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Wisconsin in the Civil War

Best Friends Are Killed at the Same Moment

Privates Franklin Gerlaugh and William Black worked together, enlisted together, trained together, and died together. Fellow soldier Doc Aubery, of Milwaukee, recalls their final moments at the Battle of Antietam in Maryland on September 17, 1862.

Franklin Gerlaugh and Wm. P. Black, Co. A. Sixth Wisconsin Infantry, [are buried] both in one grave, at the head of which a fine marble slab has been placed, "To the memory of Franklin Gerlaugh and Wm. P. Black, aged respectively nineteen years five months and twenty-one days. Killed at the Battle of Antietam, Sept. 17, 1862. Rest Soldier."

The detailed records in the office of the adjutant-general of Wisconsin disclose some strange coincidents in relation to these two soldier boys. They show that they both enlisted in Co. A, Sixth Infantry, at Baraboo, May 10th, 1861. They were residents of the town of Fredonia, that they were of the same age, were killed at the same time, buried in the same grave. This grave was found in the cemetery at Keedysville, Washington County, Md. Gerlaugh was shot through the head and as he fell forward dead Black turned his eyes to the dead face of his comrade only to receive a wound in the throat which was immediately fatal.

Source: Aubery, Cullen B. "Echoes from the marches of the famous Iron Brigade : unwritten stories of that famous organization," page 66.

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The dead at Antietam.
The dead at Antietam.

WHI 69999
Map of the Battle of Antietam, Maryland, on September 17, 1862.
Map of the Battle of Antietam, Maryland, on September 17, 1862 (4:00 pm).

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