Photograph of Israel B. Richardson
Israel B. Richardson

Library of Congress

Quick Facts

Significance:
Major General commanding I Division of the II Corps Union Army of the Potomac
Place Of Birth:
Fairfax, VT
Date Of Birth:
December 26, 1815
Place Of Death:
Sharpsburg, MD
Date Of Death:
November 03, 1862
Place Of Burial:
Pontiac, MI
Cemetery Name:
Oak Hill Cemetery

From the Peninsula to Maryland: Richardson's role in the summer of 1862

Israel Richardson was promoted to Major General on July 4, 1862 following his successful leadership of his brigade during the Peninsula Campaign. He commanded the First Division of the II Corps during the Northern Virginia Campaign and subsequent Maryland Campaign. He was engaged and the Second Battle of Manassas (Bull Run) and again at South Mountain.

During the Battle of Antietam his First Division helped to attack the Confederate positions in the center of the Sunken Road in support of the Third Division of William H. French.

Though they met stubborn resistance, between 12:30-1:00 p.m., Richardson and his men gained control of the high ground in front of the apex of the defensive line, which allowed his men to enfilade the remaining defenders in what would come to be known as "Bloody Lane." Richardson's arrival proved to be the tipping point in helping to push the Confederate's out of the sunken road. He was unable to follow up this initial success with a continued advance, however. Even as he attempted to reorganize his men, direct the fire of his artillery, and bring up additional support, he was struck by a shell fragment and carried to the rear.

Richardson was taken to a field hospital where his wound was deemed non- life threatening, and he was taken to a room in the Pry House, which was serving as George B. McClellan's headquarters.

When President Lincoln came to visit the battlefield in October he paid his respects to the wounded Richardson. Shortly thereafter infection set in, followed by pneumonia, which claimed the life of the popular general on November 3, 1862.

He was among six generals to be killed or mortally wounded on the fields of Antietam.