This is the eighteenth essay in our monthly series “Finding Antietam – A Guide’s Story.” Each month, we’ll feature the story of one of our guides and what sparked their interest in Antietam and the Civil War and why they became an Antietam Battlefield Guide. Antietam Battlefield Guide Chris Vincent shares his story this month.
My interest in the American Civil War and the Battle of Antietam, in particular, occurred many years ago when I was told the story of my great-great-grandfather, Henry Vincent. In August of 1862, Henry, who was from Montour County, Pennsylvania answered President Abraham Lincoln’s call for 300,000 nine-month militia. Henry enlisted in the ‘Danville Fencibles’ which was comprised of men mostly from the Danville Iron Works. Before the end of the month, they were mustered into service as Company A, 132nd Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Regiment, and in defensive works outside Washington. Like many Union soldiers at Antietam, this would be Henry’s first time in combat. The 132nd Pennsylvania was one fortunate enough to be brigaded with veteran soldiers as they attempted to take the Sunken Road. They took heavy casualties, but Henry made it through his ‘baptism of fire’ unscathed. According to the county history, “his coat sleeve was completely shot off at Antietam.” Henry would continue to serve with the 132nd and participate in the battles of Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville. He was promoted to Corporal in March 1863 and was mustered out with Company A on May 24, 1863. Henry returned home to Danville, to become a successful businessman, lawyer, and a father to eight children. He was an active member in both the 132nd Pennsylvania Volunteer Regimental Association and the Goodrich Post No. 22, of the Grand Army of the Republic until he passed away in 1916. Continue reading →