command,and immediately opened fire on the enemy, then posted in a corn-field, and only some 30 or 40 paces in front of our lines. The fire of the brigade was continued for an hour and a half, and evidently with terrible effect upon the enemy, who made several desperate efforts to approach our lines, but failed. The enemy then attempted to turn our left flank, but by a change of front then he was also foiled and repulsed with considerable loss. The ammunition of the brigade was fast giving out, when we were relieved by the arrival of General Ricketts' division. Our brigade was ordered by General Doubleday 10 paces to the rear, to allow room for the troops of General Ricketts to form line of battle. After the troops of this division (General Ricketts') had been engaged for thirty or forty minutes, the enemy withdrew. Whilst withdrawing
our line to the position indicated by General Doubleday, the Seventh Indiana and a portion of the Ninety-fifth New York Volunteers withdrew to some 100 yards in rear of the brigade, having misunderstood the order, and unable in the darkness to see the new line formed by the brigade. They joined the brigade after daylight next morning.
Although it was quite dark when the brigade under my command took its position in front, so that the position of the enemy could be discerned only by the flashes of his firing, the morning revealed how well the fire of our troops had been directed. The enemy had retired without burying their dead or removing their wounded. The body of a colonel of the enemy was found next morning a distance of only 20 yards from our lines. The body was brought in and buried. The wounded were also cared for by the surgeons.
The conduct of the officers and men engaged in this action was such as to meet my hearty approval. A list of the casualties occurring is hereto appended.*
Very respectfully, yours,
J. W. HOFMANN,
Lieutenant Colonel Fifty-sixth Pennsylvania Vols., Commanding Brigade.
Assistant Adjutant-General, Doubleday's Division.
HDQRS. 2nd (HOFMANN'S) Brigadier, 1ST (DOUBLEDAY'S) DIV., 1ST (HOOKER'S) ARMY CORPS, ARMY OF VIRGINIA,
In Camp near Sharpsburg, Md., September 23, 1862.
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report the operations of this brigade during the battle of the 16th and 17th instant:
At 2 o'clock p. m. on the 16th the brigade under my command left camp on the left bank of the Antietam Creek, about 2 miles north of Sharpsburg, and, having forded the creek, waited for the rear brigades to cross. During this time the skirmishers of the enemy opened a lively fire upon us. They were, however, soon driven back by a force sent from our division, and without having inflicted any loss upon this brigade. The whole division having crossed the creek, the march was renewed, General Patrick's brigade leading and this one following his.
In obedience to instructions from General Doubleday, I kept the head of this brigade within a few yards of the rear of the first. We had marched in a northwest direction for about 2 miles when we halted, and, in obedience to instructions, formed in columns of division closed in mass. In a short time we resumed the march, moving by the right
*Embodied in revised statement, p. 184.