Thursday, January 2, 2014

"I was left for some time within the battery:" John Sedgwick and Woodruff's Battery at Antietam

Major-General John Sedgwick
Library of Congress
"Headquarters 6th Army Corps, Culpeper, October 1, 1863.

To George Woodruff, Esq.[1]

Dear sir:

I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your communications of the 25th instant in regard to the services of your son, the late Lieutenant G.A. Woodruff, 1st Artillery, U.S.A.[2] I will to-day forward your letter to Lieutenant-Colonel James H. Taylor, who was Chief of Staff to the late Major-General Sumner, [3] under whose command the artillery of the division was directed. ...

At the battle of Antietam I again had occasion to notice your son's gallantry,
George A. Woodruff
then in command of his battery. Whilst leaving the field, my horse having been killed, and badly wounded myself,[4] I was left for some time within the battery, which was then engaged in repulsing and did repulse the column of the enemy that had broken my division. No veteran could have selected a better position, and no one could have shown more gallantry in defending it. I made no report of this battle, or I should have mentioned especially the services of your son and his battery. This was the last of my service with him; but I presume Lieutenant-Colonel Taylor will give you a more detailed and connected history of your son's service. ..."

Woodruff's Battery circled in blue. From the Cope/Carman
Map 9:00 Hrs. (1908 Edition, Library of Congress).
Source: Correspondence of John Sedgwick Major-General, Volume II (Printed for Carl and Ellen Battelle Stoeckel, 1908), pp. 158-159.


1. George Woodruff was an attorney, judge, and farmer residing in Marshall, Michigan. Census records and biographical information from retrieved from Camp No. 22, Sons of Union Veterans web page for George A. Woodruff.
2. Lt. George August Woodruff (1840-1863), was battery commander of the 1st United States Artillery, Battery I at Antietam. A graduate of the West Point class of 1861 he was commissioned 2nd Lt. and 1st Lt., on June 24, 1861. He was killed at Gettysburg on July 3, 1863. George Woodruff's two other brothers, William S. and Frank, were also killed during the war. Their mother, Augusta Schuyler Woodruff, died a short time after the death of her sons. Brian Downey's encyclopedic Antietam on the Web under Woodruff; History of Calhoun County [Michigan] (L.H. Everts & Co., 1877), p. 40 and Camp No. 22, Sons of Union Veterans web page for George A. Woodruff. For a more extensive article on George A. Woodruff see Logan Tappscott, "Bravery on the Battlefield: 1st Lieutenant George A. Woodruff" in The Gettysburg Compiler: On the Front Lines of History.
3. Edwin Vose Sumner died in Syracuse, New York, March 21, 1863.
4. In his eulogy, George William Curtis stated that Sedgwick was "struck by a bullet in the leg, and again in the wrist, ... a third shot struck him, and he was borne insensible from the field." "The Oration of The Honourable George William Curtis Delivered at the Dedication of the Statue to Major-General John Sedgwick, at West Point, New York, October 21, 1868," Ibid.,  p. 201.

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