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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 928 Chapter XXXI. OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA.

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 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, 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 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


Page 928 Chapter XXXI. OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 19, Part 1 (Antietam)
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