William McKinley, Coffee and Antietam

donna

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#1
Bravery and heroism comes in many forms. This story of William McKinley at Antietam is such a story of great courage under fire and great concern for his fellow soldiers.

On the morning of September 17, 1862 the 23rd Ohio Regiment was again preparing for combat near Frederick, Maryland. They didn't even have time to stop for breakfast and were sent off to the sounds of battle. Left at the rear about 2 miles behind the fighting was a 19 year old schoolteacher from Niles, Ohio. It was William McKinley who had enlisted as a private. The young man now had the job of Commissary Sergeant. He was responsible for feeding the men. As he sat in the warm sun and listened to the horrific battle noise from the battlefield, he saw men coming back. They were scared and confused. He had a great idea, He started brewing coffee and putting food into two wagons. He rounded up a couple of old mules and started out toward the battlefield with his supplies.

General J.L. Botsford of the Ohio Volunteers later said:

"It was nearly dusk when we heard tremendous cheering from the left of our regiment. As we had been having heavy fighting right up to this time, our division commander, General Scammon, sent me to find out the cause which I very soon found to be cheers for McKinley and his hot coffee."

He went on to write:


"When you consider the fact of his leaving his post of security, driving right into the middle of a bloody battle with a team of mules, it needs no words of mine to show the character and determination of McKinley, a boy at this time about twenty years of age. McKinley loaded up two wagons with supplies, but the mules of one wagon were disabled. He was ordered back time and again, but he pushed right on."

For McKinley's act of bravery under fire of the enemy in order to bring warm coffee and food to the exhausted, famished men of the Ohio Volunteers he was cited and promoted to second Lieutenant. By end of war he was a Brevet Major. After war he studied Law, then ran for and won seat in Congress. He served term as Governor of Ohio in 1892. In 1896 he was elected President of U.S. and won re election in 1900.

On September 6, 1901 William McKinley was shot in Buffalo, N.Y. by an assassin's. On September 14. 1901. nearly 40 years after his bravery at Antietam, he died of his wounds. His last words were "It is God's way, His will be done, not ours."

On October 13, 1903 a 33 foot high Monument was dedicated by Ohio Veterans organizations on the Antietam Battlefield to William mcKinley. The Monument is located just South of Burnside Bridge Parking area. The monument text"

William McKinley
January 29, 1843 - September 14, 1901
Fourteen Years Member of Congress
Twice Governor of Ohio 1892-2 and 1894-5
Twice President of United States 1897-1900-1901
 

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donna

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#2
The Monument at Antietam goes on to read:

"Sergeant McKinley Co E. 23rd Ohio Vol. Infantry, while in charge of the Commissary Department, on the afternoon of the day of the battle of Antietam, September 17, 1862, personally and without orders served "hot coffee" and "Warm food" to every man in the Regiment, on this spot and in doing so had to pass under fire."
 

Rob9641

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#3
The Monument at Antietam goes on to read:

"Sergeant McKinley Co E. 23rd Ohio Vol. Infantry, while in charge of the Commissary Department, on the afternoon of the day of the battle of Antietam, September 17, 1862, personally and without orders served "hot coffee" and "Warm food" to every man in the Regiment, on this spot and in doing so had to pass under fire."
I'm not sure he'd have gotten the monument if he hadn't been elected President. On the other hand, it was probably really good coffee.
 

donna

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#5
Rutherford B. Hayes is another great story from the Civil War. Actually Hayes wrote in regards to McKinley and the coffee "passed under fire and delivered, with his own hands, these things, so essential for the men for whom he was laboring.". Hayes had respect for what William McKinley did that day.
 

prroh

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#6
McKinley had been made Commissary Sgt only a few days before and admitted that he hadn't been briefed on his duties. He assumed bringing food and coffee to the firing line was part of the job. It was said that , by daybreak, every soldier in the AoP had heard about the plucky 19 year old. The monument has a plaque that shows McKinley carrying what looks like a gallon coffee pot to his fellow soldiers.
 

Freddy

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#9
Rutherford B. Hayes was in the same unit, but he'd been wounded at South Mountain and was recovering at a house in Middletown (house still stands - right at the bend of Alt. 40 as you go eastward into the west end of town).
My Great Grandfather was wounded at Fox's Gap on September 14, 1862.
 

prroh

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#10
There is just something loveable about, "Hey, I'll bet those guys would like some coffee."
And sandwiches too. It is very touching and deserving of a monument, assassinated President or not. McKinley was an important part of the story of Antietam.
 

donna

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#13
People perform all kinds of important duties when in war. McKinley job was to serve coffee and food. These things kept an army going. He was very brave to drive through the middle of a battle to bring nourishment to his fellow soldiers. This was beyond the scope of his duties. There have been many brave persons in war, those who fight, those who take care of the sick and wounded, those who supply food, those who take care of the animals' etc.. I think what McKinley did that day was very important and very brave.
 

Glorybound

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#17
William_McKinley-1.gif

William Mckinley

McKinley_National_Memorial.jpg

Wiliam Mckinley National Memorial, Canton, Ohio



McKinley.jpg


National Park Service
McKinley Monument at Antietam
[FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]William McKinley, who later became President of the U.S., has a monument honoring his courage at the battle of Antietam. Hughes Granite produced that monument. The monument is located just south of the Burnside Bridge. It was dedicated October 13, 1903.[/FONT]
[FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]The inscription on the monument reads:[/FONT]
[FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]WILLIAM McKINLEY[/FONT]
[FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]January 29, 1843 - September 14, 1901 [/FONT]
[FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Fourteen Years Member of Congress [/FONT]
[FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Twice Governor of Ohio 1892-3 and 1894-5 [/FONT]
[FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Twice President of United States [/FONT]

[FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]1897 - 1900 - 1901 [/FONT]

[FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Sergeant McKinley Co. E. 23rd Ohio Vol. Infantry, while in charge of the Commissary Department, on the afternoon of the day of the battle of Antietam, September 17, 1862, personally and without orders served "hot coffee" and "warm food" to every man in the Regiment, on this spot and in doing so had to pass under fire.[/FONT]
[FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]The Battle of Antietam took place in Maryland on September 17, 1862. It was Civil War Confederate General Robert E. Lee's first invasion of the North. It was the bloodiest single day battle in American history. The battle claimed 23,000 casualties, nine times greater than the number of American casualties on D-Day during World War II. Despite the battle's shocking carnage, Antietam provided President Abraham Lincoln with the victory he needed to announce the abolishment of slavery in the South.[/FONT]

[FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]President Rutherford B. Hayes recollected the incident in these words, in an 1891 speech introducing McKinley:[/FONT]

[FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]That battle began at daylight. Before daylight men were in the ranks and preparing for it. Without breakfast, without coffee, they went into the fight, and it continued until after the sun had set. Early in the afternoon, naturally enough, with the exertion required of the men, they were famished and thirsty, and to some extent broken in spirit. The commissary department of that brigade was under Sergeant McKinley’s administration and personal supervision. From his hands every man in the regiment was served with hot coffee and warm meats. [/FONT]

[FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]General J.L. Botsford described it in his battle report:[/FONT]

[FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]It was nearly dark when we heard tremendous cheering from the left of our regiment. As we had been having heavy fighting right up to this time, our division commander, General Scammon, sent me to find out the cause, which I very soon found to be cheers for McKinley and his hot coffee. You can readily imagine the rousing welcome he received from both officers and men. When you consider the fact of his leaving his post of security, driving right into the middle of a bloody battle with a team of mules, it needs no words of mine to show the character and determination of McKinley, a boy at this time about twenty years of age. McKinley loaded up two wagons with supplies, but the mules of one wagon were disabled. He was ordered back time and again, but he pushed right on.[/FONT]

[FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][Quoted in The Life of William McKinley: Soldier, Lawyer, Statesman, by Robert P. Porter. Cleveland, 1896][/FONT]

[FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]McKinley was promoted to second lieutenant for his conduct.[/FONT]

http://www.sandusky-county-scrapbook.net/hughesgranite/McKinley.htm
 

rhp6033

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#19
I learned a long time ago, when I was a Boy Scout, about the value of hot food or coffee and it's affect on morale. My scoutmaster was an old Army sargeant, and when we were hiking parts of the Appalachian Trail, we spent one day hiking through miserable rainstorms until we finally came to our campsite about 10:00 p.m. (Note to potential hikers: the Smoky Mountain portion of the Appalachian Trail measures distances from the top of one hill to another "as the crow flies", not including the numerous curves and switch-backs - so a ten-mile hike can easily be a twenty0five mile hike, or more). The bear enclosure was already taken by other hikers, and all we wanted to do was throw up our tents, climb inside, and whimper ourselves to sleep. My scoutmaster called the patrol leaders together, and told them in no uncertain terms to get their buts in gear, find some reasonably dry wood, get fires going, and cook dinner. An hour later I was eating a simple meal of macarani, tomato paste, and ground beef, but I thought it was the best meal I had ever tasted.

Later, attending the World Jamboree in Japan, the jamboree grounds were hit by the outskirts of a typhoon. We spent a miserable night trying to keep our tents from flying away (the tent stakes wouldn't hold once the lava ash which was the ground around Mt. Fuji turned from dust to mush, and we had wind gusts of around 60 MPH). The next morning it was still puring rain and windy, when our Sr. Patrol leader came to each tent, hand-delivering a hot breakfast for everyone. He quickly became very popular, and when he called everyone out of the tents a little later to storm lash our tents and dig drainage ditches around our campsite, everyone was happy to follow his example.

As my scoutmaster said: a leader takes care of his men, and at a minimum that means he makes sure they are well fed.
 



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