The Bloodiest Day

September 17, 1862The Battle of Sharpsburg- known as The single bloodiest day in the Civil War. The 6th North Carolina was there!

Author at Dunker church in 2007

The 6th North Carolina State Troops arrived in Sharpsburg on September 15, tired and hungry, after spending the previous day fighting to block the Federal army from passing through Boonesborough Gap, and then acting as a rear guard as the Confederates consolidated at Sharpsburg.  Law’s brigade was posted on the Hagarstown Pike with their right posted at the Dunker Church and the line extended along the turnpike. The other regiments in Law’s 1474 man brigade were the 4th Alabama, the 2nd Mississippi and the 11th Mississippi.1 Regimental strengths for the Sixth NC at this battle are not easily found, but in discussing this with my colleague and fellow researcher, Randall Garrison, we guesstimate their strength to be around 400.

They crossed the high wooden fences bordering the Hagarstown pike and entered a field adjacent to Miller’s cornfield. This is where they fought….and died. By mid morning it was over. They were recalled to the woods around the Dunker church and waited in readiness under a heavy bombardment of cannon fire for a call to action that never came.

Various casualty records can be found, all with slightly different numbers but they are all in the same ballpark. Iobst, in “The Bloody Sixth“, referred to a casualty report in the October 8, 1862 “Hillsborough Reporter” of  8 Killed and 105 Wounded for a total of 113 Casualties. Contrast this with John Micheal Priest’s figures from the Official Records of 6 Killed and 94 wounded, although  Col. Laws report2 in the O.R.’s states 8 killed and 117 wounded. I found a casualty list for the 6th North Carolina in the Wednesday, Oct. 1, 1862 “North Carolina Standard” that I used as the basis for my research, which agrees with Iobst’s figures of 8 Killed and 105 Wounded, but after going through the rosters I found that even these figures don’t  match. My research has identified 12 killed.

Of the nearly 4,000 deaths resulting from that horrific battle, at least 12 men from the 6th North Carolina State troops (“The Bloody Sixth”) made the ultimate Sacrifice that day 150 years ago.

They have not been forgotten:

6th NCST Roster of  Killed from the battle of Sharpsburg, Maryland

as reported in the 7-31-1861 North Carolina standard and verified against North Carolina Troops Roster (Jordon), Bloody Sixth Roster (Manarin), The O.R’s and Compiled Service Records and transcribed by Historian Rick Walton, I am including the 12 members of the 6th Killed in action below. (use scroll at bottom to see entire table)

Co Rank Name in Newspaper Name on roster County enlisted Age enlisted Date enlisted Occupation Resided
C Captain Capt Lowrie Lowrie, Houston B. unknown 22 5/16/1861 unknown unknown
C Sergeant Serg’t. M Markham Markham, Matthew Orange 25 5/1/1861 unknown Orange
D Corporal Corp’l A L Poteet Poteet, Alburto L. Mecklenburg 41 5/28/1861 unknown Burke
D Private G Stanford Stanford, John J. Alamance 33 6/27/1861 Farmer Burke
D Private Henry Roseman Roseman, Henry Alamance 25 6/15/1861 unknown unknown
D Private L L Hank Houk, Lawson L. Mecklenburg 19 5/281861 unknown unknown
D Private <not listed> Branch, Martin J. Alamance 22 6/27/1861 unknown Burke
E Sergeant Serg’t P A Erwin Erwin, Isaac Mecklenburg 30 5/28/1861 Farmer Yancey
G Private Thos Cress Cress, Thomas Mecklenburg 25 5/29/1861 Farmer Rowan
H Corporal Corp’l J B Walker Walker, James B. Caswell 21 6/6/1861 Farmer Caswell
H Private J T Wren Wren, John T. Caswell 24 6/10/1861 unknown unknown
K Private David Hatchell Hatchell, David Wake ? 9/1/1861 Unknown Unknown

1. Priest, John Michael, Antietam: The Soldiers Battle, White Maine Publishing Company, Shippensburg, PA, Pg 323.

2 O. R., Series 1, Volume XIX/1, Pg. 811