HEADQUARTERS JENKINS' BRIGADE,
Camp near Winchester, Va., October 24, 1862.
SIR: By a rapid march from Boonsborough, this brigade reached Sharpsburg, Md., about 11 a. m. on September 15, and took position in line of battle on an eminence in front of the town and to the right of the turnpike. By order of General Jones, it moved late in the evening across a ravine to the right, with Kemper's, Garnett's, and Drayton's brigades, where it remained under a heavy fire of shot and shell until 3 o'clock in the evening of the 17th, when it moved back, by order of General Jones, and occupied its first position in support of [G. V.] Moody's battery and a company of the Washington Artillery (Captain [C. W.] squires'), both from Louisiana. Here the brigade endured a terrific fire of shot and shell for some half hour, when, the ammunition of the artillery having been exhausted, it advanced some 400 yards to an apple orchard, under a heavy fire of artillery and small-arms. Perceiving the enemy in force in several positions, from any of which we were assailable, I threw out the First, Fifth, and Sixth Regiments South Carolina Volunteers to oppose him on the left, and the Palmetto Sharpshooters and the Second Regiment Rifles South Carolina Volunteers to meet him in the center and on the right. From this position we continued to pour a destructive fire into the ranks of the enemy, at short range, until he recoiled and retreated out of sight among the timber on Antietam Creek.
At this juncture, perceiving that the enemy had advanced three heavy columns some 400 yards in rear of the brigade and to the right across a ravine leading up from the creek, and was steadily driving back the brigades of Generals Kemper and Drayton, I moved this brigade into line parallel with the turnpike and ravine and near to the latter, and opened a destructive enfilade fire upon the enemy, which assisted materially in driving back his columns. Changing the front of the brigade again toward Antietam Creek, and at right angles to the turnpike and ravine, I threw forward a line of skirmishers to a fence near to the timber on the creek, and bivouacked for the night. This position the brigade, alone and unsupported, held during the 18th, burying the dead and caring for the wounded, the skirmishers the meanwhile keeping up a brisk fire upon the enemy.
Just after dark on the 18th I received orders from General D. R. Jones to cover the retreat of his division. Strengthening my line of pickets, and extending it farther to the right and left, I held the position until nearly daylight on the morning of September 19, when I was relieved by the cavalry brigade of General Fifzhugh Lee, and withdrew the brigade across the Potomac, effecting the passage a little after sunrise, in perfect safety.
The loss of the brigade in killed and wounded was heavy, in view of the number carried into action, and was as follows:
Command. Killed. Wounded.
Palmetto 8 57
1st Regiment South 4 36
2nd Regiment Rifles 4 17
5th Regiment South 6 27
6th Regiment South 4 47
4th Battalion South ................... ...................
Total 26 184