Eighth Regiment Connecticut Volunteers
Company A, Inc.
Antietam National Battlefield Park
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September 15-17, 2000
September 21st, 1862
east of Sharpsburg, Md.
As the news of the battle fought here continues to reach you, I am compelled to write you a few more lines that will keep you posted on the state of affairs with the boys you know here. I already have used up several pieces of paper describing the great battle, and our role in it, the casualties, and the rest of the military news.
I thought I would take the opportunity to write of what is transpiring with the boys in a human way, and what the battle has done to the town. We spent most of the day on Friday getting about the battlefield, and noting the damage, looking for lost friends, and generally lamenting our losses. We visited the point of the furthest advance of the 8CV, and noticed that the government has erected a new sign pointing out that location. We traveled over the field on foot, visiting all of the Connecticut positions, including those of the 14th over on the right of the bloody lane, and the 11th below the bridge, and the position of the 16th in the 40 acre corn field. We walked in reverse from the 8th's advanced position on the Harpers Ferry Road over the hills, and down to Snaveley's ford, and from there back to the bridge, and baclk to our position the night before on the farm of Henry Rohrback.
Around dusk, we resumed our camp at the foot of the bridge, and erected our shelters, those having come up on the regimental wagons from Frederick during the week. We were glad to be in such a peaceful place after appreciating the horrors that transpired here just a few days ago. We posted a guard that covered the next 24 hours and proceeded to get some rest.
In the morning, the guards came in, and we got up some breakfast, then ddetermined to let some of the boys travel about the field to see if we could find some more of the unaccounted, and to check on our casualties we know are in the hospitals. Several reconnaissances were made during the day, while the rest of the company continued to guard and greet the citizens as they too came around to the bridge and location to learn more news of the great battle.
In the afternoon, we were met by the provost, and our weapons were inspected. We were then ordered to the right of the line to the vicinity of the Dunker church to brigade with other regiments and parade and demonstrate for the public our readiness to meet any threat, now long gone back over the Potomac at Shepardstown.
Later, the provost provided some fine rations, and we were detailed to the Smoketown Hospital for duty there, both burying the dead and caring for the wounded. A tour of the area turned up much activity that evening all light by torches. The first was at headquarters, where a correspondent questioned the colonel regarding Lee's lost order nunber 191. Several correspondents were discussing how to get the news of the casualties back to the papers, and from there the suffering at the Dunker church now a hospital was viewed. Piles of arms and legs were collecting at the doorways and windows. From there, the Smoletown hospital provides some rest for the stable casualties, yet several were still being buried at any hour of the day. The citizens were inquiring of the provost about their losses, their claims, and their urgent needs with winter approaching, and no houses, no livestock, and no crops. Burials continued on a grand scale, and even the rebel casualties left behind were touchingly cared for.
The next day found the boys of the Eighth still guarding the bridge, and we spoke at length with several citizens, even wagon loads of them coming though with notable guides. We all were touched even more to see that the concern for our own boys extended to folks from every state, particularly a couple of Connecticut descendants traveling in the area from their homes in Oregon. The time at the bridge drew to a close as the provost had ordered us to the right of the line once more, and a fien demonstration for the public to build their confidence was once more conducted. From there, we were orderd to our wagons, and loaded them, then marched off to the south, for a location called Antietam Iron Works. We are leaving many behind, and we cannot know their fate. We do not know how long we will be at the Iron Works, nor how long it will be until we head south the the seat of war once more.
All we do know is that the great battle along the Antietam Creek here in Sharpsburg, Maryland has been a victory, has repelled the rebel invasion, and hs once again helped to restore our Union. We are sad, but not lost, and we wil continue to fight this war until the Union is whole once more, may God speed the right.
Love to all,
Eighth Regiment Connecticut Volunteers, Co.A, Inc.