(1835 - 1917)
Home State: Minnesota
Command Billet: Color Sergeant
Branch of Service: Infantry
Unit: 1st Minnesota Infantry
Bloomer arrived in the US as a child in 1846 living first in St Louis, Missouri, then Stillwater, Minnesota Territory from 1848. He was a carpenter before enlisting at the first call for troops in April 1861. He mustered as corporal in Company B of the First Minnesota Infantry on 29 April, and was slightly wounded at Bull Run on 21 July. He was promoted Color Sergeant about June 1862 and and carried the flag in action at Savage Station, Glendale, White Oak Swamp and Malvern Hill on the Peninsula Campaign.
On the Campaign
He was shot through the right leg just below his knee in action near the West Woods at Antietam on 17 September. He described his experience that day and during those following in his journal:
Wednesday Sept 17th. We were up very early then got our coffee & about 7 oclock we fell in line, forded Antietam Creek, marched about 1 mile, formed in line of battle & advanced through fields, woods & over fences & over the field where the Battle commenced early in the morning & which field was covered with dead & wounded of both sides. At last we halted at the edge of a cornfield by a rail fence but still we were in the woods. Had not been at the fence more than 15 minutes before a most terrific fire was poured into the left of our brigade from the rear & front & which fire came quickly down the line to the right wher we were.The firing was very light for a time but I knew I had to go to the rear for I was shot in my leg just below the knee. I had just got behind a large tree when the whole line was ordered to fall back, which they did leaving me behind. The advance of the secesh soon made their appearance& passed by me but did not go a great ways further but formed their picket line about 40 rods in fron of me & shortly their line came up & formed just where our line had stood, which left me about 40 rods in front of their line. A wounded prisoner, I was let on the field all day & the shot & shells of both armies playing in or about there all day cutting off limbs of trees & tearing up the ground all around me & which made it a very dangerous place. But as luck would have it, I got through safe. By that fence my pardner Oscar Cornman was killed & one of Co A, likewise some were wounded & all the wile the battle was raging terribly on our left. Secesh were quite gentlemanly toward me, but they took from me my sword which was a present to me from Lieut Muller, likewise two revolvers for which I did not care so much.
Sept 18th During the night I slept considerable & woke at day break by a noise at my head & found a secesh pulling at my canteen stopper whch he wished to take. Laid on the same spot all day & my pardners dead body lay in my sight all the time. About 6 PM 4 secesh came with a stretcher & took me up to a barn where there were about 100 more of our men & there took our names intending to parrol us in the morning.
Sept. 19th I for one slept but little last night for pain During the night the secesh skedaddled of(f) for pards (parts) unknown to us by the barn to be taken care of by our men who soon made their appearance. The first man of our regiment I saw was (David) Coflin of Co I, then Capt (John H) Pell & gave me some breakfast, & soon my dear Cousin (Adam Marty from Company B) came to see me. About noon I was put in an ambulance & taken to Hoffmans barn Hospital & laid in the yard on the ground where I lay all night with most dreadful pain. There were in around this barn some 5 or 600 wounded soldiers.
Sept. 20th This day will long be remembered by me, for about 8 o'clock A M the doctors put me up on the table & amputated my right leg above my knee. And from then the suffering commenced in earnest...
The rest of the War
He was discharged for disability at the hospital at Smoketown near the battlefield on 12 December 1862 and went home to Minnesota. He returned to service, however, in August 1863 as a Lieutenant in the Veteran Reserve Corps. He mustered out in September 1866.
After the War
After the War he sold sewing machines and insurance, and was five years a prison guard at Stillwater. He also was Justice of the Peace. He became a US Citizen in November 1881, and was elected to the first of three terms as County Treasurer in 1888. He was active in the Grand Army of the Republic, and in 1905 "carried the tattered flag of the First Minnesota from the old to the new state capital in a formal ceremony".
References & notes
The transcript of Sgt Bloomer's journal entries and the biographical detail above from Wayne Jorgenson on his excellent First Minnesota Volunteer Infantry website/database. He cites local newspaper and Historical Society records and the muster-out roll of Company B as sources. The photograph above is from one in the collection of the Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul.
11/30/1835; Engi Canton, SWITZERLAND
10/04/1917 Mahtomedi, MN; burial in Fairview Cemetery, Stillwater, MN