to their position was but about 80 paces, I ordered the brigade to advance in line of battle. Here General Hatch, riding through the lines, pressed the men forward, and with a cheer the brigade moved splendidly to the front, pouring in a deadly fire upon the enemy. Here General Hatch was wounded, and was obliged to leave the field, but the brigade, encouraged by his valor and inspiriting orders, moved forward with unbroken front, and the engagement became general through my entire line.
Too much praise cannot be awarded to the officers and men of this brigade for their noble conduct on this occasion. Although the enemy were strongly posted behind a fence, and apparently in larger force than our own troops, they could not withstand the terrific fire and steady veteran advance of my line. The conflict at the fence became desperate, many of the enemy at this time being less than 8 rods in our front, but the undaunted bravery of officers and men enabled me to drive them from their position and capture a number of prisoners. The loss of the brigade at this point was much heavier than at any other on the field.
Having succeeded in forcing the enemy from their position, I advanced my line about 5 rods, where I obtained partial shelter for my men from an abrupt rise of ground. Perceiving that the right of my line extended beyond the enemy's left, I ordered Fourteenth Brooklyn to advance their right, which being done enabled them to enfilade the enemy's ranks with a fire which did great execution. This brigade held its position until relieved by Doubleday's brigade, which was in turn relieved by General Ricketts, when I ordered this command to fall back slowly and in good order, when I formed the third line of battle, General Ricketts having the first and General Doubleday the second. These three lines occupied the battle-field at this point during the night of Sunday.
The regiments of this brigade engaged at this point were the Fourteenth New York State Militia, Twenty-second, Twenty-fourth, and Thirtieth New York Volunteers. The Second U. S. Sharpshooters, attached to this command, were ordered to the right of the general line by command of Major-General Hooker before I moved up the mountain, and were temporarily detached from the brigade.
I cannot allow the conduct of Lieutenant Cranford, Fourteenth New York State Militia, and Lieutenant Schenck, Twenty-second New York Volunteers, aides to myself, to pass unnoticed. I was often obliged to send them, through a galling fire, to different parts of the field with orders. Their conduct on this occasion was most gallant, and all that I could have desired. It was the more striking that their line of duty did not require their presence on the field at that time, the former being acting commissary of subsistence, and the latter regimental quartermaster. Captain Monroe, Battery D, First Rhode Island Artillery, attached to this brigade, now acting chief of division artillery, will forward, at the earliest possible moment, a consolidated report of the casualties in the batteries in the engagements of September 14, 16, and 17.
The loss in this brigade at South Mountain, Sunday, September 14 (see report of casualties already forwarded you), was as follows: Enlisted men killed, 20; commissioned officers wounded, 4; enlisted men wounded, 63; missing, 8. Total, 95. I went into this action with less than 400 officers and men, and our loss on that day is a fraction less than 25 percent.
Very respectfully, &c.,
WALTER PHELPS, JR.,
Colonel Twenty-second New York Volunteers, Commanding Brigade.