The following article appeared in the "Sandusky Daily Register on November 10, 1862
The 8th Ohio at Antietam
The following, correspondence of the Cleveland Herald giving a lively picture of the doings of the 8th Ohio at the battle of Antietam, though coming late will be found interesting to our readers:
First, then, let me remind you that the 8th Ohio was a part of General Kimballís brigade, Gen. Fremontís division, General Sumnerís corps, Army of the Potomac. The brigade mentioned was composed of the 14th Indiana, 8th Ohio, 7th Virginia, and 132d Pennsylvania Infantry. Monday night, Sept. 15th, after a wearying march, we bivouacked on a range of small hills running parallel with the banks of Antietam Creek, and about one mile from a small town called Keedsville. Tuesday (16th) we were roused by moving troops and artillery. Soon the ememyís batteries opened on us, and in a short time ours took position, and a cannonade followed, which was only equaled in sublime majesty by the conflict of the succeeding day. This cannonade continued throughout the day, and as we were obliged to be in line in immediate support of the batteries it was a position that tries the nerves of men even more than a closer engagement, from the fact that they can do nothing but "stand (or sit) and take it." The peculiar feeling of dread which fills the minds of all as those screeching iron messengers of death approach, can, perhaps, be faintly described, but never realized until you have been there. The guns were stacked and the men were permitted to stand, sit, lie down, but not to leave the line of battle.
I was standing about ten paces from the center of the Regiment and directly opposite the colors, as I saw a twelve pound conical coming. It was directly in line of the regiment, and I was wondering who of our number must go now, as it approached the colors and fell among a little group, who were sitting by them. A little cloud of dust enveloped them as they sprang to their feet.- It cleared away and I saw that one had not risen. Poor Farmer, one of the color guard, lay quivering in death. The shell had not burst, but rebounding it tore away the right and lower part of his side then fell by its victim unconscious of its fatal effects. A little party of his comrads gathered around as with-a few shuddering groans poor Farmer slept the sleep of death while the wind rustling through its silken folds, seemed to make the old flag droop and sigh for its brave guard, unable to defend it longer.
Towards evening Gen. Hookerís corps crossed the Antietam, attacked the enemyís left and from that time until late in the evening the incessant rattle of rifles and musketry and roar of artillery told of bloody work there.
With the dawning of the next morning, (Wednesday, Sept. 17th.) the battle was renewed. At 8 oíclock, A.M. our corps (Sumnerís) crossed the Antietam at the same place Hooker had crossed the evening previous, and moving steadily forward, until the entire corps was across, when the line of battle was formed, Gen. Frenchís in the centre and Gen. Richardsonís on the left, and the advance commenced. It was a splendid sight as
"The long line went gleaming on,
Ere yet the life blood warm and wet,
Had dimmed the glistening bayonet."
And as those gallant troops pressed eagerly forward, how forcibly the lines occurred to me.
"To drum beat to heart beat.
A soldier marched by,
There is color in his cheek.
There is courage in his eye;
Yet to drum beat to heart beat,
In a moment he must die."
We reached an orchard with an open lawn on either side. As the thing commenced, Gen. French being afraid that some of the new troops would not stand under the heavy fire which he knew they must encounter, had ordered Gen. Kimballís brigade to be held as a reserve, and we were halted in the orchard, while Morrisí brigade was advanced to the crest of the line of little hills which lay distinctly in front of and paralled with a deep ravine, and cornfield beyond. As soon as they reached the crest of these rises of ground, they were met by a tremendous volley from the enemy position in the ravine and cornfield. They wavered for a few minutes, then breaking, came back at a "Bull Run" pace, threatening to overrun everything that stood in their way. Our line stood fast and by shouts of "cowards" and threats to "charge bayonets" on them if they did not " halt," they were checked.
Then came Kimballís order, "Forward, 14th Indiana!" "Forward, 8th Ohio!" This order, echoed by our no less brave Sawyer, Winslow and Lewis, was gladly obeyed, and moving steadily forward at quick time we took the broken ranks of the new regiments with us and went up to meet the foe. Again the enemy poured forth a murderous fire, but this time they got as good as they sent. The new troops encouraged, fought side by side with us gallantly. The air seemed hissing hot with rifle balls. Crashing through our ranks would come terrible discharges of grape and cannister, while the bursting of heavy shells from a battery directly in our front, would create a juvenile earthquake about the head. Twice the enemy charged our centre, and were as many times repulsed. Our ammunition was gone, that of our dead and wounded nearly exhausted. The enemy were being reinforced, - none reached us, "Oh for a charge!" is echoed along the line. The new troops on the right and left have lost some of their field officers, and cannot be trusted. Just then, moving up on our left, is seen brave General Meagher, with his gallant Irish Brigade. They are charging. The Hoosiers and Buckeyes cannot be held back longer.- "Fix bayonets and charge!" With a rush and a cheer the order is obeyed; and three hundred prisoners are captured in the ravine from which they had annoyed us so long.- Pushing the enemy back, while Meagher is pressing them on the left the enemy are faced around, and our right, being unsupported, they turn that flank. The 14th will not run, while the 8th is on the left, so changing front, the two regiments join with Meagherís brigade, and side by side they charge across the corn-field, -that is, all that was left of them. At this critical point General Smithís division of Gen. Franklinís corps arrived, and relieving Kimballís brigade, they are brought off to replenish their ammunition and count their losses. Sad duty. Out of three hundred and twenty who went into the battle that morning, one hundred and fifty only remained uninjured. Thirty-two are dead; and although our noble Surgeon, Major Thomas McEhright, with his little corps of assistants, under the God-given banner, whose device is, "our motto is to save," are, doing all they can, many are dying of their wounds; -- Lieutenants Lantry and Bill are dead; Lieutenants DeLaney, and Barnes are mortally wounded; Sergeants West, Varney, Sawtell and others just as brave, will never be with us again. Lieutenants Thompson and Smith have each lost an eye. Lieutenants Craig, Wetherell, and Nichkerson have also felt the rebel hail. Lieutenant Colonel Sawyer, Major Winslow, Adjutant Lewis, Quartermaster Dickinson, Captains, Tillotson, Gregg, Kenney, Allen, Reid and Miller, with Lieutenant Farnum, though narrowly escaping in many instances, were still unhurt.
May we soon meet the living. For the dead we can only say, Brave soldiers gallant comrades, farewell! A.H.N.Return to 8th Ohio at Antietam Page