At the battle of Antietam on September 17th, 1862 the fighting got started at daybreak. Their was action at the Dunker Church, The Cornfield and The Sunken Road on the Confederate’s left and center. Union Major General Ambrose Burnside’s Ninth Corps was ready on the rebel’s right flank at 7 AM. The initial order to attack came at 9 AM. One division spent the morning looking for the ford downstream. Then there was a series of maneuvers and attacks at the bridge including the attack by the entire 9th Corps held up by Toomb’s 500 Georgia men and some North Carolina riflemen.
Colonel Edward Ferraro was a teetotaler – he had disciplined the 51st Pennsylvania by taking away their whiskey ration. It was well after noon when he addressed the 51st New York and the 51st Pennsylvania Regiments. “It is General Burnside’s special request that the two 51st’s take that bridge. Will you do it?”
A Pennsylvania soldier called out: “Will you give us our whiskey, Colonel, if we make it?” “Yes, by God!”
The two 51st’s, New York on the left and Pennsylvania on the right, “charged up the road in column with fixed bayonets, and in scarcely more time than it takes to tell it the bridge was passed.”
They got their whiskey.