The 19th Indiana in Antietam’s Cornfield: “The command is no longer forward, but now it is follow me!”

By David A. Welker

During these early days of this 19th year of the 21st Century, let’s pause to remember another 19th – the 19th Indiana Infantry. An original regiment in the storied “Iron Brigade,” the 19th Indiana is perhaps best known for its role during the opening hours of the Battle of Gettysburg, which has for too long overshadowed its actions in Antietam’s deadly Cornfield…

19th in camp morton

Camp Morton

Organized in the Indianapolis area and commanded by Colonel Solomon Meredith, Lieutenant Colonel Robert A. Cameron, and Major Alois O. Bachman, the 19th Indiana mustered into Federal service at Indiana’s Camp Morton on 29 July 1861, barely a week after the Union defeat at the First Battle of Manassas. The panic seizing Washington in the wake of that disaster caused the barely-trained regiment to depart for the capital on 5 August, only one week after its first muster and armed mostly with state-supplied, ancient .69 caliber smoothbore muskets. Attached to Brigadier General Rufus King’s Brigade—along with fellow Western regiments the 2nd and 6th Wisconsin—upon arrival in Washington the 19th found itself part of Irvin McDowell’s Division.  [1]

19th in lewinsville markerDespite being rushed to the front, the 19th Indiana spent the remainder of 1861 largely static, doing little more than reinforcing the Union’s control of Northern Virginia. The regiment nonetheless on 11 September 1861 experienced its first combat while probing Confederate positions there in what came to be called “the Lewinsville Affair;” though resulting in but a single death, two wounded and three missing, it left the regiment abuzz with excitement. On 17 November the 19th Indiana men received new .58 caliber Springfield rifle-muskets, a vast improvement in the regiment’s arms, before moving to the grounds of General Lee’s former home Arlington House—today’s Arlington National Cemetery—to serve General McDowell’s headquarters guard. In early May 1862 the regiment and its western brigade counterparts marched south to Fredericksburg, Virginia, encamping around the Lacy House where occurred on 8 May perhaps the biggest event since the Lewinsville Affair – the arrival of their new brigade commander Brigadier General John Gibbon.  [2]

John GibbonGibbon, a West Point-trained Regular Army officer, bore all the strictness and spit-and-polish reputation that background carried and although he’d been with the brigade since October 1861—commanding the attached 4th US Artillery, Battery B—serving under Gibbon would be a rough transition for the men of the 19th. Elevated from captain to brigadier general of volunteers in a single day, Gibbon at once implemented changes meant to whip the men of this—in his view—unimpressive brigade into something resembling Regulars – imposing new levels of behavior, drill, and military dress. In mid-May Gibbon famously replaced their mish-mash of uniforms with standard army-issue frock (dress) coats, 1858 Army hats (colloquially known as “Hardee hats”), sky-blue pants, and white leggings. In this distinctive dress, Gibbon’s Brigade earned a new nickname as the” Black Hat Brigade” – now they needed only to earn a combat reputation to match their new élan…

19th in solomon meredith

Col. Solomon Meredith

Gibbon’s US Regular’s swagger and drastic changes suggested his (very real) disregard for the volunteers and their citizen-officers – which was particularly noticeable in Gibbon’s relations with the 19th’s Colonel Meredith, whom he’d replaced as brigade chief. The Indiana enlisted men too so hated Gibbon that some contemplated killing him themselves in their next battle, but the tension boiled over in a more passive-aggressive manner in late June when the 19th men en masse began refusing to wear the hated leggings, including at a weekly dress parade in open defiance of their brigade commander. Although Gibbon threatened in response to have a Union battery fire on the disobedient men, this proved unnecessary when the early morning stillness after dress parade was broken by the sound of—unrelated—cannon fire, prompting the rebellious Indianans to cry out “We’ll take the leggings!! We’ll take the leggings!!” Gibbon, for his part, had realized his overreach and no longer insisted the leggings be worn. “The Legging Mutiny” was over and General Gibbon and the 19th Indiana had made peace with each other – and just in time.  [3]

19th in leggins 2 ws

The Iron Brigade’s 2nd Wisconsin – wearing the hated leggings

Now part of Major General John Pope’s Union Army of Virginia, the 19th Indiana and Gibbon’s Brigade began moving west from Fredericksburg on 24 July 1862. Sent to reinforce the Union troops defeated by Stonewall Jackson’s Command at the 9 August Battle of Cedar Mountain, the 19th Indiana and Gibbon’s men eventually turned east in search of the elusive Jackson and his force. Heading farther east toward Centreville—Jackson s reported location—on 28 August, Gibbon’s command unexpected found itself being shelled from the woods surrounding the Brawner family’s farm. They had found Jackson…

Deploying for battle at once, the 19th Indiana held Gibbon’s left flank as the brigade marched up the long, mostly-open slope to the farmhouse. Once there, the 19th fought with the Brawner house on its immediate left and the 2nd Wisconsin to the right, followed by the 7th Wisconsin, 76th New York, 56th Pennsylvania, and 6th Wisconsin. Only 75 yards apart, Gibbon’s men dueled with Jackson’s famed Stonewall Brigade in fighting so intense that the 19th’s national colors were “completely riddled—barely enough of it to hold together—and the staff was shot through near the Union.” Ignoring three separate orders to retire, Gibbon finally personally directed the 19th back in the gathering darkness to the safety of the Warrenton Pike from which they’d started the fight. The next morning Colonel Meredith’s regimental returns indicated 229 casualties—46 killed, 150 wounded, 33 missing—of the 423 who had entered the fight the previous night. So devastated was Gibbon’s Brigade by the Brawner Farm fight that it remained unused and in support throughout the remaining days of the Second Battle of Manassas, finally being called on to cover the retreat of Pope’s defeated army late on 30 August. At Second Manassas, Gibbon’s Black Hat Brigade garnered a fighting reputation to match its distinctive dress – and in the process, the 19th Indiana Hoosiers were now true combat veterans.  [4]

19th in brawner farm map

The Brawner Farm fight

Retreating to the safety of Fort Buffalo on Arlington’s Upton’s Hill, the 19th received a group of much-needed new recruits on 5 September and new army and corps-level commanders and designations as Gibbon’s brigade found itself in Major General George McClellan’s famed Army of the Potomac in Major General Joseph Hooker’s I Corps. After eight days of well-deserved and much-needed rest, the 19th Indiana and Gibbon’s Brigade started north into Maryland in search of General Lee and his Confederate Army.
Reaching Frederick on 13 September, late the next day Gibbon’s Brigade—now part of Hatch’s Division upon General King’s removal—marched west into the fighting at Turner’s Gap. Deployed on the left of the National Road, the 19th Indiana and Gibbon’s Brigade held on for hours under intense fire. Late that day, Gibbon ordered a general advance that slowly pushed back the Rebels, leaving the Federals in possession of the gap as darkness ended the Battle of South Mountain around 5 p.m. Beyond the 19th’s 47 casualties, this advance itself achieved little of military significance; but witnessed by General McClellan, who reportedly complimented General Hooker on the brigade’s performance, the action earned Gibbon’s command a new name – “the Iron Brigade.”  [5]

Late morning the following day, the 19th and Gibbon’s men joined McClellan’s careful pursuit of Lee and Longstreet’s retreating troops headed for the Sharpsburg ridge. Their division, now commanded by Brigadier General Abner Doubleday (click here for my post on Doubleday’s role in the battle: ) in place of wounded General Hatch, reached Antietam Creek late on the 15th. The brigade grabbed some needed rest in the woods north of the Boonsboro Pike – except for the 19th Indiana. Reflecting the confusion that reined as the two armies neared each other, at 10:30 p.m. Gibbon ordered the exhausted 19th out on picket detail—guarding the brigade’s front—only to find another regiment already in their assigned post; unable to sleep or fulfill their orders, the now-furious Hoosiers killed time until finally being deployed at 3 a.m. on 16 September. That afternoon injured Colonel Meredith turned command of the 19th Indiana over to Lieutenant Colonel Bachman and under Bachman’s leadership the 19th Indiana joined Gibbon’s Brigade in Major General Joseph Hooker’s advance toward the Confederate left flank, the opening of General McClellan’s planned three-pronged attack on Lee’s position astride Sharpsburg.  [6]

upper bridge crossing

The Upper Bridge area

First across Antietam Creek were three companies of the 3rd Pennsylvania Cavalry, escorting the massive infantry column searching for indications of Lee’s left flank north of town. Behind them Meade’s and Ricketts’ infantry divisions crossed the Upper Bridge, while Doubleday’s men—including the 19th Indiana—crossed at a ford south of the span, created by Union pioneers the day before. Once across, each of Hooker’s ten brigades reformed their lines and his 9,423 men marched slowly northwestward along the Keedysville-Hagerstown Road.

Once across the creek, several men noticed the remains of some cattle lying where presumably a group of Rebels had left them the day before. Being now battle-tested veterans, they knew such opportunity might not come again soon. “[S]ome of our boys had detached strips of fat from the intestines of the animals which they applied to their guns to prevent rust,” wrote Private Bob Patterson of the 19th Indiana’s Company E. “I had unconsciously raised the hammer of my gun and was applying the grease about the tube as the regiment halted, when I rested the muzzle of my gun against my left shoulder, and in drawing the string of fat through the (trigger) guard, the gun was discharged and the ball passed through the rim of my hat.” Though Patterson was deafened by the accident, he was otherwise unhurt and rejoined the ranks. By sunset the next day Private Patterson could say with honesty that despite being in some of the thickest fighting on September 17, he’d come closer to killing himself than would any Rebel in the coming fight. It was a boast not all his pards would be able to make.  [7]

The 19th and Gibbon’s Brigade advanced uneventfully as Hooker’s leading Federal units did the heavy lifting, pushing Confederate skirmishers through the East Woods, into Miller’s cornfield. Reaching the Sam Poffenberger farm and Miller’s North Woods, the Hoosiers spent a fitful night under arms in a drizzling rain, awaiting what everyone knew would be a tough battle the next morning.  [8]

Hooker probably planned his attack sometime overnight on 16 September. His I Corps would drive southwest across the open fields between the East and West Wood lots, striking for the small, white Dunker Church as their objective. Reaching the church would put Hooker’s corps at once within Lee’s line and atop the ridge commanding the rest of Lee’s position north of Sharpsburg. Once there, they could turn south toward Sharpsburg and roll up what remained of Lee’s line. To achieve this, Hooker ordered Doubleday’s Division on the right to drive nearly due south along the Hagerstown Pike toward the church, while Ricketts’ Division, on the left, would strike diagonally across the open field for the same objective. Meade’s Division in the center would form the reserve, ready to reinforce success or hold off disaster if the attack failed. It was a classic West Point-taught attack, sending two divisions forward to maximize their attacking power and holding one division in reserve.

Following Hooker’s orders, division commander Doubleday selected Gibbon’s Iron Brigade to spearhead his assault. So as dawn broke on 17 September 1862, the 19th Indiana and their Iron Brigade counterparts marched south toward D.R. Miller’s farm buildings as Confederate shells randomly threatened their very existence. Reaching the illusive safety of the Millers’ orchard, the 19th there lost its first man to Rebel artillery fire – but on they pushed.

miller farm today

The Miller farm today

Once past the Millers’ house, Gibbon reformed his brigade and pushed the 6th Wisconsin forward alone to probe the mystery of the Miller’s cornfield ahead. Barely had the 6th Wisconsin reached into the northern edge of the corn before it halted to open fire. General Gibbon, watching from the rear, surveyed the situation with dismay. His probing force was already bogged down in a firefight against a much larger Confederate presence which not only blocked his path forward to the church, but which extended across the Hagerstown Pike into the West Woods on his right. His attack barely underway, something had to be done to get it moving again.

In response, Gibbon ordered the 19th Indiana and 7th Wisconsin across the Hagerstown Pike, heading southwest toward the left flank of the two enemy brigades in the West Woods. Next Gibbon advanced the 2nd Wisconsin to help the beleaguered 6th, before deploying Lieutenant James Stewart’s two-gun section from Campbell’s battery in the center to support his now-divided infantry force. Gibbon’s adaptation had the right of his brigade striking the left flank of these two defending Southern brigades—Jones and Grigsby—while the left half hit them in front and on the right. If this pincer movement worked, Gibbon’s brigade would soon reunite and resume driving to the Dunker Church.  [9]

The right wing of Gibbon’s pincer—the 19th Indiana and 7th Wisconsin—moved with a will across the Hagerstown Pike and between the Miller’s house and barn. Pressing through a scattered hail of rifle fire and halting only when Confederates blocked their path into the northern end of the West Woods, Lieutenant Colonel Bachman instantly deployed Captain Dudley’s Company B as skirmishers to clear this threat. Fortunately, the Hoosier skirmishers’ advance alone drove the Rebels into the woods and so on the Indiana boys pressed after them. Stepping amongst the threes, the 19th Indiana’s Company B unknowingly became the first Union troops to enter Antietam’s West Woods.  [10]

19th in map 1To the 21st Virginia’s Captain Page, commanding the forces toward which the 19th Indiana skirmishers advanced, this Yankee force posed a serious threat. Abandoning the rock ledge breastwork adopted after falling back from the Miller house, the Virginians raced for the safety of the woods. Finding reinforcements there—sent forward by the 42nd Virginia’s Captain Penn who now commanded Jones’s Brigade—Page rallied his men on the 42nd. Penn had orders to keep the Yankees away from the position’s left flank, a tough task given that only 271 men were at his disposal.

Barely had Penn’s advanced command deployed when the 19th Indiana skirmishers again opened fire. Penn’s force offered its own volleys and for a time the two sides were locked in a slugfest. Despite the trees and ground cover, Southerners fell in growing numbers – including Captain Penn. Eventually, the larger and fresher 19th Indiana overwhelmed the rapidly-diminishing Virginia line, working around its flanks. Unable to stem this tide, the 21st Virginia and Penn’s reinforcements raced for the safety of Jones’s Brigade’s main line behind them.  [11]

21st ny map 1With the Rebels running before them, the 19th and 7th renewed their attack and pushed deeper into the woods, the two regiments guiding their southward movement on the woods’ edge. But seeing Confederates to their left—and probably fearing they were too far from the other half of their brigade in the Cornfield—the two regiments “changed front,” a move that set them heading due east and right back toward the Cornfield. Gibbon’s 19th Indiana and 7th Wisconsin, with Patrick’s Brigade now close behind as support, reached the eastern edge of the West Woods and pushed into the open field heading for the only remaining barrier to the Cornfield, the Hagerstown Pike fences. In the Cornfield ahead the 2nd and 6th Wisconsin were locked in an intense firefight with Confederate brigades, first under General Lawton and then those led forward by General William Starke. Mounting casualties and diminishing ammunition, however, had pushed these forces from the corn and now Stonewall Jackson sent forward a new, fresh force – General John B. Hood’s Division.  [12]

Hood’s Division had pushed deep into the Cornfield—and the East Woods, as well—before Hood discovered his advance had stalled on the left. Colonel Wofford—commanding the famous Texas Brigade, carrying the Southern advance’s left—recalled “I rode hastily to them (Hampton’s Legion and the 18th Georgia), urging them forward, when I saw two full regiments, one in their front and other partly to their left.” What Wofford observed almost certainly was the 19th Indiana and 7th Wisconsin, moving from the West Woods toward Stewart’s guns. Reinforcing Hampton’s Legion and the 18th Georgia was vital to holding this spot and restarting the advance, so Wofford ordered his 1st Texas to shift left from the center to confront the threat there. General Hood, too, acted, ordering Wofford’s 4th Texas to the left. Although Hood and Wofford had each sent a regiment to complete the same task, only the 4th Texas arrived to fill aid Wofford’s stalled force.  [13]
19th in map 2

As the 4th Texas moved into position at the Hagerstown Pike—the highest ground on this part of the field—it drew unexpected fire from across the road. In desperation, the 4th Texas’ Colonel Carter wheeled his regiment astride the roadbed, facing north, to fire into the advancing Yankees’ flank but, as Carter recalled, “The movement, however, exposed us so much that we fell back directly…” The 4th Texas’ retreat probably killed any hope Wofford had of holding this spot and, worse, was instantly noticed by Colonel Alois Bachman and his 19th Indiana.  [14]

19th in alois bachman

Lt. Col. Bachman

Seeing the Rebs falling back, the 19th Indiana men plead with their officers to attack. Lieutenant Colonel Bachman noticed it, too; drawing his sword and clutching his hat in his fist Bachman called out, “Boys, the command is no longer forward, but now it is follow me!” At that, the 19th surged ahead at the double-quick, threatening to slice a deadly hole in Wofford’s enemy line. But first the 19th Indiana had to cross the deadly open field between the West Woods and the Hagerstown Pike, which was already being swept by enemy fire, particularly from nearby Rebel artillery.  [15]

Once into the open, S.D. Lee’s Confederate guns on the Dunker Church ridge caught the Hoosiers’ range and poured a deadly fire into the blue troops. Reaching the sturdy post-and-rail fence, they scrambled over, under, and through the fence but the delay only aided Lee’s gunners, who rained shells onto the spot. One shell sent the 19th‘s Bob Patterson—who had nearly shot himself while oiling his rifle the day before—flying, while another threw Company E’s Clint Anthony head over heels through the ranks. Despite other casualties, the 19th Indiana pressed across the Hagerstown Pike and on into the deadly Cornfield.  [16]

19th in sgt george finneyThe 19th’s George Finney wrote of that moment, “As the regiment gained the top of the hill they were greeted by a terrible volley of musketry from a brigade of Rebel infantry. For a moment the line staggered.” They’d reached the high ground in the Cornfield held only moments before by the 4th Texas, which hadn’t run away but only fallen deeper into the corn and reformed. So effective was the 4th Texas’ fire that it apparently convinced Finney the 19th faced an entire Confederate brigade. Regardless, Gibbon’s men returned the Texans’ volleys until reinforcements from Patrick’s brigade arrived to shore up their position. “The clarion voice of Bachman was heard urging his men to hold the hill until reinforcements could come up. The men rallying to his call began to fire into the dense mass of rebels in front; for five minutes they held the hill… In those five minutes, one-third of the line had fallen. Still Bachman cheered on his men.”  [17]

Amidst that hailstorm, however, a round struck the colonel’s elbow, shattering his arm and spinning him around, into a spot where another ball pierced his body. Alois Bachman had broken Wofford’s line, but paid for this feat with his life.  [18]
Captain William Dudley assumed command of the 19th Indiana and quickly adjusted its position to protect Bachman’s gains. Retiring to the Hagerstown Pike brought the regiment in line with the 7th Wisconsin—which had taken cover in a swale behind a rock ledge near the road—on their left and with the newly-arrived men of Patrick’s brigade.  [19]

19th in flagThe 19th Indiana had seen its beloved national colors—presented on 31 May 1861 to what became Company B—fall three times during the charge into the Cornfield and barely escaped with them in hand. During the hurried retreat to the road Company D’s Lieutenant David S. Holloway saw the banner laying amidst the shattered cornstalks and at great personal risk returned to grab the flag, running back through a hail of bullets to the regiment. Thanks to Holloway, the 19th hadn’t also left its honor among the dead in the Cornfield.  [20]

Eventually the exhausted 19th Indiana and the rest of Gibbon’s Iron Brigade fell back into Miller’s North Woods for some much-needed rest while others replaced them in the thick of the fighting. Although the 19th and their Iron Brigade compatriots had failed to reach the Dunker Church ridge to break Lee’s Confederate line, along with support from Patrick’s and Goodrich’s Brigades they’d nonetheless broken the back of Hood’s Division’s attack, which Meade’s reinforcing division finished off for good. Working as part of this larger team, the 19th Indiana had turned the fight to the Union’s advantage.  [21]

Bachman’s regimental charge into the Cornfield, however, was an act of rash bravado that probably accomplished nothing more that causing the majority of the 19th’s considerable casualties at Antietam. Captain Dudley later described it as “foolhardy” and another participant called it “a gallant ill-advised charge.” That the 19th ultimately held not its advanced hilltop point in the Cornfield—purchased at such a great cost—but rather the Hagerstown roadbed suggests that Captain Dudley’s assessment was on the mark.   [22]

The cost of that charge and the 19th’s other actions at Antietam was considerable. Final regimental returns would show the 19th lost 13 killed and 57 wounded, a total of 72 casualties on 17 September, including Lieutenant Colonel Bachman.   [23]

As the intense fighting shifted away to other parts of the field, the 19th’s wounded found their way to the many makeshift hospitals springing up on D.R. Miller’s farm and in other nearby buildings. Private Patterson, still partially paralyzed from the shell explosion at the Hagerstown Pike fence, found himself in the Millers’ barnyard hospital where he encountered “[a] boy about my age on my left [who] was moaning piteously, and I thought myself lucky when I saw the blood oozing from a bullet wound in his breast with every breath. I tried to encourage him, and when he turned his pallid face toward me, I saw he was Andrew Ribble of Company K… He could only whisper “Oh, Bob, I’ll soon be gone.” Although Ribble somehow survived, within a few weeks the 19th’s Antietam death toll would rise to 30.   [24]

The 19th Indiana survivors remained in their North Woods bivouac for three more days, time they used to search the Cornfield and West Woods for the bodies of their dead comrades. Colonel Meredith, now back in command, ordered the regiment’s dead assembled and buried together with boards marking the name of each man who would remain forever in western Maryland’s rolling hills, nevermore to see Indiana’s green, midwestern countryside.

Settling into a new camp near the Dunker Church, here the 19th remained until 29 September when it and Doubleday’s Division moved to the Potomac River’s banks, finally crossing back into Virginia on 30 October.  [25]

19th in samuel williams

Captain Sam Williams

Reflecting the past few months’ intense fighting and activity, in Antietam’s wake all three of the 19th Indiana’s field officers and eight of its 10 company commanders had changed from illness, combat, or promotion. The day after Antietam Company K’s Captain Samuel J. Williams replaced Alois Bachman as second-in-command and Captain Dudley became the 19th’s new major, finally filling the vacancy created by Major Isaac May’s mortal wounding at Second Manassas. More change for the 19th came in November when its commander Solomon Meredith was elevated to head the Iron Brigade—General Gibbon had been promoted to command the I Corps’ Second Division—which elevated Williams and Dudley to the regiment’s two top posts.  [26]


the 19th Indiana’s Gettysburg Monument

The 19th Indiana, like most other regiments in the Army of the Potomac, recovered as best it could in the months after Antietam, preparing for whatever lay ahead. For the 19th and the Iron Brigade this meant battles at Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg, famously opening the great battle on 1 July 1863 but at the cost of more lives and Lieutenant Colonel Dudley’s leg. Following Meade’s move to Rappahannock Station and the Mine Run Campaign, Grant’s Overland Campaign found the 19th Indiana and the Iron Brigade reassigned to the V Corps upon the old I Corps’ dissolution. Under Grant, the 19th and the Iron Brigade participated in the Battles of the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor, and the Siege of Petersburg. The by-now exhausted, depleted 19th Indiana’s final battle would be the August 1864 assault on the Weldon Railroad because on 18 October 1864 the regiment was consolidated with the 20th Indiana.  [27]

19th in the rifleman

Lt. McCain “after the war”

Although the 19th Indiana had ceased to exist, its reputation as one of the hardest-fighting regiments, in one of the hardest-fighting brigades in the Union Army, lived on and those who survived the war remained forever proud of their service in the famous 19th Indiana. In fact, so famous was the 19th that it attracted the attention of modern fiction writers. Author Abigail Roux made the characters of her novel According to Hoyle, US Marshals Eli Flynn and William Henry Washington, veterans of the 19th. Perhaps most famously, Lucas McCain, TV’s “The Rifleman,” had been a fictional lieutenant in the 19th Indiana, which served as the centerpiece of the 1961 episode, “The Prisoner.” If only Lieutenant McCain had had that fancy rifle in the Cornfield…  [28]

Unlike exploits of fiction, though, the story of the men of the 19th Indiana’s service is very real, and it is long overdue that among all the many battles of this storied regiment modern Americans remember the deadly work and sacrifice the 19th Indiana made in Antietam’s deadly Cornfield.



[1]  Alan D. Gaff, On Many a Bloody Field: Four Years in the Iron Brigade (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1996), pp. 24-28. The 24th Michigan Infantry would not join the brigade until 8 October 1862 (Gaff, On Many a Bloody Field, p. 194).

[2]  Gaff, On Many a Bloody Field, pp. 56-58, 94-95, 124. Gibbon replaced the 19th’s Colonel Meredith in this post, creating but one of the many points of growing conflict between the two officers.

[3]  Gaff, On Many a Bloody Field, pp. 124-129, 130-137.

[4]  Gaff, On Many a Bloody Field, pp. 142-147, 150-161.

[5]  Gaff, On Many a Bloody Field, p. 190, pp. 191-195. The origin of this nickname remains in dispute, even beyond the claim that General Patrick had given the name to Augur’s Brigade the previous May. The conventional explanation can be found here (; regardless of its actual origin, by October the men of Gibbon’s Brigade were referring to themselves by this name in letters home (Gaff, On Many a Bloody Field, pp. 194-195).

[6]  Gaff, On Many a Bloody Field, pp.176-184.

[7]  Gaff, On Many a Bloody Field, p. 184.

[8]  Ibid.

[9]  United States War Department. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1880–1901), Series 1, Volume XIX, Pt. 1, p. p. 229, 248 (hereafter listed as “OR”); Ezra A. Carman and Joseph Pierro, Ed. The Maryland Campaign of 1862; Ezra A. Carman’s Definitive Study of the Union and Confederates at Antietam. (New York: Routledge Books, 2008), p. 222; Ezra A. Carman and Thomas G. Clemens, Ed. The Maryland Campaign, Vol. II: Antietam (California: Savas Beatie, 2012), pp. 72-76; Gaff On Many a Bloody Field, p. 185.

[10]  Ibid.

[11]  Carman and Pierro, Ed. The Maryland Campaign, p. 222; Carman and Clemens, Ed. The Maryland Campaign, Vol. II, pp. 72-76; Gaff, On Many a Bloody Field, p. 185.

[12]  OR, Vol. XIX, Pt. 1, p. 251.

[13]  OR, Vol. XIX, Pt. 1, p. 928. The 1st Texas marched due north, not west, famously “slipping the bridle”—as Hood observed—launching an entirely different story, the subject of an earlier blog post which can be found at .

[14]  OR, Vol. XIX, Pt. 1, p. 935.

[15]  Gaff, On Many a Bloody Field, pp. 186-187.

[16]  OR, Vol. XIX, Pt. 1, p. 251.

[17]  Gaff, On Many a Bloody Field, pp. 186-187.

[18]  Gaff, On Many a Bloody Field, pp. 186-187.

[19]  21st Regiment Veteran’s Association of Buffalo Chronicles of the 21st New York: Buffalo’s First Regiment (Buffalo, New York: 1887), p. 291; Gaff, On Many a Bloody Field, p. 187.

[20]  Gaff, On Many a Bloody Field, pp. 187.

[21]  OR, Vol. XIX, Pt. 1, p. 249, p. 928, p. 938; Gaff, On Many a Bloody Field, p. 187.

[22]  William W. Dudley manuscript, Carman Papers, Antietam National Battlefield; Gaff, On Many a Bloody Field, pp. 187-188.

[23]  Carman and Clemens, Ed. The Maryland Campaign, Vol. II, p. 572. Captain Dudley, who wrote the official report for the 19th’Indiana at Antietam reported only 26 casulties, probably reflecting the immediate post-battle confusion (OR, Vol. XIX, Pt. 1, p. 252).

[24]  Gaff, On Many a Bloody Field, p. 189.

[25]  Gaff, On Many a Bloody Field, pp. 196-197.

[26]  Gaff, On Many a Bloody Field, p. 171, pp. 191-193. Gibbon did not support Meredith replacing him atop the Iron Brigade, believing Meredith an incompetent schemer who attained his promotion mainly through political maneuvering.

[27]  Gaff, On Many a Bloody Field, pp. 383-387.;–1959). Jared A. Crocker’s master’s thesis, “An Average Regiment: A Re-Examination of the 19th Indiana Volunteer Infantry of the Iron Brigade” (Department of History, Indiana University, 2016), adopts a revisionist tone in declaring the regiment “average soldiers who did an average job.” Ignoring Croker’s mostly fashionable look at the socioeconomic makeup of the regiment, he frequently mixes the casulties and actions of the 19th Indiana with that of the Iron Brigade and regularly ignores disconfirming data to justify his claim that “historians and writers have exaggerated [the 19th Indiana and the Iron Brigade’s] fighting prowess” and “that [t]hese units never successfully defended or took a position in a major battle.” Although the 19th Indiana was in fact “an average regiment” in composition, its considerable Antietam casulties and role in stalling and turning back Hood’s Cornfield attack demonstrate that its military contribution and role in the war was anything but “average.”

One thought on “The 19th Indiana in Antietam’s Cornfield: “The command is no longer forward, but now it is follow me!”

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