Joseph King Fenno Mansfield

This monument marks the area where Gen. Mansfield was mortally wounded during the battle of Antietam.

Joseph King Fenno Mansfield, the descendant of emigrants from England who arrived in America soon after the Pilgrims, was born December 22, 1803, in New Haven, Connecticut. Mansfield entered West Point two months before his fourteenth birthday, and was graduated five years later, ranking second in the class of 1822. As a young engineer officer he was mainly engaged in the construction of the defenses of the Southern coast until the Mexican War, in which he served as chief engineer under General (later President) Zachary Taylor. He fought gallantly at Fort Brown, Monterey, and Buena Vista —sometimes in the command of troops—and won the brevets of major, lieutenant colonel, and colonel in the Regular Army. In 1853, upon the recommendation of the Secretary of War, Jefferson Davis, Mansfield was appointed to the staff rank of colonel in the inspector general's department, an office which demanded much travel on the frontier. On May 18, 1861 (to rank from the fourteenth), Mansfield was appointed a brigadier general in the regular service and assigned to command of Washington and its environs by Lincoln. He promptly seized and fortified the positions on the south side of the Potomac which later became a portion of the ring of forts surrounding Washington. After McClellan took chief command following First Bull Run, Mansfield was assigned to command of the XII Corps. At Sharpsburg, September 17, 1862, Mansfield led his command into action to support Joseph Hooker's I Corps on the Federal right, "which was visibly melting away." "Seeing his raw recruits waver," Mansfield rode into the forefront of battle where the fire was hottest. Horse and rider were shot down and on the following day, September 18, 1862, General Mansfield died of his wounds. Six months after his death, on March 12, 1863, he was promoted major general of volunteers to rank from July 18, 1862. General Mansfield's remains were buried in Indian Hill Cemetery, Middletown, Connecticut.

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Reference: Generals in Blue. Lives of the Union Commanders by Ezra J. Warner. Louisiana State University Press. Baton Rouge.