Though the regiment had been reduced to a handful in numbers, I am gratified to report that the casualties amounted to only 8 men wounded; only 40 were carried into action.
In recalling instances of individual courage, I cannot omit reporting the names of Lieutenant F. W. Nelson, commanding Company A; Lieutenant John W. Jones, commanding Company B, and Lieutenant Matthew Brown, commanding Company D. All three of these officers acted with conspicuous gallantry.
Very respectfully submitted.
JOHN B. McPHALL,
Captain, Commanding Fifty-sixth Virginia Regiment.
General R. B. GARNETT,
Commanding Pickett's Brigade.
Numbers 241. Report of Colonel Montgomery D. Corse, Seventeenth Virginia Infantry, Kemper's brigade, Jones' division, of the battles of Boonsborough and Sharpsburg.
BATTLE OF BOONSBOROUGH.
My regiment was placed in line of battle about 4 p. m., in a field to the right of the road leading to the summit of the mountain and to the left of Crampton's Gap. In the act of taking that position the regiment was subjected to a very fierce shelling from a battery of the enemy about 600 or 800 yards on our right, which enfiladed our line. Fortunately however, we suffered very little loss from that, having but 2 men slightly wounded. I moved the regiment forward about 100 yards, by your orders, toward a woods in our front, and ordered Lieutenant [F. W.] Lehew, with his company, to deploy forward as skirmishers into the woods and to engage the enemy, which were supposed to be there. Very soon I heard shots from our skirmishers. Your aide, Captain Beckham, at this time delivered me an order to move my regiment by the left flank and to connect my line with the Eleventh, occupying a corn-field, which order was obeyed, when Colonel Stuart's regiment (Fifty-sixth Virginia), of Pickett's brigade, joined my right. Immediately the brigade on our right became hotly engaged. We reserved our fire, no enemy appearing in our front. After the fire had continued about fifteen minutes, Colonel Stuart reported to me that the troops on his right had fallen back. I observed that they had abandoned the left of the Eleventh. I communicated my intention to Colonel Stuart and Major Clement, of the Eleventh, to fall back about 10 or 15 steps behind a fence, which was simultaneously done by the three regiments in good order. We held this position until long after dark, under a severe fire of musketry obliquely on our right flank and in front, until nearly every cartridge was exhausted.
Shortly after the enemy had ceased firing (about 7.30 p. m.), I received your order to withdraw my regiment, which was done in good order, and halted to rest on the Boonsborough and Fredericktown road, with the other regiments of your brigade.
In this engagement I was particularly struck with the determined courage of officers and men. They held their ground manfully against a largely superior number, as far as I could judge from the heavy fire of the enemy upon our right and front