Battery B, 4th United States Artillery at Antietam

Battery B, 4th US Artillery on the Antietam battlefield

Battery B 4th U.S. Artillery was engaged at Antietam on September 17, 1862 in support of John Gibbon’s famed Iron Brigade of Joseph Hooker’s 1st Corps, Army of the Potomac. The battery would come into the fight with 100 cannoneers. In the time they were under fire they wound suffer 40 casualties and lose 26 horses killed and seven wounded. This is one of the highest casualty rates for any artillery battery in combat during the entire Civil War.

When the battery arrived in the east from Utah in the fall of 1861 their ranks were depleted. Since men were not enlisting in the regular army Captain John Gibbon, who commanded the battery at this time, went to the ranks of the volunteer infantry regiments associated with the division he was attached to to obtain recruits. He would pick up over 100 volunteers in November and December 1861 from the 2nd, 6th, 7th Wisconsin, the 19th Indiana and the 23rd and 35th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiments. Many of these men would be on detached service with Battery B at Antietam supporting their old regiments.

This 2-hour tour will follow the route of Battery B during the morning fighting at Antietam in and around the cornfield. The tour will start at the Joseph Poffenberger Farm with a short overview and history of the battery before the Civil War. Then we will hike the battlefield following the route of the battery to the positions where they went into action. At each stop, we will discuss the fighting at that location and tell the stories of some of the soldiers who fought with the battery. The tour will end back at the Joseph Poffenberger Farm.

This tour includes about a mile of hiking over some irregular ground on the northern part of the field between the Joseph Poffenberger and D. R. Miller Farms.

This tour is only conducted seasonally from November through May.

Your tour guide is Sharon Murray.

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