nearly the whole of the nights of Monday and Tuesday, arriving at Sharpsburg at daylight on Wednesday morning, September 17. As a consequence, many had become exhausted and fallen out on the way-side, and all were worn and jaded.
About 9 o'clock we were ordered forward to the relief of General Jackson's forces, then engaged on the left, in the wood in rear of the church. The Georgia and Mississippi brigades were formed in a plowed field to the right and rear of the wood; my brigade in their rear in the same field. The enemy was discovered in the wood, advancing toward its right face, where some of our guns had been abandoned before our arrival. Perceiving this, Major-General McLaws directed me to occupy that part of the wood in advance of them while our lines were being formed. For this purpose I ordered forward, at double-quick, Colonel Kennedy's Second South Carolina Regiment to march by a flank to the extreme point of the wood; then by the front to enter it. Before the head of the regiment had reached the point, and when entangled in a rail fence, the enemy opened fire upon them from a point not more than 60 yards distant. They promptly faced to the front, and returned the fire so rapidly as to drive the enemy almost immediately. At the same time the brigades of Cobb and Barksdale, now on their left, advanced to their support. I then hurried up my three remaining regiments-the Eighth, Lieutenant Colonel [A. J.] Hoole; Seventh, Colonel [D. W.] Aiken, and Third, Colonel Nance-and conducted them to the right of Colonel Kennedy, who by this time had advanced beyond the wood and to the left of the church, driving the enemy. I then ordered Read's battery to a position on the hill to the right of the wood and sent in Colonel Manning, who reported to me on the field, with Walker's brigade, to the right of my brigade. Our troops made constant progress for some time along the whole line, driving in column after column of the enemy. Colonel Aiken's regiment approached within 30 yards of one of the batteries, driving the men from the guns, and only gave way when enfiladed by a new battery placed in position near them, leaving Major White dead and one-half their men killed or wounded upon the field.
About this time the enemy was heavily re-enforced, and our line fell back to the wood, which was never afterward taken from us. Read's battery, having suffered greatly in the loss of men and horses, was withdrawn, by my order, when the infantry fell back. The lines were reorganized behind the fences, near where they entered the fight, and their exhausted cartridge-boxes replenished.
Later in the day we moved to the left of General Early's command, which occupied the wood to the left of the church, where we remained until ordered to move across the river on Thursday night, September 18. I deem it proper to state that I left two companies on picket in front of our lines when we marched under command of Captain Hance, of the Third Regiment, with instructions to remain until relieved by the cavalry.
After daylight next morning, Captain Hance, not having been relieved, perceived the enemy advancing in line of battle, and brought off his men in safety and good order, passing the cavalry pickets some distance in his rear.
I cannot too highly commend to your notice the gallant conduct of the troops of my command.
The Eighth Regiment carried in but 45 men rank and file, and lost 23 officers and men.
The Second Regiment was the first to attack and drive the enemy. Colonel Kennedy was painfully wounded in the first charge, and was sent by myself from the field. After our lines were first driven back,
55 R R-VOL XIX, PT I