War of the Rebellion: Serial 027 Page 0240 Chapter XXXI. OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA, MD., AND PA.

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woods on ridge a little to the left of our front opened fire on us. Our batteries to the right, and those on the ridge almost directly behind us, returned the fire almost instantly. This was the opening of Wednesday's fight. The men lay flat on the found close to the fence from this time (as both the rebel and our batteries were playing directly over our heads) until about 10 a. m., when we were marched out to support a battery of two pieces. We remained but a few moments, the battery being withdrawn, and we, receiving orders to fall back, moved to the rear in good order, and formed line of battle some 500 yards in rear of our former position. After remaining here about half an hour, we were marched off by the left flank, and, after some little maneuvering, finally took our post on the left of Gibbon's brigade, forming, with this brigade and Gorman's on its right, and the Seventy-second Pennsylvania Volunteers on our left, a front line in support of some thirty-odd pieces of artillery. Here we bivouacked. Thursday, September 18, we remained in our position in support of the battery during the day and night. About 8 o'clock a. m. Friday we took up our line of march for this place, and finally encamped about 2 p. m.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

F. WILLIAMS,

Captain, Commanding Fifty-sixth Pennsylvania Volunteers.

Lieutenant S. HEALY,

Acting Assistant Adjutant-General, Hofmann's Brigade.

HDQRS. FIFTY-SIXTH REGIMENT PENNSYLVANIA VOLS.,

Near Sharpsburg, Md., September 28, 1862.

GENERAL: I have the honor to report that our regiment has, since the report made to you by Lieutenant-Colonel Hofmann (September 5), been engaged in two actions, one at South Mountain, Sunday, 14th instant, and that of Antietam, on the 16th and 17th instant. The conduct of officers and men was all that could have been asked. In the action at South Mountain the men stood under a galling fire from the enemy for an hour and a half, until their ammunition was exhausted. They were at this moment relieved by the arrival of General Ricketts' division. Having been ordered to retire 10 paces to make room for the formation of troops under General Ricketts, the regiment retained that position. The troops of General Ricketts had been engaged about thirty minutes, when the enemy retired. Our regiment was then ordered to lie down upon their arms, where they remained during the night.

The regiment sustained comparatively few casualties in this action, having 1 killed, 11 wounded, and 3 missing. The next morning the regiment was moved near and toward Sharpsburg, where they lay under the fire of the enemy's battery for several hours without sustaining any loss.

On the following afternoon the regiment forded the Antietam Creek, where they were fired upon by the skirmishers of the enemy, not, however, sustaining any loss; marched in a northeasterly direction about 3 miles, where they were placed in position, facing the Sharpsburg and Hagerstown pike. It was now quite dark, and the men were directed to rest upon their arms; when, on the 17th, at 5.30 a. m., the enemy opened upon us from a battery about 800 yards to our front and left. The brigade of which our regiment formed a part had since the afternoon of the 14th been commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Hofmann, of