More than 100 dead in single fight
- <<Casuality numbers tend to fluctuate wildly from source to source>>
Good point! It all depends on what you are looking at and talking about. Are we talking about just dead, or all casualties? Are we talking percentages or actual numbers? Some regiments were only company strength at Antietam, such as the 46th Pa( about 100) and the 28th NY (about 70). 50% of about 100 is 50, but that isn�t as many people as 10% of a green regiment that were almost full strength. But really when it comes down to it, does it really matter? Every life is a sacrifice.
I had the good fortune to have a discussion about this with Brian Pohanka several years ago. As you know he did extensive research on the 5th NY (and was working on his regimental when he died).
Back then he sent me the following, which I found very interesting. And goes to show you that no matter how much you research, it seems next to impossible to really and know how many men were in a particular location at one time.
��As is often the case when it comes to computing actual numbers engaged in a specific battle, the truth will likely never be known as to how many men of the 5th NY breasted the onslaught on August 30, 1862. Here are some details from my notes:
William F. Fox, "Regimental Losses in the American Civil War", says they took 490 into the fight, as does a letter written by Rev.Dr. Gordon Winslow (July 12, 1863). The latter places the loss at 139 killed and 152 wounded, for a total of 291.
The regimental monument, erected in 1906, gives a strength of 462, of whom 124 were killed or mortally wounded, and 223 wounded, for a total of 347.
James Webb, who served as a member of the Monument Commission (Medal of Honor for Second Manassas) thought that 462 men entered the fray, with 136 killed or mortally wounded, 203 wounded, and 17 missing and presumed dead -- a total
of 356 [Monument Commission Proceedings & Minute Books].
Initial post battle reports indicated 28 dead, 170 wounded and 99 missing and unaccounted for a total of 297; 77 wounded got off the field, and 82 wounded were captured and paroled.
When attempting to come up with the inscription for the monument, the uncertainty was reflected by the several efforts made by the Regimental Committee to determine the numbers. Initially they thought 88 killed, 49 mortally wounded, 214 wounded (thus 117 kia/mw and 331 total). This was later
altered to 124 kia/mw, 223 wia -- total 347.
Notes in a copy of Davenport's Regimental History that I have seen (made by a veteran of the 5th NY) say 115 were kia/mw, 4 missing and never heard from again, 183 wia, for a total of 302. "Honors of the Empire State", a postwar volume, gives the losses as 110 killed and 209 wounded, for a total of 319.
Although the Monument inscription states that 462 men were taken into the fight, Col. Warren placed unit strength at 500 in his report. Alfred Davenport (Regimental Historian) gave the total as 580, as did the 1899 "Honors of the Empire State". Corporal Thomas Maher wrote home that they took 600 into the battle.
A Morning Report for August 27, 1862, gives the total as 17 officers and 594 enlisted men (total 611). But this includes noncombatants and men detailed elsewhere. We know that medical orderlies had been assigned, and were in the rear. There was also a detail attached to a cattle guard with Pope's Army --
the figure not certain. Also, when the regimental knapsacks were placed aboard a transport to be sent north, a detail was put in charge over them. We know that 3 officers were absent on these duties, and I suspect a minimum of 50, and possibly closer to 100 enlisted men were not present on the battle line that bloody afternoon. So that tends to push the battle strength down
around 500 to 525 or so men.
As for the casualties, I have gone through the service and pension files of every man who ever served in the 5th New York, as well as hospital registers, and other documents at the National Archives, and based on all of that my casualty figures I get the following:
85 KIA, 34 MW, 179 WIA, 25 POW unwounded, 7 MIA [all of whom later turned up] and 2 "deserted". These latter two men were never seen nor heard from again, and it is possible they were, in fact KIA. ��
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- Hey buddy! It might have been in Fox's Regimental Losses in the Civil
War. Also, to the best of my knowledge, Antietam had the highest
number of surgeons killed in a single battle: four. At Gettysburg I
think one was killed and thirteen wounded. I don't know how many
surgeons were wounded at Antietam, but know one or two surgeons from
the 14th Connecticut had a narrow escape at the Roulette Farm. Scott
--- In TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com, Stephen Recker <recker@...> wrote:
> I'm trying to remember where I read that the 15th Mass. in the West
> Woods was one of only four regiments in the CW that suffered more
> 100 dead in a single engagement. Anyone know where I might've read
> that? Thanks.