As we left off last time heading through Crampton’s Gap and onward to the appointed finale, we wonder if they knew, if they had a premonition that this would be the bloodiest day in the history of the Civil War. Rebel’s General Lee had already arrived with his men and was waiting for General “Stonewall” Jackson a true Virginian and his over 30,000 troops. Yankee’s General McClellan was placing his army whose lines extended about five miles, General Hooker was to head off on the right flank. Positions were set and troops were in position. It looked like a well laid out chess game but with an incredible number of pieces.
Hooker’s men came across the Antietam to Hagerstown Road as they pushed forward hitting the Rebels with all they had surprising them into a disarray. A very brief elation was felt by the Union group, not to last long.
Engaged in battle were the 7th Maine, the 77th New York, 20th New York, Vermont Brigade, 33rd Brigade, 49th New York and so many others. Five of the North’s Generals had been killed or wounded. They are now fighting face to face, toe to toe, and hand to hand. Of course, all the guns, cannons, and rifles continued their deafening barrage. Our Captain Henry Draime was taken ill and Lt. Carter was in charge of the fighting Co. B of the 33rd. Lt. Carter and his Wayne Countians, as they were called, were waiting when the rest of the brigade ran ahead.
Carter quickly began to catch up. Lt. Col. Joseph Corning was taking the 33rd to the right flank, and divided them in four ranks. There was chaos all around, but the actions of Carter and Company B allowed Corning to throw two volleys into the North Carolinians. The 33rd and the 77th NY pushed forward into the Rebel battery who continued to keep a constant firing. The North replied with more fire and put them in crossfire. The battles were hot and heavy and the remains were devastating with wounded, half dead, and suffering. General McClellan could have ordered the 33rd and the others remaining to attack General Lee and his men on the Burnside Bridge before they could get to the Potomac and regroup, but General McClellan did not and General Lee and his soldiers regrouped to fight another three years.
Now, Assist. Surgeon Curran and Chaplin Lung of Canandaigua were to do the nasty deed of last rights, small repairs of parts, limbs, and souls. There were no field hospitals nearby so Curran had his work cut out for him. Far too much for anyone to deal with, he did the best he could and offered bread, water, and comfort. Both sides lost a total of 25,000 men with a thousand more of this total lost on the Confederate side. Because of this battle and the bloodshed President Lincoln determined on Sept. 22, 1862 he would issue the Emancipation Proclamation. We mourn for them all. Thanks to George Contant and his book “Path of Blood”.
Sibyl’s birthday is Thursday, Oct. 10, 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Phelps General Store and home. The famous Historic Palmyra Cemetery Walk is Oct. 18 and 19 with shows at 6:30 and 8 p.m. The walk is noted third in the nation 2012 by AAA. Call 597-6981 for information and reservations.