From The Constitution, Wednesday, September 24, 1862 (volume 25, number 1291)

 

Death of General Mansfield

General Mansfield is dead. He fell at the battle of Sharpsburg, on Wednesday morning last, while fighting bravely at the head of his corps.

Connecticut has lost one of her noblest sons and Middletown one of her most honored citizens. We know of no one whose death would cause a wider or deeper sorrow than that of General Mansfield. It is not so much on account of his high standing in his profession and the honors which the country have heaped upon him, as on account of his pre-eminent social and domestic virtues that he commanded the confidence and love of this whole community. Munificent in his charities, ready to every good work, unsuspicious in his character, kind and sympathetic towards the humblest, he was a man whom hundreds in this place have blest for his goodness, and who in his death will feel that they have lost a friend and father. For very many years we have been intimately acquainted with General Mansfield, and have never ceased to admire him for his true nobility of character, which made him always forgetful of himself and aiming to do good to those around him. No man in Middletown has interested himself more than he in visiting the poor and personally attending to their wants. We hazard nothing in saying that no citizen of this place has contributed so much for the education of youth as he. Objects of charity abroad as well as at home always engaged his interest and received from him a liberal support. He was a consistent and valued member of the North Church, which has in him sustained an incalculable loss.

Of his eminence in his profession it is not necessary that we should here speak. We can add nothing to his high reputation. His name will hold a distinguished place in the history of the country, and will go down to future generations among those of prominent actors in the Mexican war and of the brave chieftains in this momentous struggle. Mansfield will henceforth have a place among the honored heroes of our land.

Intelligence that he was severely wounded reached here first by the newspapers on Thursday noon. In the course of the afternoon the report was confirmed by a telegraphic despatch. About five o’clock another despatch announced that he was dead. His wife and children are thus at once thrown into a state of the deepest affliction. His son, Lieut. Mansfield, had left for Washington the week previous.

The body of General Mansfield reached this city on Sunday morning having come to Meriden by the midnight train. It was in charge of Ex-Lieut. Gov. Douglas, nephew of the General, Lieut. Mansfield his son, and Capt. Dyer his Aid. The several railroad companies passed the body and all having charge of it free of expense. It was at first taken to his late residence, but soon after removed to the Town Hall where it remained during Sunday, the Home Guard having been detailed to guard the remains. The body had not been embalmed, and was not exposed to view. It was enclosed in a handsome metallic case. On Sunday evening it was removed to the North Church, and placed at the east end of the centre aisle. The church was draped in black, and the family pew was covered with black cloth. Around the body the National Flag hung in festoons. On the coffin were two beautiful bouquets of white flowers. In front of the church were hung two life-like pictures of the honored dead. One was taken within a year and the other some time previous to the war. Here the body has remained in state, until the present time just previous to the funeral. It is in charge of the Home Guard.

It appears that General Mansfield did not die immediately after he was wounded, but lived several hours. He was wounded early in the battle, and was taken to the rear, where he remained perfectly conscious until he died. At first he did not think his wound mortal ; and when finally told that he could not live long, he received the announcement with the utmost composure, saying—“It is God’s will.” Tidings were brought to him from time to time of the progress of the battle, in which he felt a great interest. He lived long enough to know that a victory had been gained by the national arms.

General Mansfield has spent nearly his whole life in the public service. He was a native of this city. His age was 58 years. He entered West Point Academy, having been appointed from this state, in October, 1817, and passed through the regular course of studies in that institution. He entered the service of the Government on the 1st of July, 1822, as a second lieutenant of engineers, and afterwards rose to higher position, as his merits became appreciated. In March, 1832, he was made first lieutenant, and in July, 1832, became captain. During the Mexican war (in 1846-7) he rose to the position of chief engineer of the army under General Taylor. He was brevetted major for gallant and distinguished services in defence of Fort Brown, May 9, 1846. In the storming of Monterey he received no less than seven wounds, several of which were most severe ; and for gallant and meritorious conduct in those conflicts he was honored with the rank of lieutenant colonel. His gallantry at Buena Vista won him his colonelcy.

In the war for the Union his services, however, have been equally conspicuous, and they are still so fresh in the public memory that it is needless to recount them here. On the 14th of May, 1861, he was commissioned a brigadier general in the regular army, in recognition of his distinguished worth, and his subsequent career, down to the day when he sacrificed his life to his zeal for the cause, is a noble testimony that the trust reposed in him by the Government was not misplaced. The death of General Mansfield is a serious loss not to his immediate command alone, but to the war bureau, and to the whole country.

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THE FUNERAL

Is attended this afternoon at half past two o’clock. Business in the city is suspended, and all unite in honoring the memory of the lamented dead. The military display exceeds anything ever before seen here. The following is the order of exercises.

The funeral exercises of the lamented Gen. Mansfield, will take place in this city, on Tuesday, Sept. 23d inst., by a prayer at the late residence of the deceased at 2 o’clock, P. M., after which the family and relatives will proceed to the North Church, where the principal exercises will take place. The procession will be formed in the following order :

Putnam Phalanx of Hartford, Maj. Stillman.

Governor’s Foot Guard of New Haven, Maj. Norton.

City Guard of Hartford, Capt. Prentiss.

Governor’s Horse Guard of New Haven, Maj. Ingersoll.

Governor’s Horse Guard of Hartford, Maj. Watrous.

BAND

The Hearse escorted by the Mansfield Guard.

Aids of General Mansfield.

Body Servant and Horse.

Family and Relatives in carriages.

Committee of Arrangements.

Mayor, Aldermen and Common Council.

Town Authorities.

Gov. Buckingham and Staff.

Maj. Gen. Russell and Staff.

Officers of the Army and Navy.

Military Officers off duty.

Mayors and Common Councils of the several cities.

Strangers.

Reverend Clergy.

Members of the Bar.

Medical Faculty.

Faculty and Students Wesleyan University.

Professors and Students Berkley Divinity School.

Board of Education.

Public Schools.

Private Schools.

Odd Fellows Society.

St. John’s Society.

Fire Department.

Citizens generally.

The military will be formed with the right resting up Main street, the left opposite the church. The Body will be received by the “Mansfield Guard,” acting as a Guard of honor and escorted up the line to the right and countermarched. The Military will then be broken into column, left in front, and move down Main street, the rear halting at the intersection of College street, when the family, relatives and remainder of the procession will be assigned their places as above stated. The several bells will be tolled and minute guns fired when the procession moves. The procession will pass around Union Park and up Main street to the Mortimer Cemetery. Three vollies will be fired over the grave after the concluding exercises. All stores are requested to be closed after 9 o’clock, A. M.

By order of the

COMMITTEE OF ARRANGEMENTS

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Postscript—Wednesday morning.

We have delayed a part of our edition on account of the funeral. The military companies from abroad came in on a special train and reached here about one o’clock. All the companies mentioned in the programme above were present. The Mansfield Guard of this city, Capt. J. N. Camp, was on duty. The Military display was of the most magnificent kind, rank and file numbering not less than 500 men. After brief exercises at the late residence of the deceased, the friends proceeded in carriages to the North Church. Seats were arranged for them in the porch of the church, around the coffin. The metallic burial case had been enclosed in a handsome wood coffin, on the top of which were laid wreaths of flowers. The sword, sash, and the hat worn by the General in the battle were placed on the coffin. The services at the church consisted of music by the choir, and an address and prayer by the pastor, Rev. Mr. Taylor, after which short addresses were given commemorative of the virtues of the deceased by Hon. Ebenezer Jackson, Senator Dixon and Gov. Buckingham. The body was then placed in the hearse, the Mansfield Guard acting as a guard of honor. The procession was formed according to the published programme under the direction of Gen. Starr, and proceeded around Union Park up Main street to Mortimer Cemetery. It was very long, and reached from Mortimer Cemetery to William street. At the grave the services were brief. A few remarks were made and a prayer offered by the Rev. Mr. Dudley, when three vollies were fired over the grave, and the remains of the honored and lamented Mansfield were left to their last repose.

Besides Gov. Buckingham and Senator Dixon already mentioned, there were present from abroad Maj. Gen. Russell, the Mayor and Common Council of Hartford, and many other gentlemen of note in this and other states. The wife of Gen. McClellan was present at the funeral.

There was a dense crowd in Main street during the afternoon, and every available window fronting the street, and the tops of the houses were occupied by interested spectators. Flags were displayed at half mast. Many of the stores, the public buildings, and some private dwellings were appropriately draped for the occasion. The Young Ladies’ Seminary in Broad street, which was under the especial patronage of General Mansfield and was founded by his liberality, was dressed in the most beautiful and becoming manner.

During the passage of the procession the bells were tolled, and minute guns were fired. The funeral services at the grave were concluded at sundown.

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Refreshment tables were spread in McDonough Hall for the accommodation of those from abroad. Three hundred could partake of refreshments at a time. Hundreds resorted to the hall during the afternoon. It is proof of the liberality of our citizens, and especially of the ladies, that at night large quantities of provisions yet remained untouched.

Local News

Threatened Removal of Camp.—On Saturday a despatch was received by Gen. Starr ordering that Camp Mansfield be broken up and the men sent to New Haven on Monday. This order was entirely unexpected and made a blue day in the camp on Sunday. Two or three of our citizens went to Hartford to see what was the matter. Adjutant General Williams said the order was made at the request of General Russell. Gov. Buckingham, on being consulted, revoked the order and the camp remains for the present where it is. Much indignation has been shown here at the contemplated removal. Middletown itself has contributed to this war almost men enough for a regiment, and companies have been sent from here to Hartford, New Haven and Norwich. In this regiment are three companies from this town, and the others are from this vicinity. It is no more than just that the camp should remain where it is. Its removal would cause great dissatisfaction.

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From the Connecticut Troops.—Very few particulars have reached us with regard to the Connecticut troops in the late battles. The 14th suffered severely. Five color bearers were shot. Capt. S. F. Willard, Co. G, of Madison, is killed. The regiment held their position for half an hour under a heavy cross fire, and finally fell back to a better position. In the 11th Connecticut, Sergeant George E. Bailey, Deep River, Co. K, is reported killed and also Wm. Lane of Deep River, Wm. Houghton, and Charles L. Drake of Haddam, of the same company. In the Hartford Press of last evening is the following list of killed and wounded in the Fourteenth.

Killed—Capt. Blinn, Co. F ; Capt. Willard, G ; M. Matigan, E ; Morton, E ; G. Babcock, K.

Wounded—George Bunyon, Co. E ; Serg. Pendleton, E ; –Smith, E ; Lieut J B Coit, Lieut Bush, Corp Webster, Corp Dobie, Nelson J. Bemal, S Fuller, H Brumard, W Carroll, Peter Denny, Lieut Sherman, all of Co. K ; W E Cruize, H E Bachelder, F K Curtis, E L Harrison, F Taylor, E Wilcox, E Hill, S D Skidmore, Joseph Ellett, all of Co. E ; A D Menad, H C Muller.

It is reported that in the late battle, company B of the 14th regiment, E. W. Gibbons, captain, one was killed and eleven were wounded. The former was Robert Hubbard, of this town.

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Col. Kingsbury.—Among the officers injured in the battle on Wednesday is Colonel Kingsbury, 11th Conn., mortally wounded.

It is supposed that the 8th, 11th, and 14th Connecticut regiments were engaged in the battle of Wednesday.

The Battles of Last Week.

The last week was the bloodiest week of the war. The battle on Sunday, of which we gave an account in our last issue, takes the name of South Mountain from the locality in which it was fought. Gen. Hooker seems to have had the principal brunt of the battle, and fought with great gallantry. On Monday the rebels retired toward Sharpsburg, where our advance found them on Monday afternoon in large force, with a line of battle a mile and a half in length, posted on the hills. During the night the larger part of our army came up.

On Tuesday (16th,) the bulk of the rebel army in Virginia crossed into Maryland, and effected a junction with the force already in that State. A battle was fought between our army under Gen. McClellan and these combined forces, at Sharpsburgh, a few miles from the line of the Potomac. While the rebel army in Maryland was thus reinforced after the battle of Sunday at Hagerstown Heights, our army also received reinforcements. The rebel movement has been rapid and daring, but Gen. McClellan’s we believe was no less so.

Soldiers who were on the field during Tuesday, state that the fight consisted entirely of artillery on that day. It commenced early in the morning and continued until late at night, Gen. McClellan having at the close of the day driven the enemy about half a mile and obtained an elevated position from which he was operating on Wednesday.

On Wednesday morning the battle recommenced at 5 o’clock, near Gettysville. Jackson joined Lee’s forces at Antietam Creek, while our forces were reinforced by 30,000 men from Washington. Jackson’s reinforcements are reported to have amounted to 40,000. At the dawn of day the battle was renewed on the center and right, by Hooker and Sumner, who after a sharp conflict of two hours, drove the enemy about one mile. The rebels rallied shortly afterwards, and with terrible loss regained most of the ground. At this time the fearless and indomitable Hooker received a shot in the ankle, and was carried from the field. The command of his troops now devolved on Sumner. Gen. Richardson, commanding a division, was severely wounded at the same time. Gen. Sumner determined to retake the lost ground, and ordered the troops to advance, which they did with a will, driving the rebels before them with great slaughter. They not only retook the ground, but drove them a quarter of a mile beyond. In this action Gen. Mansfield was shot through the lungs, and died soon after. He fought with great bravery until he fell. During this time the troops under Burnside and Porter had not been idle. They drove the rebels from the line of Antietam creek, on the main road to Sharpsburg, built a bridge, the old one having been destroyed, and occupied the opposite bank. The loss here was considerable. Our troops now hold both banks of the creek.

To get possession of the ridges of hills on the right and left hand side of the road, from which the rebels were thundering away with artillery, was a task not easily accomplished. Sykes’ brigade with the assistance of Sumner, carried the ridge on the right side after considerable trouble and loss, the rebels running in all directions. It is now 5 o’clock, and all the enemy’s positions have been carried, except the one on the left hand side of the road. To do this Burnside was assigned. The artillery opened and the infantry advanced. The point was carried at a charge, but we were forced to retire before a superior force. Knowing that if they lost this ridge a complete rout of their army would be the result, they fought with great desperation. Darkness now overlooked the two armies, and hostilities ceased as though by mutual consent. The battle lasted from five o’clock in the morning till seven at night, without a moment’s cessation. The conduct of all the troops, without exception, was all that any general could wish. Several regiments of new troops, who were in action for the first time, behaved admirably. Hundreds of Marylanders were present to witness the battle, which could be seen from many of the surrounding hills. The sharp rattle of 50,000 muskets, and the thunder of a hundred pieces of artillery is not often heard. It is impossible at this writing to form any correct idea of our loss or that of the enemy. It is heavy on both sides. Ours will probably reach in killed and wounded, ten thousand. That of the enemy will not exceed it. The enemy’s dead, which nearly all fell into our hands, were thickly strewn over the fields, in many places lying in heaps. Our wounded were immediately carried from the field, and the best possible attention given them.

When Gen. Hooker fell, Gen. McClellan immediately proceeded to the right, where he was enthusiastically received, and by his presence added much to our success in recovering the ground lost. He was in the center and on the left as well, anxiously watching the progress of the battle, and giving directions as to the manner of attack. He is in his tent to-night for the first time since he left Frederick City. We took 1,500 prisoners during the day, while the enemy obtained but few. The following officers were among the killed and wounded : Gen. Hartsuff wounded, Gen. Duryea wounded, Gen. Sedgwick wounded in the shoulder, Lieut. Col. Parisen, 57th New York, killed, Capt. Andonreid, aid to Gen. Sumner, wounded, Major Sedgwick killed, Col. McNeil of the bucktails, and Lieut. Allen, were killed, Col. Polk 2d, United States sharpshooters, wounded, Maj. Burbank, 12th Mass., wounded. Several other prominent officers were reported killed and wounded but nothing positive is known concerning them.

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General Mansfield, killed at Sharpsburg, dined with the Hon. Eli Thayer in Washington on Saturday last. He was in good spirits during the day, but just before taking leave seemed abstracted, and, after a few moments silence, said, “Mr. Thayer, I am going into battle. If I fall, have my body sent to my friends at Middletown, Conn.” He left immediately after making the request.

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Oh Yes, O Yes, O Yes.—One morning last week there might have been seen a two-horse vehicle pursuing its way in a southerly direction through Main street. Said vehicle passed through Union and Sumner streets, over the creek bridge, and thence to the Haddam turnpike. The vehicle aforesaid was filled, crowded, occupied, stowed and otherwise, with legal gentlemen, that is to say, with gentlemen of the law, or lawyers. The said vehicle having been filled, crowded, occupied, stowed and otherwise as aforesaid, and having taken the Haddam turnpike as aforesaid, pursued its course until it reached the court house in Haddam. “These are the facts,” gentlemen, and from them you may naturally infer that in the said Haddam, then and there was held a session of the Superior Court, whose proceedings were to be enlivened, aided, assisted and helped by the legal gentlemen aforesaid.