Fifty years ago, National Park Service historian Dwight E. Stinson, Jr. set out to “present a definitive study of the operations of Sedgwick’s Division at the Battle of Antietam.” What follows is the fourth entry from his report: Appendix A-Casualties.
(K-Killed; W-Wounded; M-Missing; Tot-Total)
|Totals of Sedgwick's Infantry, Woodruff's Battery, and 125th Pennsylvania:|
|K- 397||W- 1,1693||M- 246||Tot- 2,336|
|Second Division, II Corps (Sedgwick)|
|K- 373||W- 1,593||M- 244||Tot- 2,210|
|1st Brigade (Gorman)|
|2nd Brigade (Howard)|
|3rd Brigade (Dana)|
|Woodruff (I, 1st U.S.)||K-0||W-6||M-0||TOT-6|
|Tompkins (A, 1st R.I.)||K-4||W-15||M-0||TOT-19|
|Average Regimental Losses (Compared with other divisions of II Corps)|
|Sedgwick and 125th PA||K-28||W-120||M-18||TOT-166|
|Richardson and French||K-22||W-98||M-7||TOT-127|
42 per cent (based on 5,200 infantry engaged)
The following tables, unless otherwise stated, are based solely on the number of reported casualties. Efforts to correlate the losses with those of other engagements or other units at Antietam have been avoided because of the impossibility in determining numbers engaged, without which the figures would be meaningless.
Ranked No. 1 of 15 infantry divisions reporting loss at Antietam.
Dana's Brigade ranked No. 1 of 40 brigades reporting
Gorman's Brigade ranked No. 2 of 40 brigades reporting
Howard's Brigade ranked No. 8 of 40 brigades reporting
15th Massachusetts ranked No. 1 of 173 regiments reporting loss.
72nd Pennsylvania ranked No. 3 of 173 regiments reporting loss.
59th New York ranked No. 6 of 173 regiments reporting loss.
7th Michigan ranked No. 8 of 173 regiments reporting loss.
42nd New York ranked No. 18 of 173 regiments reporting loss.
34th New York ranked No. 23 of 173 regiments reporting loss.
While it is usually dangerous to compare casualty figures of different battles, the intensity of Sedgwick's loss was such that several examples are in order. The five divisions of the Federal army which were seriously engaged at South Mountain (Turner's and Fox's Gaps) had a combined loss of 1,813 of whom 325 were killed. The total Federal loss at the Battle of Cedar Mountain was 2,381 with 314 killed. At the Battle of Pea Ridge the total Federal loss was 1,384 with 203 killed. When these figures are compared with Sedgwick's loss of 2,210 with 373 killed it is not hard to see how an experienced fighting man as Sumner could describe Antietam as a "very severe action--uncommonly severe.""
Next, Appendix B: Density of Formation
1. O.R. 189-200 (Casualty Report) [Stinson notes in his bibliography that "All references [to the Official Records] are from Volume XIX, Part I unless otherwise cited. "[References] will be cited O.R. followed by the page number and the name of the person who submitted the report, as follows: O.R., 275 [Sumner]."]
2. Thompkins' Battery was posted on the left of Greene's Division and was directly involved in the operations of that unit and French's Division.
3. O.R.,187 (Casualty Report)
4. B&L II, 496 [B&L is R.U. Johnson and C. C. Buell, eds.,Battles and Leaders of the Civil War. 4 vols. (New York: The Century Co., 1884-1888).]
5. B&L I, 337.
6. C.C.W. I, 369 (Sumner) Stinson's C.C.W. abbreviation is to his bibliographic source which is Thirty-eighth Congress, Report of the Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War 4 vols. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1865.]