Killed at Antietam

Andy Cardinal

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T.D. Biscoe's photograph of ' The Miller House ' and D.R. Miller's family at Antietam. Some of the worst fighting of the battle took place within sight of this farm.

From History of the Ninety-Seventh Regiment, New York Volunteers by Isaac Hall (pp. 91-94):

" At the break of day, on that memorable 17th of September, the 97th marched to meet the enemy in position and awaiting attack. The brigade obliqued to the right til near the Hagerstown Turnpike, when it marched south, directly upon the enemy lines. It marched in column divisions through a belt of woods east of the turnpike, and the 97th passing through Matthews' and Thompson' batteries, a little east of D. R. Miller's dwelling, was ordered to lie down when it reaches the edge of a cornfield. The enemy was throwing a few shells over our heads. After a few discharges of canister shot by our batteries, over us, the brigade was deployed and the march continued through the field of corn, skirted by a row of broom corn what's the men began to poke to the right and left to discover what was in their front, when the Confederate line was discovered -- drawn up in rear of a low rail fence -- about 220 yards distant, and firing on both sides simultaneously began. In from thirty to forty minutes nearly one-half of the regiment, compose then of 208 men and officers, were killed and wounded.

General Lawton's command of Longstreet's Corps occupied our immediate front. Longstreet's and Hooker's men had met, -- and without advancing -- there they stood and shot one another and till the lines melted away like wax. No attention by either line was paid to below rail fence in front, but each stood and fired upon the other. The row of broom corn in front of our brigade was soon shot and broken down.

On the morning of the 18th, in front of where Duryea's brigade had stood was strewn promiscuously, -- like sheaves of grain tossed together by a reaper -- a line of Confederate dead. They had fallen in their tracks were they had stood, and marked plainly the course of the enemy's line. The wounded had crept to the rear, and under a flag of truce were then being gathered from the field. It seemed that but few could have survived, unhit, of these brave men, to carry back the sad tidings of their fatality. On the preceding day, when the Confederate fire had slackened and the remnants of the boys in blue began to look for men on whom to direct their aim, it was asked: "What has become of the brigade in our front, we have seen none go to the rear?" No, they had not gone to the rear, but it was apparent they had gone where none go but once, and there lay their remains in almost one unbroken line.... On our late lines too the dead still sadly lay, but less by more than one-half the number, though they suffered neatly two to one in wounded.

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To one unused to the saguinary work it is difficult to realize with what coolness and how fsee from all perturbation men will appear when engaged in such deadly strife. During this destruction of life and limb men talked coolly of the progress of the battle, and of the best mode to achieve a favorable result. Two German brothers by the name of Gleasman, -- from Lewis county, N. Y. -- were standing in line together, when one of them was killed by the unerring aim of a Confederate marksman who had studied his piece against the tree. The other, aware of the position of the man who had fired the fatal shot, said: "There is the man who killed my brother, and he is taking aim now against that tree." An elbow was seen to protrude from a solitary oak in the enemy's line, and the next moment he laid dead beside his brother, shot by the same hand that had slain the other.

As aforementioned, after they had met there was no advancing by these contending lines. After forty minutes' time had passed there were but few to advance. The hour had come each had been relieved from doing the other harm. Yet none had left our line but those ordered to the rear to carry off the wounded. A few here and there remained like lonely saplings left amid a forest leveled by a hurricane storm.

As a fresh Confederate division appeared from beyond the Dunker chapel, a captain [Rouse S. Eggleston] of the 97th looked to the left where first our line rested, but now only the dead remained; and stepping to the right where the 107th Pennsylvania had stood -- till he could look over a roll in the field, to the turnpike, he said to his lieutenant: "None remain on our right;" and bidding the remnants of various companies -- now less than twenty men -- to close up into two ranks, he in good order left the field....

The reinforcements arrived at the edge of the cornfield just as Jackson's forces to the left were entering it, Hartsuff's brigade changing front forward, quickly, by the left flank, poured an enfilading fire over a rocky ridge towards the enemy's advancing column. The Confederates were thrown into confusion and a well directed charge completed their overthrow and secured many prisoners. But in turn the Federals were soon met by superior numbers and compelled to retire. Thus was the field of corn, which in the morning was so rank and high that an army could have been shielded by it from observation, fought over by contending forces, till at what levelled to the ground; and Confederate and Federal dead lay commingled from one side of it to the other."
 
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Andy Cardinal

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The Gleasman brothers, who were both killed in the Cornfield, seem to be interesting stories if I could just find out more.

A Georg Gottfried Gleasman was born on July 12, 1795, in Pirmascens, Germany. After emigrating to the United States, he married Elizabeth King and they had nine children. [Info found at Ancestry.com]

A Godfrey Gleasman was also born in Germany in 1805. He married Henrrietta Schmenger. According to Henrietta's biography on findagrave.com:

"She was born at Pirmascens on the border with France. She married there 15 August 1829 to Johann Gottfried Klesmann, who, upon coming to America, changed his name to Godfrey Gleasman, and they were the parents of five sons and three daughters. They emigrated to New York in 1837, settling first at Boonville, Oneida County, and then to West Leyden, Lewis County by 1845. Godfrey and Henrietta separated in 1858 but did not divorce. He later enlisted and served during the Civil War." He is also listed as having been killed at Antietam.

Henrietta and her children moved west to Illinois with her son in 1863. She is buried in Greenwood Cemetery in Rockford. There is stone there as well for Godfrey:

To make matters more confusing, there is also a different Private Godfrey Gleasman on findagrave. This Godfrey is listed as having been born in 1818 in New York State. He enlisted in Company H of the 97th NY in Boonsville and is believed to be buried in an unknown grave in the Antietam National Cemetery. [Findagrave]

I would love to untangle this. Georg and Godfrey seem to old to be serving in the ranks at Antietam. The younger Godfrey (he still would have been 44) makes more sense.
 

Andy Cardinal

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So instead of working on my deck I spent the afternoon trying to figure out the conundrum of the Gleasman brothers. I stumbled across this family genealogy site: http://grandmascabin.org/

In summary, Valentine Gleasman emigrated from Pirmascens in 1828 with his wife and mother-in-law. The 24-year-old Gleasman settled in Boonsville (modern Ava), New York. There he built a cabin and worked hard to clear his land. Valentine would live until 1903.

In 1836, Valentine's widowed mother Salome emigrated and joined her son in Boonsville. With her were her three sons, including George and Godfrey. Godfrey's wife Henrietta and their children also came to America at this time. According to family lore, "Valentine’s brothers were disappointed to see him living in a hut.” Valentine built a house on his lot in 1838.

George and Godfrey were killed at Antietam. In addition to this loss, Valentine's son Charles served in the 117th New York and was mortally wounded in 1864.
 

rpkennedy

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Known 97th New York casualties at Antietam:

Killed and mortally wounded
Corporal Clinton Ackerman
Corporal Henry E. Adams
James Adsit (died 10/18)
Albert Argersinger (died 7/29/63)
Willard Avery (died 9/24)
Nicholas Burton (died 11/4)
Peter H. Cleveland (died 10/30)
Lewis H. Cole (died 10/16)
Francis Curran
2nd Lt. Louis Dallarmie
Emmett Dunning
Zachariah B. Fellows
Patrick Finnigan
George Glessman
Gottfried Glessman
Corporal William H. Gray
Richard Handly
Daniel D. Horton
Corporal Bingham M. Knight (died 9/22)
Philip Kronmueller (died 10/7)
Luther Lasher
David E. Maxfield (died 10/24)
Christof Moellendick (died 9/29)
Ira Morris
Patrick O'Connor
John Roberts
Walter Rourke (died 9/18)
John Schweinsberg
Henry Sherman (died 10/1)
Storrs Sherman
George Sipperley
William Snyder (died 10/14)
Porter Stroup
Edward Torrey (died unknown date)
John Welch
Richard E. Williams (died unknown date)
Frederick Wolf

Wounded
Edward Blunt
John Breen
1st Sergeant Francis T. Brennan
Andrew F. Cotrell
Timothy Crowley
Edward Cue
Horace Doxtater
Corporal Andrew M. Foley
Sergeant Joseph W. Harrison
Charles H. Hayden
Adelbert Johnson
E.R. McConnell
Frank Rubricht
Ebenezer Snow
Malvin E. Spencer
Samuel Stall
Edward Welch
David Winsor
James Winsor

Some of those that died of their wounds may not have been wounded at Antietam. Some of them had undated wounds that ultimately killed them and I added them if it was plausible that they were injured there. The problem is that the regiment was engaged at Second Manassas in August and again at South Mountain. Like the mortally wounded above, a significant number of men who were wounded had no dates of their injuries so the wounded list should be considerably longer (they officially suffered 59 wounded).

Ryan
 

Andy Cardinal

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Also found on http://grandmascabin.org/, a letter written by Lisette (Godfrey's 14 year old daughter) in 1862:

Dear Brother,

The sad news of our father's death were very unexpected to us. We all mourn our loss although we have been separated so long. I can hardly realize he is gone & can only hope he had time to repent for his deep sinfulness. I often wish I could only see him once more. Oh it is so sad to think that my poor father is dead. He must have been very lonesome so far away from all his children.

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Purported to be Godfrey Gleasman
Ancestry.com
 

Seduzal

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Thanks for sharing this awesome article. The wounding of soldiers in battle, is the tragic lost of life. Three sons killed is the hardest shock that one family can endear.
 


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