No. 146. Report of Brigadier General Samuel D. Sturgis. U. S. Army, commanding Second Division, of the battles of South Mountain and Antietam.
HEADQUARTERS SECOND DIVISION, NINTH ARMY CORPS,
Antietam, Md., September 22, 1862.
SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by my division in the battles of South Mountain and Sharpsburg:
About 1 o'clock p. m., on the 14th instant, my division moved from its camp near Middletown to the support of General Willcox, then hotly engaged on the slope of the mountain to the left of the main Hagerstown road. The distance to be traveled was about 5 miles, and it was not until 3.30 p. m. that we reached the scene of action. At the foot of the mountain one of my batteries (Captain Clark's) was detached by Major-General Reno, and sent to support the left of General Cox's division, then supposed to be hotly pressed. Two regiments (the Second Maryland and Sixth New Hampshire) had previously been detached by Major-General Reno, and sent toward on the Hagerstown turnpike.
Arriving near the crest of the mountain, the brigade of Colonel (now General) Ferrero was deployed to the right and left of the road, and immediately became engaged with the enemy. The First Brigade, Colonel (now General) Nagle, was held in reserve. Discovering a battery of the enemy some 1,500 yards to our right, and so posted as to expose our line to a flank fire, I directed my aide-de-camp, Captain Rawolle, to open upon it with Captain Durell's battery. The enemy's battery was silenced in a few moments, and withdrawn from the field. These batteries, under the able direction of Captain Rawolle, rendered material aid afterward, and from the same point, to the troops of General Hooker while hotly pressed on the hills to the right of the Hagerstown road.
The infantry fire had now become so warm and the ground so stubbornly disputed that General Nagle's brigade was brought forward, and the whole line engaged. The enemy made several charges with the hope of driving our brave troops from their position, but were driven back with great slaughter behind a stone fence, where he reformed, but was driven again even from that shelter, and we occupied the highest point of the mountain. The firing ceased altogether about 9 o'clock and our valiant troops slept on the ground and on their arms. When morning broke the enemy had withdrawn, leaving his dead in ghastly numbers scattered on the field.
Our loss in the engagement was 151.* At noon of the next day (15th) we marched again and encamped near Sharpsburg, taking no part in the affair of that day, but being held in reserve on the left of the whole line.
On the morning of the 16th we again moved a mile or two and took position on the extreme left, in column of brigades, in an open field, but covered from view of the enemy by a corn-field in front. The batteries were placed in a wood to the rear. Toward evening I withdrew the batteries a little farther to the rear, for convenience of forage, &c., while the division slept on their arms in the position occupied during the day.
On the morning of the 17th the enemy opened a heavy artillery fire, from which their projectiles fell thick in our camp, and I sent Captain Rawolle forward with Captain Durell's battery, which took position on
*But see revised statement, p. 187.