forces at Crampton's Gap had been driven from their position. At least three hundred guns were fired during the evening. At least eight brigades of the enemy were engaged in this fight, and many more were coming up when night closed the scene. I withdrew after dark, by order, and joined the balance of our force on the road just above Brownsville.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
E. B. MONTAGUE,
Colonel Thirty-second Virginia Volunteers.
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.
IN THE FIELD NEAR MARTINSBURG, W. VA., September 23, 1862.
SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part sustained by the Thirty-second Regiment Virginia Volunteers, Semmes' brigade, in the battle of Sharpsburg, on the 17th instant:
Having crossed the Potomac soon after daylight, we were moved rapidly toward the scene of conflict and ordered into action on the left. This regiment, which was on the right of the brigade, formed its line of battle under fire, and advanced steadily across an open field on the enemy, in strong force and position. The advance was continued with great coolness and celerity, and under a murderous fire of grape and musketry, until, under direction of the brigadier-general commanding, I halted my command under cover of a slight hill, which to some degree protected us from the galling fire of the enemy. Here the conflict, at comparatively close quarters, was for a while most severe, and my command suffered heavily, as the enemy had an enfilading fire on our right, besides his heavy fire on our front. In a short time, however, his center (with reference to us) gave way, and the regiment again advanced in pursuit, driving him through a skirt of woods and on open field until he succeeded, with his reserves, in forming a new line in a strong position behind a stone wall, with batteries raking us on our right and front. We advanced, however, within less than 150 yards of his line, where we were compelled to get under shelter of a barn and hay-stacks, ready to advance again when our flank should be supported. Finding, however, after remaining in this position some twenty or thirty-minutes, that there was no support on our right, but, on the contrary, that the enemy was again enfilading us from that point, and that my command at this time was reduced to 60 or 80 men, nearly without ammunition, and that there was no supporting force even in sight, I reluctantly determined to withdraw to a less exposed position, which was accordingly done in tolerable order. I subsequently succeeded in gathering from other commands men enough to increase my force to about 150. With these I reported to Major Goggin, of General McLaws' staff, who stationed us under a stone fence leading toward Sharpsburg, where we remained under a terrible fire of artillery until we were relieved late in the evening.
The regiment was engaged in the morning fight two and a half hours, and never did men or officers behave better under fire. Not a man gave back, nor do I think a single one got behind his company until the fight was over. Indeed, so general was the good conduct of all, that I can scarcely call attention to individuals without making unjust discriminations.
I attribute the good conduct of the regiment in a very great degree