On to Harper’s Ferry

A memorial service was held for those killed at Antietam by Chaplain Stevens on Sunday, September 21. The next day, just after daybreak, the men of the Fourteenth Connecticut marched up Smoketown Road, past the shot-scarred Dunker Church and into Sharpsburg.

It was common for infantry regiments to have a band, and the Fourteenth seemed to have quite a fine one. As they left the grim specters of battle behind, the band struck up some good marching music, the spirits of the men were raised, and the southward march toward Harper’s Ferry seems to have been an enjoyable one.

In high spirits they waded across the Potomac and into the town made famous by the abolitionist John Brown. Then it was a steep uphill march to the Heights of Bolivar just south of Harper’s Ferry. Bodies of the Federal garrison that had been routed by Lee’s men the week before lay unburied. The men of the Fourteenth, who had been spared burial detail at Antietam, now engaged in that grisly task as they set up camp within the fortifications that would be their home for the next six weeks.

Fiction Connection: The high-spirited march and crossing of the Potomac made me ask myself, “What if…?” And the introduction of the cornet player in An Eye for Glory was the result.

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