|SEPT. 17, 1904: 125th Pennsylvania veterans at dedication of the regiment's Antietam monument.|
|A post-war image of Edward Russ,|
who suffered an abdomen
wound at Antietam.
At least five veterans in attendance that late-summer day in 1904 suffered nightmarish experiences at Antietam -- the first battle of the Civil War for the 125th Pennsylvania.
After firing his gun, Private Francis Gearhard of Company D retreated from near the church and joined his comrades, who had re-formed in a line behind a battery. Gearhart found a better musket and picked up a leather case from a dead Confederate that held a knife, fork and spoon. Then "a wounded Reb asked me to help him to a shady place," the immigrant from Germany recalled, "but on getting him to his feet he was unable to walk, as part of his bowels were hanging out, and I was compelled to leave him."
|A minister after the war, |
Elias Zeek was shot in the
right arm at Antietam.
A bullet ripped through the face and neck of Private Stephen Aiken of Company D, breaking his jaw bone and resulting in his discharge from the army in March 1863. After he was wounded and carried from the field by two comrades, Private Michael B. Brenneman of Company C spent 10 days in a battlefield hospital and another five weeks in a Pennsylvania hospital. "...It was two months," he wrote later, "before I got about on crutches."
But perhaps no veteran who attended the dedication of the 125th Pennsylvania monument that day suffered as harrowing an experience during the battle as Edward L. Russ.
|Michael B. Breneman spent two months|
on crutches after he was wounded
Russ, who had been mustered into the 125th Pennsylvania a little more than a month before Antietam, was rescued by six comrades, who risked their lives by carrying him from his exposed position. A surgeon thought Russ' wound was mortal, but he miraculously recovered at a hospital in nearby Hagerstown, Md., and survived the war. He died on Oct. 30, 1928, and was buried in Cypress Hills National Cemetery in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Altoona (Pa.) Mirror, Oct. 8, 1907
History of The 125th Pennsylvania Volunteers 1862-63, By The Regimental Committee, Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Company, 1906
|Sunset at 125th Pennsylvania monument on Confederate Avenue, near the Dunker Church.|