brigade during the action with distinguished gallantry and skill, withdrew three gallant regiments to their new position, ready again to confront and battle with the enemy. The Fiftieth Georgia and the company from General Jenkins' brigade were at the same time ordered to the same position, and were led back by their respective officers. This change of position was made to my entire satisfaction, and with but small loss, in the face of greatly superior numbers. Before these troops had reached their new position, the Fifteenth Georgia Volunteers, under the command of Colonel Millican; the Seventeenth, under the command of Captain [John A.] McGregor, of my brigade, and Major Little, with five companies of the Eleventh Georgia (Colonel Anderson's brigade), all of whom had been detached several days before to guard ammunition and other trains, arrived on the field and were also placed in the new position before designated. The Twentieth and Second were then ordered to the ammunition train to replenish their cartridge-boxes.
Though the bridge and upper ford were thus left open to the enemy, he moved with such extreme caution and slowness that he lost nearly two hours in crossing and getting into action on our side of the river, about which time General A. P. Hill's division arrived from Harper's Ferry. I then received your order that, as soon as General Gregg (of General A. P. Hill's division) arrived and relieved me, to move my command and take position immediately on your right, on the heights then occupied by the rest of your command. Before I was relieved by General Gregg, I received from you another order to move up my command immediately to meet the enemy, who had already commenced his attack on your position. I immediately put my command in motion, then consisting of the Fifteenth and Seventeenth Georgia (lessened by one company from each, sent out as skirmishers), Major Litle's battalion, of the Eleventh, a small number of Kearse's regiment, and on the way I found Colonel Cumming and a part of the Twentieth, who had returned from supplying themselves with ammunition and joined me, and hastened with all speed to your position. On my arrival, I found the enemy in possession of the ground I was ordered by you to occupy on your right. He had driven off our troops, captured McIntosh's battery (attached to General Drayton's brigade), and held possession of all the ground from the corn-field on your right down to the Antietam Bridge road, including the eastern suburbs of the town of Sharpsburg, all the troops defending it having been driven back and retired to the rear or through the town.
Under this state of facts, I had instantly to determine either to retreat or fight. A retreat would have left the town of Sharpsburg and General Longstreet's rear open to the enemy, and was inadmissible. I, therefore, with less than one-fifth of the enemy's numbers, determined to give him battle, and immediately and rapidly formed my line of battle in the road within 100 paces of the enemy's lines. While forming in the road, Captain Troup, my aide, on my extreme left rallied a portion of General Kemper's brigade, who were retiring from the field, attached it to my line of battle, and led them into action with conspicuous gallantry and skill.
As soon as possible, I opened fire upon the enemy's columns, who immediately advanced in good order upon me until he approached within 60 or 80 paces, when the effectiveness of the fire threw his column in considerable disorder, upon perceiving which I immediately ordered a charge, which, being brilliantly and energetically executed by my whole line, the enemy broke in confusion and fled. McIntosh's battery was recaptured and our position retaken within less than thirty minutes after