The Other Side, Part 26

Burnside Bridge, Antietam

Burnside Bridge, Antietam National Battlefield


I was drawn to three bodies lying outside by the shed.  ASG 1 and 2 were concentrating on one body in particular.

ASG 1 licked his face and ASG 2 nudged him with his nose. The man sat up and said, “What’s here now?” He began to love on ASG 1.

Spirit Guide started giving me questions to ask the man. I found out his name was Jack Whinsell, or possibly Whitsell.  He was 22 years of age and was with the 31st Pennsylvania Regiment.

His Mom and Dad died when he was young, and he had been taken in by relatives.  They had beaten him. So he ran away from home when he was 15 and went to Philadelphia.

In Philadelphia, he had been caught in an apple tree trying to steal apples. I believe the indication was that he was so hungry, he was stealing just to get something to eat. Anyway, the man who caught him was a store owner and took pity on Jack. He took Jack in and ultimately made him a clerk in the store.

Jack never really opened up to anybody. He stayed in his own little shell all his life.

He had joined the army to get away from the boredom and monotony of his life.

31st PA historic photo

Library of Congress image: Sergeant and Officer of 31st Penna Reg’t at Fort Slocum, near Washington, DC

Jack hated the march from Washington, DC to the Antietam Battlefield. All the mountains were hard for him to get over.  He had not seen any combat until Antietam.

This was his first taste of battle, and he was killed right off.  His unit came over a hill in front of a bridge, and he got hit by a Rebel volley as his unit moved to take the bridge.

He really hadn’t liked the army, but he had doffed his hat to General McClellan when he trooped the line.

Jack’s unit had probably gone through Keadysville, MD before heading south toward the bridge which became known as the Burnside Bridge…and Jack’s date with destiny.

About Civil War Reflections

Vernon has been a Civil War buff since childhood, but had been inactive in Civil War history for over two decades. However, in the early 1990s his interest was rekindled after watching Ken Burns’ “Civil War Documentary” on PBS. He particularly became interested in the Battle of Antietam (Sharpsburg) and decided to learn more about this epic struggle.
This entry was posted in Antietam, Civil War, Spirits and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s