For a brief period after the Second Battle of Bull Run, Mark Beatty deserted the Army, returning after Lincoln issued a proclamation of amnesty to soldiers who returned to their units. In spite of his momentary lapse of courage, Beatty served reliably for another eleven months before being killed in the fury of the Wheatfield. His death left his family without income, driving his mother to endure the exhausting process of seeking a pension.
A young teacher who enlisted out of a sense of patriotic duty, Lieutenant Edmund Dascomb became the unofficial warrior poet of the 2nd New Hampshire Volunteer Infantry. Mortally wounded during the fight in the Wheatfield, Dascomb was found barely alive three days later, lingering until July 13. In memorial of their friend, his fellow soldiers compiled and published his poetry, including a poem called “The Dying Volunteer,” which was put to music for his funeral.
Sergeant George Buck left his family’s modest but comfortable farm to serve his country with the 20th Maine Infantry. During an illness that struck him in the wake of the Battle of Fredericksburg, Buck had a run-in with a quartermaster and was demoted to the ranks. He continued serving capably in spite of this injustice. At his death, Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain restored his rank of sergeant.
Benjamin Crippen was just 21 years old when he became the color sergeant of the 143rd Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry. During the fight for McPherson’s Ridge, his regiment was eventually forced back. During their retreat, Crippin turned to the advancing Confederates and shook his fist defiantly. He was shot through the chest. The regiment’s monument features Crippin in his final moments of life.
Follow Corporal John Pardington, a young immigrant from England, during the last march of the Iron Brigade. His letters to his young wife capture the strain of separation during his time away at war. Because his death at Gettysburg, Pardington’s daughter would grow up without a father, forcing her to be strong in his absence.