Later in take day the Seventy-ninth New York and Twenty-eighth Massachusetts Volunteers were ordered to the front, and assisted in repulsing the enemy in his second attempt to force our lines. The Fiftieth Pennsylvania and Eighth Michigan Volunteers were ordered in the early part of the afternoon to the position held by General Cox, where they contributed largely in maintaining that position, and twice assisted in repulsing the enemy.
With few exceptions, both officers and men discharged their whole duty. I append a list of casualties.*
All of which is respectfully submitted.
B. C. CHRIST,
Colonel, Commanding First Brigade.
HDQRS. FIRST Brigadier, FIRST DIV., NINTH ARMY CORPS,
Antietam Creek, Md., September 21, 1862.
SIR: I respectfully submit the following report of the part borne by my command in the engagement near Sharpsburg, on Wednesday, September 17, 1862:
About 10 o'clock a. m. I was ordered to support some batteries covering our advance near the stone bridge across Antietam Creek. During the afternoon I crossed the bridge and marched to the right, and parallel with the stream, for several hundred yards. I here deployed the Seventy-ninth New York Volunteers as skirmishers, supported by the Fiftieth Pennsylvania, Twenty-eight Massachusetts, and Seventeenth Michigan Volunteers, and then moved forward in front of the enemy's battery (heavily supported by infantry), in the rear of a corn-field, on the right of the road. On reaching the crest of a hill, about 350 yards in front of the battery, I discovered that my support on my left had not come up. Deeming my force alone inadequate for the attack on both artillery and infantry, I was obliged to halt until supported on my left.
While halting under cover from the enemy directly in front, he opened a battery on my left which commanded my whole line from left to right, and for thirty minutes we were under a most severe fire of round shot, shell, grape, and canister, and suffered severely. It was impossible to move forward for the reason before stated-no place in the neighborhood that afforded any cover-and the alternative presented itself either to retire from a good and only position from which to advance on the enemy in front, or to wait patiently until some demonstration on the left would compel him to change the direction of his fire. Again, I could not get under cover without retiring at least 250 yards, in full view of the enemy, and if there would have been the least confusion the men might have retreated in disorder, and exposed a largely increased the list of casualties. I chose the former, and was gratified by having my expectations realized.
A demonstration on the left compelled the enemy to change the direction of his fire, and my supports coming, we moved to the front, where we engaged the enemy on his left, and in about one hour succeeded in driving both his artillery and infantry from the position. I charged on the battery with the Seventeenth Michigan Regiment (this being the regiment immediately in front), supported by the Fiftieth Pennsylvania
*Embodied in revised statement, p. 186.