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[73]

In other parts of that fragmentary battle Massachusetts men had a prominent share. The 2d Mass. Infantry having taken a Confederate flag, Lieut.-Col. Wilder Dwight rode along the line displaying it, amid a storm of bullets.1 Near the end of the battle he fell, mortally wounded. His last act before being wounded was to walk along the line of the regiment, which was drawn up under the shelter of a fence, and to direct the men to keep their heads down out of the reach of the enemy's fire.2

How well this regiment reflected the character of such an officer may be seen in the contemporary testimonials. Brig.-Gen. A. S. Williams, commanding the 1st Division of the 12th Corps, wrote to Governor Andrew, Dec. 5, 1862, of the 2d Mass. Infantry, that ‘in the battles of Cedar Mountain and Antietam its casualties were nearly one-third the number engaged in action,’ and added: ‘In thoroughness of discipline, in perfection of drill, in regularity and promptness in camp and garrison duties, and the intelligence and fidelity of its officers, it may well be questioned if this regiment has its superior in the service.’3

Another brave officer who fell at Antietam was Maj. William D. Sedgwick of Lenox, formerly captain in the 2d Mass. Infantry, but at the time of his death serving on the staff of General Sedgwick, his kinsman. He fell while trying to rally a broken regiment, and while lying fatally wounded on the field, wrote to his family, ‘My country is welcome to every drop of my blood. I love my wife and children as well as any man, but I would engage never to see them again if I could thereby secure the abolition of slavery.’4

The 15th Mass. Infantry sustained the heaviest loss among all the regiments at Antietam, eighty of the killed falling within twenty minutes of time. Among these were Capts. Richard Derby5 of Salem and Clark S. Simonds of Fitchburg, with Lieuts. Thomas J. Spurr of Worcester and Frank S. Corbin of Dudley. Lieutenant Spurr refused, when mortally wounded, to be carried to the rear.6

Among other regiments there fell, of conspicuous officers, Capt. George W. Batchelder of Salem (19th Mass. Infantry), Capt. John Saunders (1st

1 Life and Letters of Wilder Dwight (Boston, 1891, 2d ed ), p. 293.

2 Life, etc, p. 293. Compare his memoir in Harvard Memorial Biographies, I, 271.

3 Mass. adjutant-general's report, 1862, p. 104.

4 See his memoir in Harvard Memorial Biographies, I, 179.

5 See his memoir by Mrs P. A. Hanaford (Boston, 1866), entitled The Young Captain.

6 See his memoir in Harvard Memorial Biographies, I, 472.

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