III. Antietam September 17, 1862
Summary of Antietam as it pertains to the 64th. Caldwell was hiding and criticized. Barlow in particular along with Hancock can be commended. We can also ask where was t.j. parker in all this?
civil war combat: America's bloodiest battles Volume 1: Episode 4: The Bloody Lane at Antietam:
1. Hancock Assumes command of Division after Richardsons Mortal Wounding at Bloody Lane. 2nd divis by Sedgwick and 3rd by French.
2. Caldwell Commands 1st Brigade: Meager Commands 2nd "Irish" Brigade, 3rd Commanded By Brook.
5th New Hampshire: Col Edward E. Cross (w)
7th New York: Cpt Charles Brestel
61st and 64th New York: Col Francis C. Barlow (w), Ltc Nelson A. Miles
81st Pennsylvania: Maj H. Boyd McKeen
"Col. Francis C. Barlow and 350 men of the 61st and 64th New York saw a weak point in the line and seized a knoll commanding the sunken road. This allowed them to get enfilade fire into the Confederate line, turning it into a deadly trap. In attempting to wheel around to meet this threat, a command from Gen. Rodes was misunderstood by Lt. Col. James N. Lightfoot, who had succeeded the unconscious John Gordon. Lightfoot ordered his men to about-face and march away, an order that all five regiments of the brigade thought applied to them as well. Confederate troops streamed toward Sharpsburg, their line lost.
Richardson's men were in hot pursuit when massed artillery hastily assembled by Gen. Longstreet drove them back. A counterattack with 200 men led by D.H. Hill got around the Federal left flank near the sunken road, and although they were driven back by a fierce charge of the 5th New Hampshire, this stemmed the collapse of the center. Reluctantly, Richardson ordered his division to fall back to north of the ridge facing the sunken road. His division lost about 1,000 men. Col. Barlow was severely wounded, and Richardson mortally wounded. Winfield S. Hancock assumed division command. Although Hancock would have an excellent future reputation as a division and corps commander, the unexpected change of command sapped the momentum of the Federal advance." - http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Battle_of_Antietam This link is a detailed account
Union Order Of Battle: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antietam_Union_order_of_battle
This link describes the actions of the 64th and 61st at Antietam
The North Carolinians, holding the Confederate right flank were reinforced by troops led by Colonel Posey. The Mississippians flowed into and through the lane in a counter attack only to be badly mauled by the newly arrived Irish Brigade. The Irish Brigade filled the void left by the 7th West Virginia and stabilized the union left flank. At this point it became a contest of attrition and the Confederate position began to earn it’s dreadful name - “Bloody Lane.” The Irish slugged it out at close quarters until their ammunition ran out and they were compelled to fall back. Copyright RA Keene 1997
Copyright RA Keene 1997
The 61st and the 64th New York, under General Richardson moved to within 50 yards of the Confederate line and opened a deadly fire. This soon rendered the lane untenable and Confederate losses quickly mounted. Confused orders on the left flank and over-crowding on the right flank combined with a final Union push by the 130th Pennsylvania, the 61st and 64th New York supported by the 132nd Pennsylvania forced the Confederates from the lane, into the Piper corn field.
In the Battle of Antietam, Hancock assumed command of the 1st Division, II Corps, following the mortal wounding of Maj. Gen. Israel B. Richardson in the horrific fighting at "Bloody Lane." Hancock and his staff made a dramatic entrance to the battlefield, galloping between his troops and the enemy, parallel to the Sunken Road. His men assumed that Hancock would order counterattacks against the exhausted Confederates, but he carried orders from McClellan to hold his position. He was promoted to major general of volunteers on November 29, 1862. He led his division in the disastrous attack on Marye's Heights in the Battle of Fredericksburg the following month and was wounded in the abdomen. At theBattle of Chancellorsville, his division covered Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker's withdrawal and Hancock was wounded again.His corps commander, Maj. Gen. Darius N. Couch, transferred out of the Army of the Potomac in protest of actions Hooker took in the battle and Hancock assumed command of II Corps, which he would lead until shortly before the war's end.
Figure 1 Antietam, Maryland. General John C. Caldwell and staff on battlefield