|Confederate dead at Antietam in a photograph taken by famed Civil War|
photographer Alexander Gardner. (Library of Congress collection)
On the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks last weekend, Americans honored the memory of 2,977 people killed in New York, Washington and Shanksville, Pa. The anniversary of another tragic September day likely will pass Saturday with little notice.
On Sept. 17, 1862, nearly 3,700 soldiers -- Yankees and Rebels -- died in the farm fields and woodlots surrounding Sharpsburg, Md. Many more wounded in the awful battle of Antietam died in Sharpsburg-area houses, barns or fields in the days and weeks following the battle. Antietam remains the bloodiest day in American history, a dubious record if there ever was one.
|George Bronson, a hospital steward|
in the 11th Connecticut, witnessed
the carnage at Antietam.
New England -- and Connecticut, in particular -- suffered greatly at Antietam. Funerals for Civil War soldiers were commonplace in the small towns of the Connecticut River Valley in late September and early October 1862. Over the past several months, I have posted stories of soldiers who served and died at Antietam.
"337 wounded dressed in this hospital," Bronson wrote his wife, Mary Anne, on Sept. 19, 1862. "3 of the men from our Reg. had their legs amputated. The last I do not think can long survive."
The casualty toll at Antietam -- there were also about 17,000 wounded -- shocked people in the North and South. Take a moment Saturday to remember the sacrifices that George, Justus, Henry, Joseph and thousands of others made 149 years ago.