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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 923 Chapter XXXI. THE MARYLAND CAMPAIGN.

extreme left, near Saint Mumma church*, on the Hagerstown pike, remaining in this position, under fire of the shells from the enemy, until nearly 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 Colonel 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. I t 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 Major General 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

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* This is known as Mumma's or the Dunker church. The ground on which it stands was donated by S. Mumma.

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Page 923 Chapter XXXI. THE MARYLAND CAMPAIGN.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 19, Part 1 (Antietam)
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