No. 29. Report of Lieutenant Colonel Richard H. Richardson, Twenty-sixth New York Infantry, Second Brigade, of the battles of South Mountain and Antietam.
HEADQUARTERS TWENTY-SIXTH NEW YORK VOLUNTEERS,
Camp near Sharpsburg, Md., September 19, 1862.
SIR: In compliance with orders, this regiment marched from camp near Frederick at 6 o'clock a. m. Sunday, September 14, 1862, 12 miles to the gap, near Boonsborough, arriving on the battle-ground at 6 o'clock p. m., and formed in line of battle on the right of the brigade, and advanced up the slope toward the enemy, who occupied the cornfield and brush at the top of the hill. In going up we marched by the left flank, as ordered, for the purpose of gaining ground to the left and relieving regiments then engaged. On reaching the fence along the timber at the hill top, we halted, and commenced firing from the left of the battalion, the right reserving their fire, not being in range of the enemy, until after some moments later. The left wing of the regiment fired some 20 rounds and right wing 4 rounds, when the order was given to cease firing, and lay on our arms in the same position until morning, with skirmishers advance.
I would further report as casualties: Killed, none; wounded, 2.
Marched from camp near Keedysville about 3 o'clock p. m. September 16 to the battle-ground, near Sharpsburg, and took position in line arms until morning, posting pickets as order. Marched at daylight September 17, under orders, across the fields, formed line of battle, occupying the left of the brigade, and halted some 400 or 500 yards from the wood, beyond which the enemy lay in position. I was directed to deploy in column by division, which I did, and advanced obliquely toward the wood under a heavy fire of shot and shell, and halted, as directed, 100 yards in rear of the brigade of General Duryea, that brigade moving to the right. I was ordered to advance in support of General Hartsuff, and did so Under direction of General Seymour we deployed in line of battle along the fence, the left of the battalion connecting with the right of another regiment, the right with the left of the Ninety-fourth New York Volunteers.
The enemy were in sight, about 350 yards, engaged with Hartsuff's brigade. I gave the command to commence firing by file, and the battalion continued firing evenly and carefully for some 30 rounds, average, when the command ceased firing, saving ammunition. This cessation brought the enemy out more plainly in view on the open ground, and we again opened fire, driving the enemy again behind the fence, and under cover of the cor-field. I again gave orders to cease firing, being nearly out of ammunition, and sent word twice to the colonel commanding the brigade for ammunition or relief. We resumed our firing until every round of cartridge was expended, when, the relieving column advancing, we retired in good order to the point indicated for supplying the men.
Without particularizing, I can but say that every officer and man in the command performed his duty in the coolest manner, obeying every order with alacrity, and executing with determination, under fire, two hours and a quarter.
Casualties: 5 killed, 41 wounded, 20 missing; total, 66.