|On Oct. 2, 1927, the Baltimore Sun printed this photograph of daguerreotype a |
5th Maryland soldier carried into battle at Antietam on Sept. 17, 1862.
|The 5th Maryland monument near Bloody Lane|
During that day's brutal fighting, perhaps near Bloody Lane, a bullet struck Wernex in the chest, denting the daguerreotype but apparently doing no physical damage to him. Wernex was among the lucky ones in the 5th Maryland, which suffered 39 killed and 109 wounded at Antietam.
"Returning to his home [after the war]," the Baltimore Sun reported on Oct. 2, 1927, "he presented the picture to his sister, asking her to retain it always as the charm that saved his life." After the war, George served as a Baltimore fireman—he missed only three alarms in 30 years—and ran a cigar store for 42 years.
"His customers numbered many of those who were frequent passengers on trains leaving Camden Station, his business being located just across the street from the depot," the Sun reported after Wernex's death from Bright's disease at age 71 in 1915. "He had been a reader of the Sun ever since he had received sufficient education to be able to read."
Werner undoubtedly was pleased that his sister prized the battle-damaged photo. After she married Charles L. Mattfeldt, the couple gave the daguerreotype a "prominent place in their home." After Anna Mary's death in 1916, the image was inherited by her son, Charles, a doctor and Baltimore County health officer. He kept the "cherished" photo, "draped with Stars and Stripes," in his office in Cantonville, Md. Dr. Mattfeldt died in 1934.
The current whereabouts of the image, however, are unknown.
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- Baltimore Sun, July 14, 1915, Oct. 2, 1927
- Find A Grave