Battery B, 4th U.S. Artillery being assulted by Hampton's Legion and the 18th Georgia Regiment of Volunteer Infantry. As depicted by famed Civil War Artist, Rick Reeves|
Colonel William T. Wofford, Commanding Texas Brigade
Report of Col. W. T. Wofford, Eighteenth Georgia Infantry,Commanding Hood's brigade (Texas Brigade), of the battle of Sharpsburg.
SEPTEMBER 3-20, 1862.-The Maryland Campaign.O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME XIX/1 [S# 27]
HEADQUARTERS TEXAS BRIGADE,|
September 29, 1862.
Capt. W. H. SELLERS,|
SIR: I have the honor to report the part performed by this command in the engagements on the evening of the 16th and throughout the day of the 17th instant at Sharpsburg, Md., without referring to the various positions which we occupied after halting on the field:|
On the morning of the 15th instant, our division being in the rear of the army from Boonsborough Mountain, this brigade was moved from in front of Sharpsburg on the evening of the 15th to the right and in front of Mumma Church, this being the left of our line and where the main and most of the fighting took place on the 17th instant. While we were moving to this position, the enemy opened a heavy fire upon us from their long-range guns, which was continued after we were in position, and resulted in the wounding of 1 lieutenant and 1 soldier in the Fourth Texas Regiment. We remained in this position the balance of the day and night of the 15th and until late in the evening of the 16th, when we were ordered by General Hood to move by the left flank through the open field in front of the church and to its left about 700 yards, to meet the enemy, who, it was then ascertained, had commenced to cross Antietam Creek to our left. We then formed line of battle and moved up to a corn-field in our front, and awaited the advance of the enemy, who had, by this time, opened upon us a brisk fire of shot and shell from some pieces of artillery which they had placed in position immediately in our front and to the left of our lines, wounding 1 officer and some dozen men.
I feel it due to truth to state that the enemy were informed of our position by the firing of a half dozen shots from a little battery of ours on the left of the brigade, which hastily beat a retreat as soon as their guns opened upon us.
While our line of battle rested upon the corn-field, Captain Turner, commanding the Fifth Texas, which was our right, had been moved forward into some woods, where he met a part of our skirmishers driven in by the enemy, whom he engaged and finally drove back, with the loss of 1 man. Our skirmishers, consisting of 100 men, under the command of Captain [W. H.] Martin, of the Fourth Texas, who had been moved into the woods in front and to the left of the Fifth Texas, were hotly engaged with the enemy, but held their ground until they had expended all their cartridges, and then fell into our line of battle, about 9 o'clock at night, about which time we were relieved by General Lawton's brigade, and were withdrawn from the field to the woods in rear of Mumma Church for the purpose of cooking rations, our men not having received any regular allowance in three days.
It was now evident that the enemy had effected a crossing entirely to our left, and that he would make the attack on that wing early in the morning, moving his forces over and placing them in position during the night.
At 3 o'clock in the morning of the 17th the picket firing was very heavy, and at daylight the battle was opened. Our brigade was moved forward, at sunrise, to the support of General Lawton, who had relieved us the night before. Moving forward in line of battle in the regular order of regiments, the brigade proceeded through the woods into the open field toward the corn-field, where the left encountered the first line of the enemy. Seeing Hampton's Legion and Eighteenth Georgia moving slowly forward, but rapidly firing, I rode hastily to them, urging them forward, when I saw two full regiments, one in their front and the other partly to their left. Perceiving at once that they were in danger of being cut off, I ordered the First Texas to move by the left flank to their relief, which they did in a rapid and gallant manner. By this time, the enemy on our left having commenced falling back, the First Texas pressed them rapidly to their guns, which now poured into them a fire on their right flank, center, and left flank from three different batteries, before which their well-formed line was cut down and scattered; being 200 yards in front of our line, their situation was most critical. Riding back to the left of our line, I found the fragment of the Eighteenth Georgia Regiment in front of the extreme right battery of the enemy, located on the pike running by the church, which now opened upon our thinned ranks a most destructive fire. The men and officers were gallantly shooting down the gunners, and for a moment silenced them. At this time the enemy's fire was most terrific, their first line of infantry having been driven back to their guns, which now opened a furious fire, together with their second line of infantry, upon our thinned and almost annihilated ranks.
By this time, our brigade having suffered so greatly, I was satisfied they could neither advance nor hold their position much longer without re-enforcements. Riding back to make known to General Hood our condition, I met with you, to whom I imparted this information. By this time our line commenced giving way, when I ordered them back under cover of the woods to the left of the church, where we halted and waited for support, none arriving. After some time the enemy commenced advancing in full force. Seeing the hopelessness and folly of making a stand with our shattered brigade and a remnant from other commands, the men being greatly exhausted and many of them out of ammunition, I determined to fall back to a fence in our rear, where we met the long looked for re-enforcements, and at the same time received an order from General Hood to fall back farther to the rear to rest and collect our men. After resting a short time, we were moved back to the woods in rear of the church from where we advanced to the fight in the morning, which position we held until late in the evening, when we were moved by the right flank in the direction of Sharpsburg to a place near the center of our line, where we remained during that night and next day, and until the recrossing of the Potomac by our army was ordered.
During the engagement of the brigade on the 17th instant I was drawn to the left of our line, as it first engaged the enemy, who had succeeded in flanking us on the left, and, to escape from being surrounded, changed the direction to left-oblique, thus causing large intervals between the regiments on the left and right of the line. The Fifth Texas, under the command of Captain Turner, moved with spirit across the field and occupied the woods on our right, where it met the enemy and drove and held them back until their ammunition was exhausted, and then fell back to the woods with the balance of the brigade. The Fourth Texas Regiment, which, in our line of battle, was between the Fifth and First Texas, was moved by General Hood to the extreme left of our line on the pike road, covering our flank by holding the enemy in check.
This brigade went into the action numbering 854, and lost, in killed, wounded, and missing, 560--over one-half.
We have to mourn the loss of Majors Dale, of the First Texas, and Dingle, of Hampton's Legion, two gallant officers, who fell in the thickest of the fight; also Captains [R. W.] Tompkins and [H. J.] Smith, and Lieutenant [James J.] Exum, of Hampton's Legion; Lieutenants [T. C.] Underwood and [J. M.D.] Cleveland, of the Eighteenth Georgia: Lieutenants [F. L.] Hoffman, [P.] RunnelIs, [J.] Waterhouse, [S. F.] Patton, and [G. B.] Thompson, of the First Texas. These brave officers all fell while gallantly leading their small bands on an enemy five times their number. They deserved a better fate than to have been, as they were, sacrificed for the want of proper support.
The enemy, besides being permitted to cross the creek, with scarcely any resistance, to our left, were allowed to place their artillery in position during the night, not only without annoyance but without our knowledge.
Without specially naming the officers and men who stood firmly at their post during the whole of this terrible conflict, I feel pleased to bear testimony, with few exceptions, to the gallantry of the whole brigade. They fought desperately; their conduct was never surpassed. Fragments of regiments, as they were, they moved bodily upon and drove before them the crowded lines of the enemy up to their cannon's mouth, and, with a heroism unsurpassed, fired upon their gunners, desperately struggling before yielding, which they had never been forced to do before.
I herewith transmit the reports of Captain Turner, commanding the Fifth Texas Regiment; Lieutenant-Colonel Carter, commanding the Fourth Texas; Lieutenant-Colonel Work, commanding the First Texas; Lieutenant-Colonel Ruff, commanding the Eighteenth Georgia, and Lieutenant-Colonel Gary, commanding Hampton's Legion.
WM. T. WOFFORD,
Colonel, Commanding Brigade.
Report of Lieutenant-Colonel S. Z. Ruff, Commanding the Eighteenth Georgia Regiment of Volunteer InfantryReport of 23 September 1862
SEPTEMBER 23, 1862
Colonel W. T. WOFFORD,
Commanding Texas Brigade
SIR: I have the honor to report that this regiment was drawn up in line of battle, late in the evening on the 16th instant, to the left of the position it had occupied during the day and previous night, which was north of the town of Sharpsburg and parallel to the Antietam River. On our left was the Hampton Legion, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Gary, and on our right the First Texas, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Work, and on our right the Fourth Texas, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Carter.
Just at dark, the enemy advanced and attacked the brigade on our right, when we received orders to advance to a piece of corn a short distance in front, where we remained without firing a gun until about midnight. The brigade was then withdrawn to a piece of woods, to cook rations.
The next morning, 17th instant, just after daylight, the brigade was drawn up in line of battle, and ordered to lie down under cover of the hill from a terrible storm of shell that the enemy's batteries were at that time pouring into the woods. A heavy firing of musketry had been going on in our front for some time.
About 7 a. m., the brigade was ordered to move forward in the direction of the firing. Advancing about a quarter of a mile through the timber, we came upon the enemy posted in front of a piece of corn, and immediately opened fire upon them. After one or two rounds they gave way, and fell back to a considerable distance in the corn. Advancing, with the left of the regiment resting on the right of the legion, which had its left upon the turnpike, we drove the enemy in fine style out of the corn and back upon their supports. At the far edge of the corn, the ranks of the retreating line of the enemy unmasked a battery, which poured a round or two of grape into our ranks with terrible effect; but it was soon silenced by our riflemen, and the gunners ran away. At this moment we discovered a fresh line of the enemy advancing on our left flank in an oblique direction, threatening to cut us off, and our ranks being reduced to less than one-third their original strength, we found it necessary to fall back. At the edge of the woods we met supports and rallied on them a part of our men; but the regiment was too much cut up for further action, and in a short time, in connection with the whole brigade, was taken from the field.
We carried 176 men into the action, and lost 101 in killed, wounded and missing; most of the missing are either killed or wounded.
All the men and officers, so far as I was able to observe, acted with the most desperate coolness and gallantry. Not one showed any disposition, notwithstanding their terrible loss, to fall back or flinch from the enemy until they received orders to do so.
I regret exceedingly to report that Lieuts. T. C. Underwood and J. M. D. Cleveland, of Company K, are among the missing. They are known to be wounded, and it is feared they are dead. I regret also to be obliged to record among the wounded the names of Capts. J. A. Crawford and G. W. Maddox and Lieuts. M. J. Crawford, J. F. Maddox, O. W. Putman, W. G. Calahan, J. Grant, and D. B. Williams.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
S. Z. RUFF,
Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding Regiment..
Report of Lieutenant-Colonel M. W. Gary, Commanding the Hampton's LegionReport of 23 September 1862
SEPTEMBER 23, 1862|
CAMP NEAR MARTINSBURG, W. VA.,
September 23, 1862
Colonel W. T. WOFFORD,
Commanding Texas Brigade
COLONEL: I have the honor to submit the following report of the infantry battalion of the Hampton Legion in the battle of the 17th at Sharpsburg, Md.:
The battle opened about day-break along the whole line. The legion was placed to the left of the brigade, the Eighteenth Georgia being to its right. We began to advance from under cover of [the West] woods in rear of a church, and engaged the enemy so soon as we emerged from them, the enemy being in line of battle near the edge of the corn-field immediately in our front. We advanced steadily upon them, under a heavy fire, and had not gone far when Herod Wilson, of Company F, the bearer of the colors, was shot down. They were raised by James Esters, of Company E, and he was shot down. They were then taken up by C. P. Poppenheim, of Company A, and he, too, was shot down. Major J. H. Dingle, Jr., then caught them and began to advance with them, exclaiming, "Legion, follow your colors!" The words had an inspiring effect, and the men rallied bravely under their flag, fighting desperately at every step. He bore the colors to the edge of the corn near the [Hagerstown] turnpike road, on our left, and, while bravely upholding them within 50 yards of the enemy and three Federal flags, was shot dead. I immediately raised the colors and again unfurled them amid the enemy's deadly fire, when Marion Walton, of Company B, volunteered to bear them. I resigned them into his hands, and he carried them gallantly and safely through the battle. Soon after the death of Major Dingle, I discovered, about 200 yards distant, a brigade of the enemy in line of battle, covering our entire left flank. I immediately ordered the men to fall back under the crest of the hill. I then rallied them and reformed them, and remained with the brigade the remainder of the day.
I have to record the death of many of my best officers. The brave, modest, and energetic Major J. H. Dingle, Jr., fell, among the foremost in battle, and died with the colors in his hands; Captain R. W. Tompkins, who was killed near where Major Dingle fell, and was conspicuous in the fight, for his gallantry and efficiency; Lieutenant J. J. Exum was killed near the same place, heroically leading his men; Captain H. J. Smith was mortally wounded, in the same charge, while bravely leading his men (he has since died); Lieutenant W. A. B. Davenport was wounded at the head of his company; Lieutenant W. E. O'Connor, acting adjutant, was wounded in the engagement the evening before. I have but to mention my four remaining officers-Captain T. M. Logan, Lieuts. B. E. Nicholson, J. H. M. James, and J. J. Cleveland-all of them in command of their companies, and bearing themselves with great bravery, having shared the same dangers of their less fortunate comrades. The number of the legion was reduced more than one-half by the numerous details for skirmishers, scouts, cooks, and men barefooted, unfit for duty.
The following is a list of the casualties. Strength of battalion in action, officers and men, 77.
I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,
M. W. GARY,
Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding Hampton's Legion.
General John Bell Hood
Report of Brig. Gen. John B. Hood, C. S. Army,Commanding Division, of the Battles of Boonsborough and Sharpsburg.
SEPTEMBER 3-20, 1862.-The Maryland Campaign. O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME XIX/1 [S# 27]
September 27, 1862.
Maj. G. MOXLEY SORREL,|
Assistant Adjutant General.
SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of this division, composed of two brigades--Fourth Alabama, Second and Eleventh Mississippi, and Sixth North Carolina, Col. E. M. Law commanding; my own brigade, First, Fourth, and Fifth Texas, Eighteenth Georgia, and Hampton Legion, and Reilly's, Bachman's, and Garden's batteries, Maj. B. W. Frobel commanding--in the engagements at Freeman's Ford, on the Rappahannock River, August 22; plains of Manassas, August 29 and 30; Boonsborough Gap, Md., September 14, and Sharpsburg, Md., September 16 and 17.
The next day [September 1], after burying the dead, the march was continued [from vicinity of Smiley Ford, Va.] to Sudley Ford, and from thence to Hagerstown, Md., via Frederick City, crossing the Potomac at White's Ford, near Leesburg.
On the morning of September 14, we marched back to Boonsborough Gap, a distance of some 13 miles. This division, arriving between 3 and 4 p.m., found the troops of General D. H. Hill engaged with a large force of the enemy. By direction of the general commanding, I took up my position immediately on the left of the pike. Soon, orders came to change over to the right, as our troops on that side were giving way to superior numbers. On the march to the right, I met General Drayton's brigade coming out, saying the enemy had succeeded in passing to their rear. I at once inclined more to the right over a very rugged country and succeeded in getting in a position to receive the enemy. I at once ordered the Texas Brigade, Col. W. T. Wofford commanding, and the Third Brigade, Col. E. M. Law commanding, to move forward with bayonets fixed, which they did with their usual gallantry, driving the enemy and regaining all of our lost ground, when night came on and further pursuit ceased. On this field, fell, mortally wounded, Lieut. Col. O. K. McLemore, of the Fourth Alabama, a most efficient, gallant, and valuable officer.
Soon after night, orders were received to withdraw and for this division to constitute the rear guard of the army. The march was accordingly taken up in the direction of Sharpsburg. Arriving on the heights across the Antietam River near the town, about 12 m. on the 15th instant, I was ordered to take position in line of battle on the right of the road leading to Boonsborough, but soon received orders to move to the extreme left, near Saint Mumma church(*), on the Hagerstown pike, remaining in this position, under fire of the shells from the enemy, until early sunset on the evening of the 16th. The enemy, having crossed higher up the Antietam, made an attack upon the left flank of our line of battle, the troops of this division being the only forces, on our side, engaged. We succeeded in checking and driving back the enemy a short distance, when night came on, and soon the firing ceased. During the engagement, the brave and efficient Col. P. F. Liddell, Eleventh Mississippi, fell, mortally wounded. The officers and men of my command having been without food for three days, except a half ration of beef for one day, and green corn, General Lawton, with two brigades, was directed to take my position, to enable my men to cook.
On the morning of the 17th instant, about 3 o'clock, the firing commenced along the line occupied by General Lawton. At 6 o'clock I received notice from him that he would require all the assistance I could give him. A few minutes after, a member of his staff reported to me that he was wounded and wished me to come forward as soon as possible. Being in readiness, I at once marched out on the field in line of battle and soon became engaged with an immense force of the enemy, consisting of not less than two corps of their army. It was here that I witnessed the most terrible clash of arms, by far, that has occurred during the war. The two little giant brigades of this division wrestled with this mighty force, losing hundreds of their gallant officers and men but driving the enemy from his position and forcing him to abandon his guns on our left. The battle raged with the greatest fury until about 9 o'clock, the enemy being driven from 400 to 500 yards. Fighting, as we were, at right angles with the general line of battle, and General Ripley's brigade being the extreme left of General D. H. Hill's forces and continuing to hold their ground, caused the enemy to pour in a heavy fire upon the rear and right flank of Colonel Law's brigade, rendering it necessary to move the division to the left and rear into the woods near the Saint Mumma church, which we continued to hold until 10 a.m., when General McLaws arrived with his command, which was at once formed in line and moved forward, engaging the enemy. My command was marched to the rear, ammunition replenished, and returned at 12 m., taking position, by direction of the general commanding, in rear of the church, with orders to hold it. About 4 p.m., by order, the division moved to the right, near the center, and remained there until the night of the 18th instant, when orders were received to recross the Potomac.
I would respectfully state that in the morning about 4 a.m. I sent Major Blanton, aide-de-camp, to Maj. Gen. D. H. Hill to know if he could furnish any troops to assist in holding the left of our position. He replied that he could not; and the major-general commanding is aware of the number of messages received from me asking for re enforcements, which I felt were absolutely required after seeing the great strength of the enemy in my front, and I am thoroughly of the opinion had General McLaws arrived by 8.30 a.m. our victory on the left would have been as thorough, quick, and complete as upon the plains of Manassas on August 30.
During the engagement, Major [J. H.]Dingle, jr., of Hampton's Legion, gallantly bearing the colors of his regiment; Major [Matt.] Dale, First Texas, and Major [T. S.] Evans, Eleventh Mississippi, fell, while leading their brave comrades against ten times their numbers.
Colonel [J. M.] Stone, Lieutenant-Colonel [D. W.] Humphreys, and Major [J. A.] Blair, Second Mississippi; Lieutenant-Colonel [S. F.] Butler. Eleventh Mississippi; Captain [L. H.] Scruggs, Fourth Alabama, and Major [R. F.] Webb, Sixth North Carolina, also received severe wounds.
Conspicuous were Colonels Law and Wofford, commanding brigades. Lieutenant-Colonel Gary, commanding Hampton's Legion; Lieut. Col. P. A. Work, commanding First Texas; Lieut. Col. B. F. Carter, commanding Fourth Texas; Captain Turner, commanding Fifth Texas, although not wounded, deserve great credit for their skillful management and coolness during the battle.
It is but justice to Col. J. C. G. Key, Fourth Texas, to state that he was present at the battles of Boonsborough Gap and Sharpsburg, although unable to take command of his regiment, in consequence of a severe wound received at the battle of Gaines' Farm, June 27.
During this engagement and that of the battle of Manassas, Reilly's, Bachman's, and Garden's batteries were admirably handled by the battery commanders; Maj. B. W. Frobel commanding, acting with great coolness and judgment upon the field.
Too much cannot be said of the members of my staff, the chief, Maj. W. H. Sellers, having his horse shot while ably directing the Texas brigade at the battle of Manassas during the time of my being sent for by the general commanding to receive additional orders. He has proven himself competent to command a brigade under all circumstances. This distinguished officer, together with my two aides (Maj. B. H. Blanton and Lieut. James Hamilton), had their horses shot during the battle of Sharpsburg while most gallantly pushing forward the troops and transmitting orders. Major Blanton, Lieutenant Hamilton, Lieut. Joseph Phillips, C. S. Army, of General Magruder's staff, and Capt. C. S. Mills, assistant quartermaster First Texas Regiment, rendered most invaluable service during the battle of Manassas in bringing forward and placing in position additional brigades upon the long to be remembered heights around the Chinn House.
Lieut. D. L. Sublett, acting division ordnance officer, was prompt in bringing forward ammunition, and otherwise efficiently performed the duties pertaining to his department.
All praise is due Dr. [John T.] Darby, chief surgeon of this division, for his untiring efforts and skillful manner in caring for the numerous wounded.
Dr. [E. J.] Roach, senior surgeon Texas Brigade, and Dr. [H. H.] Hubbard, senior surgeon Law's brigade, Dr. Breckinridge, and all other surgeons and assistant surgeons of this command, have my heartfelt thanks for their able services.
I would be wrong in not acknowledging the valuable services rendered during the several engagements, in transmitting orders, of the following couriers of this command: M. M. Templeman, T. W. C. Lake, J.P. Mahoney, James Malone, W. E. Duncan, J. A. Mann, W. J. Barbee, W. G. Jesse, J. I. Haggerty, and J. H. Drake.
For additional particulars, reference is made to the reports of brigade and regimental commanders, herewith respectfully submitted.
Below will be found a report of casualties.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. B. HOOD,
Brigadier-General, Commanding Division.
August 22 --- --- 1 9 --- --- 10
August 29-30 5 70 33 507 1 12 628
Sept. 16-17 10 59 35 382 1 61 548
August 29-30 3 53 20 244 --- --- 320
Boonsborough Gap, Md
Sept. 14 --- 3 2 9 --- --- 14
Sept. 16-17 6 44 44 335 --- 25 454
Total 24 229 135 1,486 2 98 1,974
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