War of the Rebellion: Serial 027 Page 0312 Chapter XXXI. OPERATIONS IN N. VA.,M W. VA., MD., AND PA.

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ceived moving to our right, when the first Minnesota faced toward him and delivered another fire, which again checked his movement. I then ordered that my force be formed behind a stone wall at a distance of about 200 yards to the right and slightly to the rear of our first position. I was then ordered by General Sumner to hold the woods on the left and east of the turnpike, where I formed the entire brigade at a distance of about 400 yards from the original position. The Thirty-fourth New York, being upon the extreme left in the front line of battle, after having withstood a most terrible fire, and having lost nearly one half of the entire regiment in killed and wounded, was ordered by Major-General Sedgwick, as will be seen by Colonel Suiter's official report, to retire and take up a new position behind a battery to the right and rear. I immediately ordered them to reform on the left of the brigade, which they did.

In this terrible conflict three regiments of the brigade, to wit, the Fifteenth Massachusetts, Thirty-fourth and Eighty-second New York Volunteers, lost nearly one-half their entire force engaged. The position of the First Minnesota was more favorable, owing to the formation of the ground. The coolness and desperation with which the brigade fought could not be surpassed, and perhaps never was on this continent. Captain Saunders' company of sharpshooters, attached to the Fifteenth Massachusetts Volunteers, together with the left wing of that regiment, silenced one of the enemy's batteries and kept it so, driving the cannoneers from it every time they attempted to load, and for ten minutes fought the enemy in large numbers at a range of from 15 to 20 yards, each party sheltering themselves behind fences, large rocks, and strawstacks. The First Minnesota Regiment fired with so much coolness and accuracy that they brought down three several times one of the enemy's flags, and finally cut the flag-staff in two. I have great satisfaction in saying that the three right regiments of the brigade kept their front clear and the enemy from advancing during the time they were engaged.

I do not deem it necessary to again commend the gallant conduct of the officers of this brigade, since many of them have now been under fire in nine of the hardest engagements of the war, and upon every occasion have acquitted themselves with honor. My personal staff in this battle bore my orders along the line and from point to point, constantly under fire and in great peril of life, with great promptness and courage.

The list of killed, wounded, and missing in action is herewith forwarded, showing the loss to be 758* out of 2,000 taken into the action.

I am, captain, your obedient servant,


Brigadier-General, Commanding.


Assistant Adjutant-General

Numbers 62. Report of Lieutenant Colonel John W. Kimball Fifteenth Massachusetts Infantry, of the battle of Antietam.


Camp near Sharpsburg, September 20, 1862.

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report that on Wednesday, 17th instant, at 7 o'clock a. m., I was ordered to hold my command in readiness


*But see revised statement, p. 192