Update On 2 Connecticut Monuments At Antietam
By Paul B. Parvis
SHARPSBURG, Md. — Sometime during the 20th
century, a thief callously removed the bronze State Seal of
Connecticut plaque from the Gen. Joseph K.F. Mansfield monument
located near the Smoketown Road in the East Woods on the Antietam
The replacement of the monument's plaque became the challenge
for the not-for-profit reenactment and historic preservation
organization, Company G, 14th Regiment Connecticut Volunteer
Infantry, 1862-1865, Inc. The group successfully raised the
necessary $3,700 to reproduce the bas-relief bronze piece and
will rededicate the monument on Sept. 13.
Company G, 14th Regiment Connecticut Volunteer Infantry, engaged
Bruce Papitto of Westerly, R.I., to sculpt the work. The preservation
committee chose him due to his earlier, excellent production
of the 16th Regiment Connecticut Volunteer Infantry monument
plaque, and he produced yet another work of art.
Due to the lack of any conclusive evidence regarding the original,
with the exception of size 11.25 inches by 15.75 inches, the
committee sought a prototype suitable for the project. Happily
one surfaced quite easily. With enthusiastic approval from the
Antietam National Battlefield Superintendent's office, the Mansfield
piece replicates the one on the Major-General John Sedgwick
equestrian monument at Gettysburg.
The preservation committee was excited about the image on the
Sedgwick monument given its late 19th-century stylistic qualities
and the fact that it appears on a Major-General's monument.
Moreover, Sedgwick, like Mansfield, was a native son of Connecticut.
To accomplish the task of reproducing the plaque, the following
organizations generously donated resources toward the fundraising
goal: DiSanto Bertoline & Co. P.C.; Enterprise Systems Groups
of Hartford, Conn.; Antietam National Battlefield Preservation
Fund; 8th Regiment Connecticut Volunteers, Co. A, Inc.; Company
G, 14th Regiment Connecticut Volunteer Infantry, 1862-1865,
Inc.; Military Order of The Loyal Legion of The United States;
and individual donors too numerous to mention.
Gen. Joseph K. F. Mansfield, a 40-year veteran of the regular
army, assumed command of the Twelfth Corps a few days prior
to the Antietam battle. He sustained a mortal wound in the chest
while deploying regiments and divisions of his corps near the
east woods in support of General Hooker's First Corps troops
during the early hours of the conflict on Sept. 17, 1862. He
died the next day. The family retrieved the body for burial
in Middletown, Conn.
To commemorate and honor Major-General Mansfield, the State
of Connecticut erected a monument in 1900 near the stone outcropping
where he reportedly was shot. One hundred and two years later,
we are very pleased to have rendered the Mansfield monument
No other battlefield "hosted" more Connecticut troops
during the Civil War so we gladly seized the opportunity to
help preserve this and the other monuments at Antietam such
as the 16th Regiment Connecticut Volunteer Infantry also missing
a bas-relief plaque due to vandalism (Civil War News, October
1998). As an aside, our preservation efforts truly raises the
"hobby" to a higher level of importance for us and
is integral to our raison d'être and mission.
Last fall, the Antietam National Battlefield staff, led by Jane
Custer, securely fastened the bronze plaque to the red granite
base. The Mansfield monument will be rededicated at 2 p.m. on
Sept. 13 and the public is cordially welcome to attend.
The ceremony will feature a short presentation by Superintendent
John Howard, color guards from the 8th and 14th Regiments of
Connecticut Volunteer Infantry augmented by friends from the
5th and 6th New Hampshire Regiments, and the firing of a salute
to honor Connecticut's fallen soldiers as well as all others
who fought that day to preserve the Union.
In 1997, Company G, 14th Regiment Connecticut Volunteer Infantry,
1862-1865, Inc. and the Connecticut Historical Society raised
over $11,000 to replace the bronze plaque on the monument to
the 16th Regiment Connecticut Volunteer Monument.
Like the 14th Regiment Connecticut Volunteer Infantry, the 16th
CVI mustered into service in August 1862. Even more ill-prepared
than the 14th, they were part of Harland's brigade which crossed
the Antietam to the south of the lower bridge at Snavely's Ford
and ended up in Otto's corn field on the afternoon of Sept.
17. As part of the Union's left flank, they were mercilessly
attacked and "used up" by Gen. A. P. Hill's veteran
troops and therefore sustained extremely high number of casualties
for their first "outing" as a regiment.
This monument's very artistic and sophisticated bronze plaque
had been stolen. Bruce Papitto labored over 200 hours creating
the clay and plaster models, then after two castings, spent
more time cleaning and chasing the piece. Thanks to a very large
gift from a donor who had an affinity for the Ninth Corps, the
project concluded in 1998.
The bronze was presented to Antietam National Battlefield Superintendent
John Howard in September of that year in the Christ Reformed
Church, UCC. The church is known for the stained glass "Connecticut"
windows presented by survivors of the 16th CVI, several of whom
convalesced there following their "baptism by fire."
For more information regarding the Mansfield Monument rededication,
contact Paul Parvis at (860) 233-4481 ext. 125 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about Company G, 14th Regiment Connecticut
Volunteer Infantry, 1862-1865, Inc. and the original regiment's
history and service with the Second Corps, visit www.14thconnecticut.org