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The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies

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OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 19, Part 1 (Antietam)
Page 918 Chapter XXXI. OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA.

to perform in the late engagement at Sharpsburg, Md., on September 17, last:

Early on the morning of the 17th, the regiment, together with the rest of the brigade, was placed in position on the extreme right, from which position it was moved, about 9 o'clock, to re-enforce the center, which was evidently hard pressed, the enemy gaining ground. I formed in line of battle, under the direction of Colonel Manning, commanding brigade, who placed the regiment on the left of the brigade. We advanced through a corn-field into a heavy piece of woods, where the engagement was raging furiously, the men going into the contest in the best of spirits. Simultaneously with our entrance into the woods, the enemy commenced falling back in disorder, and we passed through the woods without seeing them. On arriving at the farther edge of the woods, I found the enemy in heavy force on an elevation, distant about 200 yards, with a battery of artillery in position on the crest of the hill. Bethween the enemy and the woods were two heavy panel fences, running obliquely. In face of such difficulties I thought it inexpedient to charge farther. I therefore placed my regiment behind a breastwork of rails, which I found just beyond the woods, in short range of the enemy, and commenced firing, my men being well protected. A short time after I had commenced firing, Colonel Manning approached and informed me that he was seriously wounded and would be compelled to retire from the field, and, being next in rank to himself, the command of the brigade would fall upon me.

Being so far on the left, I had lost sight of the other regiments in the brigade, except the Thirtieth Virginia and a portion of the Forty-eighth North Carolina, who in attempting to charge over the fences and up the ascent, found themselves so massed up that they were compelled to lie down in the face of the enemy and under a withering fire. In this position they suffered severely, and in a short time were compelled to retire. Owing to the nature of the ground, their maneuvers were accompanied by some disorder. I saw no more of these regiments during the day. All things considered, that portion of the Forty-eighth Regiment and the Thirtieth Virginia behave d as well as any troops could who were in such an exposed and fatal position.

The Twenty-seventh North Carolina and the Third Arkansas were so far to my right that I saw nothing of them during the day, but was informed by officers of other commands that their conduct (under Colonel Cooke, of the Twenty-seventh) was beyond all praise. I saw nothing of those regiments until the battle was over. One company from the Thirtieth Virginia and one from the Third Arkansas, which had been left on picket duty on the right, connected themselves with my regiment and throughout the day behaved handsomely.

The falling back of the Forty-eighth North Carolina and Thirtieth Virginia, on the immediate right of the Forty-sixth North Carolina, left a wide gap open, which the enemy began at once to take advantage of in order to re-enter the woods, though a galling fire was kept up by that regiment on their advancing line until I deemed it unsafe for that one regiment, unsupported, to remain in position while the enemy was massing upon its right and rear. The Forty-sixth, therefore, fell back, by my instruction, in good order and without the loss of a single straggler. I carried them out of the woods, and was met by General Jackson, who ordered me to report to General McLaws. General McL[aws] ordered me to endeavor to hold the woods at all hazards. I then advanced in line of battle to the edge of the woods, which by that time was filled with the enemy, and placed the regiment behind a ledge of rocks, throw-


Page 918 Chapter XXXI. OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 19, Part 1 (Antietam)
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