War of the Rebellion: Serial 027 Page 0896 OPERATIONS IN N. VA.,W. VA.,MD.,AND PA. Chapter XXXI.

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be made out; and although I applied for them some weeks since, I received several of them only yesterday.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Brigadier-General, Commanding.

Major A. COWARD,

Assistant Adjutant-General to Brigadier General D. R. Jones.


MAJOR: I have the honor to forward the following report of the battle of Sharpsburg, as far as participated in by my command (Pickett's brigade):

Early in the forenoon of September 17 these troops, composed of the Eighth, Eighteenth, Nineteenth, Twenty-eighth, and Fifty-sixth Virginia Volunteers, commanded by Colonel Hunton, Major Cabell, Lieutenant William N. Wood, Captain Wingfield, and Captain McPhail, were ordered to the southeastern side of the village to support several batteries of Washington Artillery, commanding the easterly and southerly approaches to the town. As far as practicable the command was sheltered in a hollow int he rear of the artillery. For some four or five hours it was subjected to an almost uninterrupted fire of solid shot, shell, and spherical case, by which a number of men were killed and wounded, which casualties were borne by the troops with remarkable firmness and steadiness. I was subsequently ordered forward on the brow of the hill to dislodge the enemy's skirmishers, who began to annoy our artillery to the eastward. Here we were more exposed to the Federal artillery than in our former position, and suffered considerably. At length, for some cause unknown to me, a large portion of the pieces were withdrawn, and I moved my command farther back to a more secure place. Having been here a short time, I was informed that a portion of Colonel Stephen D. Lee's battalion had taken the place of the Washington Artillery, and wished some skirmishers to protect his pieces from the sharpshooters of the enemy. I sent forward the Fifty-sixth Regiment, under the command of Captain McPhail, for this purpose. Not long after, I learned that the enemy had crossed the Antietam (a stream in our front) in very large force, and was moving toward the point occupied by the artillery. I again moved forward my force and took up a position in front of two pieces of Colonel Lee's battalion, in a corn-field, with space enough between the wings for them to be used with effect. The Fifty-sixth Regiment, which was in front, was recalled, and rejoined the left wing of the main body. Soon a large number of the enemy's skirmishers were seen to our left, as if to flank us. There were none of our forces in sight in that direction. A brisk fire from the left checked and finally caused them to retire. Now a large force made its appearance, marching to the front, having debouched from the woods on the banks of the Antietam, which had partially concealed them. At the same time heavy bodies were observed moving to attack our troops on the right, composed of Drayton's and a portion of Kemper's brigades. I moved my command some distance to the front in the standing corn (as many of my guns were short range), in order that they could produce more effect, and opened fire. At this time, I do not think my effective force could have exceeded 200 men, yet these, with two rifled pieces, most gallantly and skillfully served, under the command of Captain Moody, and superintended by Colonel Lee, checked and held at bay a