Eighth Regiment Connecticut Volunteers

Company A, Inc.

Antietam National Battlefield Event Report

September 19-21, 2003
Antietam National Battlefield
Sharpsburg, Maryland
September 22, 1862

Dear Friends,

It seems that we have been through the most gruesome battle of modern times, and yet, the Army keeps us here, detailed close to the battlefield. We of the Bloody Eighth have been assigned to police guard around the grounds surrounding hte Smoketown Hospital here in Sharpsburg. The duty is not hard, given the facts that Lee and his Rebel bands have escaped over the Potomac several days since.

We have a neat little camp on the side of the Smoketown road leading away from the Hagarstown Pike at the Dunker church. The camp is about as nice as we like it, wood and water have been provided by the folks here, and we are all in first rate spirits, except the fact that we are continually looking at the wounded and the casualties of that dreadful day.

The Smoketown Hospital is now being run by the US Army Surgeons here, and attended by the Frederick Ladies Relief Society. They have been more than successful in bringing to the men all that can be had in the line of medicine, blankets, clothing, and have been first rate in getting the individual news back home on the proceedings here for the men.

The weather this past several days is less than notable, it has been showering rain on us and the rest of the boys here on an hourly basis since we came to the Smoketown road. No matter what, the folks around have made a small dent in the activities at the Dunker church, and so that the wounded are not there in large numbers as they were a few days since. Due to the weather, we all have been allowed to sleep on the floor of the building,and that has made some of the boys glad that they are between four wooden walls once again.

The days bring a guard, and a little company drill, which we execute to the officers satisfaction, rain or shine. Although it has been a lot more rain than shine here, the officers are all in the books, and getting us through the details of the schools just as if it were that warm September a year ago in Hartford.

We have had a fair amount of citizens pass through our camps looking for their loved ones, and we do our best to make them feel safe, and direct them as best that we can given the circumstances. Seeing as though the options are either find your folks in the hospital, or in a grave, sometimes it is truly very hard to bear the results of the directions and the truth that we see theme find.

We have had first rate rations here, since the wagons were brought up on the day after the battle,and we have obtained our shelters and most of our knapsacks in that move. We are not sure what will happen from here, but the civilians seem to swamp the efforts of the army to complete the efforts here.

Many of the wounded have been moved to Baltimore, but the rest that are here cannot as yet be moved, although they do release some every day. No one here in the Smoketown Hospital is in any great dangers at this time, and so they simply put their efforts into gaining a little every day until they can be released from the hospital, and return to their regiments, or mostly be transferred to hospitals at Pt Lookout, or in Washington, DC.

On the Sabbath morning, all our boys got to walking, and we went over the original paths of the Old Eighth in the battle, and thought hard how quiet it was that morning, and what it was like that awful Wednesday afternoon but a short time ago. We walked every step, imprinting on our minds what was wrought into history that day by our Nutmeg heroes. When we reached the point of our farthest advance, we were all as one, bowed our heads, and said a memorable prayer to all our martyrs and patriots that fell on that spot for our state, our nation, and our future.

We are mostly depleted in our ranks, but the boys here will do anything that will help the hospital, the FLRS, or any citizen that happens by. It has been a hard week in the rain, but that is the pleasure of the living. So many are being buried here still that we are very glad to not have drawn any duty in that line here on the Smoketown line.

I must close, as tattoo has been sounded, and I must get this missive ready for the mail in the morning.

Please write soon + often, and give my love to all inquiring friends. I remain

Your obedient servant,

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