CDV OF GENERAL JOSEPH K.F. MANSFIELD

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Item Code: 1139-137

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Full standing studio view of Mansfield in dress uniform. He wears a double-breasted coat with fringed epaulettes. He also wears a sash, sword belt, and holds his sword in front. His hat rest on the prop next to him. Image is clear with very good contrast. Plain mount. Photographer’s backmark, E. Anthony, New York, from a Brady negative.

Joseph King Fenno Mansfield (December 22, 1803 – September 18, 1862) was a career United States Army officer, civil engineer, and a Union general in the American Civil War, mortally wounded at the Battle of Antietam.

Mansfield was born in New Haven, Connecticut, on December 22, 1803. At the age of thirteen, Mansfield entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. In 1822 he graduated second in his class of forty, a class that included future Civil War generals Isaac R. Trimble, David Hunter, and George A. McCall.

Mansfield was commissioned second lieutenant in the Army Corps of Engineers, tasked with the construction of coastal defenses in the South. In 1832 he was promoted to first lieutenant and in 1838 he received a captaincy. During the Mexican War, he was General Zachary Taylor’s chief engineer and took part in several engagements, including the Battle of Monterey, where he was wounded in the leg, and the Battle of Buena Vista. During the Mexican War, he was brevetted three times for gallant and meritorious service. He ended the war as a brevet colonel. In 1853, he was appointed as a colonel in the office of the inspector general, a position he received due to the recommendation of Secretary of War Jefferson Davis.

Shortly after the outbreak of the Civil War, Mansfield was appointed brigadier general in the regular army and given the responsibility for defending the national capital. In his capacity as the commander of the Department of Washington, Mansfield seized and fortified several positions on the south bank of the Potomac River.

Two days before the Battle of Antietam, after several months commanding a division of the Seventh Corps in southern Virginia, Mansfield was placed in command of the Twelfth Corps. On the morning of September 17, 1862, he was sent into action to support the left flank of General Joseph Hookers’ First Corps. Mansfield diminished the offensive power of his forces by keeping them in a column formation, which was better suited to marching than to fighting. Near the East Woods the general encountered the 10th Maine firing into the woods. Under the impression that his men were firing at Hooker’s soldiers, Mansfield ordered them to stop. The men convinced Mansfield that they were indeed engaged with rebel forces. Mansfield admitted, “Yes, yes you are right” only to be mortally wounded in the chest. Alpheus Williams took over as the acting commander of the Twelfth Corps. Mansfield died the next morning at a field hospital on George Line farm.

On March 12, 1863, Mansfield was posthumously promoted to the rank of Major General of Volunteers. He is buried in Indian Hill Cemetery in Middletown, Connecticut.

This image was part of the Ray Ritchie collection. [jet] [ph:L]

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