No. 103. Report of Lieutenant John S. Poland, Second U. S. Infantry, commanding battalion Second and Tenth U. S. Infantry, of the battle of Antietam and action near Shepherdstown.
BIVOUAC OPPOSITE SHEPHERDSTOWN, W. VA., September 22, 1862.
SIR: I have the honor to report the part taken by the battalion of Second and Tenth Infantry in the engagement on the 17th instant at Sharpsburg, Md.
My command consisted of nine companies Second Infantry, commanded as follows: Company A, First Sergt. Thomas Byrne; Company B, First Lieutenant William F. Drum, Second Infantry; Company C, Second Lieutenant Abraham Grafius, Second Infantry; Company D, First Lieutenant George H. McLoughlin, Second Infantry; Company E, First Lieutenant Charles M. Freeman; Company G, Second Lieutenant Claude S. Robertson, Tenth Infantry; Company F, First Lieutenant J. W. Gray, Eleventh Infantry; Company I, First Lieutenant S. A. McKee, Second Infantry; Company K, Second Lieutenant Robert G. Wells, Tenth Infantry, and three companies Tenth Infantry, united under command of First Lieutenant George S. Lauman, Tenth Infantry.
By order of Major Lovell, Tenth Infantry, commanding Second Brigade Regulars, I moved across Antietam Creek by the turnpike bridge to support Captain Tidball's battery, then hard pressed by the enemy's sharpshooters. On arriving near the battery on left of the turnpike I halted the command, being ordered to report to General Pleasonton for further instructions. While seeking him, I received his order through Lieutenant Cutting, acting assistant adjutant-general to Brigadier-General Sykes, to throw forward a line of skirmishers to drive back the enemy. Captain Diball, who was relieved by Captain Robertson's battery, then retired. Four companies from the left deployed as skirmishers, when Captain Robertson withdrew his battery. A lieutenant-colonel of cavalry desired me to relieve a party of his command with my infantry, which I did. Captain Randol, First Artillery, brought up his battery of Napoleon guns, and occupied the position formerly occupied by Captains Tidball and Robertson. My skirmishers were advanced in front of this position from 300 to 400 yards. Five companies were held as reserve, and for any disposition that might be required. Captain Randol, finding his battery could effect nothing, withdrew it, and advanced Lieutenant Van Reed's battery to the right of the turnpike.
I then sent a note to Major Lovell explaining my position. Captain Dryer, Fourth Infantry, came up, stating he had an order to take command of all the skirmishers. By his direction I deployed the force held in reserve, and advanced them on the line occupied; then threw forward the whole line to a fence along a road running perpendicularly to the turnpike and to the left. Lieutenant McKee, commanding Companies I and A, Second Infantry, while deploying to the front, was severely wounded and compelled to leave the field. The command of these companies devolved on First Sergt. Francis E. Lacey, Company I, Second Infantry, who handled them well. In advancing to the fence, at which our line was to rest, the skirmishers were obliged to pass over a ridge completely commanded by the enemy's sharpshooters and battery posted to the left of the corn-field in front of the right of my line. When we appeared above its crest of the enemy opened with a heavy fire of case-shot and canister. The line did not waver, but rapidly