|A figure of color sergeant George Simpson, killed in the West Woods at Antietam, |
tops the 125th Pennsylvania's monument on the battlefield.
After the bullet tore through his bowels at the Battle of Antietam, 125th Pennsylvania Private John Rose of Company D was carried to a barnyard-turned-field hospital, where he died the next morning, Sept. 18, 1862. Two wounded comrades observed the 21-year-old soldier's pockets being emptied after his death, the contents turned over to a lieutenant in the regiment for delivery to friends, before the son of John and Sarah Rose was buried in a makeshift grave nearby.
An iron worker in Altoona, Pa., John lived with his parents and was the "main and almost only support" for his mother and sickly father, whom he gave most of his $6 weekly wages. "Another family circle mourns a loved one lost," reported the Altoona Tribune a little more than three weeks after the death of Rose, whose remains lie in an unknown grave. The private's hometown newspaper also published a few words by noted poet George Morris, an expression of "the sentiments of parents and friends":
|The grave for Private Joshua Cretin's wife, Sarah, in|
Saint Augustine Cemetery in Cambria County, Pa.
The soldier's final resting place is unknown.
(Find A Grave)
Recalled Lieutenant Theodore Flood, whose Company C shouted its motto "In God We Trust" as it went into battle:
"As we stood firing into the ranks of the enemy [in the West Woods] the second man to me, George A. Simpson, while bravely holding the flag aloft, was hit with a bullet from a Confederate gun, which pierced his brain, and he fell dead. A second man picked up the flag, and he was shot down. A third, and he fell; the fourth took it up, and he was shot and fell."Initially diagnosed with a mortal wound, Simpson's brother, John, survived because a bullet narrowly missed vital organs after passing near his ribs. Thanks to "careful home nursing," the sergeant survived and became an attorney after the war. He never showed his Antietam scars for "public gaze."
|Antietam victims in 125th Pennsylvania: Private James Long is buried in Carson Valley Cemetery|
in Duncansville, Pa.; Private Lewis McDermitt is buried in Saint Augustine Cemetery
in Cambria County, Pa. (Find A Grave left and right)
Wounded in the thigh, Lewis McDermitt, a 23-year-old private in Company K, lingered for nearly two weeks after his leg was amputated and died at Hospital No. 6 in nearby Boonsboro, Md. After Lewis' death, his widowed mother sold her unmarried son's unfinished house for $275, using much of the proceeds to settle his debts and pay for his funeral. His mother planned to live in the house once her son returned from the war.
After nearly five years of marriage, 21-year-old Elizabeth Lier became a widow when her husband, John of Company E, was killed instantly when a bullet struck him in the head. She was left to raise their 1-year-old son, Daniel. A 28-year-old private in Company G, James Long survived until Feb. 5, 1863, when he died of a gunshot wound to his left thigh in a hospital in Frederick, Md. He left behind a wife named Caroline and two young daughters, Susan, 4, and Sarah, 4 months.
"He served his country faithfully," Long's pastor noted at his funeral on April 23, 1863, "[and] poured out his life on the altar."
Find A Grave
History of the One Hundred and Twenty-fifth Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers 1862-1863, J.B. Lippincott Company, Philadelphia, 1906
Hollidaysburg (Pa.) Democratic Standard, April 28, 1863
Reimer, Terry, One Vast Hospital: The Civil War Hospital Sites in Frederick, Maryland After Antietam, The National Museum of Civil War Medicine, Frederick, Md., 2001
John Rose, Lewis McDermitt, James Long, Joshua Cretin and John Lier pension files, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington via fold3.com.
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|The 125th Pennsylvania and Confederates blasted away at each other in the West Woods.|