force of the enemy was posted and firing heavily at both Welsh and Christ.
In finding a position for Coffin's two guns at the head of a lane, which turned up at the first house we passed, I was now able both to see and assist my division at every part of the ground, and Coffin threw solid shot, shell,and canister with great precision and effect into the enemy's ranks. The force in the orchard were dislodged, and fled up the hillside, followed by our fire of both infantry and artillery, and Welsh occupied the orchard.
Our musket ammunition was now exhausted. We had carried the heights of Sharpsburg, and rested partly in the town and partly on the hills. The enemy kept up a desultory fire along our line, but a t a respectful distance, so that when Sturgis on the extreme left became heavily pressed, and I was ordered to withdraw to the place where my division formed near the river, every regiment marched back in perfect order. To assist the struggling left, I had already detached Coffin, with opened upon the enemy within 300 yards. Here he remained, doing signal execution, until he also exhausted his ammunition and withdrew. As Lieutenant Benjamin was detached from the division, I inclose a copy of his report separately.
I have particularly to notice the good conduct of Cols. B. C. Christ and Thomas Welsh, commanding brigades, and all the officers and men under their commands. There is no officer or man among them who cannot feel proud of having been engaged in the battle of Sharpsburg, and I recommend that all the regiments of my division be allowed to inscribe "Sharpsburg" on their colors as well as "South Mountain." I would also commend the cool, skillful, and gallant conduct of Lieutenant Benjamin and his officers and men, and the efficiency of Lieutenant John N. Coffin, of Cook's battery, who, with his section, acted under my own eyes, moving up in the most dashing manner into the village, and striking with his shot on every side. He mentions his two chefs of pieces, Sergts. William Davis and Newell b. Allen, and all his men. Of my personal staff, I have particularly to commend Captain robert A. Hutchins, assistant adjutant-general, and my aides, Lieutenant brackett, Twenty-eight Massachusetts Volunteers, and Lieutenant James W. Romeyn, Fourth Michigan for promptness and fearlessness in carrying orders, and Lieutenant [Orrin M.] Dearborn, aide-de-camp, also in charge of the ammunition train, for following up the command with ammunition and delivering it to all the troops of the corps at a critical time.
This report is with the supplementary battle reports. I append a list of casualties.*
O. B. WILLCOX,
Brigadier-General, Commanding Division.
Itinerary of the First Division, Ninth Army Corps, September 1-October 31, 1862.+
September 1, division left camp west of Centreville, Va., proceeding toward Fairfax, and met the enemy at Chantilly about 5 p. m. A severe
*Embodied in revised statement, p. 196.
+From "records of events," on month returns.