Civil War Times Picture of the Month | HistoryNet

Civil War Times Picture of the Month

Courtesy of the Matthew Fleming Collection
Courtesy of the Matthew Fleming Collection

This stunning view surfaced earlier this year. Mervin Eugene Cornell is dressed here in all the military splendor an officer is capable of bringing to bear. Identified by a small card from New Years 1862 which was tucked behind the image on which is written Mervin’s name and unit. An ancestor of the founder of Cornell University Mervin did not hesitate to enlist and 7 days after Fort Sumter fell Mervin joined the ranks of the “Cleveland Light Artillery”. Taking part in such battles as Philippi, Laurel Hill, Cheat River and several others Mervin was recognized for his coolness and intrepidity under fire and was quickly promoted to 2nd Lieut. and given command of two guns. At the end of his 3 month enlistment he headed to New York to further his studies but caught up in the patriotic fervor he began to raise a company of infantry along with his two brothers. After filling the ranks Mervin and his company enlisted in the 102nd Regiment Van Buren’s Light Infantry and not long after the regiment found itself taking part in the battle of Cedar Mountain. Acting as major during the battle Mervin once again received high praise for his gallantry and coolness while under fire and seemed bound for a prominent military career. After some re-organization in Washington the 102nd found themselves on the field of Antietam and Mervin was tasked with driving a force of rebels from a piece of woods. Advancing with 4 regiments the Confederates poured a withering fire into the oncoming ranks throwing them into confusion. Mervin taking notice of the seriousness of the situation threw himself to the front and waving his sword called to his men, “Don’t falter; don’t fall back. Come on boys, follow me”. In full regulation dress he made for an easy target for rebel marksmen and within seconds a rebel ball pierced his skull and ended the life of what was to be a very promising young officer.      


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