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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 933 Chapter XXXI. THE MARYLAND CAMPAIGN.

and obliquely to my right was a large force of the enemy. This I did not discover, myself. At this juncture I dispatched Actg. Adjt. W. Shropshire to say to you that, unless the regiments upon my left were moved up quickly to my relief and support upon the left, I would be forced to abandon my position and withdraw. Before the return of Shropshire, a fire of musketry was opened upon me from my left and rear, which determined me at once to withdraw, as I had but a handful of men left, all of whom must have been slain or captured had I remained longer. I at once gave the order to fall back, and the few men remaining to me retired, turning to fire upon the enemy as rapidly as their pieces could be loaded and fired.

I entered the engagement with 226 men, officers-field and staff-included, of which number 170 are known to have been killed and wounded, besides 12 others who are missing, and, doubtless, also killed or wounded.

During the engagement I saw four bearers of our State colors shot down, to wit: First, John Hanson, Company L; second, James Day, Company M; third, Charles H. Kingsley, Company L, and, fourth, James K. Malone, Company A. After the fall of these, still others raised the colors until four more bearers were shot down. Not having seen plainly who these others were, I am unable to give their names in this report, but will do so so soon as, upon inquiry, I can ascertain.

It is a source of mortification to state that, upon retiring from the engagement, our colors were not brought off. I can but feel that some degree of odium must attach under the most favorable circumstances, and although such are the circumstances surrounding the conduct of this regiment, the loss of our flag will always remain a matter of sore and deep regret. In this connection it is but proper to state, in addition to that detailed in the above and foregoing report, the additional circumstances and causes which led to its loss. When the order to retire was given, the colors began the movement to the rear, when the color bearer, after moving but a few paces, was shot down. Upon their fall, some half doyen hastened to raise them, one of whom did raise them and move off, when he was shot down, which was not discovered by those serving. While falling back, and when we had nearly reached the clover field hereinbefore alluded to (being still in the corn-field), I gave the order to halt, and inquired for the colors, intending to dress upon them, when I was told that the colors had gone out of the corn-field. Then I gave the order to move on our of the corn and form behind the crest of a small ridge just outside of the corn and in the clover field. It was when I reached this point that I became satisfied our colors were lost, for I looked in every direction and they were nowhere to be seen. It was then too late to recover them. There was no one who knew the spot where they had last fallen, and, owing to the density of the corn, a view of no object could be had but for a few feet. By this time, also, the enemy had moved up and was within some 35 or 40 yards of my left (proper) and rear, and another force was following us. No blame, I feel, would attach to the men or officers, all of whom fought heroically and well. There was no such conduct upon their part as abandoning or deserting their colors. They fought bravely, and unflinchingly faced a terrible hail of bullets and artillery until ordered by me to retire. The colors started back with them, and when they were lost no man knew save him who had fallen with them. It is, perhaps, due to myself to state that, when I determined to retire, I requested Captain [U. S.] Connally to give the order upon the right, and stepped to the left to direct Captain Woodward to give the order upon the left, from which point I moved on to the extreme left, to discover,


Page 933 Chapter XXXI. THE MARYLAND CAMPAIGN.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 19, Part 1 (Antietam)
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