Antietam National Cemetery, Sharpsburg, MD

The Antietam National Cemetery is the final resting place of nearly 4,800 Union Civil War veterans as well as more than 200 veterans of other wars.

The cemetery, on Route 34 in Sharpsburg, was dedicated on Sept. 17, 1867, the fifth anniversary of the Battle of Antietam. The land chosen for the cemetery site, which stands west of the battlefield, was occupied by Confederate artillery during the battle.

The cemetery is dominated by a 45-foot-high monument depicting a Union soldier at rest. Formally known as the Private Soldier of the Civil War, the figure also bears the local nickname “Old Simon.”

A dedication on the front (north) face of the monument’s base reads, “Not for themselves but for their country.” The north face also bears the date of the battle and a carved trophy with crossed flags, swords and other military accoutrements.

The cemetery holds 4,776 Union remains from Antietam and other Civil War battles in Maryland, as well as more than 200 veterans from the Spanish-American War, the World Wars and Korea. Among the Civil War heroes, more than 1,800 could not be identified.

The Connecticut section, on the east side of the cemetery, has 82 graves of soldiers that were identified.

After the battle, the dead were buried hastily on the battlefield or near buildings that had served as hospitals. In 1866 and 1867, remains were recovered and prepared for reburial in the national cemetery (many veterans from Maryland and Pennsylvania were claimed by their families for burial in their hometowns).

The Private Soldier monument, which was dedicated in the cemetery in 1880, was designed by Hartford monument dealer James Batterson, whose firm supplied a number of Civil War memorials in Connecticut.

The design is believed to be among the first depictions of a standing soldier as part of a Civil War monument. The monument was carved by sculptor James Poletto (pictured below working on the monument) of Westerly, Rhode Island.

The monument was created in several sections, and the upper half of the soldier figure spent several months in the Potomac River in Washington, D.C., after falling from a barge.



























The Monument Dedication, Sept. 17, 1880









Sculptor James Poletto















CT 16th Regiment Monument, Antietam

The brand-new, barely trained 16th Connecticut Volunteer Infantry Regiment suffered heavy losses during its first action at Antietam.

The regiment’s service is honored with a multi-colored granite obelisk, dedicated in 1894, on the western edge of the 40-Acre Cornfield off Antietam’s Branch Avenue.

The monument’s west face bears a dedication reading, “Position of the 16th Conn. Vol. Infantry 5 p.m., Sept. 17, 1862.”

The west face also bears a bronze plaque depicting a scene from the battle. The plaque is a 1998 reproduction sponsored by the reenactment and preservation group Company G, 14th Regiment Connecticut Volunteer Infantry 1861-1865.

The monument’s south face lists the regiment’s casualty total from Antietam. Out of the 779 engaged, 43 were killed and 161 were wounded (for a total of 204 casualties, or 26 percent of the regiment’s roster). The south face also bears an engraved Hartford seal, reflecting the unit’s recruitment in that city.

The east face bears an engraved Connecticut seal and lists the unit’s affiliations: 2nd Brigade, 3rd Division, 9th Army Corps.

The north face lists the monument’s erection by the State of Connecticut in 1894 and displays an engraved trophy with a cannon and an anchor.

The monument is best approached as a stop along the park’s Final Attack Trail.

During the battle, the regiment was, along with the 4th Rhode Island, posted on the left flank of the 9th Corp units advancing west from the Burnside Bridge area. The regiment suffered heavy losses on the flank when it was hit by a Confederate counterattack late in the afternoon.

The 16th Regiment mustered into service in late August of 1862 and, like their counterparts in the 14th Regiment, saw their first action at Antietam. The unit had received almost no training before arriving at Antietam, and had loaded their weapons for the first time only the previous day.

The regiment would serve through the remainder of the war, and would have a large number of members held in the Andersonville prisoner of war camp after an 1864 battle in Plymouth, North Carolina.
































CT 8th Regiment Monument, Antietam

The 8th Regiment, Connecticut Volunteer Infantry, has a monument at Antietam along Harpers Ferry Road.

The monument near a large granite obelisk honoring the 9th New York (Hawkins’ Zouaves).

The west side of the monument bears an inscription reading, “8th Conn. Vol. Infantry. 2d Brigade, 3d Division, 9th Corps.”

The east side features the CT seal and an inscription reading, “Advanced position, 8th Conn. V.I., Sept 17, 1862. Engaged 400. Killed and wounded 194.” Or so we’ve read.

The 8th CT was mustered into service in October of 1861, and served throughout the war. At Antietam, the 8th fought as part of the Army of the Potomac’s left flank.

The walkway also includes a cannon honoring the mortal wounding of Isaac Rodman of Rhode Island, who commanded the division during the battle.


















CT 11th Regiment Monument, Antietam

During the Battle of Antietam, the 11th Regiment, Connecticut Volunteer Infantry, was involved in fierce fighting near Burnside Bridge.

The 11th Regiment, mustered into service in October 1861, was deployed on the east side of Antietam Creek and supported attacks against Confederates on the ridges above the creek’s west side.

The west face of the monument, a short walk south from Burnside Bridge, bears the regiment’s name, the Connecticut seal and a bronze plaque depicting fighting near the bridge.

The south face of the monument identifies the 11th as a member of the Second Brigade.

The east face lists the names of 39 regimental members killed in the battle, including its commander, Henry Kingsbury, Jr., and Capt. John Griswold, who led two companies into battle.  The east face also lists the unit’s membership in the Ninth Corps of the Army of the Potomac.

The north face lists the regiment’s affiliation with the Corps’ Third Division.

The monument, like the other Connecticut regimental monuments at Antietam, was dedicated on October 11, 1894.

During the battle, the regiment had 139 killed and wounded, a total that included every field officer. After the battle, Griffin Stedman, who is honored with a monument on Hartford’s Campfield Avenue, was appointed regimental colonel.































CT 14th Regiment Monument, Antietam

A noted Civil War infantry unit that saw its first combat during the Battle of Antietam is honored with a monument near the battle’s Bloody Lane.

The 14th Regiment of the Connecticut Volunteer Infantry, recruited primarily from towns in central Connecticut, was mustered into service in August of 1862. Less than three weeks later the untested troops were engaged in some of the heaviest fighting of the Civil War.

A granite obelisk honoring the regiment stands a short distance from the sunken farm road at Antietam that became known as Bloody Lane after the roadway was used for an early example of trench warfare.

The front (south) face of the monument reads, “The Fourteenth Connecticut Volunteer Infantry, 2nd Brigade, 3rd Division, 2nd Army Corps,” and provides a detailed description of the regiment’s activities during the Battle of Antietam.

The regiment advanced in a charge to the location of the monument, for instance, then fell back 88 yards to a cornfield fence and held that position under fire for nearly two hours before being deployed to another position.

The clover on the south face was the Second Corps emblem.

The monument’s east face bears an inscription reading, “This monument stands on the line of companies B and G, near the left of the regiment. In this battle, the regiment lost 38 killed and mortally wounded, 68 wounded and 21 reported missing.”

The north face bears the Connecticut seal and an inscription reading, “Erected by the State of Connecticut, 1894.”

The west face bears a United States seal and provides a summary of the unit’s history. The regiment mustered into service August 23, 1862, with 1,015 men, and was engaged 34 times between Antietam and Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox in 1865.

During its service, 202 members were killed or mortally wounded, 186 died of disease, 549 were wounded, and 319 were discharged for disability.

The 14th also performed admirably at Gettysburg, and we’ll profile their service there in a post next month.




















General Mansfield Monuments, Antietam

Connecticut native and Civil War General Joseph K.F. Mansfield is honored with two monuments near the site of his mortal wounding on the Antietam battlefield.

Mansfield, commander of the Army of the Potomac’s Twelfth Corps, was wounded as he led troops into battle early on the morning of September 17, 1862.

The larger of the two monuments honoring the general features a pink granite column topped with a sphere. The monument was dedicated in 1900 and stands near Antietam’s East Woods, at intersection of Smoketown Road and Mansfield Avenue.

A dedication on the west side of the monument’s base reads, “Major General, Joseph K. F. Mansfield, commanding the 12th Corps, Army of the Potomac.  Mortally wounded near this spot, September 17, 1862, about 7:35 A.M., while deploying his corps in action.”

The south face features a bronze plaque with the Connecticut shield and an inscription reading, “Erected by the State of Connecticut A.D. 1900 under the auspices of Mansfield Post No. 53, Department of Connecticut G.A.R.”

The G.A.R. refers to the Grand Army of the Republic, the post-Civil War veterans’ organization. The Mansfield Post was established in Middletown, the general’s adopted hometown.

The plaque  featuring the Connecticut seal is a 2002 reproduction sponsored by the reenactment and preservation group Company G, 14th Regiment Connecticut Volunteer Infantry 1861-1865. The new plaque was modeled after a similar one on the Gen. John Sedgwick monument at Gettysburg.

The east side of the monument’s base is not inscribed, and the north face bears an inscription reading, “The spot where Gen. Mansfield fell is a few yards easterly from this monument. Born December 22, 1803. Killed September 17, 1862.”

Mansfield, a New Haven native, was a career Army officer who served in the Corps of Engineers after graduating from West Point. During his military service, Mansfield lived in Middletown. He served during the Mexican-American War in the 1840s.

As the Civil War started, Mansfield helped design defense plans for Washington, D.C. He assumed command of the Twelfth Corps a few days before the Battle of Antietam.

After his death, Mansfield was buried in Middletown’s Indian Hill Cemetery. A monument and plot for other Civil War veterans stands near the general’s grave.

Wounding Monument

An inverted cannon memorial, a short walk east from the larger monument at Antietam, also honors Mansfield’s wounding. The cannon has a plaque reading, “Major General Joseph K.F. Mansfield, U.S.A., mortally wounded 38 yards N. 70° W.”

The precision with which the plaque on the cannon specifies where Mansfield was wounded may not be accurate, since veterans of the battle argued about the location where he was shot (as well as the color of the horse he was riding) for years after the battle.

Disagreements about the specific location of Civil War incidents were common after the war, and understandable if you consider veterans were returning, 20 or 30 years later, to sites they had visited once during the confusion of a battle.