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J. Saunders

J. Saunders

Federal (USV)


John Saunders

(1825 - 1862)

Home State: Massachusetts

Command Billet: Commanding Company

Branch of Service: Sharpshooters

Unit: Massachusetts Sharpshooters, First Company

Before Antietam

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

On the Campaign

He was killed on 17 September 1862 while leading his Company in combat near the West Woods at Antietam. 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. His gravesite is on Findagrave.

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.


05/30/1825; Ashburton, Devon, ENGLAND


09/17/1862; Sharpsburg, MD; burial in Greenlawn Cemetery, Salem, MA


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]