fields some 20 yards in our rear. This was speedily effected, and the line formed, with the fence protecting us. From this point a brisk right oblique fire was kept up on the enemy for an hour or more, when, our ammunition becoming exhausted, recourse was had to the cartridge boxes of the dead and wounded around, and I sent a messenger to inform you that re-enforcements or ammunition should speedily be sent us. My messenger (Lieutenant [Ira a.] Miller) returned, having met the adjutant-general of General Kemper (Captain Fry), who informed him that Generals Kemper's and Garnett's brigades had been ordered from the field some time before, and to bear me such orders. Upon the receipt of this order, I informed Colonel Corse, and we agreed to leave the field together, which we did, bringing the men off in good order, after having expended every round of ammunition. I regretted not being able to bring off all of my wounded; but it was so dark that the ambulance corps were unable to find them.
Into the engagement I carried 80 muskets, of which number 40 were either killed or wounded and 5 missing.
I am indebted to Captain McPhail for gallant services on this occasion, who, although severely bruised by a shell, remained on the ground encouraging the men, until the engagement ceased. Sergeant Tucker, of Company K, and Sergeant Newton, of Company E, are deserving of honorable mention for their bravery.
In conclusion, I beg leave to report that the enemy ceased their firing before we did, and failed to make any advance on our position.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
WM. D. STUART,
Colonel Fifty-sixth Virginia Regiment.
Brigadier General R. B. GARNETT.
Numbers 240. Report of Captain John B. McPhail, Fifty-sixth Virginia Infantry, of the battle of Sharpsburg.
CAMP NEAR WINCHESTER, VA.,
October 26, 1862.
SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part the Fifty-sixth Virginia Regiment acted in the late battle near Sharpsburg, Md.:
In consequence of the severe illness of Colonel William D. Stuart, the command of this regiment devolved upon me at the close of the second day's fight.
On the morning of the 17th, the regiment was marched in your brigade to the support of the Washington Artillery. In this position it remained the greater part of the day, exposed to an enfilading and rarely well-directed artillery fire. In the afternoon, in obedience to orders, my regiment was deployed as skirmishers, to engage those of the enemy that were firing upon the gunners at our batteries. So soon as my skirmishers reached the position assigned them, they became hotly engaged with the skirmishers of the enemy, advancing a little in front of their line of battle. My men, exposed to a heavy musketry and terrific artillery fire, held their position for something less than an hour, when your other regiments were brought into action. My skirmishers were then rallied upon the left of your brigade, and fought with unflinching courage until the brigade was withdrawn.