Saturday, April 5, 2014

Shiloh's Mortuary Monuments: Honoring Fallen Officers

There are five unique Mortuary Monuments at Shiloh National Military Park, placed there in 1902 to honor 2 Confederate and 3 Union officers killed or mortally wounded during the April 6-7, 1862 battle.  The monuments were designed by the park commission's chief engineer Atwell Thompson and erected by the government close to where the officer was killed or wounded at a cost of $250 each.  The rectangular base is made of reinforced concrete upon which is mounted 4 small pyramids of deactivated 8" cannon balls and an upright tube of a 30 Pounder Parrot Rifle.  A bronze plaque with information about each officer is mounted on the cannon barrel between the trunnions. 

                    General A. S. Johnston Mortuary Monument

General Albert Sidney Johnston commanded the Army of Mississippi at Shiloh.  Born February 2, 1803 in Washington, Kentucky he was the youngest son of Dr. John and Abigail Johnston.  He graduated from the U. S. Military Academy in 1826, ranking 8th of 41 cadets and was appointed a brevet 2nd lieutenant in the 2nd U. S. Infantry.  Johnston would serve in the U. S Army before and after his tenure with the army of the Republic of Texas (1836-1840) before resigning his commission in March 1861 to join the Confederate States Army.

                                   General Albert Sidney Johnston

General Johnston assumed command of the Western Military Department of the Confederate States in September 1861.  After suffering defeats at Mill Springs, Ft. Henry, Ft. Donelson and Nashville in late 1861 and early 1862 Johnston withdrew his forces to the vital railroad junction at Corinth, Mississippi.  In early April 1862 his reorganized and reinforced forces left Corinth and at dawn on April 6 made a surprise attack on the Union Army of the Tennessee camped at Pittsburg Landing.  In the early afternoon while leading his forces he was shot in the right leg, presumably by his own men.  The bullet severed an artery and Johnston soon bled to death.  His remains were taken to New Orleans for burial.  He was later disinterred and reburied in Austin Texas.  Johnston is the highest ranking Confederate officer killed during the Civil War.

                    Brig. General W. H. L Wallace Monument as constructed 

                       Brig. General Wallace Mortuary Monument today

William Harvey Lamme Wallace was born July 8, 1821 in Urbana, Ohio the son of John any Mary Lamme Wallace.  As a young man he read law under Theophilus L. Dickey a friend of Abraham Lincoln and was admitted to the bar in 1846.  He served in the Mexican War with the 1st Illinois Infantry.  When the Civil War broke out Wallace volunteered as a private with the 11th Illinois Volunteer Infantry.  The close friend of future General Thomas E. G. Ransom was elected Colonel of the 11th.  Wallace fought gallantly with the 11th Illinois at Ft. Donelson which earned him a brigadier general's star.   He assumed command  of the 2nd Division, Army of the Tennessee after Major General Charles F. Smith was sidelined by a leg injury.

                                 Brigadier General W. H. L. Wallace

Wallace's Division, which was engaged near the Hornet's Nest, withstood numerous Confederate assaults on April 6 before his division was surrounded and himself mortally wounded from a shot through the head.  He remained on the field the night of April 6th before being removed to the Cherry Mansion at Savannah, Tennessee where his wife Anne Dickey Wallace cared for until his death on April 12, 1862.  He is buried in Ottowa, Illinois.

           Brig. General Adley H. Gladden Mortuary Monument (nps photo)

Brigadier General Adley Hogan Gladden, commander of the 1st Brigade, 2nd Division, 2nd Corps, Army of the Mississippi at Shiloh, was born at Fairfield, South Carolina September 28, 1810.  At age 20 Gladden moved to Columbia, South Carolina where he was a cotton broker.  He commanded the Palmetto Regiment in the Mexican War.  When Ft. Sumter fell Gladden was living in Louisiana.

                                      Brig. General Adley H. Gladden

At the outset of the war Gladden commanded the 1st Louisiana in Florida.  He was promoted to Brigadier General September 30, 1861.  In January 1862 Gladden and his brigade were transferred to Mobile, Alabama and later Corinth, Mississippi where the Army of Mississippi was assembling prior to advancing toward Pittsburg Landing.

While assaulting Union forces on the north edge of Spain Field on the morning of April 6 the 51 year old Gladden was mortally wounded by either a cannon ball or a shell fragment that severely mangled his left arm.  His arm was amputated, however gangrene set in and he died at Corinth, Mississippi on April 12.  He is buried at the Magnolia Cemetery in Mobile, Alabama.

To be continued:

Shiloh's Mortuary Monuments: Honoring Fallen Officers, Part II

Colonel Everett Peabody was born in Springfield, Massachusetts, June 30, 1830.  When 15 he studied at Burlington College in Vermont.  A year later he moved to Cambridge and graduated from Harvard in 1849 with a degree in civil engineering.  He soon had a job as a rodman for the Cleveland, Painesville & Ashtabula Railroad.  By age 23 he was a chief engineer having worked on railroads in Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee and Missouri.

                                      Colonel Everett Peabody

When the Civil War erupted Everett Peabody was chief engineer of the Platte County Railroad.  As noted in "A Child's History of the United States", Volume 3," he was "6' 1" tall, broad and heavy, cool and grave in manner and accustomed to toil and exposure."  Peabody enlisted in the Union Army and was mustered in to the 13th Missouri Volunteers.  He was wounded and later captured at Lexington, Kentucky.  After being exchanged Peabody organized the 25th Missouri.

At Shiloh Colonel Everett Peabody commanded the 1st Brigade in Major General Benjamin Prentiss's 6th Division, Army of the Tennessee.  He was concerned that Confederate forces were in his front therefore before dawn on April 6 he sent out a reconnaissance force which ran into soldiers from the Army of Mississippi thus starting the Battle of Shiloh.  While leading his troops Colonel Peabody was wounded five times once in the hand, thigh, neck, body and head.  The bullet that killed him entered the upper lip and passed out the back of his head.  He was buried in a gun-box on the field.  he was later disinterred and reburied in Springfield, Massachusetts.

        Colonel Everett Peabody's Mortuary & Headquarter Monument

Peabody's Mortuary Monument is one of two at Shiloh that were uniquely designed (the other being W. H. L. Wallace's, which was originally built with an apron of cannonballs and steps).  Peabody's Monument serves as both a brigade headquarters monument and a mortuary monument which is exemplified by the star shaped plaque on the pyramid on the south east corner of the monument.

Colonel Julius Raith commanded the 3rd Brigade of Major General John McClernand's 1st Division, Army of the Tennessee during the Battle of Shiloh.  Julius was born in Germany March 29, 1819.  He immigrated to the United States with his family in 1836, settling in St. Clair County, Illinois.  Raith later moved to Columbia, Monroe County, Illinois where he became a millwright.  Colonel Raith was a Mexican War veteran, serving as captain of Company H, 2nd Regiment Illinois Volunteers.

                 Colonel Julius Raith Mortuary Monument (nps photo)

When the Civil War started Julius Raith was living in O'Fallon, Illinois, the proprietor of a flour mill.  During September 1861 he raised the 43rd Illinois Volunteer Infantry, serving as the regiment's colonel when it was mustered into federal service on October 12.  The regiment was engaged at Ft Henry and Donelson under Raith's command before moving to Pittsburg Landing.

              Colonel Julius Raith (Arkansas Old State House Collection)

While leading the 3rd Brigade near the present intersection of Confederate Road and the Hamburg-Purdy Road on April 6, 1862 Raith was severely wounded in the right thigh.  He lay on the field until April 7 when he was removed and placed on the steamer Hannibal.  His leg was amputated but he died of infection on board the steamer April 11, 1862, leaving 2 young sons orphans as his wife had preceded him in death in 1859.  Colonel Raith is buried in the Shiloh Valley Cemetery, St. Clair County, Illinois.

Thanks are tendered to Ranger Tom Parson, Shiloh National Military Park for information pertaining to construction and erection of the monuments.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Pillars of Stone: Antietam's Tallest Monuments

There are many beautiful monuments located on Antietam National Battlefield. Some of the most picturesque however are the tall, mostly granite monoliths that reach toward the Western Maryland sky.  Two of these stone sentinels are state monuments, two others honor specific regiments.  Three are located on the northern end of the field while the fourth stands proud south of the historic town of Sharpsburg.

                         Philadelphia Brigade Monument

The Philadelphia Brigade Monument is the tallest monument on Antietam National Battlefield. Made of granite quarried in Barre,Vermont the 73 feet tall obelisk was dedicated September 17, 1896.  It stands on top of a four tiered base in Philadelphia Brigade Park, west of the Hagerstown Pike.  The monument honors the 69th, 71st, 72nd and 106th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Regiments.

                         9th New York (Hawkins Zouave) Monument

The 52 feet tall 9th New York Monument, also called the Hawkins Zouave Monument, is on high ground southeast of Sharpsburg.  The monument was dedicated May  29, 1897.  It was erected where the 9th New York and other regiments of the Union 9th Corps made their last stand on the left of the Union line.  The monument is made of a  40 foot long, single piece of Barre granite.  The obelisk is 4.5 feet square at the base, tapering to 3.5 feet at the top.  

                         Indiana State Monument (NPS photo)

The Indiana State Monument, which was dedicated September 17, 1910, stands at the intersection of the Hagerstown Pike and Cornfield Avenue.  It honors the four infantry (7th, 14th, 19th & 27 Indiana Volunteer Infantry) and one cavalry (3rd Indiana Cavalry) regiment from Indiana that fought at Antietam.  The 50 foot tall Barre granite monument was designed by architect John R. Lowe of Indianapolis.  It was constructed and erected at a cost of $10,000 by J. N. Forbes Granite Company of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania.  The 22 foot square monument base is topped by a four sided 35 foot tall shaft which tapers from 3' 6" at the base to 2' 6" at the top.

                             New York State Monument

The New York State Monument, which stands near the Visitors Center, was erected in 1919 and dedicated September 17, 1920.  The monument, built at a cost of $30,000, is a 30 foot tall doric column topped by an eagle, that stands on a 36 foot square pedestal on a tiered base.  The monument honors the 3,765 officers and soldiers from New York's 5 cavalry regiments, 13 artillery batteries, 2 engineering regiments and 66 infantry regiments who were killed, wounded, captured or missing during the Battle of Antietam.

For future reading see "Indiana at Antietam", Indianapolis, Indiana 1911 and"Remembering the Dead" New York Times May 30, 1897.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Pure Gold: Major General Winfield Scott Hancock

Upon his death on February 9, 1886 President Hays had this to say of Winfield Scott Hancock: "If when we make up our estimate of a public man, conspicuous both as a soldier and in civil life, we are to think first and chiefly of his manhood, his integrity, his purity, his singleness of purpose, and his unselfish devotion to duty, we can truthfully say of Hancock that he was through and through pure gold."

                        Major General Winfield Scott Hancock

Winfield Scott Hancock and his identical twin brother Hilary Baker were born in Montgomery Square, Pennsylvania February 14, 1824 the sons of Benjamin and Elizabeth Hancock. Another son John would follow six years later. The Hancock family moved to Norristown, Pennsylvania when Winfield was four. At the age of 16 he was appointed to the United States Military Academy from which he graduated on June 30, 1844 ranking 18th of 25 cadets.

Hancock was breveted 2nd Lieutenant in the 6th U. S. Infantry, July 1, 1844. His first post of duty was at Washita on the Red River. He later saw action in the Mexican War where he was breveted 2nd Lieutenant in August 1848, for "gallant and meritorious bearing" at the Battles of Churubusco and Chapultepec.  After the Mexican War Hancock was assigned to Ft. Crawford at Prairie du Chen, Wisconsin.  In 1849 he became the regimental quartermaster for the 6th U. S. Infantry and spent six years at Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis Missouri.  While in St. Louis he met and married Almira Russell, January 24, 1850.  They later had two children Russell and Ada Elizabeth.  The Hancock's were assigned to duty posts in Florida, Utah and California prior to the Civil War.

When the Civil War broke out in April 1861 Captain Hancock was in Los Angeles, California serving as the Assistant Quartermaster. Although he had many friends who would side with the Confederacy Hancock noted at the outbreak of the war that: "My politics are of a practical kind.  The integrity of the country.  The supremacy of the federal government. An honorable place or none at all."

Captain Hancock arrived in New York in September 1861.  He had been affiliated with the Army since 1840.  "By his strict devotion to duty, his invariable courage, energy and patriotic enthusiasm he had secured the confidence and attachment of all who knew him.  Correct in his personal habits, polite, affable, friendly with all, unselfish and hospitable he was a favorite wherever he went."  He reported to duty in Washington where he was appointed Chief Quartermaster for Robert Anderson, a post he never assumed, because of George McClellan's request he be appointed Brigadier General of Volunteers.  The rest as they say is history.

                         Hancock's Equestrian Statue at Gettysburg

Hancock went on to serve in the U. S. Army throughout the Civil War and continued to serve until his death in 1886.  He was nicknamed "Hancock the Superb" following a remark by General McClellan after the Battle of Williamsburg on May 5, 1861.  He took over command of Israel Richardson's Division at Antietam and then assumed command of the 2nd Corps following the Battle of Chancellorsville.  His most conspicuous service might have been at Gettysburg where he was severely wounded and belatedly received the Thanks of Congress for his action.  This description of Hancock, by Frank Haskell, at Gettysburg is iconic: "Hancock is the tallest, and most shapely,  and in many respects is the best looking officer of them all.  His hair is very light brown, straight and moist, and always looks well, his beard is of the same color, of which he wears the moustache and tuft upon the chin: complexion ruddy, features neither large nor small, but well cut, with a full jaw and chin, compressed mouth, straight nose, full deep blue eyes and a very mobile, emotional countenance.  He always dresses remarkably well and he is dignified, gentlemanly and commanding.

                     Hancock's Equestrian Statue Washington DC
                    (Library of Congress photo)

Hancock commanded the 2nd Corps throughout the Overland Campaign in 1864 when the corps was considered "the Thunderbolt of the Army of the Potomac". Hancock's only major battlefield defeat was at Reams Station on August 25, 1864.  He was commanding troops in the Shenandoah Valley when the war ended.

 Lt. General  U. S. Grant paid homage to Hancock in his Personal Memoirs noting: "Hancock stands the most conspicuous figure of all the general officers who did not exercise a separate command. He commanded a corps longer than any other one, and his name was never mentioned as having committed in battle a blunder for which he was responsible. He was a man of very conspicuous personal appearance. Tall, well-formed and, at the time of which I now write, young and fresh-looking, he presented an appearance that would attract the attention of an army as he passed. His genial disposition made him friends, and his personal courage and his presence with his command in the thickest of the fight won for him the confidence of troops serving under him. No matter how hard the fight, the 2d Corps always felt that their commander was looking after them."

Winfield Scott Hancock died at Governors Island, New York in 1886 from complications of a carbuncle and diabetes.  He is buried in Montgomery Cemetery, Norristown, Pennsylvania with his daughter Ada who preceded him in death.

                                     Library of Congress photo

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Honoring the Fallen: Memorial Illumination at Antietam National Battlefield

December 7, 2013 marked the 25th Anniversary of the Memorial Illumination at Antietam National Battlefield.

23,110  candles are placed on the battlefield by innumerable volunteers to honor the casualties of the September 17, 1862 Battle of Antietam, the single bloodiest day in all American History.

The event is sponsored by Antietam National Battlefield in cooperation with the American Business Women's Association and the Washington County Convention & Visitors' Bureau.

Volunteers representing Union and Confederate soldiers stand around campfires while the lines of vehicles pass by, viewing the luminaries.

Vehicles line up on Maryland Route 34, hours before the event, waiting for their chance to enter the battlefield via Richardson Avenue.

 It is an awe inspiring experience both to view the luminaries and participate as a volunteer.  I had the honor, this year, along with other living historians representing Battery B, 4th U S artillery to stand around a campfire at the intersection of Dunker Church Road and Starke Avenue.  While not attempting to be a modern day Alexander Gardner I was able to sneak in a few photographs. Cannot wait until next year to do it all again.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The "Old Man": James Stewart Commander of Battery B, 4th U S Artillery

James Stewart was born in Edinburgh, Scotland May 18, 1826.  He trained as a printer in Leith before immigrating to the United States in 1844.  Stewart enlisted as a private in the United States Army October 29, 1851.  

                                             James Stewart

The brown haired, blue eyed Stewart stood 5 foot 6 1/2 inches tall, a short, stocky man by all accounts. He advanced steadily through the ranks of the peace time army, when promotions were notoriously slow and by the time he assumed command of Battery B, 4th U S Artillery on the bloody battlefield of Antietam, September 17, 1862 he was a 2nd Lieutenant.

Stewart commanded Battery B 4th U. S. throughout the remainder of the Civil War leading it to distinction on such fields as Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, Spotsylvania Court House and Weldon Railroad.  He was breveted twice for gallant and meritorious service, the first time to Captain on August 1, 1864 for action at the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House and a second time to Major on August 18, 1864 following the Battle of Weldon Railroad.

Stewart remained in the army after the Civil War.  On July 28, 1866 he was promoted to Captain and assigned to the 18th U S Infantry.  He served with this unit until his retirement  March 20, 1879.  After retiring Stewart lived in Carthage and Cincinnati, Ohio where he was a instructor for the Ohio Military Institute.  He died April 19, 1905 and was buried in Section 1, grave 736-WS, at Arlington National Cemetery, on Easter Sunday, April 23, 1905.

Stewart's Headstone Arlington National Cemetery
photo courtesy of Christine & Perry Whittaker

James Stewart's headstone at Arlington is one of two known headstones depicting the emblem of the Iron Brigade Association, the other being the headstone of Brigadier General John Gibbon.  The emblem on the headstones recognizes the Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin regiments of the Iron Brigade centered around the crossed cannons of Battery B.  The association purchased both headstones to honor Gibbon and Stewart.  Gibbon commanded the Iron Brigade from May to November 1862, training it and turning it into one of the most respected and feared fighting units in the Army of the Potomac.  Battery B was attached to the Iron Brigade throughout much of the Civil War, many recruits that filled the ranks of Battery B in December 1861, came from the Wisconsin and Indiana Regiments in the Iron Brigade.   

Little is known about James Stewart the man.  Those who knew him said he was a strict, fair disciplinarian as a military officer who was fond of battle and alcoholic spirits.  He reportedly set high standards for himself and his men.  

But there is more to the story.  In a letter written by Stewart to James Gould in 1893 he recounts his wounding at Antietam:  "About ten minutes after being placed in command I was struck by a mini ball breaking my waist belt plate and knocking me down.  On getting up I found my sword belt broken in two.  The shock was trouble for some time, but I knew if I should allow it to be known that I was wounded that someone else would be put in command of the battery.  I suffered a great deal and had to use a catheter for many a year and sometimes especially when I catch cold the old pains will come back.  General Gibbon does not know to this day that I was wounded in the battle.  To when the battle was over, in place of looking over the field and making notes I had to lie flat on my back and obtain all the relief I possibly could until the surgeon came and helped me out of the pain."

It says a lot about the measure of a man who would silently endure and suffer from a wound for the remainder of his life because on that fateful day in September 1862 he did not want to loose command of an artillery battery.

Further reading:  Giants in their Tall Black Hats Essays on the Iron Brigade

Friday, March 8, 2013

Hell for Battery B, 4th U S Artillery at Antietam

The September 17, 1862 Battle of Antietam (Sharpsburg) is often referred to as artillery hell because more than 500 pieces of artillery of all types were used by both armies during the day long engagement.  One could rephrase that statement and write that Antietam was hell for one artillery company, Battery B of the 4th U. S. who lost nine killed and 31 wounded officers and men and 26 horses while supporting the Iron Brigade and other units of the Union 1st Corps on the northern end of the field on that fateful September morning.

At Antietam Battery B was initially commanded by Captain Joseph B. Campbell a June 24, 1861 graduate of West Point who, in May 1862, replaced John Gibbon as commander of the battery when Gibbon was promoted Brigadier General of Volunteers and assumed command of the Iron Brigade.  When Campbell was severely wounded early in the day command devolved upon 36 year old Scottish immigrant Lieutenant James Stewart.

Battery B had crossed Antietam Creek late in the afternoon September 16, 1862, probably at a ford near the upper bridge, along with John Gibbon’s brigade to which it was attached.  Both had bivouacked on the rainy night of the 16th on the Joseph Poffenberger Farm with other elements of Major General Joseph Hooker’s 1st Corps of the Army of the Potomac.

Before dawn on the 17th and before most of the Union troops had risen from their fitful slumber artillery shells fired form Confederate batteries on Nicodemus Heights, west of the Joseph Poffenberger Farm, came crashing into the ranks of the 1st Corps.  Not long after that, around 6:00 a.m., Hooker directed Gibbon to prepare his brigade to advance south  along the Hagerstown Pike to engage Confederate troops commanded by General Thomas J. “Stonewall" Jackson which were about a half mile to their front.  Gibbon ordered Battery B to advance in support of the Iron Brigade.

As the regiments of the Iron Brigade deployed skirmishers and advanced southward Battery B advanced through the North Woods and went into battery in a plowed field approximately 100 yards south of the woods.  Shortly after unlimbering the company’s six Model 1857 Light 12 Pounders (Napoleons) Gibbon directed Stewart to advance his 2 gun section to a position due east of farmer D. R. Miller’s house.  Stewart went into battery east of the Miller farmhouse and directed counter battery fire against Colonel S. D. Lee and Captain W. T. Poague’s Confederate batteries in his front as well as against Confederate infantry regiments in the woods north of the Dunker Church.  

The Iron Brigade was taking heavy casualties from infantry and artillery enfilading their right flank as they advanced southward along and east of the Hagerstown Pike so around 6:30 a.m., Gibbon ordered Stewart to advance his section to a position west of the pike and south of the Miller barn.  Stewart unlimbered his two cannons and while facing in a southwesterly direction directed spherical case against Poague’s Rockbridge battery and Jackson’s troops. 

 According to Johnny Cook, the battery’s bugler, “No sooner had we unlimbered when a column of Confederate infantry emerging from the so-called West Woods poured a volley into us, which brought down 14 of 17 of my brave comrades to the ground.”

As stated in Lance Herdegen’s “The Iron Brigade in Civil War and Memory”,  “Stewart’s horse fell in a hail of bullets spilling him to the ground but he jumped up unhurt and ran to the limber to gather a makeshift force of horse holders and drivers to replace the downed cannoneers.” 

With Battery B’s support the 2nd and 6th Wisconsin of the Iron Brigade were able to break through Jackson’s line as they advanced through Miller’s cornfield and get within several hundred yards of the Dunker Church before a counter attack by Confederate forces under the command of General John B. Hood forced the decimated ranks of the Wisconsin regiments to beat a hasty retreat back through the corn and ultimately to a position west of the pike in the rear of and in support of Battery B.  

By 7:20 a.m., Gibbon was forced to call-up the other four guns of Campbell’s Battery  who came galloping up the Hagerstown Pike and unlimbered to the left of Stewart’s two cannons.  One of the bronze Napoleons was actually placed in the road by Captain Campbell. By this time the battery had changed positions and was now facing southeastward with their fire directed at Hoods troops in the cornfield.  

The intense infantry fire from Hood’s veterans soon wounded Captain Campbell and killed or wounded a number of his cannoneers even though the battery was firing single and double canister as quickly as the guns could be loaded.  As quoted in Herdegen’s book, “The steady firing of Battery B’s guns began to falter.”  

Seeing this, and also seeing that at least several of the guns were firing over the heads of the Confederate troops in their front, General John Gibbon drew his horse up alongside the gun in the road and shouted at the gunner to raise the elevation screw which would depress the muzzle.  He could not be heard above the din therefore “in the full uniform of a general officer, his face begrimed with powder smoke and (with) perspiration running down his face, Gibbon was still servicing the guns of his old battery.”  He raised the elevation screw and with the help of the remaining members of the guns crew, “double charges of canister were thrown into the corner of the cornfield, the aim was low, the stones and dirt on the road was plowed up, the fence rails were splintered and thrown into the air, and as the smoke and dust cleared away, groups of the enemy was seen running toward the rear.” 

With the regiments of Hood’s command that had been engaged with Battery B and the Iron Brigade in full retreat back toward the Dunker Church, around 7:30 a.m., Lt. Stewart was able to limber up the guns of Battery B and head northward down the Hagerstown Pike to the safety of the plowed field south of the North Woods where they unlimbered again around 8:00 a.m. 

Around 8:30 a.m. Gibbon again ordered Stewart to advance the battery to the fields east of the Miller house.  Steward advanced the cannons and came into battery on the left of Captain Dunbar Ransom’s Battery C, 5th U. S. Artillery.  He could not fire the guns here because federal infantry regiments were in position 20 yards in front of the battery.  When Ransom retreated Stewart followed him to the edge of the North Woods where he removed wounded horses and redistributed the remaining men and horses amongst the cannons.  Around 9:00 a.m. when Gibbon, for a third time, ordered Stewart to advance to the position east of the Miller house he was only able to take two of the battery’s guns.  The remaining four were removed to a position north of the Joseph Poffenberger Farm where they were unlimbered with the other 1st Corps batteries to guard the right flank of the Army of the Potomac.  

Stewart's 2 guns of Battery B remained in position east of the Miller house and a little later a little farther south but still east of the Miller house firing in support of Sedgewick’s Division of Sumner’s 2nd Corps as they advanced into the West Woods and later as they retreated northward through the woods. Sometime around noon or 1:00 p.m., Stewart withdrew his section and rejoined the other four guns of the battery on the ridge behind the Poffenberger Farm where they remained for the remainder of the day.  Late in the afternoon, along with other 1st Corps batteries, they lobbed a few shells toward Nicodemus Heights which silenced Confederate artillery fire from that position and convinced Stonewall Jackson it would be foolhardy to attempt to turn the right flank of the Union Army.

Battery B’s losses in action at Antietam on September 17, 1862, which officially included 40 officers and cannoneers killed or wounded and 27 horses killed, was the third highest loss of any artillery company in combat during the entire war.  Three Medals of Honor were earned by members of Battery B at Antietam including one issued to 15 year old bugler Johnny Cook and one each to infantryman William P Hogarty (detached from the 23rd New York Volunteer Infantry) and John Johnson (detached from the 2nd Wisconsin Volunteer  Infantry.)

There is one additional casualty however that appears to have been missed by those compiling statistics.  In an 1893 letter to John Gould, Lieutenant James Stewart refers to the 41st casualty:  “About ten minutes after being placed in command I was struck by a minie ball breaking my waist belt plate and knocking me down.  On getting up I found my sword belt broken in two.  The shock was trouble for some time, but I knew if I should allow it to be known that I was wounded that someone else would be sent to command the battery.  I suffered a great deal and had to use a catheter for many years and sometimes especially when I catch cold the old pain will come back.  General Gibbon does not know to this day that I was wounded in the battle.” 

“To when the battle was over, in place of looking over the field and making notes I had to lie down flat on my back and obtain all the relief that I Possibly could until the surgeon came and helped me out of the pain.”