the bitter political struggle by remaining constantly in the field."[101] He was also noted for his diligence and sobriety helped by his religious convictions.[102]

As an experienced regular army officer, and a highly capable engineer, Mansfield was able to quickly assume the oversight of the construction of defenses for Washington, D.C. at the start of the Civil War. He was ordered by President Lincoln to take over its defenses in April 1861 where he commanded until March 1862; he was promoted to brigadier general in the regular army in May 1861. While some friends urged him to retire, he said that "'I owe my country every hour that remains of my life; and, in such a struggle as is now endangering her existence, I can not and shall not refuse to answer her call.'"[103] Mansfield, with an engineer's eye, saw that the heights in Arlington, Virginia, made low-lying Washington vulnerable to artillery fire so they must be secured. Additionally, he recommended fortifying southern approaches to the bridges linking Washington with Virginia and seizing the port of Alexandria, Virginia. All his recommendations were followed once Virginia seceded from the Union.[104]

He was next sent to Fort Monroe and served somewhat unhappily under Brig. Gen. John Wool doing little of import commanding a division at Suffolk and participating in the capture of Norfolk.[105] He was noted for ordering shore batteries at Hampton Roads to continue firing at the Confederate ironclad Virginia after the Union ship it was battling, the Congress, surrendered. "When one of his own officers protested that the enemy had the right to take possession unmolested once the Congress struck her flag, [Mansfield] replied "'I know the damned ship has surrendered, but we haven't! (emphasis in original)"[106]

The old army regular was anxious to command a major unit in the field and was disappointed that younger men and even some, like Maj. Gen. Henry Halleck and Maj. Gen. John C. Fremont, who were once his subordinates, were placed over him in higher commands.[107] He likely was not high on the government's lists for appointment to important field command since he had spent much of his career as a staff officer and had spent no time commanding troops until the Civil War.[108] Certainly his age, fifty seven at the war's beginning, was not in his favor although he was not the oldest regular army corps commander on active service; that honor belonged to Maj. Gen. Edwin Sumner, Mansfield's wing commander at Antietam, who was sixty five.[109] It also may be that he did not have or use sufficient political influence in his endeavors to secure field command and thought to rely on his long and distinguished service:

"It might have been supposed that an officer of so much experience, skill and courage, would, when military capacity was so much needed, have been placed in important commands, now filled by his inferiors. It is sufficient to say, that he was not one of those who are constantly demanding place and reward at the hands of the Government. He pleaded no political influence, and left place to follow his work, not to be sought after. These are not times when silent merit takes precedence, or fit men are always put in fit places."[110]

He returned to Washington doing little of consequence awaiting another assignment. He did, however, meet with friends in Washington including an audience with Secretary of the Treasury, Salmon P. Chase, on 8 September perhaps helped by his Connecticut friend, Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles.[111] Finally, his efforts succeeded and he was given a field command with McClellan's forces which were heading to western Maryland in pursuit of Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. Once he was assigned, he wrote to his son, Samuel, a recent West Point graduate, to [f]ill your pockets with sandwiches and follow me, appointing the lieutenant his aide and chief engineer and headed west.[112] Six days later Samuel's father was dead before he could join him. While one cannot say that he had any premonition of death upon being granted this, his first major command, he wrote to a former West Point professor saying "if I never see you again …I have not forgotten your inestimable favors to me."[113]

He left Washington on 13 September with another aide, Captain Clarence Dyer, and a black body servant, and arrived at McClellan's headquarters in Middletown, Maryland on the 15th. There, he was quickly assigned to command of the 12th Corps after Sedgwick declined and on the 16th was informed by General McClellan that he was to move his corps to the Union right flank and support Hooker's 1st Corps in an early morning attack on the next day, if needed. The general who had been temporarily in command of the 12th Corps, Brig. Gen. Alpheus S. Williams, described Mansfield as "very fussy" having been "an engineer officer and never before had commanded large bodies of troops."[114] He was also seen as nervous and anxious but also vigorous.[115] That night, Mansfield moved his 10,000-man corps across the Antietam Creek and bedded them down after 2 A.M. for a few hours rest.[116] Mansfield had reason to not sleep well that night since he was virtually brand new to command of this corps and therefore knew little about its commanders or its quality. What he did know very probably seriously worried him: most of his men were new recruits untested in battle while a few veteran regiments were shells of their former strength having been severely mauled at the Battle of Second Bull Run.[117] Since his men were almost all volunteers, he had the regular army suspicion which, formed during the Mexican War, held that volunteers were best used behind fortifications and were unreliable in the attack.[118]

The next morning at first light, Mansfield's corps awoke to the sound of cannon fire on a misty, humid day. Mansfield received orders from Hooker about 5:30 A.M. to advance the 12th Corps to the front. Some two hours later after his corps had formed up and began marching to the sound of the battle Hooker's corps had begun, Mansfield rode off to get further orders from Hooker. Williams had his 4,700 green troops in the lead and first confronted Confederate troops.[120] As Mansfield returned he saw that this division's regiments had begun to deploy into line from their column marching formation and ordered them to stay in column.[121] Mansfield was adamant about marching his troops to Hooker's aid in formation of columns to maintain better control of his inexperienced troops, however, Williams did not agree:

"I had five new regiments without drill or discipline. Gen. Mansfield was greatly excited. Though an officer of acknowledged gallantry, he had a very nervous temperament and a very impatient manner. Feeling that our heavy masses of raw troops were sadly exposed, I begged him to let me deploy them in line of battle, in which the men present but two ranks or rows instead of twenty, as we were marching, but I could not move him. He was positive that all the new regiments would run away" (emphasis in original).[122]

Hooker's order to Mansfield was to form an arc behind the disintegrating 1st Corps; both Mansfield and Williams began deploying their regiments to do so. Since the regiments were unused to changing formation under battle conditions, this took much personal attention from the two generals. Williams said that he got the 124th Pennsylvania into line by having a fence to align on[123] while Mansfield guided the 10th Maine to a point then rode off.[124] After bringing up the 128th Pennsylvania, another new nine-month regiment, Mansfield noticed that the 10th Maine was firing into woods some 100 yards away in which he was told earlier by one of Hooker's staff contained some 1st Corps men. Mansfield came galloping up near a fence shouting "'Cease firing, you are firing into our own men!'"[125] An officer from one of the 10th Maine's left-side companies pointed out Confederates 50 yards away aiming rifles and firing at them which convinced the general that they were in fact the enemy; this is probably when Mansfield was wounded. He attempted to go through a fence that was knocked down but his horse appeared to be wounded and refused. Mansfield dismounted to help it through the tangled fence and then attempted to remount but his coat blew aside and blood was seen streaming from the right side of his vest where he was shot in the right lung.[126]

Adjutant of the 10th Maine, John Mead Gould, who described this scene, then went to the aid of the wounded general. Mansfield, the old war horse, finally agreed to be taken to a surgeon; Gould rounded up a squad of enlisted men from various 10th Maine companies, put Mansfield on a blanket, carried him to an ambulance where two medical officers tended him. He then was taken about a mile to one of the temporary Union hospitals set up at the old George Line farmhouse.[127] It was quickly seen that his wound was mortal and when informed of this, Capt. Dyer recorded that he apparently accepted his fate and said "'It is God's will, it is all right.'"[128] Remaining conscious and talking for several hours, he showed more and more the effect of the opiates he was given to dull the pain and during the night his speech became slurred and incoherent. Shortly after 8 A.M. on Thursday, September 18th, the veteran general died at age 58. His body was taken to Monocacy Junction where it was put into a casket and carried by the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad to Baltimore where his son, Sam, joined Dyer for the trip to Middletown, Connecticut.[129]

There he laid in state in the town hall for two days as Middletown was in mourning for its proudest son. All of the town's prominent citizens as well as thousands of others attended his funeral on 23 September. His funeral was very impressive, unlike the other more than 200 Connecticut burials of Antietam dead, very likely due to its being a relatively early battle death of a general officer from the small state.[130] The governor, William A. Buckingham, was among the funeral orators, one of whom gave this encomium: "In social life, modest and unpretending; in all its relations, just and truthful; a brave, accomplished soldier; an earnest patriot, and an humble Christian; his memory will ever be dear to this community, and his name enrolled among those who have most honored their native land."[131]

He was posthumously promoted to major general on 12 March 1863 retroactive to his date of death, 18 September 1862. In 1900, the State of Connecticut and the Grand Army of the Republic, a Federal Civil War veterans organization, erected a monument to Mansfield near the East Woods at Antietam on Mansfield Monument Road near the intersection of the Smoketown Road where he fell, while his home on Main Street in Middletown, the General Mansfield House, now appropriately hosts the Middlesex County Historical Society which possesses many of his papers.

VIII. Maj. Gen. John Sedgwick

Like Mansfield, Union Maj. Gen. John Sedgwick was a Connecticut native and was also a dedicated, patriotic, and hard-working professional soldier, well-liked by his men[132] who gave him his sobriquet: "Uncle John." Sedgwick advanced quickly to significant field commands, unlike Mansfield, because of the nature and quality of his pre-Civil War service in the regular army. But like Mansfield, he was killed in combat in the line of duty some 20 months after Mansfield's loss at Antietam; at Antietam, Sedgwick was shot three times and very seriously wounded. The main difference between the two generals' Civil War service was that Sedgwick survived to command various army corps for those twenty months establishing a distinguished service record: Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, upon hearing of Sedgwick's death could not believe it asking twice "Is he really dead?" then, "His loss to this army is greater than the loss of a whole division of troops."[133]

Fig. G. John Sedgwick

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia,; Internet; accessed 10 January 2007.

Sedgwick was born in Cornwall Hollow, Connecticut, on 13 September 1813 son of Benjamin Sedgwick and Olive Collins of old New England stock. He was named after his grandfather who was an American Revolutionary War major who fought with Ethan Allen at Ticonderoga and was with George Washington at Valley Forge.[134] Another ancestor, Robert Sedgwick, was a military officer in the American Colonies and when he died in 1656 in Jamaica, West Indies, as its governor, he was a major general.[135] His boyhood traits were described as manly and aggressive but also considerate and fair.[136] John attended the Sharon Academy briefly and taught school for two years in addition to working on the family farm. Perhaps not enjoying occupation, or possibly thinking about martial adventures akin to his grandfather's, he entered West Point in 1833 and graduated in 1837, twenty fourth in a class of fifty, entering the artillery branch.[137] He would later see some of his fellow graduates again, either in the Mexican War or the Civil War; they included Braxton Bragg, Jubal A. Early, John C. Pemberton, and Joseph Hooker.[138]

Sedgwick was commissioned a second lieutenant in the 2d U.S. Artillery after graduation and spent most of his pre-Civil War career in the artillery becoming a first lieutenant in April 1839. He saw combat in the Second Seminole War in Florida, helped Lt. Gen. Winfield Scott remove the Cherokees from their native Georgia, and participated in the Aroostook War, a border dispute between Maine and Canada. He spent the next seven years in duty on the east coast from Rhode Island to Virginia, serving a somewhat boring tour but meeting and befriending officers with whom he would know for the rest of his life. One, Robert E. Lee, whom he first met at Fort Hamilton in New York, would remain one of his closest friends despite Lee's allegiance to the Confederacy.[139]

The Mexican War provided a welcome break in this tedious service for Sedgwick. Like most other officer participants, especially West Point graduates, this war provided a training and proving ground for what he had learned only from books. Sedgwick renewed his friendship with Lee as they traveled with General Scott on the U.S.S. Massachusetts to the Mexican coast. Sedgwick did well during the war and like Mansfield, was brevetted but only twice: "Wounded twice, breveted Captain and then Major for gallantry on the field, Sedgwick served his country well. Extremely cool under fire, he also won the reputation of being where he was ordered to be – a trait somewhat rarer than the textbooks indicated. Whether he was standing on the road under fire, engaged in reconnaissance, or rallying disorganized troops, he showed exemplary effectiveness."[140] Similar to Mansfield's views, he was impressed by the lack of abilities of volunteer troops and their limited aptitudes. Not unlike all regular officers who served there, he would not trust untrained volunteer troops and would become a strict disciplinarian in the Civil War and require as much training as could be given.

After the war, he again spent several uneventful years on the east coast before being promoted to major in the 1st Cavalry and sent to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, in 1855. He spent the next six years in arduous frontier duty fighting the Cheyenne, Apache, Kiowa and Comanche Indians on the Great Plains. Not all his efforts were against these foes since he also participated in the Mormon War and joined in actions against Missouri border ruffians and in "Bleeding Kansas." He did well in these difficult duties and despite his strict discipline, he won the admiration of younger officers and taught them, and himself, self reliance. Still, he never forgot his men and when cholera swept Jefferson Barracks he spent much time in the wards "chatting with officers and men, cheering them through their difficulties…he was patient, warm, devoted. His men knew they would never suffer through his neglect."[141]

In the late 1850s, Sedgwick helped establish a new fort in what would become Colorado Territory named Fort Wise after the Virginia governor. In late 1860, Major Sedgwick commanded the 1st Cavalry at the fort which was finished earlier that year by members of the regiment. His commander, Edwin Sumner, later Sedgwick's and Mansfield's wing commander at Antietam, went on leave in January 1861 leaving Sedgwick in command of the post. There, he continued to be admired by his men, being described as "quiet and unassuming…making [his men's'] lot as easy as possible…A bachelor of impeccable character he was an amiable companion and universally well regarded.[142] While he had contemplated retirement, the sectional crises drove those thoughts from his mind. "Being a man of honor, the major 'felt that, educated at his country's expense, he could not desert her in her hour of need.'"[143]

He was promoted to lieutenant colonel of the 2d Cavalry in March 1861, then two months later to colonel of the 1st Cavalry, left vacant by Robert E. Lee's resignation. Sedgwick became seriously ill in July and was unable to participate with his unit at the Battle of First Bull Run. Ordered to report to Washington, D.C., he briefly served on court martial duty and as acting inspector general for the Washington, D.C., command. Maj. Gen. George McClellan appointed him to command of a division in February 1862 and Sedgwick was then promoted to brigadier general of volunteers retroactively to August 1861. After some minor actions in northern Virginia in March 1862, Sedgwick and his men were off to the Peninsula to fight with McClellan's army as it moved on Richmond, the Confederate capital.

During the Peninsular Campaign, Sedgwick did well, again serving under his old commander, Edwin "Bull" Sumner[144] as commander of the second division of Sumner's 2d Corps. One of his most notable battles occurred when he had his division make a difficult river crossing to reinforce an isolated Union corps on the opposite bank. Holding the attacking forces of Confederate commander Joseph E. Johnston at bay, Union forces won the Battle of Seven Pines after losing over 4,000 men to their opponent's 5,700. Later, the Union army learned that the wounded Johnston was ultimately replaced by Sedgwick's old friend, Robert E. Lee, but at that time, neither Sedgwick nor his men knew the consequences of that important change. McClellan then began his ill-considered retreat to Harrison's Landing during which Sedgwick very successfully handled his division during rear guard actions; he was wounded at Frayser's Farm on 30 June 1862 and his horse killed; he then remounted another horse and refused to leave the field even after his second horse was killed. His personal valor helped his men hold the line.[145]

After returning from the Peninsula, Sedgwick and his men helped stabilize the Northern Virginia front after the Union rout at Second Bull Run. Not surprisingly, he was in despair over the retreat from the Peninsula and the second loss at Bull Run. He felt that both Union leadership and the quality of many of the troops were poor, whereas the Confederate troops had their hearts in their cause. He had experienced first hand the abilities of the Southern troops and their commanders versus those of the Union and at this stage of the war knew that a great change was needed.[146] He would soon be in a position to again witness a great contest, one in which he would nearly lose his life: the Battle of Antietam, but one which was a Union victory.

Sedgwick lead the 2d Division still under the command of "Bull" Sumner who headed the 2d Corps (and McClellan's center wing consisting of the 2d and 12th Corps), however, he was now a major general of volunteers as of 4 July 1862 promoted in recognition of his accomplishments during the Peninsular Campaign. As noted above, he was offered the command of the 12th Corps but refused giving as the reason that he knew his division well but knew little of the new 12th Corps.[147] Sedgwick prepared his division as best he could before being ordered to set out to the west on September 5 with the rest of the Army of the Potomac into which the Army of Virginia was subsumed. Skirmishing as they went, Sedgwick's division and the rest of Sumner's corps moved through Frederick, Maryland, on September 13. Here, he, unlike Mansfield, did not feel exhilarated at the prospect of battle, likely because he had already seen much; he wrote a gloomy and pessimistic letter to his cousin.[148] The next morning, Sedgwick marched his men west some 22 miles to anchor the northern end of Sumner's corps on the National Road at Turner's Gap. They had missed out on the Battle of South Mountain fought earlier in the day which forced Lee west of the mountain range. On 15 September, Sedgwick pushed his division hard after the retreating Confederates marching 13 miles over some rough terrain before camping for the night. The next day, the 2d Corps massed around the Pry House, a large home with a good view of the hills towards the west where the Lee's army had retreated. Just off the Boonsboro Pike, the main road between Sharpsburg and Boonsboro, McClellan, on the 16th made the Pry House his headquarters for the upcoming battle. That evening, just before 6 P.M., McClellan sent word to Sumner, as wing commander, to have the 12th Corps cross the Antietam and report to Hooker; in addition, he was to have the 2d Corps ready to move before daylight. Sumner visited Sedgwick and told him of his plans for the next day as he had been ordered by McClellan to be ready to cross Antietam Creek in the morning. The next morning at 7:20 A.M., Sumner received orders to march to the right flank of the Union line.[149] He was called to help both Hooker's and Mansfield's corps which had been decimated in early morning attacks against Stonewall Jackson's men; Hooker was wounded and carried off the field while Mansfield was mortally wounded. Sumner began the difficult march to the north to join in the bloodiest day in American history.

Hooker began his attack about 5:30 that morning and had simultaneously instructed Mansfield to move up, but in the two hours it took Mansfield to arrive, Hooker's corps was wrecked.[150] At about 7:30 as Mansfield and the division commander of his lead division, Williams, were posting troops, Mansfield was mortally wounded and the two-thirds of the 12th Corps which were green troops were in trouble. William's division became fragmented and useless but Mansfield's second division under Brig. Gen. George Greene remained effective and held the gains the 1st and 12th Corps won while the Confederates regrouped. With Sumner now approaching this area with two of three divisions of his 2d Corps, some 11,000 men, McClellan had victory in his grasp. Sumner rode with Sedgwick's veteran division in the van of his corps and was deploying Sedgwick's division just before 9 A.M. Sumner's second division under Brig. Gen. William French was less experienced and was deploying more slowly behind Sedgwick but ominously out of sight of it while Sumner's third division under Maj. Gen. Israel Richardson still had not come up from the rear.

Sumner now saw that the Confederates were in retreat and he did not hesitate to pursue with Sedgwick's division without adequate intelligence or reconnaissance or even waiting for French's division to come up on his left flank. Attacking to the west, he drove a few Southerners from just north of the Dunker Church through the West Woods immediately west of the Hagerstown Pike. Sumner compounded his errors by ordering the lines closer together, some 30 feet apart. Here was disaster: a Confederate division was fortuitously (for the South) approaching from the south along the Hagerstown Pike since earlier that morning the battle axis had been north to south. Without French's division covering Sedgwick's left flank, it was in the air and at 9:20 A.M., Sedgwick's division ceased to exist as it was swept from the field losing almost 40 percent of its strength, 2,200 men.[151] In twenty minutes, two Confederate divisions firing into Sedgwick's troops from three directions led to a rout; even facing the division's third line to the rear to repel attacks did not help. French had his division veer off further south because he saw Greene's division from the 12th Corps in that direction and thought it was Sedgwick, so French attempted to form on it instead. This maneuver not only helped seal the fate of Sedgwick's division, but also the fate of French's division as it wound up attacking entrenched Confederates at the Sunken Road. Had French continued to the west, he would have likely hit the Confederate division attacking Sedgwick's left flank on its flank but that, unfortunately for Sedgwick, did not happen.

As Sedgwick's division was being torn apart, Sumner finally realized that things were irretrievably bad as he waved his hat and yelled: "My God! We must get out of this" as Sedgwick kept his head and seemed to be everywhere rallying his men. He was then wounded in the leg and then a wrist but ignored these wounds as he tried to get his men out of the slaughter pen. Next his horse was shot and disabled; a surgeon examined the general's two wounds and advised him to go to the rear. Sedgwick refused to do so and attempted to mount the surgeon's horse but had difficulty riding with the broken wrist. Finally, a third shoulder wound caused him to leave the field semiconscious an hour after receiving his first wound.[152]

French attacked the Confederates in the Sunken Road piecemeal and suffered 30 percent casualties finally withdrawing to allow Sumner's third division under Richardson, who had finally arrived on the field, to take over. Also taking heavy casualties, Richardson finally took the Sunken Road at 1 P.M. after being reinforced with all the remaining fresh troops from Sumner's corps; he later paid for his valiant effort with his life later in the afternoon when he was mortally wounded. Sumner compounded his earlier errors by convincing McClellan not to allow Franklin's fresh 6th Corps, which had just arrived on the field, to attack Lee's fragmented center. This day, Sumner, arguably lost the Battle at Antietam for the Union, first by his rash attack with Sedgwick, then by not allowing a potentially victorious attack by the 6th Corps against a broken Confederate center.

Sedgwick was taken to a hut alongside a road where his wounds were judged not to be fatal, but his aide and cousin, Maj. William Sedgwick, was not so fortunate. He was wounded and left on the battlefield until late in the day when he was found and carried to a field hospital living only ten days longer.[153] Sedgwick was transferred to a field hospital where he remained for a few days before beginning his journey by ambulance to Hagerstown, Maryland, and then by train to his home in Cornwall Hollow recuperating there for almost three months. He returned to duty in the field shortly after Christmas luckily missing the Union massacre at Fredericksburg, Virginia, on December 13.

He became a corps commander leading successively the 2d, 9th, and 6th Corps. During the Chancellorsville Campaign, he performed well his mission of holding Confederate troops in place on the heights south of Fredericksburg while Hooker took the bulk of his army around Lee's left flank. While Hooker and Lee battled north of him, Sedgwick took the heights but then was ordered north to support Hooker. Lee's masterful coordination of his much smaller army allowed him to fix Hooker in place while the bulk of the Confederates were sent to annihilate Sedgwick. After hard fighting, Sedgwick wisely led his men in retreat after realizing that not to do so would have been fatal because Hooker was not going to send support. As a member of the old army and a McClellan intimate, Hooker and the radical-leaning Congressional Committee on the Conduct of the War managed to unfairly pin much of the blame for his loss at Chancellorsville on Sedgwick. The majority of the public and the military, however, realized the good Sedgwick had done and did not hold him to blame.[154] Sedgwick was present at the Battle of Gettysburg but his role was minor and did not directly participate. But he was recognized for his excellent forced march of his 6th Corps to get to the battlefield; in four days with full marching packs in extreme heat they marched over 100 miles. His units were used piecemeal as a manpower pool and turned in good accounts of themselves as the army commander, George Meade, threw them in where needed. At the end of the campaign, Sedgwick performed well in the chase of Lee's army back to Virginia.

Sedgwick and his corps remained with the Army of the Potomac while it faced Lee on the Rappahannock Line in central Virginia leading the noted Union victory at Rappahannock Station where the Union suffered 419 casualties to the Confederate's 1,674. Sedgwick, temporarily put in charge of the Army of the Potomac in Meade's absence, did not enjoy army command with its concomitant administrative responsibilities. It was rumored that he had informally turned down feelers that he be assigned command of the army. Sedgwick was not an ambitious or political man but did admit that he was a Democrat who liked McClellan, a fact which did not help any thoughts he might have had of higher command.[155] During the Battle of the Wilderness, Grant's first campaign as the new commander-in-chief of the armies, Sedgwick's 6th Corps was roughly handled by the foe and Sedgwick almost captured but due to the timely use of reserves and luck, Sedgwick reestablished his lines despite heavy casualties of over 5,000 in his corps.

The next phase of Grant's Overland Campaign led the army to Spotsylvania Court House where Lee won the footrace from Grant; Confederates began entrenching at the crossroads to block Grant's move around their right flank. During the fighting there, Sedgwick's men gained little ground and he was hit by a spent ball but uninjured as he needlessly exposed himself to enemy fire. During the morning of 9 May 1864 Sedgwick supervised the building of part of his line then returned to his headquarters where Grant and Meade met him as they were reconnoitering the line. Grant complimented Sedgwick on his corps and the commanders rode away. Sedgwick again went to the front to help adjust his line where it connected with the 5th Corps to a point where Confederate sharpshooters were active. His troops were ducking at the sound of bullets whizzing by and Sedgwick, as was his custom, joked and laughed with his men uttering the now famous words: "Men, dodging this way for single bullets…what will you do when they open fire along the whole line? I am ashamed of you. They couldn't hit an elephant at this distance!" A Confederate soldier firing a Whitworth rifle with a telescope from a half-mile away disagreed with that assessment as his bullet entered Sedgwick's left cheek under the eye just after he again laughed and repeated "They couldn't hit an elephant at this distance!"[156] The most senior Union corps commander in the U.S. Army was dead before he fell.

His loss was deeply felt by his men and even to his erstwhile comrades in the Confederate army; "Lee sent a picture of Sedgwick to his wife, with kind comments about the departed friend…all felt a deep, personal loss."[157] On Sunday, May 15, the general was buried in the family plot in the village graveyard in Cornwall Hollow as 2,000 watched the simple, nonmilitary funeral. Described as one of the most beloved generals in the Union army, he was remembered by statues and monuments at West Point, where he fell at Spotsylvania, near Little Round Top on Sedgwick Drive at Gettysburg, at the Connecticut State Capitol, and at Cornwall Hollow, across the country road from his gravesite. This last is perhaps the most impressive as it includes six stacks each consisting of thirty-one large cannonballs and a cannon. He likely would not have been impressed since he had simple tastes; he, like the old veteran General Mansfield, merely wished to do his duty to the country he loved.

IX. Summary

These four Connecticut regiments, two "green" and two veteran, did as well as their other Union regiment counterparts during this campaign. The green 14th was less exposed to massive and unexpected flanking fire as was the equally green 16th so the 14th arguably was not given the opportunity to flee. The 16th broke and ran, understandably so given the circumstances of having the enemy firing at them from two sides and their comrades in the 4th Rhode Island shooting at them from the rear. That many of the Confederates wore blue uniforms certainly contributed to the 16th's fright. The 8th was probably in the worst position of the four regiments, nearly surrounded and isolated, but managed to fight and retreat in some semblance of order undoubtedly due to its experiences in North Carolina in combat. The 11th was sent on a suicide mission and was lucky to not have more men killed as they were forced to charge across open ground and maintain fire with little cover against enemy rifleman behind cover and with the advantage of elevation. That they did so gives evidence not only of their courage but also their training. Again, their combat experiences in North Carolina and the quality of their leaders made the difference.

Generals Mansfield and Sedgwick represented Connecticut well as examples of older, conservative, regular army officers who knew their duty and sacrificed their all for their country. Nothing more could have been asked of such men.

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The author wishes to thank Brian Downey, creator of "Antietam on the Web" (, and Stephen Recker, creator of "Stephen Recker's Virtual Antietam ( both for permission to use their photographs and maps and their encouragement to me during the writing of this paper.

Copyright © 2007 Laurence Freiheit.

Written by Larry Freiheit. If you have questions or comments on this article, please contact Larry Freiheit at:

About the author:
Larry Freiheit, a Civil War historian and author, has published an article on Jeb Stuart during the Maryland Campaign on a website dedicated to the Antietam battle, an article in the "Washington Times" about Jeb Stuart, and a book review and articles on the Military History Online website.

Freiheit retired in 2000 from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs headquarters in Washington, D.C. He is completing his master’s degree in military studies with a Civil War concentration at American Public University. Freiheit has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Central Connecticut State University and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Connecticut School of Law. He is a member of the Society for Military History, The Society of Civil War Historians, and the Delta Epsilon Tau International Honor Society. He is a Vietnam veteran having served in the Marine Corps and also served in an Army Reserve Military Intelligence Battalion and an Army National Guard infantry battalion.

Published online: 12/09/2007.

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