Fox's Regimental Losses
Chapter IV.

Loss in Officers--List of Generals Killed--Surgeons and Chaplains Killed

        THE loss in officers killed or wounded, in proportion to their number, was in excess of that of their men. Of the total number killed and wounded during the war, there were 6,365 officers, and 103,705 enlisted men; or, one officer to 16 men. In the common regimental organization there was one officer to 28 men; and this proportion would have consequently required only one officer to 28 men among the killed. The loss of officers, however, was not so excessive as the difference in these ratios would indicate; for, as the ranks became depleted the latter proportion was not maintained. In the Army of the Potomac, just before starting on the Wilderness campaign, the morning reports showed one officer to every 21 men "present for duty, equipped." As this latter proportion was a frequent one, it may be assumed that the difference between it and the actual ratio in the killed indicates fairly the excess of the loss in officers.
        At Gettysburg, the officers lost 27 per cent. in killed and wounded, while the enlisted men lost 21 per cent.,-- as based on the number engaged. At Shiloh, the loss in officers killed and wounded was 21.3 per cent., and in men 17.9 per cent.,-- as based on the morning reports of Grant's six divisions.
        This greater loss among the officers did not occur because they were so much braver than the men in the ranks, but because the duties of their position while under fire involved a greater personal exposure. Sharpshooters were always on the alert to pick them off; and, even in the confusion of a hot musketry fire, any soldier, no matter how poor a marksman, would turn his rifle on any conspicuous man in the opposing ranks whose appearance indicated that he might be an officer. In close quarters, guns were not apt to be aimed at privates if a Lieutenant was in sight near by. There was just as good stuff in the ranks as in the line; in fact, the line officers were recruited almost entirely from the ranks; but when the gallant private donned an officer's uniform, he found his chances not at all improved, to say the least.
        This additional exposure is well illustrated by a comparison of the casualties at Gettysburg with those of the Wilderness. In the first named battle the percentage of loss among the officers was one-half greater than in the latter. At Gettysburg, the fighting was done in open fields, where the officers were in full view; at the Wilderness, the fighting was done in dense thickets which concealed the opposing armies. In the latter, both officers and men were hidden by the leafy screens, and hence their casualty lists show a like percentage of loss.
        In the Franco-Prussian war there was a remarkable excess of loss among the German officers. The percentages of killed and mortally wounded in the entire German army were: Enlisted men, 3.1; Line officers, 8.0; Staff officers, 9.6.
        The largest number of officers killed in any infantry regiment in the Union Armies is found in the Sixty-first Pennsylvania, of the Sixth Corps, in which 19 officers were killed or mortally wounded during the war. Among the number were three colonels: Col. Rippey was killed at Fair Oaks; Col. Spear fell while leading a successful assault on Marye's Heights; and Col. Crosby, who had lost an arm at Fort Stevens, was killed in the final and victorious assault on Petersburg. The total loss of the Sixty-first in killed and died of wounds, was 19 officers and 218 enlisted men; total, 237. It was a gallant regiment and was bravely led, as its loss in officers clearly shows.
        The following list embraces every regiment which lost 16 or more officers killed during the war:

Infantry

Regiment  Division  Corps  Killed
61st Pennsylvania  Getty's  Sixth  19
5th New Hampshire  Barlow's  Second  18
12th Massachusetts  Robinson's  First  18
48th New York  Terry's  Tenth  18
73d New York  Hooker's  Third  18
81st Pennsylvania  Barlow's  Second  18
145th Pennsylvania  Barlow's  Second  18
31st Maine  Potter's  Ninth  18
20th Massachusetts  Gibbon's  Second  17
14th Connecticut  Gibbon's  Second  17
62d Pennsylvania  Griffin's  Fifth  17
63d Pennsylvania  Birney's  Third  17
5th Michigan  Birney's  Third  16
16th Massachusetts  Humphreys's  Third  16
61st New York  Barlow's  Second  16
l26th New York  Barlow's  Second  16
82d Ohio  Schurz's  Eleventh  16
100th Pennsylvania  Stevenson's  Ninth  16
6th Wisconsin  Wadsworth's  First  16

Heavy Artillery

1st Maine  Birney's  Second  23
8th New York  Gibbon's  Second  19

        A heavy artillery regiment had just twice as many line officers as an infantry regiment. The largest regimental loss of officers killed in any one battle, occurred in the Seventh New Hampshire at the assault on Fort Wagner, the regiment losing 11 officers killed or mortally wounded in that bloody affair. Among the killed was Col. Putnam, who fell after he had gained an entrance within the outer works of the fort. He was a graduate of West Point and an officer of the Regular Army; like many other Regular officers he had received permission to accept the command of a volunteer regiment.
        The Twenty-second New York Infantry lost at Manassas 19 officers killed and wounded out of 24 present in action; 9 of them were killed, among whom was the Lieutenant-Colonel, Gorton T. Thomas.
        The following list includes every infantry regiment in the service which lost 8 or more officers killed in any one engagement:

Regiment  Battle  Division  Corps  Killed
7th New Hampshire  Fort Wagner  Seymour's  Tenth  11
7th New York  Fredericksburg  Hancock's  Second  9
22d New York  Manassas  Hatch's  First  9
59th New York  Antietam  Sedgwick's  Second  9
145th Pennsylvania  Fredericksburg  Hancock's  Second  9
43d Illinois  Shiloh  McClernand's  ----------  8
87th Indiana  Chickamauga  Braiman's  Fourteenth  8
1st Michigan  Manassas  Morell's  Fifth  8
14th New Hampshire  Opequon  Grover's  Nineteenth  8
24th Michigan  Gettysburg  Wadsworth's  First  8
120th New York  Gettysburg  Humphreys's  Third  8

        In addition, mention should be made of the loss of officers in the heavy artillery at certain battles. The First Maine H. A. lost 12 officers, killed or wounded, at Spotsylvania, May 19th, of whom 6 were killed or mortally wounded; and at Petersburg, June 18th, the same regiment lost 32 officers, killed or wounded, of whom 10 lost their lives. In the Eighth New York Heavy Artillery, 9 officers were killed at Cold Harbor. But the large number of extra officers allowed these regiments will not admit of their classification with the infantry regiments just mentioned.
        There is a remarkable difference between the loss of officers in battle and by disease, as compared with that of the enlisted men. In battle, one officer was killed for every 16 enlisted men; but, among the deaths from disease, one officer died to every 72 men, and in the colored regiments, one officer to every 215 men. The officers had better facilities for purchasing food, and were furnished with better quarters while in camp; but in an active campaign, in bivouac or on the march, they encountered substantially the same exposure and privation; they were exposed to the same storms and their food was equally scanty. There was not enough of difference in the fare to account for this remarkable difference in the death-rate. It might account for some of it, but for the greater part the reason must be looked for elsewhere.
        The general officers never hesitated in time of battle to share the danger with the men whenever it became necessary. The gallantry with which they were wont to expose themselves is fully evidenced by the long list of those who were killed.

General Officers Killed in Action

Army Commanders.

Major-General James B McPherson

 Army of Tennessee

 Killed at Atlanta

Corps Commanders

Major-General Joseph K Mansfield  12th A C  Killed at Antietam
Major-General John F  Reynolds  1st A C  Killed at Gettysburg
Major-General John Sedgwick  6th A C  Killed atSpotsylvania

Division Commanders

Major-General Isaac I Stevens  Killed at Chantilly
Major-General Philip Kearny  Killed at Chantilly
Major-General Jesse L  Reno  Killed at South Mountain
Major-General Israel B  Richardson  Killed at Antietam
Major-General Amiel W  Whipple  Killed at Chancellorsville
Major-General Hiram G  Berry  Killed at Chancellorsville
Brevet Major-General James S  Wadsworth  Killed at Wilderness
Brevet Major-General David A  Russell  Killed at  Opequon
Brigadier-General William H Wallace  Killed at  Shiloh
Brigadier-General Thomas Williams  Killed at  Baton Rouge
Brigadier-General James S  Jackson  Killed at  Chaplin Hills
Brigadier-General Isaac P  Rodman  Killed at Antietam
Brigadier-General Thomas G  Stevenson  Killed at Spotsylvania
Brevet Brigadier-General James A  Mulligan  Killed at Winchester (1863)

Brigade Commanders

Major-General George C  Strong  Killed at Fort Wagner
Brevet Major-General Alexander Hays  Killed at  Wilderness
Brevet Major-General S  K  Zook  Killed at  Gettysburg
Brevet Major-General Frederick Winthrop  Killed at Five Forks
Brevet Major-General Thomas A  Smyth  Killed at  Farmville
Brigadier-General Nathaniel Lyon  Killed at  Wilson's Creek
Brigadier-General Robert L  McCook  Killed at Decherd, Tenn
Brigadier-General Henry Bohlen  Killed at  Freeman's Ford
Brigadier-General George W  Taylor  Killed at  Manassas
Brigadier-General William R  Terrill  Killed at  Chaplin Hills
Brigadier-General Pleasant A Hacklemall  Killed at Corinth
Brigadier-General George D  Bayard  Killed at  Fredericksburg
Brigadier-General Conrad F  Jackson  Killed at  Fredericksburg
Brigadier-General Joshua W  Sill  Killed at  Stone's River
Brigadier-General Edward P  Chapin  Killed at  Port Hudson
Brigadier-General Stephen W  Weed  Killed at Gettysburg
Brigadier-General Elon J Farnsworth  Killed at  Gettysburg
Brigadier-General Strong Vincent  Killed at Gettysburg
Brigadier-General William H  Lytle  Killed at  Chickamauga
Brigadier-General William P  Sanders  Killed at  Knoxville
Brigadier-General Samuel A Rice  Killed at  Jenkins' Ferry
Brigadier-General James C Rice  Killed at Spotsylvania
Brigadier-General Charles G  Harker  Killed at  Kenesaw Mountain
Brigadier-General Daniel McCook  Killed at  Kenesaw Mountain
Brigadier-General Hiram Burnham  Killed at  Fort Harrison
Brigadier-General Daniel D  Bidwell  Killed at  Cedar Creek
Brigadier-General Charles R  Lowell  Killed at  Cedar Creek
Brevet Brigadier-General Arthur H Dutton  Killed at  Bermuda Hundred
Brevet Brigadier-General Griffin A  Stedman  Killed at  Petersburg
Brevet Brigadier-General George D  Wells  Killed at  Cedar Creek
Brevet Brigadier-General J  H  Kitching  Killed at  Cedar Creek
Brevet Brigadier-General Sylvester G  Hill  Killed at  Nashville

        There were also 23 Brevet Brigadier-Generals who were killed in action, but who were without brigade commands. They were regimental or staff officers whose brevets, in most instances, dated from the day they were killed. There were 35 general officers who died of disease during the war. Among them wereseveral prominent and able officers-- Generals Sumner, C. F. Smith, Birney, Mitchel, Welsh, Buford, Corcoran, Ransom, Crocker, and other noted generals.
        A large number of brigades were commanded by Colonels, some of whom held a brigade command for a long time, during which they displayed marked ability, but without any recognition of their services on the part of the Government. The list of Brigadiers killed in action would convey an erroneous impression as to the losses in that grade,, unless accompanied by a supplementary list of the other brigade commanders who also lost their lives in battle.
        The following list is composed of Colonels who had been entrusted with brigades, and were exercising such commands at the time of their death. They were men of noble spirits, intrepid soldiers, whose gallantry and ability had won the admiration and respect of all.

Killed in Action

Brigade Commanders, With Rank of Colonel

Colonel Edward D  Baker  71st Pennsylvania  Ball's Bluff
Colonel Julius Raith  43d Illinois  Shiloh
Colonel Everett Peabody  25th Missouri  Shiloh
Colonel George Webster  98th Ohio  Chaplin Hills
Colonel John A  Koltes  73d Pennsylvania  Manassas
Colonel William B  Goodrich  60th New York  Antietam
Colonel George W Roberts  42d Illinois  Stone's River
Colonel Frederick Schaefer  2d Missouri  Stone's River
Colonel George C  Spear  61st Pennsylvania  Marye's Heights
Colonel David S  Cowles  128th New York  Port Hudson
Colonel George B  Boomer  26th Missouri  Vicksburg
Colonel Edward E  Cross  5th New Hampshire  Gettysburg
Colonel George L  Willard  125th New York  Gettysburg
Colonel Eliakim Sherrill  126th New York  Gettysburg
Colonel Haldinand S  Putnam  7th New Hampshire  Fort Wagner
Colonel James E  Mallon  42d New York  Bristoe Station
Colonel Edward A  King  68th Indiana  Chickamauga
Colonel Hans C  Heg  15th Wisconsin  Chickamauga
Colonel Philemon P  Baldwin  6th Indiana  Chickamauga
Colonel William R Creighton  7th Ohio  Ringgold
Colonel Patrick E Burke  66th Illinois  Rome Cross Roads
Colonel Orlando H  Morris  66th New York  Cold Harbor
Colonel Lewis O  Morris  7th New York (H A)  Cold Harbor
Colonel Henry Boyd McKeen  81st Pennsylvania  Cold Harbor
Colonel Frank A  Haskell  36th Wisconsin  Cold Harbor
Colonel Jeremiah C  Drake  112th New York  Cold Harbor
Colonel Richard Byrnes   28th Massachusetts  Cold Harbor
Colonel Patrick Kelly  88th New York  Petersburg
Colonel William Blaisdell  11th Massachusetts  Petersburg
Colonel Simon Mix  3d New York Cavalry  Petersburg
Colonel Calvin A  Craig  105th Pennsylvania  Deep Bottom
Colonel Nathan T  Dushane  1st Maryland  Weldon Railroad
Colonel Joseph Theburn  1st West Virginia  Cedar Creek
Colonel Louis Bell  4th New Hampshire  Fort Fisher

        In each regiment there were officers whose duties did not require that they should go into action-- the Chaplain, the Quartermaster, and the Surgeons. Although they had no tactical position in the line of battle, there was a loss of life among their number which entitles them to some other place in the records of the war than that of mere non-combatants. Many of them waived their exemption from danger, and gallantly volunteered for service in the field; while others-- the surgeons, for instance-- attended calmly to the performance of their duties amid perils which would test the stoutest heart.
        Though the surgeons seldom took an active part in a battle, they were required to be near, and much of the time were under fire. Some of them went on the field with their regiments in order to render timely aid; others were stationed near by at some field hospital, where they often found themselves exposed to serious danger. During the war, 40 Surgeons were killed and 73 wounded while bravely attending to their duties on the battle field. They had not the excitement of the fight to dull their sense of danger; they had not the incentive of promotion; they were not spurred by ambitious hopes; victory might bring laurels to others, but not to them; they met their fate, actuated and sustained by no other impulse than the sense of duty.
        Many Surgeons died from disease while in the service, and their names also lengthen the Roll of Honor. A record of these patriots,-- their names and regiments, and the battles in which they lost their lives,-- appears in the Medical and Surgical History of the war.
        Several lives were also lost among the Quartermasters, some of them having been killed while serving as volunteer aids, while others fell while attending to the duties of their position when under fire. Among the first to scale the heights of Missionary Ridge was a Quartermaster-Sergeant of a Michigan regiment, who had borrowed a gun and volunteered for the fight.
        It will, doubtless, be a surprise to many to note the number of Chaplains killed in battle. These gallant members of the Church Militant were wont to take a more active part in the fighting than has been generally credited to them. They were frequently seen in the thickest of the fight, some of them handling a rifle with the skill of a marksman, while others, unarmed, would move about among their men encouraging them to do their best.
        Among the Chaplains killed in action, there were:


Name

 Regiment

 Battle

Rev Arthur B  Fuller  16th Massachusetts  Fredericksburg
Rev  Orlando N  Benton  51st New York  New Berne
Rev  John M  Springer  3d Wisconsin  Resaca
Rev  Francis E  Butler  25th New Jersey  Siege of Suffolk
Rev  John L  Walther  43d Illinois  Shiloh
Rev  Levi W  Sanders  125th Illinois  Caldwell's Ferry
Rev  John W  Eddy  72d Indiana  Hoover's Gap
Rev  Horatio S  Howell  90th Pennsylvania  Gettysburg
Rev  Thomas L  Ambrose  12th New Hampshire  Petersburg
Rev  George W  Bartlett  1st Maine Cavalry  Cold Harbor
Rev  George W  Densmore  1st Wisconsin Cavalry  L'Anguille Ferry

        In addition, there were several who lost their lives by the diseases incident to the hardship and exposure of a soldier's life.
        Chaplain Fuller, of the Sixteenth Massachusetts, had resigned from the service and had just received his discharge, when he learned that his regiment was about to go into action, at Fredericksburg. Crossing the river in the boats with the forlorn hope, he joined the skirmishers of the Nineteenth Massachusetts, who were then fighting their way through the streets. He fell dead, rifle in hand, in front of a grocery store on Caroline Street.
        Springer, of the Third Wisconsin, fell mortally wounded at Resaca, after having "seized a musket" and fought for four hours in the "hottest of the fight."
        Howell, of the Ninetieth Pennsylvania, was shot at Gettysburg during the retreat through the town, and died on the steps of a church.
        Butler was killed at the Siege of Suffolk, while carrying water to some wounded men.
        Bartlett, of the First Maine Cavalry, was killed at Cold Harbor. He was struck in the breast by a shell and "literally blown to pieces."
        Benton fell at New Berne, and General Reno states in his official report that he "was killed while nobly encouraging the men to do their duty."
        Eddy, of the Seventy-second Indiana, fell at Hoover's Gap, Tenn., struck by a cannon ball. Of Chaplain Ambrose, who was killed in the trenches at Petersburg, the regimental historian says that "a braver man never lived; a truer man never wore the garb of Christianity."
        At Resaca, among the Confederate dead which lay so thickly in front of the Twenty-seventh Indiana, was a family group: a gray-haired Chaplain and his two sons.
        The official reports make frequent mention of Chaplains whose gallantry and zeal had attracted the notice of their general. In the Chancellorsville reports, General Berdan, commander of the famous Sharpshooters, states that "Chaplain Barber, of the Second Regiment, took a rifle and went in with the skirmishers, with his usual bravery."
        At Antietam, Gen. J. R. Brooke mentions in his report "the brave Chaplain of the Sixty -sixth New York, Rev. Mr. Dwight, who was constantly in the field, in the thickest of the fight."
        Gen. Giles A. Smith, in his report of the battle of Atlanta (July 22d), states that Chaplain Bennett, of the Thirty-second Ohio, "carried his musket and fought all day in the ranks, which I learn is his custom on all such occasions."
        The officers of a brigade petitioned that Chaplain H. C. Trumbull, of the Tenth Connecticut, be brevetted a Major; stating that, "always at his post in time of danger, he has, on two occasions at least, displayed marked and conspicuous gallantry; dashing into the thickest of the fight to rally and encourage the wavering line." Gen. Terry forwarded the paper with the endorsement: "No officer of his regiment has displayed more gallantry in action, or done more to animate the men to do their duty."
        Aside from such notices, these men have not received the recognition due their services, but lack of space forbids further mention here.
        Many of the Chaplains had served in the ranks as enlisted men prior to their appointment. They were regularly ordained clergymen, whose patriotic zeal had impelled them to exchange their pulpits for the camp; so, when a vacancy occurred in the chaplaincy of a regiment to which any such belonged, the Colonel was very apt to recommend the clerical musket-bearer, whose gallantry perhaps had already attracted his attention.
        In this connection, mention should also be made of the many clergymen who left their pastoral duties to accept commissions in the army, some of whom held regimental or brigade commands. Among the brigade commanders killed at Cold Harbor was the Rev. Jeremiah C. Drake, Colonel of the One Hundred and Twelfth New York, an officer conspicuous for gallant and meritorious service on many occasions. A similar instance is found in the Confederate Army in the case of Bishop Polk, a corps-general, who fell while on the Atlanta campaign.
        The musicians formed a numerous class among the non combatants. Although their legitimate duty in time of battle was confined to that of stretcher-bearers, they often participated in the fighting. At Shiloh, the band of the Forty-eighth Ohio laid aside their instruments, procured rifles, and went into the fight, where two of their number were killed. Still, it must be confessed that the dead drummer-boy was not so common a feature on the field as might be inferred from the work of battle-field artists.
        The frequent loss of life among the stretcher-bearers attests the faithful work of the men employed in that duty, most of whom were musicians. At the battle of the Weldon Railroad, the ambulance train of the Fifth Corps lost 2 sergeants killed and 6 stretcher-men wounded: 8 horses were killed, and shells passed through two of the ambulances. This was not an uncommon experience.
This Page last updated 11/17/02

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