MASSACHUSETTS ISSUE HAVERSACK IDENTIFIED TO 35th MASSACHUSETTS SOLDIER WHO WAS KILLED IN ACTION AT ANTIETAM

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Item Code: 1046-13

The 35th Massachusetts Infantry recruited in July and August 1862. It was rushed to the seat of war, reaching Washington on August 24, and was assigned to Ferrero’s Brigade, Sturgis’s Division, of Reno’s 9th Army Corps, on September 8. Just six days later it was thrown into battle at South Mountain, and three days after that it entered the maelstrom of Antietam, losing 214 officers and men.

Born in 1841 in Vienna, Maine, Roscoe Bradley enlisted at age 21 in August and was mustered into Company K as a corporal, some records indicating a rank of First Corporal. This typical Massachusetts issue white haversack bears his name with an alternate spelling “R. BRADLY” over his unit, “CO K 35 MA” stenciled on the flap in faded black. The shoulder sling is in place, secure, and shows some soiling. The front and back of the bag show dirt and a large stain from use. The two exterior bone buttons are in place. The interior liner, or “rice bag” is present also. These were removable to be cleaned and were easily switched. This one must have belonged to a member of the 5th Mass, Co. B, which is stenciled on it with a small “33” likely that soldier’s individual number, but a stain on it matching that on the bag shows the two elements saw some use together. It also bears a very faint second marking that is likely the Massachusetts “inspected / accepted” ink stamp usually seen.

Bradley was one of 69 officers and men killed in the regiment at Antietam, a very high casualty rate. His mother, then living in Maine, applied for a pension in 1881. Her application states that her son was, “shot through the heart.” She may have found some comfort in his instantaneous death, but it may also have been a story invented by his officers to ease the pain of a grieving mother. This is a very telling relic.

Bradley is buried in Vienna Village Cemetery in Vienna, Kennebec County, Maine.

Accompanied by military records and mother’s pension application, as well as a brief amount of internet research material.

[SR]

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