site logo
J. Saunders

J. Saunders

Federal (USA)


John Saunders

(1825 - 1862)

Home State: Massachusetts

Command Billet: Commanding Company

Branch of Service: Sharpshooters

Unit: Massachusetts Sharpshooters, First Company

Before Antietam

A carpenter then living in Salem, Massachusetts, he raised a company of men and was commissioned Captain of the 1st Company, Sharpshooters on 2 September 1861 (mustered on the 3rd).

On the Campaign

He was killed on September 17th leading his Company in combat near the West Woods. They were attached to the 15th Massachusetts Infantry, part of Sedgwick's Division, Second Army Corps.

References & notes

Basic service information from Massachusetts Soldiers1, with genealogical details from Susan Harnwell and contributors at her superb 15th Massachusetts Infantry site. The photo here is from a group shot of 23 members of the Company from about March 1862, hosted on Ms Harnwell's site. A copy was sold in a collection of Captain Saunders effects - including his M1860 Colt Army revolver, telescope sight, tactics manual - by the Horse Soldier Antiques in Gettysburg.

Alden C. Ellis Jr. published a study of the 1st and 2nd Companies in The Massachusetts Andrew Sharpshooters: A Civil War History and Roster (Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2012). In it he makes a case that Martin Strong, a Private in his Company intentionally shot Captain Saunders at Antietam in retaliation for some harsh discipline the Captain had administered. Strong was also killed at Antietam.


06/17/1825; Ashburton, Devon, ENGLAND


09/17/1862 Sharpsburg, MD; burial in Salem, Massachusetts


1   Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Adjutant General, Massachusetts Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines in the Civil War, 8 Vols, Norwood (MA): Norwood Press, 1931-35, Vol. 2, pg. 211  [AotW citation 2692]