150 years ago this week the Battles of Second Bull Run and Chantilly were fought in Virginia. The engagements are amongst the least well-known of the 1862 clashes in the Eastern Theater, overshadowed as they are by the battles such as the Seven Days, Antietam and Fredericksburg. However for the 28th Massachusetts Infantry these fights took centre stage, as the Irishmen suffered brutal casualties across two bloody days on 30th August and 1st September. How did their families hear news of their loved ones fate?
During the American Civil War some family members were fortunate to hear news of a loved ones wounding or death from a friend or relative, but for many it was a harrowing trawl through the casualty lists of the local newspaper that brought them the information they feared. Many of the larger newspapers had correspondents travelling with the armies, and following an engagement these men would visit units from their native State to record the names of the fallen. Such accounts often included the type of wound the soldiers sustained, and whether it was considered slight or severe. It would have been a nerve-wracking but all too regular routine for relatives and friends to check this lists after news of a big engagement, each time hoping they had been spared the worst.
The 28th Massachusetts Infantry were an Irish regiment initially intended for service in the Irish Brigade. However circumstances intervened and the 28th did not join up with the famous brigade until November 1862. Amongst the Irishmen’s most severe tests before this time was at Second Bull Run and Chantilly, where they suffered heavy losses in fighting on 20th August and 1st September respectively. During two days of fighting across just three days the regiment sustained over 200 casualties. Below is the sobering casualty report exactly as it was presented one week later in the Boston Daily Advertiser of 8th September 1862. For many family members, it must have been while reading these lines that the first horror of what Second Bull Run and Chantilly had cost them was realised. The names of many of the men in the list have been misspelt (e.g. Captain ‘Carahu’ should read Caraher) and it is likely that at least some of the details regarding the severity (or slightness) of the soldiers wounds was inaccurate. However, it provided vital information for those at home trying to deal with the worry and anguish that was the lot of those left behind.
LOSSES IN MASSACHUSETTS REGIMENTS
The Journal’s correspondent furnishes the following list of the casualties in the New England regiments under General Burnside, which participated in the recent battles in Virginia:
List of killed, wounded and missing of the 28th Mass. Volunteers, commanded by Major George W. Cartwright, in the engagement of Aug. 30, near the old Bull-Run battle ground:
Killed.-Co.A- Corporal William Casey.
Co.C- Lieut. Wm. H. Flynn, corporal M. J. Coffee (color-bearer.)
Co.F- Bartholomew Durrant, Oliver H. Hodgeden.
Wounded.- Co.A- Sergt. John J. Cooley, in arm; Corporal John Cross, in foot; Thos. Donohoe, in breast; John Murphy, in leg; Garrett Barry, in arm; Hugh McIntire, in arm; Charles Doherty, in breast; Thomas Kenedy, Jr., in arm.
Co.B- Jesse Pollard, in hand; Corporal Patrick N. Bird, in shoulder; John Fitzgerald, in breast, severely; Philip Donohoe, in leg; Thomas Maloney, in leg; Robert Swain, in leg; Keyron McCoy, in breast; Corporal Wm. Ryan, in breast; John Meagher, in breast; M. Vey, in breast; Thomas Condon, in breast; Patrick Carr, in breast; John How, in breast; Asa Snider, in breast.
Co.C- Sergeant James Hotten, wounded and missing; Sergeant J.P. Quigley, slightly; Corporal N.J. Donally, wounded and missing; Corporal Wm. O’Neil, wounded and missing; James Cahill, wounded and missing; Gerrett Collins, wounded and missing; Henry Barton, wounded and missing; Wm. Corwin, wounded and missing; Edward Dwyer, slightly in neck; Martin Kirk, in leg; Edward McGrony, wounded and missing; Thomas Wheeler, wounded and missing; Patrick McSweeney, wounded and missing.
Co.D- Lieut. Buckley, in leg, severely; Acting Lieut. John Still, arm, slightly; Sergeant Patrick Dwyer (color bearer), legs, severely; Corporal Andrew Colligan, in leg; Hugh Mitchell, in leg; Wm. Clory, in leg; John Shanley, in leg; Robert Lesley, in leg; Cornelius Slatterry, in leg; George Brunt, in leg; Bernard Mullen, mortally.
Co.E- Corporal Miles E. Ferguson, wounded and missing; James McNall, wounded and missing; James Goonen, wounded and missing; Laurens F. Langley, bullet in neck, not serious; James Burns, Thomas Huger, Charles McVey, Steven Regan.
Co.F- Sergeant Thomas Hurley, in groin; Corporal Joseph F. Phillips, in thigh; Corporal Wm. H. Prey, in thigh; Michael Fosbery, in thigh; Thomas Lubray, in hand; James Daley, in bowels, serious; Hugh Campbell, in leg; John Murphy, in head; Patrick Power, in bowels; Patrick Erwin, in mouth.
Co.G- Orderly Sergeant E. O’Brien, in hip, slightly; Corporal A.G. Weller, in hand; P. Hews, in arm; P. Hanlon, in neck; Henry McDavitt, in leg; John Healey, in head; John Seymour, in hand; Simon Walsh, in thigh;
Co.H- Patrick Stinson, in thigh; John Concannon, in leg; John Hickey, in neck; Michael Dolon, in leg; James Flynn, arm broken; Patrick Golden, in legs; Cornelius Murphy, in leg, missing; Michael Spencer, arm, missing; William H. Chatfield, arm, missing.
Co.I- Sergeant Wm. Bert, wounded and missing; Albert M. Blair, slightly in leg; Michael Galvin, slightly in leg; Phillip Galligan, slightly in leg; Patrick Hurley, slightly in knee; Daniel Kilcher, severely in head; Thomas Sellon, severely in leg; Timothy McCarty, in knee; Phillip Rand, in leg; William Walsh, in finger (taken prisoner and parolled.)
Co.K- G.F. Kenney, M. Millon (both missing); Lieut. Kilhon, slightly in thigh; Sergt. Maguire, in leg; Patrick Kenney, in side; Michael Levin, in hands, severely; R. Mullon, in thigh; Thomas Shine, in leg and body; David Rosch, in jaw, severely, and missing; Wm. O’Donnell, thumb; Timothy McCormack, arm, severely.
Surgeon P.A. O’Connell and Assistant Surgeon George W. Snow were taken prisoners, they volunteering to remain in hospital and attend the wounded.
Major Cartwright, wounded in head by piece of shell; Capt. Carahu, (acting Major,) slightly, in head.
Killed, wounded and missing in same regiment, Sept. 1, Capt. A.P. Carahu commanding, in consequence of Major Cartwright being wounded:-
Killed. Co.A- Patrick Callahan, shot through head; Timothy Kent, Patrick McCole, James Phillips, shot through heart.
Co.B- Serg’t Timothy Cookey, private Timothy Leary.
Co. C- George W. Hall.
Co.F- Patrick Mitchell; Lieut. Alexander Barrett was wounded in breast, supposed mortally;
Co.K- Barney Gibbons, Patrick C. Sullivan.
Wounded. Co.A- Sergeant James A. McIntire, in shoulder and hand; Corporal Jeremiah Murphy, severely; Corporal Michael Carnes, in leg; Thomas Clark, in leg; John Crocker, in arm, slightly; Morris Cahill, in leg, slightly; John Duffy, in head; Dennis Day, in hip; Chas. Fennon, in arm; Bernard McIntire, in hand, slightly; Corporal Patrick Riley, in breast, severely.
Co.B- Charles Mahon, in leg; Sergeant Gibbons, in leg; Bernard Manning, in breast; Michael Hanley, in wrist; Sergeant Gray, wounded and missing; Bernard Wren, wounded and missing.
Co.C- Michael O’Donnel, wounded and missing; Hugh Maginnis, wounded and missing; Daniel Hanley, same; Corporal Daniel McGrath, wounded in hand; Thomas O’Brien, in arm; Jeremiah O’Brien, in head; Michael Cavanaugh, severely; Michael Carey, severely.
Co.D- Sergeant John Fitzpatrick, severely; Sergeant John Hannagan, severely; Patrick Powderly, slightly, James Heberts, severely; Stepehen Cronan, severely; Wm. Dolan, severely; Robert Lowder, slightly; Andrew Gilaly, slightly.
Co.E- Corporal Wm. Boynton, severely; Joseph A. Shirley, severely; Corporal Charles Goulding, Patrick Looby, James Daley, Michael Cotey, Patrick Higgins, James Taylor, David Corkloud, Michael Casmon, Lieut. James McArlde, in arm.
Co.F- Lieut. Alex Barrett, in breast; Sergt. Phillip Cavanaugh, in leg; Sergt. Geo. H. Farnham, in leg; Pat Gainer, in leg; David Tyler, in thigh; James McAboy, in head and arm; Henry Shoefer, in knee; James Coyle, in foot; Michael Coyle, in hand; Edward Sergeant, in mouth, severely; John Luth, in ankle; Peter Ready, in knee.
Co.G- W.H. Frizzle, in hand; Andrew Caswell, in hand; David S. Webber, in hand; Jas. Winn, missing.
Co.H- Jas. Short, breast, severely; John Meagher, severely; John Turner, arm broken; Thomas Blanchard, in groin; James McSweeney, in leg; Wm. Hallegen, in arm; Peter Ring, in side.
Co.I- Charles Flannegen, seriously in leg; Lewis L. Crosby, slightly in side; Corporal John Tifft, severely in shoulder; John Killien, slightly in hand; John Kelly, in side; John Chadbourn, in chin; Noah Linacott, in leg; Richard Powers, severely in leg; Laurens Clark, in arm; James Goodwin, missing.
Co.K- John Griffin, finger off; Thos. Curly, same; John Moore, in thigh slightly; John Mahon, in side slightly; Barney Baxter, in leg slightly; Maurice Condon, in leg slightly; Patrick Lowrey, in thigh; Edward Farrell, in thigh.
References & Further Reading
Boston Daily Advertiser 8th September 1862. Losses in Massachusetts Regiments