This is the tenth and final installment of our series on the discoveries revealed in Michigan at Antietam. The series is intended to give those possibly interested a grouping of sneak peeks into a book full of new insights, new stories, new angles to what might be thought of as a battle that has been adequately and comprehensively covered. Fresh research and analysis in Michigan at Antietam shows this to be a misunderstanding -- the Michigan story, and other related aspects of the Maryland Campaign of 1862, are revealed as never before.
For those who watched the PBS original series "Mercy Street" earlier this year, Michigan at Antietam features similar stories. New names crop up like Julia Susan Wheelock, “Michigan’s Florence Nightingale.” And like Elmina Brainard. And Cyrus Bacon Jr., a graduate of the University of Michigan from Cass County. He was a surgeon with the Army of the Potomac.
Bacon's story resonates with "Mercy Street" except that it shows how the bloodiest day in American history required the services of every physician and nurse possible. Back in Michigan on leave, recovering from illness, he received orders and left Detroit on September 16 by train for the Nation's capital. Upon arrival, he was ordered to proceed to Frederick, Maryland in charge of a train of ambulances "loaded with Hospital Stores" and "to proceed as expeditiously as possible. …[The ambulance] train did not leave ’til 2:15 p.m. Drove all night, had a wagon master along. After sundry mishaps [we] reached Frederick at 7:30 the following morning.” He began his medical duties, the next day, on September 22, and the story of his work in the face of fatigue and personal illness is inspiring.
All of these discoveries, and all of the revelations in Michigan at Antietam, will, hopefully, be as inspiring to anyone interested in helping erect the first-ever Michigan monument at the Antietam National Battlefield. Book proceeds go toward that noble purpose.
Won't you help? Purchase the book, or make a donation to the Michigan Civil War Association. Be part of honoring those who laid their lives on the line for Michigan, for our Nation, for their posterity -- us -- who today have the unique opportunity to remember their sacrifice in a way that comes along hardly ever.