Milton Historical Society

[Editor's Note]

September 19, 1864

No letter or contemporary document exists in the Moulton file dated September 19, 1864 but Henry's regiment, part of the XIX Corps, was then in the Shenandoah Valley, near Winchester. Three days after Henry's last letter (September 16, 1864) the tempo of battle resumed and the Regimental History provides this account:

At three o'clock, on the morning of the 19th of September, the reveille was beaten in the camps, and the army marched through Berryville, the Nineteenth Corps halting beyond, and being informed that they would probably fight on that spot. At this time, heavy cannonading was heard on the right, and at the front, where the cavalry was heavily engaged. After halting an hour or two, the Nineteenth Corps advanced by the flank… (and) came upon a high table-land, and formed in line of battle on the edge of a belt of woods between the opposing forces, the third brigade being at this time on the extreme left of the Nineteenth Corps, and connecting with the Sixth Corps. Each regiment sent out skirmishers, who advanced into the woods, followed by the brigade in line of battle, and emerging on to an open plain, which was crossed at a rapid pace, the enemy were encountered in the woods beyond, and battle became hot.

The brigade had advanced too fast, leaving its right flank exposed; and, unable to withstand the heavy fire concentrated upon it, the Thirty-eighth fell back, having lost many officers and men. At one time, the battle-flag was within a few yards of the banner of a rebel regiment, and its capture seemed imminent, but color-sergeant Lunt, supported by color-corporal Abbot, bravely carried it through.

The Regiment's loss in this, the most significant engagement of the Shenandoah Campaign, was: eight killed, thirty-eight wounded (a number afterwards died of their wounds); eight prisoners, and one missing. Henry, along with "Brother Mudge" (see July 2, 1863 letter), and Corporal Charles G. Littlefield of Milton were among the wounded.

Sergeant John E. Simpson from Quincy and a tent mate of Henry's (see May 29, 1864 letter) submitted a sworn affidavit on behalf of Henry's application for a disability pension (click detail below for full document). It states in part: "…while in the strict line of his duty, being at the time Corporal in said Co. 'I', but serving with the colors as 'Color Corporal', in action, on the 19th September 1864, at Opequon Creek, Virginia, he received a gun-shot (shell) wound left ankle…"1

Proof of Disability from John E Simpson, Sept 3 1881

Families of wounded Union soldiers were usually notified by telegraph. Since the official notification of Henry's wound has not survived, we've issued this editor's note in its stead. The next correspondence in the Moulton Collection is dated/addressed: October 8, 1864, US General Hospital, York Penn.

Editor: Dennis (Mike) Doyle

1 See John E. Simpson's August 3, 1881, Proof of Disability from the Civil War pension files at the National Archives. Simpson received a Milton bounty but was not credited upon its quota of Civil War Soldiers (Teele, p.464). Henry was apparently acting sergeant in May and June 1864 when he shared a tent with three other sergeants and Simpson (Letter, 5/29/1864). This is further confirmed in two 1865 Company Muster Rolls where it is noted that he was "entitled to increased pay for the months of May and June 1864."