Monday, May 2, 2011

Random Death

Today at Brandy Station: May 2, 1864

The Army of the Potomac was consolidating it's forces in and around Brandy Station and Culpeper. The Fifth Corps, which had been guarding the Orange & Alexandria Railroad between the Rappahannock River and the Bull Run were marching along the railroad into Culpeper. Some regiments were fortunate enough to grab a ride on a train that was heading south. Such was the case of the 91st Pennsylvania.

Camped in the vicinity of Warrenton Junction (today's Calverton), the regiment moved down the line to Brandy Station. All did not complete the journey.

Benjamin Redheffer of company A, was in of one of the cars, and while the train was crossing the Rappahannock, one of his feet, which was dangling over the side of the car, hit part of the truss that crossed the bridge. He was quickly pulled out of the car and killed. Gone in an instant.

It is not like combat, when instant, random death can be explained. But literally one second sitting in a boxcar, and the next...

Over 1100 Union soldiers died in and around the Winter Encampments, Private Redheffer is just one of the more tragic, preventable deaths that occurred.

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