War of the Rebellion: Serial 027 Page 0894 OPERATIONS IN N. VA.,W. VA.,MD.,AND PA. Chapter XXXI.

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Numbers 235. Reports of Brigadier General Richard B. Garnett, C. S. Army, commanding Pickett's brigade, of the battles of Boonsborough and Sharpsburg.


MAJOR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by Pickett's brigade, of General D. R. Jones' division, which I commanded in the battle of Boonsborough:

This command, consisting of the Eighth, Eighteenth, Nineteenth, Twenty-eighth, and Fifty-sixth Regiments Virginia Volunteers, commanded, respectively, by Colonel Hunton, Major Cabell, Colonel [J. B.] Strange, Captain [W. L.] Wingfield, and Colonel Stuart, left the neighborhood of Hagerstown, Md., on the morning of September 14 last, and reached Boonsborough, on the Hagerstown and Frederick turnpike, in the afternoon, after a hot, dusty, and fatiguing march of some 18 miles. A short distance beyond the village, Kemper's, Pickett's, and Jenkins' brigades (the latter commanded by Colonel Walker), in the order named, were moved in a southerly direction on a road running perpendicular to the pike. Having proceeded over a mile, these troops were directed on another route parallel to the turnpike, leading toward a gap in the South Mountain, farther south than that through which the Hagerstown and Frederick road ran. After marching nearly half a mile, Kemper filed to the left, and again moved in the direction of the pike. At this time I received an order, by Major Mayo [Moses?], of General Jones' staff, to bring my troops to an about-face, and to return the way I came until I reached a path, which I must take. He was unable to give me any information respecting the path in question, but said be would go forward and try to obtain some. I did not, however, see him again. I followed Jenkins' brigade, which was now in front some distance; but hearing musketry open on the mountain, I took what I supposed to be a near cut in the direction where I presumed I was wanted. This took me over rough and plowed ground up the mountain side. I at length found an old and broken road, along which General Kemper must have moved. Here I met Captain Hugh Rose, of General Jones' staff, who had orders for me to return to the turnpike. When I got back to this road my troops were almost exhausted. I consequently lost the services of a number of men by straggling. After a shot rest, I proceeded up the mountain, and, having gained the summit on the main road, I was sent, by a narrow lane bearing to the left, to a higher position. A portion of this route was commanded by several pieces of the enemy's artillery, which opened upon my column (marching by the flank) as soon as it came in sight, which they were enabled to do with considerable accuracy, as they had previously been practicing on other troops which had preceded mine. Several casualties occurred from this cause while I was approaching and forming my line of battle, which I did by filing my command to the right through an open field. My right rested in a thick woods, which descended quite abruptly in front, and my left in a field of standing corn. As soon as my troops were formed, I sent forward a line of skirmishers to ascertain the position of the enemy. When these dispositions had been completed (which was only a short time before sunset), I received an order from General Jones to detach my left regiment to Kemper's right (the being on my left), and to withdraw the rest of the