Andrew Knight's Civil War Record

Andrew S. Knight's Civil War Record

from an e-mail from third-cousin-once-removed Alex Rankin dated 4/20/2000

...He received a medal for his services for the war and, if I remember correctly, we have his discharge papers...His regiment defended the forts around Washington until U.S. Grant took them out and put them in the field. Their first battle was at Spotsylvania which was basically a 3-day bar fight. Andrew was wounded at this battle and is annotated in the official records as being "wounded-right ring finger amputated." Now the oral history says he was stabbed through both hands. The only time I know of when he would have been in hand-to-hand combat, was at the start of the battle's 2nd day. A division of Rebels were about to flank the Union and take their supply train. The 1st Maine Heavy Artillery was dispatched to stop them. At Harris Farm (A.K.A.- Alsop Farm) there was fierce hand-to-hand combat. Now, the only way for Andrew to be wounded through the hands is to have been stabbed by bayonet. The type of bayonet used in the war did not have a curved blade. As a result, it would get stuck in the body sometimes and the attacker would have to discharge his firearm in order to free himself. If this occurred, it would explain why the ring finger would have been amputated, loosing it as the Rebel fired. This could also be the bullet lodged in his shoulder. The amazing thing is, his regiment, completely unbattle-tested, staved off attacks from some of Lee's most seasoned troops. Granted they lost 524 men in that engagement, but their gritty doggedness cannot be denied. I'm sure you have read something on the battle of Petersburg and the fateful charge were they lost 604 in a matter of 8 minutes. What you may not have read is that they were with 3 veteran regiments and the 1st Mass HA. When the order was given to attack, the veteran's moved a short distance and laid down. Andrew's regiment had to step over them to attack. Theirs was the only regiment out of the 2 Corps that attacked that day to reach the Rebel works. There is a painting down at the Petersburg museum dedicated to the 1st Maine's charge and situated right in the foreground of the painting is Andrew's Company F! We knew nothing of this until Jeremy found a reference to a monument dedicated to the regiment at Petersburg. Chamberlain comments on the monument and the regiment's gallant display in his "Reminiscences." It is a stately monument which brings tears to my eyes every time I look at it.

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This page last updated on April 20, 2000