Following the American Civil War Sesquicentennial with day by day writings of the time, currently 1863.

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“Much time has been spent here in preparing the official reports of the engagement at Antietam.” –Diary of Josiah Marshall Favill.

September 28, 2012

Diary of a Young Officer–Josiah Marshall Favill (57th New York Infantry)

September 28th. Excellent weather. Nothing of importance to relate. Our tents are pitched, and we are living in luxury and abundance, drilling, and making as much as possible out of what is left to us. McKim is in charge of the division hospital in a large brick house, and is gaining much reputation for industry, as well as for his professional attainments. We still keep up our ancient familiarity, and frequently take long romantic rides together. The other day we crossed the river by the pontoon bridge, and rode leisurely along the base of the Blue Ridge over an excellent road, delightfully shaded for a considerable distance up the Loudon valley. We stopped at a house by the mountain side, and found a very clever old lady agreeably disposed. Bought some honey and fresh milk, which we disposed of al fresco, while listening to the experiences of the old lady, who related a lot of gossip.

Much time has been spent here in preparing the official reports of the engagement at Antietam.

Colonel John R. Brooke’s report of the battle, as commanding officer of the brigade, mentions our charge as follows:

“The enemy having taken post in a cornfield, in the rear of Roulett’s farm house, I sent the Fifty-third Pennsylvania to dislodge them, and hold the position, and this was done with great gallantry. I then advanced the Fifty-seventh and Sixty-sixth New York to relieve Caldwell’s lines, which were fiercely assailed by fresh troops of the enemy. Passing his line with steadiness and regularity they drove the enemy from the field in great confusion, capturing two colors, and covering the ground with dead and wounded. It was here the gallant Lieutenant Colonel Parisen fell, while bravely cheering his men on to victory. Lieutenant J. M. Favill, Adjutant Fifty-seventh New York, after Lieutenant Potts was borne from the field, supplied his place with great gallantry.”

In General Hancock’s report of the part the division, as a whole, took in the battle, he pays some of us very handsome compliments. He says: “There were some officers, who by their position and the occasions presented, had opportunities of acquiring the highest distinction, and amongst others names Lieutenant, Colonel Parisen, Major A. B. Chapman, and First Lieutenant J. M. Favill, of the Fifty-seventh.”

Major Chapman’s report of Antietam:

Camp On Bolivar Heights,

September 24th, 1862.

Lieutenant: I have the honor to submit the following report of the movements of my command during the action of the 17th instant near Sharpsburg. About noon of that day, we became actively engaged with the enemy, our brigade having relieved that of General Meagher. This regiment, and the Sixty-sixth, received orders to march on the enemy, who were at that time drawn up in a ditch at the foot of the hill on which we were, and from which they were pouring a galling fire into our ranks. Animated by the presence of both their brigade and division commanders, the regiment moved forward with a determined enthusiasm I have never seen excelled. In a few minutes we had cleared the ditch of every living enemy, and were driving them in great disorder through the cornfield beyond. It was during this period of action we lost our noble and gallant Lieutenant-Colonel Parisen, and several valuable line officers. We took the colors of the Twelfth Alabama and many prisoners. I am unable to form a very correct estimate of the latter, but they considerably exceeded the number of men in the ranks of my regiment.

Remaining a short time in line at the farther end of this cornfield, I received orders to move the regiment to the support of a battery on our left and rear. I filed around the foot of the hill under a terrible fire of grape and cannister, which fortunately caused us comparatively slight loss, being aimed too high. Arriving on the left of the battery, I found General Richardson, who was in the act of assigning me my position, when he was badly wounded, and carried from the field. I then formed on the right of Caldwell’s brigade, and remained in that position until I received orders from the colonel commanding the brigade to form on the left of the Second Delaware, then posted on the hill on which we remained during the succeeding two days.

It is with gratification that I speak of the general conduct of my command, both officers and men. They acted nobly throughout. I would especially mention Capt. N. Garrow Throop, severely wounded; Capt. James W. Britt, who although wounded, refused to leave the field; Capt. Kirk, Curtis and Mott, Lieut. John H. Bell,severely wounded; Lieuts. Jones, Wright; Higbee and Folger, killed. The medical officers of the regiment, Surgeon R. V. McKim and Assistant Surgeon Henry C. Dean and Nelson Neely are deserving of all praise for their care and attention to the wounded, and the promptness with which they caused them to be removed from the field. Among the enlisted men I would especially mention First Sergeant Lindason, of Company F (killed) ; First Lieutenant John S. Paden, Company A (wounded) ; Sergeant H. W. Cooper, Company H (killed); Sergeant Stobbe, Company A (wounded); and Kelly, Company A; First Sergeant Hall, Company I, and Alcoke, Company K, and Brower, Company K. The last three I placed in command of companies which had lost officers and sergeants.

I have considered it unnecessary to submit a more elaborate report, inasmuch as every movement was made under the immediate supervision of the colonel commanding the brigade, who on that day seemed omnipresent. We took into battle three hundred and nine officers and men, and lost ninety-seven killed and wounded, and three missing.

A. B. Chapman,

Major Commanding.

The doctor, I am sorry to say, is going to desert us to get married, and will never rejoin again. This is the most unkindest cut of all, and at this melancholy time, too, when so many of our best fellows are hors du combat through the casualties of war. It is like pulling up by the roots all our early associations, and is enough to make one swear! Why could not the young woman wait awhile?

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