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Until Antietam

The Life and Letters of Major General Israel B. Richardson, U.S. Army

Jack C. Mason

Publication Year: 2009

This first-ever biography of Union general Israel Bush Richardson (1815-1862) shows his growth and career from his days as a West Point cadet, through his military service on the frontier and during the Mexican-American War, his short stint as a farmer, and his rapid advancement in the first year of the U.S. Civil War. Richardson sustained a fatal wound at the battle of Antietam and died three weeks later.

Published by: Southern Illinois University Press


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Front Matter

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p. v


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p. vii

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pp. ix-xi

Like Israel Richardson I am the sum total of my lifetime experiences. As a history fan, I came across the vague story of a seemingly down-to-earth, but aggressive, fighting general who sacrificed his life for his country at the Battle of Antietam. Although Richardson’s exploits during the first year of the war were very important to the cause he fought for, personally, he has become just ...

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pp. 1-2

Throughout its history, the American army has cherished its heroes and held their exploits as examples for future generations of leaders to follow. On a national level, everyone recognizes the names of Washington, Lee, Pershing, Patton, and MacArthur. At a more specialized level, military professionals and historians draw inspiration from the episodes of Joshua Chamberlain at ...

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1. Novice

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pp. 3-28

In the early 1800s, a young boy spent his childhood in the quiet community of Burlington, in northern Vermont. His life as part of a large family supported by the legal profession was a fairly easy one. The days combined play among siblings with lessons from both parents, which would help stimulate the children to become more aware of their heritage and encourage them on to greater ...

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2. Apprenticeship

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pp. 29-61

At nine in the morning of September 21, 1846, a column consisting of the 1st Division of regular troops, accompanied by Major Mansfield, moved forward to begin the attack. The units conducting the demonstration were the 1st and 3rd infantry regiments and the Baltimore-Washington Battalion, each minus one company to guard the army trains at Walnut Springs. The 4th Infantry ...

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3. Adversity

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pp. 62-77

With the conclusion of the war and the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, Mexico gave up its claim to Texas and California and lost its northern outpost in New Mexico. The 3rd Infantry returned by sea from Vera Cruz to Pascagoula, Mississippi. Richardson wrote, “We are encamped here in a pine forest on the sea beach, halfway from New Orleans and Mobile, distance from ...

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4. Tutor

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pp. 78-109

For almost the next five years, Israel Richardson adjusted to civilian life and his new career as a farmer. The young city of Pontiac, where the Richardson family had come to reside, held many opportunities. In 1854 the senior Israel P. Richardson and his wife Sarah, both over sixty years old, decided to relocate to Michigan. The eldest daughter, Susan, and son-in-law Joseph A. Peck had ...

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5. Opportunity

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pp. 110-130

After the battle at Bull Run, Colonel Richardson received what had to be a very gratifying reward, both personally and professionally: a brigadier general’s commission in the U.S. Volunteers. His strengths were just the type that McClellan needed as a general officer in the rapidly expanding army. The commanding general was pleased with Richardson’s work, describing him as “an officer of the ...

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6. Distinction

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pp. 131-170

As Richardson probed south from the deserted Confederate works at Manassas, the first of General McClellan’s divisions embarked on ships at Alexandria for the journey to Fort Monroe and the Peninsula. During the next three weeks, nearly four hundred vessels shuttled back and forth along the two-hundred-mile route, transporting 121,500 men, 14,592 animals, 1,150 wagons, 44 batteries ...

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7. Destiny

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pp. 171-204

During the last week in August 1862, the Army of the Potomac was withdrawn from the Peninsula. Richardson’s division arrived in Alexandria on August 26. Replacements for the worn-out regiments were made, and a third division was added to the II Corps. General French was put in command of the newly formed 3rd Division, and his old brigade was given to Colonel John R. Brooke, ...


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pp. 205-218


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pp. 219-226


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pp. 227-234


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pp. 248-258

E-ISBN-13: 9780809386871
E-ISBN-10: 0809386879
Print-ISBN-13: 9780809329472
Print-ISBN-10: 0809329476

Page Count: 288
Illustrations: 17 b/w halftones
Publication Year: 2009

OCLC Number: 613205861
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Until Antietam

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Subject Headings

  • Generals -- United States -- Biography.
  • United States. Army of the Potomac -- Officers -- Biography.
  • United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Biography
  • Mexican War, 1846-1848 -- Biography.
  • Mexican War, 1846-1848 -- Campaigns.
  • United States. Army -- Officers -- Biography.
  • United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Campaigns.
  • Richardson, Israel Bush, 1815-1862.
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