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Death of Mansfield Part 4(final)

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  • Pa128th@aol.com
    Conversely, the data from Gould is too capricious and does not receive the broad support from others on the field. This author has attempted to view both sides
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 16, 2002
      Conversely, the data from Gould
      is too capricious and does not
      receive the broad support from
      others on the field. This author
      has attempted to view both sides
      objectively and initially, he even
      agreed with Major Gould.
      However, upon closer study, the
      reports of the 125th, and their
      supporters, ring too true and offer
      the most plausible recordings.
      Consequently, we return to the
      field of battle, shortly before or
      after eight on the morning of
      September 17, 1862.

      News of the corps comman-
      ders wound spread over the field
      rapidly and Lieutenant-Colonel,
      and U.S. Congressman,
      Alexander S. Diven, of the 107th
      New York, ran to nearby Doctor
      Flood. That surgeon, along with
      an aide only known as McGovern,
      ran immediately to the spot
      where Mansfield lay and later
      stated that he was certain that the
      general was shot by a Rebel
      sharpshooter; Of course, it is
      impossible to know the precise
      source of that bullet but, in April,
      1863, Dr. Flood noted
      When I came up, some men
      were tying to cary him in a blan-
      ket, but the jolting motion, made
      him bleed so fast, they were
      afraid to move. I found the cloth-
      ing around his chest saturated
      with blood, and upon opening
      them, found he was wounded in
      the right breast, the ball penetrat-
      ing about two inches from the
      nipple, and passing out of the
      back, near the edge of the shoul-
      der blade.
      Dr. Flood continued that when
      Mansfield realized that he was a
      surgeon, the general said, "for
      God's sake, do all you can for me,
      and stop the bleeding, and get
      me to some house." Flood also
      stated that he then "placed a
      compress on each orifice, and
      bandaged his body, which
      stopped the hemorrhage.
      According to Major Gould
      [and there appears to be
      no argument here], Mansfield
      was first carried back toward the
      farm of Samuel Poffenberger.
      Upon reachIng the southern
      edge of the Poffenberger

      Woods, the general was
      placed into an ambulance
      which carried him frirther to
      the rear.
      Meanwhile, General
      Crawford had taken notice of
      the activity around
      Mansfield and sent an aide,
      Lieutenant Edward R. Witman of the
      46th Pennsylvania, to render any
      needed assistance.
      Dr. Flood and the ambulance
      moved slowly toward the rear
      and when they arrived at the
      home of Mn George Line, they
      were met by Doctor Francis B.
      Davidson of the 125th
      Pennsylvania. Carefully, Mansfield
      was taken inside the Line home
      which was already full of Union
      wounded. Dr. Flood was fortu-
      nate to find an empty bedroom
      where they laid General
      Mansfield, and Dr. Davidson took
      a close look at the general's
      wounds. His inspection clearly
      confirmed that the ball had
      pierced the right lung, passing
      clear through the general. Flood
      too took another close look which
      only confirmed his earlier
      thoughts that "the wound must
      prove fatal." Dr. Flood also
      reported that Mansfield had
      developed a great thirst and was
      rapidly growing weak. Typical of
      the day, Flood mixed a canteen of
      Brandy with one part fresh water
      and gave it to Mansfield because
      he was in need of a "stimulus."
      General Mansfield did not like the
      potent elixir but Dr Flood insist-
      ed. Apparently, even at this early
      moment, Mansfield realized the
      gravity of his condition leading
      him to murmur various incanta-
      tions including, "Oh my God, am I
      to die thus!" and, "Oh my poor
      While details over the last 24
      hours of Mansfield's life are very
      scant, we do know that he "con-
      versed freely most of the time."
      and he was "under the influence
      of opiates," to reduce his pain.
      He made numerous inquiries
      regarding the progress of the
      battle and the safety of his
      fellow officers.
      At one point, an erroneous
      report was given to him
      that told of the deaths of
      Generals Burnside and
      Hooker. Stunned, he
      lifted his hand and cried
      aloud, "Too bad, too bad,
      Poor fellows, poor fellows.'
      He was soon relieved to
      learn that those earlier
      reports were false. When
      his doctors candidly told him
      that he could not possibly survive his wounds, his
      strong fundamentalist faith let
      him conclude, 'it is Gods will, it
      is all right.'

      As the evening wore on,
      Mansfield grew steadily weaken
      Still, he wanted to have all his
      friends and relatives know that he
      sent them his best wishes and he
      pointedly requested that Captain
      Dyer remain by his side.
      Throughout the evening the gen-
      eral received constant care from
      George W. Beers, a nurse
      assigned by Dr. Flood, plus,
      "Doctors Anselum, Porter and
      Weeks," the latter of the U.S.
      Navy. The general became
      resigned to death and one wit-
      ness later wrote that he vacillated
      between prayer and delirium,
      occasionally saying things like,
      "My God and Father," in "heaven"
      and, "into thy hands.. Get me a
      horse.. we are driving them thank
      In the very early morning
      hours of the 18th, Dr Flood
      returned to see the general and
      upon entering his room,
      Mansfield asked Dyer if "I was the
      Doctor that took him off the
      field?" When he was told yes,
      Mansfield was simply too
      exhausted to comment and
      turned his head and closed his
      eyes. Shortly thereafter, General
      Mansfield died and, according to
      one fanciful report, he passed in
      the arms of a staff member,
      Captain Louis Kasehagen. We do
      know for certain that he died qui-
      etly at approximately 8:10a.m.
      and his remains were promptly
      turned over to Captain Dyer
      Dyer, most likely, sent word
      to the general's family and made
      arrangements to take his body
      back to Connecticut per
      Mansfield's wishes. He also knew
      that the remains must be quickly
      embalmed, a necessity exacerbat-
      ed by the unusual heat. Dyer had
      the remains placed in a rough
      hewned coffin and left the area to
      arrive at Baltimore around 8
      o'clock Friday evening the 19th.
      Dyer and the remains were met
      by a detachment of General John
      E. Wool's staff and Mansfield's
      son, Samuel. 'Also there was
      Mansfield's nephew, the'
      Honorable Benjamin Douglas, and
      the Lieutenant-Governor of
      They placed the remains on a
      hearse drawn by a "fine team" and
      escorted them to the embalmers
      about one mile from the depot.
      When the embalmer looked at
      the cadaver, he knew instantly
      that his art was not required
      because the body had already
      advanced in its decomposition.
      As a result, the general's remains
      were placed in an air-tight metal-
      lic coffin, never again opened,
      and placed back upon the railway
      car. At Philadelphia, Dyer,
      Samuel and the entire party were
      given much attention but they
      did not delay.
      When the small entourage
      arrived in New York City, they
      were met by City officials who
      asked that Mansfield's remains be
      allowed to lie in state for at least
      one day in the Governor's Room
      at City Hall. To that request,
      Samuel and Dyer graciously
      declined stating that they were
      committed to a schedule to have
      the body returned to the family in
      Middletown, Connecticut. The,
      departing for New Haven, they
      arrived there at 7:30 p. m. of the
      20th and were again approached
      by another New York City contin-
      gent requesting permission to
      allow the general's remains to lie
      in state. This group attempted to
      persuade Samuel and Dyer by
      emphasizing the thought that
      Mansfield did not belong exclu-
      sively to Connecticut but rather,
      he was the "Country's man". But
      the two again refused and board-
      ed yet another train which took
      them into the "Silver City" of
      Meriden, Connecticut, arriving
      there about midnight. When the
      train stopped, the remains were
      placed on a carriage which rolled
      into the general's hometown,
      Middletown, about 3:00 a. m. on
      Sunday the 21st. The two tired
      men escorted the casket to the
      town hall and Dyer placed them
      in the charge of the guard from
      the 24th Connecticut Militia and
      quickly made his way to get
      some much needed rest. Samuel
      went to the impressive brick
      home at 151 Main Street to com-
      fort his mother, never realizing
      that the sad death of his father
      was now giving birth to contro-
      versy that would probably never
      The End

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