Tarheels During the Civil War

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Is This Col. C.C. Tew 2nd NCST?

I know this is hard to see in this picture. Here is a link to a higher quality one. http://memory.loc.gov/pnp/cwp/4a39000/4a39500/4a39531r.jpg
Colonel Charles Courtenay Tew of the 2nd NC State Troops was killed at the Bloody Lane at Antietam while standing next to Colonel John B. Gordon of the 6th Alabama, while they were observing the advance of Weber's Brigade of French's Union Second Corps division. According to Col. Gordon,

" The first volley from the Union lines in my front sent a ball through the brain of the chivalric Colonel Tew, of North Carolina, to whom I was talking, and another ball through the calf of my right leg."

Colonel Tew's body was never recovered. When the Federals broke through the sunken road position, a soldier in the 8th Ohio of Kimball's brigade found Colonel Tew in a propped up position on the (in this picture) right bank of the road, still gripping his sword laying across his lap. Now, in Time Life's Voices of the Civil War: Antietam, this photo, taken by Alexander Gardner, claims that the body on the bottom right of the frame is probably Col. Tew. I have never seen this referenced before in describing this picture. In William Frassanito's excellent work on the photos of Antietam, he describes this picture thus,

"The portion of Bloody Lane visible in the foreground was occupied during the battle by the left-flank unit of G.B. Anderson's brigade, the Second North Carolina, and it is probable that most of the Confederate dead pictured in this photograph were members of that regiment. It was here, at the bend in Bloody Lane (where the left of Anderson's brigade connected with the right of Rodes' Alabama brigade), that Barlow's Sixty-first and Sixty-fourth New York regiments first overran the Confederate line."

Frassanito does not mention Tew. I viewed this image in a high quality TIFF format, and compared it to images of Col. Tew like this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Cctew.jpg. The face had blood on it, possibly from the temple, the man had a mustache, as did the Colonel, but the man in the photo had more hair on his head, than Col. Tew who appears decidedly balding. Again, the photo of the bodies is from the side, so it is hard to tell if that is him. The face is swollen so it is hard to compare the two images. I did notice close by him a cartridge box, and what looks like the accompanying strap, which could indicate that this man was a common soldier, or this could just be detritus from the battle. Maybe this is one of those many photos of soldiers dead and alive that we will never know who they were.

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