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Federal (USV)


James W. Richards

(c. 1840 - 1862)

Home State: New York

Branch of Service: Infantry

Unit: 16th New York Infantry

Before Antietam

Age 21, he enlisted on 27 April 1861 at Malone for two years and mustered as Musician, Company B, 16th New York Infantry on 15 May. He was reduced to Private, and transferred to Company F on 1 November.

On the Campaign

Private James Allen later recalled his and Richards' experience at Crampton's Gap on 14 September 1862:

A charge brought us to a dense cornfield, separated from the base of the mountain by a stone wall. While we were charging through the corn, the command: 'Right oblique' was given, which a comrade and myself did not hear. We kept straight on toward the wall. When quite near it we were met by a volley which checked us for a moment. My comrade said to me:

'Hold on, Jim, what shall we do?'

'We'll charge them from behind that wall,' I replied.

At our approach the rebels retreated from the breastworks up the steep mountain side. We followed and climbed the wall. A ball struck my brave comrade in the left leg and made him unfit for further action. I found a comfortable place for the poor fellow in a crevice and gave him a drink from my canteen.

'Richards,' said I, 'if I pull through all right, I'll come and take care of you.' I then followed the retreating rebels ...

I spoke to the colonel about my wounded comrade lying far down the mountain side, and a party was sent at once to bring him in.

The rest of the War

He died of his wound on 20 September 1862.

References & notes

His service from the Adjutant General.1 The quote above from Deeds of Valor.2


c. 1840


09/20/1862; in MD


1   State of New York, Adjutant-General, Annual Report of the Adjutant General of the State of New York [year]: Registers of the [units], 43 Volumes, Albany: James B. Lyon, State Printer, 1893-1905, For the Year 1899, Ser. No. 19, pg. 644  [AotW citation 22559]

2   Beyer, Walter F., and Oscar F. Keydel, compilers, Deeds of Valor: How America's Heroes Won the Medal of Honor , Detroit: The Perrien-Keydel Company, 1901, Vol. 1, pp. 73-74  [AotW citation 22560]