War of the Rebellion: Serial 027 Page 0338 Chapter XXXI. OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA.

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Numbers 84. Report of Major General Fitz-John Porter, U. S. Army, commanding Fifth Army Corps, of the battle of Antietam, skirmish at Blackford's or Boteler's Ford, and action near Shepherdstown.


Camp near Sharpsburg, Md., October 1, 1862.

GENERAL: I have the honor to present the following report: I received at Arlington, Va., about midnight on the 11th ultimo, orders from the General-in-Chief to report on the following day, with my corps, to Major-General McClellan at Brookeville, Md. The only portion of the Fifth Corps then under my control was Morrell's division, thus distributed: One brigade at Upton's Hill, one at Hunter's Chapel, and one at Fort Corcoran. At 6 a. m. on the 12th, the division (about 6,000 strong) was in motion via Leesborough to join the active army. Tyler's and Allabach's brigades, constituting then Whipple's now Humphreys' division, were assigned to me on the 12th on personal application to the General-in Chief, and on the morning of the 14th (having been delayed by exchanging unserviceable arms in five regiments and obtaining transportation and provision), that division, about 6,000 strong, marched to join me near Middletown, Md.

On the morning of the 14th September, I reported in person to the major-general commanding the Army of the Potomac and troops engaged in the defense of Washington, and resumed command of Sykes' division and that portion of the Reserve Artillery not distributed to corps. This portion of the command was held in readiness to take part in the battle of South Mountain, but so gallantly and effectually was the enemy driven from the heights by Burnside's and Sumner's [Hooker's?] commands, that its services were not called for.

On the 15th, in compliance with instructions to pursue the enemy until I came upon him in large force or in position, and then to take position, and await arrival of other corps, I passed through Burnside's command, which had halted for some hours on South Mountain, and moved on the direct road to Sharpsburg as far as the Antietam Bridge, where, on the right, I found a portion (Richardson's division) of Sumner's corps in line of battle opposite the enemy, then formed on the Sharpsburg Heights. Sykes at once took position behind commanding heights to the left of the road approaching the bridge, and, protected by him, artillery was posted to command the bridge, the roads, and the ground in front of both. The Reserve Artillery, having been accidentally cut off by infantry of another corps (Burnside's), arrived too late to be located that night.

Soon after daybreak of the 16th the enemy's artillery opened from the Sharpsburg Heights, and as soon as our guns were in proper position it was vigorously replied to, and the guns brought to bear throughout the day effectively upon the enemy in front of Sykes, Sumner, and Hooker. Morell's division arrived at about noon, and on the 17th replaced Richardson's division in support of the batteries on the right of Antietam Bridge. Two brigades of Morell's division were dispatched in the afternoon to the aid of General Sumner, then hard pressed. They were halted near their destination by the major-general commanding, who had sent for them. They returned after dark.

From early in the morning of the 17th till dark the artillery was engaged with great effect upon that of the enemy, or upon his infantry, whenever it showed itself. The men were in many cases driven from