War of the Rebellion: Serial 027 Page 0468 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA. MD., AND PA. Chapter XXXI

Search Civil War Official Records

ordered. The advance was under fire from a battery and infantry in our front. Immediately after we had gained our position, the whole left of the brigade seemed to be falling back, and from the right of the Twenty-third, where I was, I discovered what seemed to be a heavy body of our troops advancing toward our left through the corn-field which flanked us on our left, and from which our position was enfiladed.

About the same time I discovered that the Thirtieth Regiment was still in the corn-field, and that they had opened fire upon what I supposed was our own troops, advancing from the left. It seems proper to state that this supposition did not rest entirely upon the fact that the enemy had uniforms similar to ours, and which (I have since been informed by a prisoner) were taken at Harper's Ferry, but upon the fact that they used the national colors on the occasion. I had heard an aide-de-camp, who rode up as we were forming for the charge, assert that General Sturgis' division had taken a battery from the enemy, and earnestly requesting Colonel Ewing to move forward rapidly to their support; consequently I felt convinced that the advancing troops were our friends, and gave the order not to fire upon them, although they were rapidly approaching our left and we were within easy range. Soon after all doubt vanished, upon the furious attack which was made by them, almost at feeling distance, upon the Thirtieth Regiment and our left. Almost immediately a heavy enfilading fire was opened our whole line, and Colonel Ewing gave the order to me in person to change front perpendicularly to the rear, which was done. From some cause (probably from the death of the aide bearing the order) we did not receive the order to fall back with the remainder of the brigade, and we consequently held our position until relieved by our division commander.

The men behaved with the same reckless bravery which characterized the fight of the preceding Sunday, and the conduct of officers and men was beyond praise. Color-Sergeant Armstrong was killed and Color-Corporation Morgan badly wounded at the same time, early in the action when Private Wert, of Company C, and Private McMillan, of Company H, sprang from the ranks and rescued the colors. They were both made corporals, and assigned to the color-guard on the field. Captain Lovejoy, of Company D, who command the left wing, was wounded and carried off the field early in the action. Captain Drake, of Company H, was also wounded slightly.

Casualties have already been reported.*

After leaving the field, the colors of some regiment were discovered near the wheat-stack on our left. Supposing them to be abandoned, I called for volunteers to rescue them; when Lieutenant Bacon, Company K, with 10 men, went back for the purpose. A small remnant of a New York regiment was with the colors, and refused to leave them or allow them to be carried off, saying they had no orders. I regret not being able to state the number of the regiment. They were ordered off the field by Colonel Scammon, commanding our division.

Having been separated from the brigade from the cause already started, I was ordered by Colonel Scammony, at the request of General Sturgis, to support a battery to the left of your new position, and no opportunity to report until the next morning.

Very respectfully,

J. M. COMLY,

Major, Commanding Twenty-third Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry.

Lieutenant G. LOWLAND,

Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.

---------------

*Embodied in revised statement, p. 198.

---------------