from Webster Weekley Times, Saturday Morning Oct. 4, 1862 (Volume 4 # 30 ) contributed by Mike Branniff
| An Interesting Letter
The following has been handed us by Mr. Wm. Corbin, to whom it is addressed. The writer, A.J. Bradley, we understand to be a young man from Pennsylvania[ note Bradley was a native of Russell Mass] who some time since enlisted in Company I, and as Second Lieutenant went through the late disastrous battles in Maryland. The letter will be found to contain many interesting facts connected with the death of First Lieutenant Frank S. Corbin:
Bolivar Hights, Va., Sept 23,1862
It becomes my sorrowful duty to give you some of the particulars of your sons death. Our regiment left camp about 7 o’clock, A.M., forded the creek, marched about half a mile, then formed our line of battle, and marched across the field and through the woods for nearly a mile, when the whistling bullets and bursting shell notified us that we were upon the enemy.
Our line was halted in a piece of woods, and the fire opened. Lieutenant Corbin worked faithfully while crossing the fields, keeping the men in line, and also in keeping them in their places after the fire commenced. The men fell like grain before the reaper, and their places were quickly filled by others. Suddenly we noticed that Lieutenant Corbin was gone. His position was on the left of the Company, I was on the right, and Captain Joslin was in the center. In thirty minutes but a handful of men remained, and we were ordered to fall back. While this was being done, and the line being reformed, I made every inquiry, but could find no one who had seen him fall or leave the field. I saw Captain Joslin when he was wounded and obliged to leave the field. I kept up the search till the next morning. Some thought they saw him fall, others that they had seen him dead on the field. We knew not what to believe.
About nine o’clock, Hovey (of our Company) came with such evidence as left no doubt. He had just come from the hospital, where he had seen the body ready to be covered from all human view. He had his belt, scabbard, and such things as were found in his pockets. I felt that I could not have him buried there. I thought of all who loved him at home, and though I could imagine their bitter sorrow at the news of his death, and being increased a hundred fold at the thought of never being permitted to visit the spot where he was laid. I got permission fron Col. Kimball to go, and if possible obtain his body, have it embalmed, and send it home.I took a guide, found his body lying beside twenty or thirty others, ready to be laid in the ground. I got possession of the body, and after trying for two hours got a farmer to take it back to Boonsboro. There I expected to find our Quartermaster, and give the body into his charge. He was gone to Frederick, so I Got Mr. Wheelock to take the remains on to Frederick, have them embalmed, and send to you. This was all I could do, as I had permission to be gone only two hours. Mr. W. could not get it embalmed, but sent it in the best way he could. I fear it was not in a condition to be seen when you received it;--but it must be a satisfaction to know that his dust reposes in the dear old church-yard at home.
Be assured, dear friends, that you have the full sympathy of all the officers of the Regiment. Lieutenant Corbin had many warm friends, was a good officer, did his duty faithfully, died nobly, yes nobly,---and may he rest in peace!
I have not yet found anyone who saw him when he was hit or went to the rear. All I can learn ,is, he got back to the rear, was carried to the hospital in an ambulance, and died during the night. I did not see anyone who was with him or saw him as he passed away. He had a small gold watch, which could not be found about him. I fear that it was stolen from his pocket. I have just taken an inventory of his effects, and shall send his valise to you the first opportunity.
Captain Joslin was shot through his right arm. And also in his shoulder. I had a slight furrow cut in my cheek but was so that I could remain on the field. Thirty of our Company were wounded and eight killed. It was the bloodiest battle of the war.