Nicholas A. Caufield(c. 1835 - 1862)
Home State: Louisiana
Branch of Service: Infantry
Unit: 5th Louisiana Infantry
Before the Antietam Campaign:
He was a 26 year old accountant in New Orleans when he enrolled in Company F, 5th Louisiana Infantry on June 4th, 1861 at Camp Moore, LA. He was on leave in November and December 1861 and on recruiting service in New Orleans in January and February 1862.
In the Antietam Campaign:
He was killed in action on 17 September 1862 at Sharpsburg. Captain Richardson, Company F later described it:
Lieutenant Caufield was in Richmond at the time our regiment joined the 8th brigade under Jackson, and did not join us until after our battle at Slaughter Mountain. He participated in the subsequent fights at Bristol, also the three days battles at Manassas and the battle of Chantilly, which followed, and was present during our advance into Maryland, and at the capture of Harper’s Ferry, again crossed the Potomac, and was killed at the battle of Sharpsburg. The circumstances attending his death are as follows: Our brigade was ordered into a corn-field to the support of two batteries, which were firing from either flank. Shortly after obtaining our position, the enemy’s shells came so thick and fast that General Hays ordered us to lie down. Our Company was small, and we (the officers) laid down behind it. William, Lieutenant [Nicholas] Caufield’s brother, was leaning immediately in his front. Nick was reclining on his elbow, conversing with Lieut. [James] Gubbins of our camp. Lieutenant Fitzpatrick, of Company B, by the side of him, was struck, and Nick remarked: “Fitz, you are hit.” Many of those surrounding us were uttering exclamations of “Oh,” etc., as they were shot, when, all at once, a shell from the enemy plunged through my poor camp, passing first through the body of Willam, then cut off the leg of John Fitzsimmons, then both feet of D[avid] Jenkins, and passed through my poor friend Nick, entering at the small of the back, coming out at the breast, tearing out and exposing his heart. I immediately jumped up, but he was beyond the possibility of being assisted. I advanced my face close to his and called him by name, but his eyes were fixed, and he was supporting himself on his elbow in his last throes. Oh! the anguish I feel at the sight of my poor friend, who, a moment before, was buoyant in spirits, even whilst the leaden messengers of death were dealing destruction around us, now in the hands of his Maker, and the thought rushed fast to my mind of the feelings of his poor mother and family on hearing of the loss of her two boys, the pride of her heart. In Lieutenant Caufield we have lost a brave and efficient officer, one idolized by our company, and beloved by the officers and men of his regiment ...
References, Sources, and other notes:
Basic information from Booth1, who lists him as Nicholas A. Canfield. The quote above from a letter by Richardson printed in the Memphis Daily Appeal on 11 October 1862, transcribed online by Stuart Salling on his Louisiana in the Civil War blog. His photograph and the spelling of his last name from Neill E. Goltz on facebook. Neill notes the photo came down through the family from William and Nicholas' younger brother Thomas and is the legacy of Descendants of the Caufield Family - including Goltz, Donnelly and Scarlett.
Death Date: 09/17/1862 Death Place: Sharpsburg, MD
1 Booth, Andrew B., Records of Louisiana Confederate Soldiers and Louisiana Confederate Commands, 3 Volumes, New Orleans: State of Louisiana, 1920, Vol. 2, pg. 241 [AotW citation 13194]
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