Fellow blogger Scott Mingus has been writing a series of books on “Human Interest Stories” of various Civil War campaigns. Recently, I looked at Human Interest Stories from Antietam and promised to provide a few more stories from the book. This is the last of four entries I hope to devote to the subject. I’ll include a vignette from each chapter of the book. Please note this series can be purchased from Colecraft Books.
Chapter 4: The Aftermath
One raw recruit in the Fifth New York, a soldier only a week, wandered off from his regiment in the days after the battle “to discover what was new.” In his rambles, he happened upon a large house with an inviting open window. With the curiosity of youth, he walked over to it and raised his head above the sill. He was startled as the gory stump of a human arm was suddenly thrust in his face, and a voice from inside the house commanded, “Young man, take this away and bury it!” The recruit walked back to his regiment sick to his stomach, for he had unknowingly stumbled across one of the many homes that had been converted into field hospitals. Wiser for his efforts, he did no more sightseeing at Antietam.
Alfred Davenport, Camp and Field Life of the Fifth New York Volunteer Infantry: (Duryee Zouaves). (New York: Dick and Fitzgerald, 1879).