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Re: [TalkAntietam] Frederick Crouse, Pvt. Co. C, 128th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry

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  • G E Mayers
    Stephen, I finally had the chance to read the memoir account this evening. Very touching and, as someone noted, almost lyrical in spots. However, even if it
    Message 1 of 52 , Feb 15, 2007

      I finally had the chance to read the memoir account this evening. Very
      touching and, as someone noted, almost lyrical in spots. However, even
      if it was written many years later, I got the impression the events
      of that morning where the 128th PVI fought was seared into his memory,
      never to be forgotten.

      I wonder if anyone tried later to map the positions occupied at
      various points by the regiment against the terrain itself? It is
      pretty clear he is speaking of the Martin Lane farm where the entire
      XIIth Corps bivouacked the evening before.

      A final interesting thought.... I live only about twenty minutes from
      Riegelsville, PA and the building in which the Croasdale GAR Post once
      met is still standing but, at last recollection, was being used on the
      main or ground floor as a pizza parlor.

      Yr. Obt. Svt.
      G E "Gerry" Mayers

      To Be A Virginian, either by birth, marriage, adoption, or even on
      one's mother's side, is an introduction to any state in the Union, a
      passport to any foreign country, and a benediction from the Almighty
      God. --Anonymous
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "Stephen Recker" <recker@...>
      To: <TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Wednesday, February 14, 2007 7:53 PM
      Subject: [TalkAntietam] Frederick Crouse, Pvt. Co. C, 128th
      Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry

      An Account of the Battle of Antietam

      Frederick Crouse, Pvt. Co. C, 128th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry

      On the night before the battle we was aroused about 11 oclock from
      tired natures sweet repose by our officers who told us to fall in
      quickly and to make no noise. We were even warned not to let our
      canteens, accoutrements or tin cup rattle.
      After the regiment was formed we was marched off in the darkness,
      and it was terriable dark, we went groping through the bushes, over
      fences, across ditches, fields, creeks and through wood. We were
      finely halted about two o clock in the morning in a freshly plowed
      field, and ordered to lay down on our arms. We knew that we was close
      to the enemy’s lines for the constant firing of the pickets close by
      our front prevented us from getting any sleep. At the break of day
      everything became still as death. But it was only the calm that
      proceeds the terriable storm. It was hardly light yet, but we got up
      to take a look at our surrounding. We found that our whole brigrade
      lay massed at the foot of a hill on the brow of which, to our right
      it grew lighter we could see a number of our Cannon, and officers
      their fieldglasses looking at the enemys position. Our attention was
      next attracted by a long line of dead and wounded who were being
      carried on stretches from our picket line in front to the rear. By
      this time too, we could see our orderlies, Aide camps, field and staff
      officers galloping about in all directions and we felt certain that a
      battle was about to take place, and that we would likely be the first
      troops to be ordered in. Breakfast was not to be thought of, although
      we had really scarsly eating anything for the last two days, but we
      were thinking of the big breakfast that awaited us on the other side
      the hill. Sitting down on a stump I took out my pocket bible and read
      the 91st Psalm. I seen many other comrades similar engaged. But
      scarsely had this duty been performed when an officer rode up to
      [page 2]
      Gen Crawford who commanded our Brigade and delivered a verbal order.
      was standing within a few yards and heard most of what he said. Gen
      Crawford was to at once attack the enemys position with his Brigade,
      and pointing to a strip of woods on top of the hill to our left a
      little, clean the enemy out of there, then bear right oblique so as
      bring your men down under and in front of our artillery, which we
      then see to our right on top of the hill. Our Regiment the 128th Pa
      Vol was immediately ordered under arms. We had previously been
      supplied with 40 rounds, we were each given 20 more making 60 rounds
      ball cartridge. The office(r) spoke a few hurried words of
      encouragement to us as we stood in the ranks, they also gave us
      positive orders not to fire a gun until the order to fire was given,
      and then to fire low. Two men from each Company to carry off the
      wounded were then detailed. Between us and the strip of woods was a
      field enclosed by a worm (worrn?) fence and while waiting for the
      command to march, there sudenly appeared a detachment of the Pioneer
      Corps, armed with axes who leveled the fences in our front as if by
      Our Regiment being formed in columns of Company by platoon and as
      went forward was maneuvered into line of battle. we certainly
      presented a fine picture Being a new Regiment, in service less than
      week, with over a Thousand men in line, with their new uniforms Bright
      new arms and beautiful new flags waiving in the breeze we marched
      forward to the inspiring music of the fife and Drum Corps. But as we
      neared the woods where the rebs were we heared for the first time that
      whistle or peculiar whiz of the minnie ball. Several of our men were
      hit and fell and we all began to duck our heads. This was the most
      trying time, especially for new troops, and we dare not return the
      fire, and I confess I felt pretty streaky and a little weak in the
      knees. But soon the command rang out Charge Bayonet, double quick
      march, and away we went with a shout.
      [Page 3]
      We went through that strip of wood like a whirlwind and the
      Johnnies went out the other side. In passing through this woods our
      line of battle became very much mixed and out of shape, and it was
      here, while our officers were trying to reform and get the Regiment in
      line that the gallant Col Croasdale was killed, but we had hardly time
      to realize our loss for the Regiment was halted and the order given to
      fire. After two or three rounds had been fired that nervious feeling
      left me and I made up my mind that I was there to fight and I loaded
      and fired as fast as I could. But we was soon ordered to cease firing
      and to advance, the enemy slowly falling back. The next halt we made
      recollect there was a gully right in our front that had been washed
      across the field, and I need hardly tell you we wasent long getting
      into it. We certainly had a snap of it here, and I wished we might
      stay there all day. We would load raise partly up and bang away at
      them, drop back load and fire again. The only fun I got out of that
      days fight I got there. But after firing a number of rounds here the
      officers after considerale trounle got us to cease firing and we again
      advanced right oblique, this brought down to the celebrated corn
      The rebels had fell back on the left of this corn field and taken
      cover in a clump of undergrowth. We were the first troop to enter
      corn field, not a stock of corn was desturbed until we marched down
      through it, but during the day the battle raged in all its fury at
      point. it was faught over several times and was literaly covered
      the dead of both armies. When we reached the lower side of this corn
      field we were within fifty or sixty yards of the bushes where the rebs
      were in, although we could not see them, yet they was there and doing
      us great damage. Don’t suppose from what I have said that our
      was doing all of the fighting. Oh no, long lines of battle could be
      seen as far as we could see for the Battle was raging fearful.
      [Page 4]
      Now just here, had I the command of language, the descriptive
      ability, I should like to give a discription of the Battle as it was
      then raging around us, but I am not able to do it, and can only say it
      was Grand. Awfully Grand and terriable. It was a beautiful day, the
      Sun was shining brightly and a glance through the sulperous spoke of
      battle that at times enveloped the contending armies could be seen the
      ground thickly strewn with the dead and wounded. The bright collars
      Battle Flags and standards as they waved back and forth in shock of
      battle. The flash of sabers The gleam of Bayonets. The crash and
      rattle of Musketry. The roar and thunder of artillery which shook
      very ground under our feet, which together with the cries and groans
      the wounded and dying, made up a scene never to be forgotten, I hope I
      may never witness the like again.
      I had seen paintings of Battle scenes, and I had read of the
      of the Revolution, of the War of 1812, an oh: how my young heart used
      to swell with patriotic pride as I read of the glorious victories
      achieved [by] the American army in Mexico, and how I longed to witness
      a battle, And here I was not only an eye witness but an actual
      participant in one of the greatest Battles ever fought on the American
      continent, and besides which those battles of our other wars were mere
      skirmishes. Why the very air seemed filled with the messengers of
      death. In our rear on top of the hill was our Batteries in full
      action, whose red throats were belching forth the thunderbolts of
      and destruction over our heads, into the ranks of the enemy. While in
      our front, on the high ground beyond the Antietam could be seen the
      Confederate canon blazing and flashing as they hurled their terriable
      shot and shell into our midst. Why those terrible shells would come
      howling and shriking through the air, and coming down would burst with
      a report like a clap of thunder and a vivid flash of lightning and
      instantly probably ten or a dozen men would lie torn and bleeding in
      the agonies of death. Some of you may think that I have overdrawn
      schetch, but I have not, as the list of killed and wounded of that
      fight will show.
      The Union army under Gen mcCllelan on the morning of the Battle
      numbered 85,000 men. While the Confederate Army under Gen Lee

      Frederick Crouse, mustered into service in August 1862, was wounded
      Antietam by a minie ball which smashed through his left shoulder and,
      according to his granddaughter, then killed his brother-in-law John B.
      Kerbaugh. He was discharged from the Army in 1863 as a result of his
      wound which rendered his left arm useless. After the war, he served
      a station master and Postmaster of Riegelsville, Pa. organizing Col.
      Samuel Croasdale GAR Post No. 256 in 1882. He died on June 2, 1909, a
      month and two days shy of his 74th birthday.

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

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    • Stephen Recker
      I am creating a matrix that displays, for each sector of the Maryland Campaign, which state fought against which state. I have taken a crack at Crampton s Gap
      Message 52 of 52 , Feb 21, 2007
        I am creating a matrix that displays, for each sector of the Maryland
        Campaign, which state fought against which state. I have taken a crack
        at Crampton's Gap and was wondering if any of you wouldn't mind taking
        a look at it to see if I have it right. Thanks.

        http://www.virtualantietam.com/dan_transfer/stateMatrix_cg.pdf (108kb)

        Stephen Recker
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