Thursday, November 2, 2017

The Wounded at Antietam: Battery B 4th U. S. Artillery

There were 31 reported wounded in the ranks of Battery B 4th U. S. Artillery in the September 17, 1862 Battle of Antietam including one captain, 2 sergeants, 3 corporals and 25 privates.  Several of the wounded would die not long after the battle but many would continue serving with the battery until discharged and after the war live, long productive lives.  This is their story.

Joseph Boyd Campbell commanded Battery B 4th U. S. Artillery at Antietam as Captain and Aide-de-Camp.  He was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania November 26, 1836, the son of Henry Roe and Sidney Boyd Campbell.  His youth was spent in Pennsylvania and New Hampshire where his father was employed in civil engineering.  Campbell attended high school in Chelsea, Massachusetts until entering West Point in 1857 from which he graduated 22 of 34 in June 1861.  Upon graduation Campbell was assigned to Battery D, 2nd U. S. Artillery.  He was transferred to Battery B 4th U. S. in May 1862 when John Gibbon was promoted to Brigadier General of Volunteers.

                                       Joseph Boyd Campbell

Joseph Campbell was wounded at Antietam not long after bringing 4 guns of the battery to a position 2nd Lt. James Stewart already occupied with two guns just west of D. R. Millers's cornfield and a little south of Miller's barn and straw stacks.  Campbell's wounds, including one in the shoulder, were so severe that he would not hold field command in the civil war again.  After the  war Campbell continued to serve in the army, reaching the rank of Major before his untimely death from apoplexy on August 28, 1891.  He is buried at the West Point Cemetery. 

Two of Battery B's sergeants were wounded at Antietam, Robert Moore and William West. Sergeant Robert Moore was born in Tyrone, Ireland about 1829. The 26 year old was employed as a shoemaker in New York when he enlisted as a private in Battery B on June 7, 1855.  Moore stood 5' 10 1/2" tall.  He had grey eyes, sandy colored hair and a fair complexion.  Robert re-enlisted for a second 5 year term on May 11, 1860 while in Utah.  Sergeant Moore left the army on May 11, 1865 when his term of service expired.

Sergeant William West was born about 1825 in Bladen County, North Carolina. He was 5' 6 1/2" tall with blue eyes, sandy colored hair and a sandy colored complexion in 1846 when he enlisted in the army as a private on August 12, 1846 in Fayetteville, North Carolina.  West was an artificer with Battery A & D 4th U. S. Artillery until his discharge August 12, 1851 at Fort Mifflin. He reenlisted November 18, 1851 when he was 26 serving with both Battery D and B, 4th U. S. Artillery at different times.  He reenlisted in Battery B a third time on September 15, 1856 at First Brown, Texas and a fourth time July 1, 1861 at Fort Crittenden, Utah Territory.  West was wounded n the thigh on September 17, 1862 at the Battle of Antietam and was discharged for disability October 31, 1862 at Washington D. C.  In 1869 at the age of 39 West reenlisted in the army for another 5 years.  He was discharged March 30, 1874. Wet's death date is unknown however he is buried in Lawndale Union Cemetery, Logan County Illinois.

                Photo Jeanne Irene Bailey Schaub, Find A Grave

According to 2nd Lieutenant James Stewart, who commanded Battery B at the close of hostilities on September 17, 1862 three corporals serving with the battery were wounded at Antietam.  On page 42 of The Cannoneer Augustus Buell lists the wounded Corporals as _____ Willsey (Willse), _____ Benjamin,  and_____ Conners. The only one of the 3 that can be positively identified as being engaged at Antietam and wounded there is Corporal John Willse.  John C. Conners could be the Conners referred to by Buell however he appears to have been discharged July 3, 1862 at Fredericksburg, Virginia.  Corporal John M. Benjamin who had enlisted in Battery B June 3, 1857 also departed at the expiration of his service at Haymarket Station, Virginia June 3, 1862 so it is unlikely he would have been at Antietam either.

John Willse was born in New York City, New York about 1836 or 1837. John was a laborer when he enlisted as a private in Battery B, 4th U. S. Artillery in New York on June 2, 1855 when he was 18 years old.  Willse had brown hair, brown eyes, a dark complexion and stood 5 feet 6 inches tall.   He reenlisted April 7, 1860 while at Camp Floyd, Utah Territory for a 2nd 5 year term.  Willse reenlisted for 3 years on July 15, 1864 while at Petersburg, Virginia.  He reenlisted a 4th time  for three years while at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.  He was discharged from Battery B December 1, 1870 at Fort Riley, Kansas.   On  February 28, 1876 John enlisted as a private in Company A, 2nd U. S. Artillery at Fort McHenry, Maryland.  He was discharged at the expiration of his service February 22, 1881.  John Willse died December 21, 1899 and is buried in the United States Soldier's and Airmen's Home National Cemetery in Washington D.C. 

                               Photo GulfportBob Find A Grave

There were 25 privates who were wounded while serving with Battery B at Antietam.  Some of these soldiers served with the battery in the regular army others were on detached service from volunteer infantry regiments.  There story will follow in a subsequent post.

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