No. 55. Report of Major Alford B. Chapman, Fifty/seventh New york Infantry, of the battle of Antietam.
CHAMP ON BOLIVAR HEIGHTS, September 24, 1862.
LIEUTENANT: I have the honor to submit the following report of the movements of my command during the action of the 17th instant near Sharpsburg:
About noon of that day we became actively engaged with the enemy, our brigade having relieved that of General Meagher. This regiment and the Sixty-sixth Regiment received orders to march on the enemy, who were at that time drawn up in a deep ditch at the foot of the hill on which we were, and from whence they were pouring a galling fire into our ranks. Animated by the presence of both their brigade and division commanders, the regiment moved forward with a determined enthusiasm I have never seen excelled. In a few minutes we had cleared the ditch of every living enemy, and were driving them in great disorder through the corn field beyond. It was during this period of the action that we lost our noble and gallant Lieutenant-Colonel Parisen and several valuable line officers. We took the colors of the Twelfth Alabama and many prisoners. I am unable to form any very correct estimate of the number of the latter, but they considerably exceeded the number of men in the ranks of my regiment.
Remaining a short time in line at the farther end of this corn field, I received orders to move the regiment to the support of a battery on our left and rear. I filed round the foot of the hill under a terrible fire of grape and canister, which fortunately caused us comparatively slight loss, being aimed too high. Arriving on the left of the battery, I found General Richardson, who was in the act of assigning me my position, when he was badly wounded and carried from the field. I then formed to the right of Caldwell's brigade, and remained in that position until I received orders from the colonel commanding this brigade to form on the left of the Second Delaware, then posted on the hill, on which we remained during the two succeeding days.
It is with gratification that I have to speak of the general conduct of my command, both officers and men. They acted nobly throughout. I would especially mention Captain N. Grarrow Throop (severely wounded); Captain James W. Britt (who, although wounded, refused to leave the field); Captains Kirk, Curtiss, and Mott; Lieutenant John H. Bell (severely wounded), Lieutenants Jones, Wright, Higbee (killed), and Folger (killed). The medical officers of the regiment, Surgs. Robert V. McKim and Asst. Surgs. Henry C. Dean and Nelson Neely, are deserving of all praise for their care and attention to the wounded, and the promptness with which they caused them to be removed from the field.
Among the enlisted men I would especially mention First Sergeant Finlason, of Company F (killed); First Sergt. John S. Paden, Company A (killed); Sergeant Stobbe, Company A (wounded), and Kelly, Company A; First Sergeant Hall, Company I, and Alcoke, Company K, and Sergeant Brower, Company K. These last three I placed in command of companies which had lost officers and sergeants.
I have considered it unnecessary to submit a more elaborate report, inasmuch as every movement was made under the immediate supervision of the colonel commanding this brigade, who on that day seemed omnipresent.