Overland Say What Saturday: Eve of a New Era, Wounded at Spotsylvania 93rd New York

(Wilderness, Spotsylvania, North Anna, Cold Harbor)

lelliott19

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On May 12, 1864 at the Battle of Spotsylvania, 1st Lieutenant Elwood S. Corser of Co. B, 93rd New York was wounded and lay between the lines as the tide of battle passed over him. Forty-five years later, in an article in the Minneapolis Tribune, Corser recounted his experience and shared his own observations concerning the motivations of the soldiers on both sides.

At early dawn we were facing the Confederate works at Spottsylvania C. H. Our charge was made through a tangled marsh and over logs and other obstacles. Our hard fighting in the Wilderness had thinned our ranks, and the two companies of my regiment which I led over the breastworks could not have numbered more than thirty men. We made a quick rush over the Confederate line, which, taken by surprise at that early hour, was giving way to right and left of the point where we struck it.​
By our successful rush a thousand Confederates were broken and gathered as prisoners. Then we were met by a sweeping flank fire on our right from the works still held by the Confederates, and I fell with a gun shot wound in the left hip. Then came a rush from the Confederates, who regained their works. These they held during the day. One of the Confederates, a fine young fellow of about sixteen or eighteen years, came rushing in with his comrades, reciting a patriotic monologue thus: 'We'll teach these Hessians to invade our soil!'​
Having leisure for reflection, I reached some conclusions which have remained unchanged to the present time — viz., that the men of the North and the South who faced each other on the battlefields of the Civil War were equally sincere and patriotic in standing for their differing convictions. As I was surrounded by the Northern moral and political atmosphere and was naturally in the Federal army, I saw that it could not be otherwise with me, nor did I wish it so; but I also saw that if I had been born and bred in Virginia or South Carolina, I would have been standing clothed in Confederate gray, and, joining in the monologue of that fine type of the Southern soldier, recited by him as he rushed into the Confederate works.​
I feel that we are on the eve of a new era, when there is to be great harmony between the Federal and Confederate. I cannot stay to be a living witness to the correctness of this prophecy, but I feel it within me that it is to be so.​

Source: Originally published in the Minneapolis Tribune, reprinted in Confederate Veteran, Volume 19, page 36.
Thanks to @Mike Serpa for the image of Elwood S. Courser.
 
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On May 12, 1864 at the Battle of Spotsylvania, 1st Lieutenant Elwood S. Corser of Co. B, 93rd New York was wounded and lay between the lines as the tide of battle passed over him. Forty-five years later, in an article in the Minneapolis Tribune, Corser recounted his experience and shared his own observations concerning the motivations of the soldiers on both sides.

At early dawn we were facing the Confederate works at Spottsylvania C. H. Our charge was made through a tangled marsh and over logs and other obstacles. Our hard fighting in the Wilderness had thinned our ranks, and the two companies of my regiment which I led over the breastworks could not have numbered more than thirty men. We made a quick rush over the Confederate line, which, taken by surprise at that early hour, was giving way to right and left of the point where we struck it.​
By our successful rush a thousand Confederates were broken and gathered as prisoners. Then we were met by a sweeping flank fire on our right from the works still held by the Confederates, and I fell with a gun shot wound in the left hip. Then came a rush from the Confederates, who regained their works. These they held during the day. One of the Confederates, a fine young fellow of about sixteen or eighteen years, came rushing in with his comrades, reciting a patriotic monologue thus: 'We'll teach these Hessians to invade our soil!'​
Having leisure for reflection, I reached some conclusions which have remained unchanged to the present time — viz., that the men of the North and the South who faced each other on the battlefields of the Civil War were equally sincere and patriotic in standing for their differing convictions. As I was surrounded by the Northern moral and political atmosphere and was naturally in the Federal army, I saw that it could not be otherwise with me, nor did I wish it so; but I also saw that if I had been born and bred in Virginia or South Carolina, I would have been standing clothed in Confederate gray, and, joining in the monologue of that fine type of the Southern soldier, recited by him as he rushed into the Confederate works.​
I feel that we are on the eve of a new era, when there is to be great harmony between the Federal and Confederate. I cannot stay to be a living witness to the correctness of this prophecy, but I feel it within me that it is to be so.​

Source: Originally published in the Minneapolis Tribune, reprinted in Confederate Veteran, Volume 19, page 36.
Thanks to @Mike Serpa for the image of Elwood S. Courser.
Great story. Thanks for sharing
 

rpkennedy

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Elwood S. Corser was 26 years old when he enlisted as a private in Rochester, NY in Company B on November 9, 1861. Interestingly, Company B was initially recruited as a company for the 2nd US Sharpshooters (the 93rd was organized when several companies recruited by John S. Crocker were combined with companies recruited by Major Benjamin C. Butler who had been authorized to recruit four sharpshooter battalions). Corser was immediately promoted to first sergeant, to 2nd Lt. on August 18, 1862, and 1st Lt. on February 17, 1863. The wound that he suffered at Spotsylvania ended his service when he was given a medical discharge on September 1, 1864.

Ryan
 

rpkennedy

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The 93rd New York was an interesting regiment in that while they had been actively in service with the Army of the Potomac since early 1862, they had not seen combat before May 1864. On the Peninsula, they had been assigned by Major General George B. McClellan as the headquarters guard and had served in that role until the reorganization of the army in the spring of 1864. Ulysses S. Grant and George G. Meade knew that they needed every man possible in the ranks and since the 93rd had more than 500 men, they were assigend to Major General David B. Birney's Third Division of the Second Corps. At the Wilderness, they saw their first combat, losing 260 of their 509 there (50 killed and mortally wounded, 188 wounded, and 2 missing).

At the Mule Shoe, Crocker's Brigade (Colonel John S. Crocker of the 93rd took command when Brigadier General Alexander Hays was killed at the Wilderness) was in the first wave of attackers and fought for much of the day on the western edge of the Shoe, losing another 45 men (9 killed and mortally wounded, 33 wounded, and 2 missing). Between the Wilderness and the Mule Shoe, the 93rd New York would suffer more than 60% of their total battle casualties for the entire war.

As some of you may know, I have a personal connection to this regiment. Among those mortally wounded at the Mule Shoe was a 17 year old private in Company F who had lied about his age to enlist in December 1861. Joseph Kennedy was shot in the thigh and was evacuated to a hospital in Washington, D.C. but succumbed to an infection on July 7. He is buried in Plot 5472 in Arlington National Cemetery. He is my great x4 uncle.

Ryan
 
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lelliott19

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The 93rd New York was an interesting regiment in that while they had been actively in service with the Army of the Potomac since early 1862, they had not seen combat until May 1864. On the Peninsula, they had been assigned by Major General George B. McClellan as the headquarters guard and had served in that role until the reorganization of the army in the spring of 1864. Ulysses S. Grant and George G. Meade knew that they needed every man possible in the ranks and since the 93rd had more than 500 men, they were assigend to Major General David B. Birney's Third Division of the Second Corps. At the Wilderness, they saw their first combat, losing 260 of their 509 there (50 killed and mortally wounded, 188 wounded, and 2 missing).

At the Mule Shoe, Crocker's Brigade (Colonel John S. Crocker of the 93rd took command when Brigadier General Alexander Hays was killed at the Wilderness) was in the first wave of attackers and fought for much of the day on the western edge of the Shoe, losing another 45 men (9 killed and mortally wounded, 33 wounded, and 2 missing). Between the Wilderness and the Mule Shoe, the 93rd New York would suffer more than 60% of their total battle casualties for the entire war.

As some of you may know, I have a personal connection to this regiment. Among those mortally wounded at the Mule Shoe was a 17 year old private in Company F who had lied about his age to enlist in December 1861. Joseph Kennedy was shot in the thigh and was evacuated to a hospital in Washington, D.C. but succumbed to an infection on July 7. He is buried in Plot 5472 in Arlington National Cemetery. He is my great x4 uncle.

Ryan
Thanks for adding all this information Ryan. That just reminded me about a thread here a few months ago concerning an image of the 93rd New York when they were serving as headquarters guard at Antietam. You may have missed that thread? https://civilwartalk.com/threads/un...r-image-anyone-recognize-the-location.181769/
 

rpkennedy

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