This is the fifth entry in the correspondence of Lieutenant Henry Ropes to his family between September 3 and October 5, 1862. Ropes was a Second Lieutenant in Company K of the 20th Massachusetts, Dana’s Brigade, Sedgwick’s Division, II Corps.
Camp 20th Regiment near
Middletown, Md. Monday September 15th 1862
|Major General Jesse Reno (1823-1862)|
Tenleytown Historical Society, Washington, D.C.
The source for Henry Ropes’ correspondence is the three volume transcription of Ropes outbound correspondence to his father, mother, and his brother, John C. Ropes. The original transcription can be found at the Rare Books and Manuscripts Department, Boston Public Library.
For more on the Ropes correspondence, see Richard F. Miller’s excellent essay on historical bibliography at pages 495-499 in his superlative study on the 20th Massachusetts in Richard F. Miller, Harvard’s Civil War: A History of the Twentieth Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry (Hanover and London: University Press of New England, 2005). Any errors in transcribing and annotating the selected correspondence are mine.
1 Middlebrook Post Office was located along the Frederick Road just west of Great Seneca Creek.
2 The Battle of South Mountain, September 14, 1862.
3 The 35th Massachusetts was organized at Worcester, Massachusetts on August 1, 1862. They joined the 2nd Brigade (Ferrero), 2nd Division (Sturgis), of the IX Corps for the advance into Maryland. They participated at the Battle of South Mountain on September 14th. Ropes’ interest in the regiment probably is his family relationship with Major Sidney Willard (1831-1863) who served as a Major in the 35th Massachusetts. See previous post, December 29, 2014. Bartol, A Nation’s Hour: A Tribute to Major Sidney Willard (Boston: Walker, Wise, and Company, 1862), pp. 14, 30-31; The Civil War in the East website; Union Order of Battle, Official Records.
4 Major General Jesse Reno (1823-1862), a Virginian by birth, headed the Union IX Corps. He was mortally wounded at Fox Gap, South Mountain while directing troop positions toward the end of the battle. See further, John Hoptak, The Battle of South Mountain, (Charleston, SC: History Press, 2011), pp. 82-85.
5 Lt. Henry Livermore Abbott (1842-1864), Harvard College, (1860), will be killed at the Battle of the Wilderness.
6 Lt. James Murphy will resign his commission on August 28, 1863 due to wounds received at Chancellorsville, Murphy will serve as one of Henry Ropes’ pallbearers.
7 Sgt. Robert Beckwith (1840-1862) a Scottish-born ironworker will be commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant following Antietam. He will be killed on the assault on Mayre’s Heights, Fredericksburg on December 13th. Richard F. Miller, Harvard’s Civil War: A History of the Twentieth Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry (Hanover and London: University Press of New England, 2005), pp. 183, 212.