Frank wrote several letters to the Battlefield Board, helping to locate its position on the field. below is a typescript of one of those letters.
Fond du Lac Co Wis.
Dec 28th 99
Genl. E.A. Carman.
In reply to yours of the 16th Inst. stating the difficulty of locating my Battery on Sept 17/62 I have the honor to state that under the circumstances I am compelled to go into details, even at the risk of being considered tiresome. I desire it to be distinctly understood, that the points of the compass as well as the hours of the day are merely guesswork, the remaining statements are facts, as I now remember them. Shortly after sunrise on that day Sumner’s Artillery, under command of Maj. Clark, 4th U.S. Arty. crossed what was designated to me the upper Bridge of the Antietam, after a slow march of about two hours the Column was brought to a long stop in a piece of timber to await orders. While Maj Clark was assigning positions to the leading Batteries we heard to roar of battle on our right flank. About 9 A.M Kirby’s Batty I 1st U.S. Arty, that day under Lieut. Woodruff, came from the direction of the combat, one of the officers claiming to be out of ammunition.
I immediately rode up to the brow of the ridge about ¼ mile to our right flank, found that part of the field without a man or a gun, three Confederate Brigades, returned from their defeat of Sedgwick reforming down on the flat North of the Dunker Church Woods with the evident intention of advancing undercover of the ridge to crush French’s flank on the opposite slope of the ridge; to prevent that move I rushed my Battery up on the ridge, the only Artillery then opposed to me being a Battery of 6 Brass Guns on a hill about 800 yds in my front, and very poorely [sic] served, perhaps for want of ammunition. In less than 15 minutes a four gun Battery appeared on the front and left of the Rebel Infantry opening a savage attack at about 900 yards. This failing to drive my Battery out of position another four Gun Battery opened to my left from the Woods north of the Dunker Church at about 800 yds inflicting considerable damage, but one of my percussion shells exploding a Caisson, and another shell dismounting a gun of Batty no 2 and sending it out of the field, enabled me to bring the full force of my 6 Napoleons to bear on Batty no 3 which was presently silenced, two of the Guns being found dismounted the next day. While engaged by Batteries No 1 and 2 I was informed that through the special efforts of Maj Clark the 6th Maine had been sent to my support, and after the firing ceased I proceeded with one of my Guns to the highest part of the ridge about 80 Rods to my right to dislodge a Rebel Skirmish line behind the stone fence inclosing [sic] a cornfield and running along my front. In moving that gun I encountered a New York Battery (likely Cowan’s) on the extreme end of the Ridge about 80 Rods to the right of my Battery. I may be permitted to mention that this is the only and sole connection I formed with the noted Cornfield, as my line of fire against Batteries No 1 and two ranged over, and that against No 3 ranged along the edge thereof. About this time the gap between my Battery and French’s Division was closed by Hancock’s Brigade; the ground over which I manouvered [sic] was either pasture or elevated meadowlands.
I am positive that the 6th Maine when I first viewed the regiment was some 30 to 60 paces to my right, laying in a shallow ravine running down to our rear.
Your obdt Servt
Jno. [John] D. Frank.
Obviously he is incorrect about Cowen and the 6th ME, and I welcome your thoughts about who he did see.