The Old Museum at Manassas

Last update
May 16, 2004

The Cantwell Brothers

The tragedy of the Civil War touched nearly every American family. Fathers, sons, and brothers often fought together, many were killed and wounded. These two brothers from Ohio fought at Second Manassas. Only one survived.

James Cantwell, Colonel, 82th Ohio Volunteer Infantry.

Two days after the Civil War began, James Cantwell left his Ohio farms, his business, his six children, and his wife Sarah to join the Union Army.
On August 29, 1862, Colonel Cantwell was killed on this battlefield while attempting to rally his men against Jackson's line.
General Milroy said upon his death, "...his men loved, obeyed and respected him as a father. Truly the loss of such an officer in these trying times is a great calamity."

Colonel James Cantwell carried this cavalry saber to his death on this battlefield. Because he personally led his men into combat, he used a heavy duty cavalry saber.

Colonal Cantwell's younger brother, Jacob, a surgeon of the 82nd Ohio, was treating the wounded at the Stone House when his brother was killed.
Dr. Cantwell was under fire during twenty battles and suffered a severe wound at the Battle of Cross Keys, Virginia.
Commissioned Surgeon General of U.S. Volunteers, he was breveted a Lieutenant Colonel when mustered out of service.
After the war Dr. Cantwell worked as a physician in Mansfield, Ohio and as a planter in Decatur, Alabama. He died February 12, 1883.
Dr. Cantwell used this surgical kit in his private practice in Ohio after the war. It is similar to amputation kits used by many Civil War surgeons.

This pass enabled Colonel Cantwell's son to travel east to recover his father's body.

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