The transcript below is the third of three documents found in the Antietam Battlefield file concerning General Joseph Mansfield and his mortal wounding and death. The first – by attending physician Patrick Flood – is in a blog post here on January 6th (with varied responses thereafter). The second – a handwritten account by John Mead Gould – was posted on January 25th. Both of those first two documents are referenced as a part of the Mansfield Papers at the Middlesex County Historical Society – housed in the former Mansfield home in Middletown, Connecticut.
This third document – a copy of a handwritten report by Captain Dyer – has no reference as to where the original may be housed. It is dated at the end as having been written on October 10, 1862 – therefore 23 days after the Battle of Antietam.
Clarence Hopkins Dyer was born in Harwinton, CT in 1832 and was appointed Captain and Assistant Adjutant General, U.S.V. in the fall of 1861. He was with General Mansfield in Virginia at the time of the fight between the Monitor and the Merrimac, and after Antietam served in similar capacity throughout the war for Generals Banks, Carr, Canby, and Merritt – the last service of which was with cavalry in the southwest.
Various written reports of Mansfield taking command of the 12th Corps in the days before Antietam speak of the General travelling west from Washington accompanied by his aide, Captain Dyer.
Here then is a transcription of the document, stated as from Captain Dyer, though he speaks of himself as if someone else was writing:
General Mansfield’s Last Hours – Capt. Dyer’s report
General Mansfield left Washington accompanied by his Aid Capt Dyer and body servant on Saturday the 13th Sept 1862 at about 4 o’clock P.M. on Horseback, arrived at Middletown Md. on Monday the 15th at 9 o’clock A.M. and reported there to Genl. McClellan as ordered and was there assigned to the Command of Gen. Bank’s Corps of about 11,000 men The two Divisions of Genl’s Williams and Sterns and on the morning of Wednesday the 17th he lead them forth to action at about 7 o’clock and had been but an hour or so engaged when at the head of his troops urging on one of the new or ‘raw’ regiments which needed some encouragement, as they were timid being under their first fire and tho firing of the enemy was very heavy of both Infantry and Artillery. He was shot by a minie ball through the right lung passing clear through him, so that he literally bled to death. His horse was shot dead at the same time three balls passing through him.
The General lived 24 hours and conversed freely most of the time. was under the influence of opiates some of the time.
He was constantly inquiring how the action was going on, and after the other officers as to their safety, etc. Having it reported to him at one time that Generals Burnside and Hooker both were killed he lifted up his hand and escclaimed “Too bad.” “Too bad.” “Poor fellows.” “Poor fellows”!
Being afterwards told it was not so he seemed much gratified and relieved. Enquired several times how the Battle was going, and when told in our favor was much pleased.
He gradually grew weaker and weaker and sent love to all his friends wished to be remembered to all and to have his remains taken home. Wanted Captain Dyer to stay by him all the time until his death.
Doctor Anselum Surgeon of the Corps and Doct’s Porter and Weeks (The latter of the Navy) were all very attentive to him. He had the best of care and attention and went off quietly as one going to sleep.
He escpired on Thursday morning at 8 o’clock and 10 minutes. His remains were immediately taken by Capt. Dyer and put into a rough bosc and carried in an ambulance from the place which was between Cadysville and Sharpsburgh to Monocacy Station, near Frederick, where they took the cars for Baltimore.
He seemed impressed with the idea that he should be killed, as he had escpressed to several persons that he should never come out of the fight alive. He told Hon Ely Thayer in Washington just as he was leaving there, that he was going into the field and did not escpect to come back alive and desired him to have his body recovered and sent home to his friends in Middletown Ct.
Capt Dyer was not with the General at the moment he fell, he having been ordered back by the General to bring on Genl Gordon’s Brigade to their support.
The General was at the time he fell at the head of Genl Crawford’s Brigade. As he fell he was immediately caught up in the arms of five of the privates (from one of our regiments nesct to him) also by the Surgeon of one of the Pennsylvania regiments and carried back about ¼ of a mile to the rear, where he was put into an ambulance and carried back about 1 ¼ mile further to a hospital (made of an old farm house) where he was attended to by the Chief Surgeon of the Corps and had the best of care. Capt Dyer his aid was with him in about 20 minutes after he fell and remained over him constantly until he escpired. Opiates were used to quiet his pains.
His last moments after he could no longer talk audibly from loss of blood, seemed spent in prayer, as occasional escpressions could be understood, such as: “My Lord” “Father in Heaven” “into thy hands” he seeming perfectly resigned to God’s will. He was conscious from near the first, that he could not live. But as he escpressed it when told by his Surgeon he could not survive, “It is God’s will it is all right”
October 10th 1862
 My best guess of the handwriting was “Sterns” … however the other Division of the 12th Corps was led by George Greene, though there is no way the handwriting is saying Greene.
 A unique feature of his writing was to not use the letter “x” but rather “sc” … even later when the word “box” is spelled “bosc”
 This name is quite illegible, and will take some further research to seek to establish of whom he speaks
 This must refer to Eli Thayer – a Massachusetts Republican congressman from 1857-1861 – who was an ardent anti-slavery man