Sgt. Sam Bloomer, 1st Minnesota
Samuel Bloomer was born in Switzerland on November 30, 1835. His mother died when he was 5 and he emigrated to the United State's with his grandparents and cousins in 1846. They first settled in St. Louis, then migrated to Stillwater, Minnesota, in 1848. Bloomer worked as a carpenter and was active in the "Wide Awakes" before enlisting in the 1st Minnesota. He was mustered in as a corporal in Co. B on April 29, 1861. He was slightly wounded at Bull Run. He served throughout the Peninsula Campaign and was promoted to Color Sergeant on June 3, 1862.
From Bloomer's Journal: Wednesday Sept 17th. We were up very early then got our coffee & about 7 oclock we fell in line, forded Antietam Creek, marched about 1 mile, formed in line of battle & advanced through fields, woods & over fences & over the field where the Battle commenced early in the morning & which field was covered with dead & wounded of both sides. At last we halted at the edge of a cornfield by a rail fence but still we were in the woods. Had not been at the fence more than 15 minutes before a most terrific fire was poured into the left of our brigade from the rear & front & which fire came quickly down the line to the right wher we were.The firing was very light for a time but I knew I had to go to the rear for I was shot in my leg just below the knee. I had just got behind a large tree when the whole line was ordered to fall back, which they did leaving me behind. The advance of the secesh soon made their appearance & passed by me but did not go a great ways further but formed their picket line about 40 rods in fron of me & shortly their line came up & formed just where our line had stood, which left me about 40 rods in front of their line. A wounded prisoner, I was let on the field all day & the shot & shells of both armies playing in or about there all day cutting off limbs of trees & tearing up the ground all around me & which made it a very dangerous place. But as luck would have it, I got through safe. By that fence my pardner Oscar Cornman was killed & one of Co A, likewise some were wounded & all the wile the battle was raging terribly on our left. Secesh were quite gentlemanly toward me, but they took from me my sword which was a present to me from Lieut Muller, likewise two revolvers for which I did not care so much.
Here is an account published in Confederate Veteran entitled "A Wounded Federal Color Bearer - From report of His Experiences-Sam Bloomer" (April 1909): The battle of Antietam, or Sharpsburg, "one of the deadliest of the Civil war," was fought September 17, 1862. Sharpsburg, a small town, is on Antietam creek, near which the Confederate army was posted before the battle. Gen. R. E. Lee commanded the Southern army, and the Union forces were under the command of Gen. George B. McClellan. General Lee's forces were "outnumbered at least two to one." The loss in killed, wounded, and prisoners aggregated not far from 25,000 men, about equally divided.
The 1st Minnesota Regiment was in the thickest of the fight all day. It was located at the extreme right. Sam Bloomer was the color bearer of the regiment and early in the forenoon while he was resting the flagstaff on a fence in front of him a Minnie ball struck his right leg below the kneecap, passing straight through. At the place of the egress, the bullet left a ghastly wound. About that time, our line was broken, leaving its faithful color bearer to his fate. Sam crawled to the foot of a big oak tree for protection against the Confederate fire; but as our men fell back and the Confederates occupied the place, he found a change of base desirable. He crawled painfully and slowly around the tree to avoid the fire from his friends. Sam had ripped away his clothing, dressed the wound as best he could, and kept it bathed with water from his canteen, and then bound his leg above the knee with a strip from his blanket to prevent a fatal loss of blood. Several days thereafter when the injured leg was amputated the strip was out of sight, enveloped in the swollen flesh on either side.
"Not far from noon" says Sam, "a Confederate soldier, whom long afterwards I learned was W. H. Andrews, first sergeant of Company M, 1st Regiment Georgia Regulars, came up; and learning of my condition and the fact that I was between two fires, he and some of his comrades piled cord wood around me to protect me from the shots. I have no doubt that more than a hundred bullets struck that barricade during the day. Early in the evening Stonewall Jackson came riding by. He halted a moment, spoke kindly to me, asked to what regiment I belonged, and ordered the men who had charge of a lot of Union prisoners to supply my wants and make me as comfortable as possible. A captain of a North Carolina regiment a little later stopped and chatted with me, gave me a drink from his canteen, and spoke kindly and encouragingly. He rode away, but returned during the night and replenished my canteen with cool water. Previous to this a Confederate officer appeared whose conduct was unlike that of General Jackson and the North Carolina captain. He reviled me with bitter words, called me a ****** thief, etc. I had a revolver and a short sword under my rubber blanket on which I lay, and in my rage I attempted to get at the revolver, intending to shoot the fellow' but he had his eyes on me and shouted: 'Disarm that man!' The soldiers of course obeyed, although with a show of reluctance, and all that I could do was protest indignantly. I hated to part with the sword, as it was a present from Capt. Louis Muller. I asked the officer to let me retain the weapon; but he was inexorable, and I never saw the sword again. This was long ago, and time softens our animosities, and I don't know that I would harm that fellow if I should meet him."
Sam lay there on the ground until the evening of Thursday, the 18th, when the Confederates carried him on a stretcher to a little barn surrounded by straw stacks, where he lay another night. He was not alone, for there were more than one hundred other prisoners in the hands of the Confederates, whom it was their intention to parole.
Sam sent word to the officers of his company by Minnesota troops telling of his sad condition. He and three others of the wounded men were conveyed by ambulance to the Hoffman barn. Sam was obliged to sleep on the ground another night, as there were hundreds of others ahead of him awaiting treatment by the surgeon. The next day Dr. Pugsley amputated the injured leg.
Information about Bloomer, including journal,entry and pictures,found at 1st Minnesota Blog