Michigan in the Civil War

Browse by Name: Stickney, J. N.

Gorham, Charles T. 1812-1901.

The papers of this Marshall, Mich., bank president (later minister to the Netherlands and assistant Secretary of the Interior) include one letter from J. N. Stickney (Nov. 7, 1862) written as the result of a tour through Dixie. He tells of an evening spent with General Gordon, in command of twenty-six miles along the Potomac, and he visited a church full of Gordon's wounded rebels. The rebels talked about "holding out as long as one man remains South to fight." He also called upon General Slocum in command at Harpers Ferry. The city was a "bare, forsaken looking, despoiled place."

He was in Frederick, Md., and noted signs of a terrible battle. At South Mountain he explored the battlefield, as well as at Antietam near Sharpsburg. Everywhere were cast off articles; mounds of dead, including a newly dug well full of rebel dead; a bloody cornfield; and a little church riddled with shot and shell. Sharpsburg was almost ruined for few houses escaped. Hospitals were in remaining houses and churches.

He took names of Michigan soldiers buried on the battlegrounds of South Mountain between Frederick and Sharpsburg, and at Smoketown Hospital not far from the Antietam battleground.

He did not advance further on the front because long lines of soldiers, wagons, ambulances were streaming past, and batteries and soldiers were in almost every direction on the Maryland Heights and into Virginia.