I cannot speak in too high terms of the conduct of both officers and men of my command. Exposed to a tremendous fire from superior numbers, in a position which it was apparent to all we could not hold, they fought on without flinching until the order to fall back was given. These men, too, were half clad, many of them barefooted, and had been only half fed for days before. The courage, constancy, and patience of our men is beyond all praise.
B. F. CATER,
Lieutenant A. H. PATTON,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.
Numbers 255. Report of Captain Ike N. M. Turner, Fifth Texas Infantry, of the battle of Sharpsburg.
CAMP NEAR MARTINSBURG, W. VA.,
September 24, 1862.
SIR: [I have the honor to submit the following] report of the part taken by the Fifth Texas Regiment in the late engagements of the 16th and 17th instant, near Sharpsburg, Md.:
Late in the evening of the 16th instant our brigade was moved by the left flank from the position we had been occupying during the day to a field in front of a church. We had not occupied our new position long before a brisk fire commenced between our skirmishers and those of the enemy. The Fifth Texas Regiment was ordered to the edge of the woods as a support for our skirmishers. On arriving at the position assigned our skirmishers, being hard pressed, fell back and passed to my right. I ordered the regiment to commence firing, which checked the advance of the enemy.
About 8 o'clock at night we were relieved, and retired to the woods in rear of the church. Slept until about day, when firing commenced in front. We were called to attention; thrown around the hill in line of battle to protect us from grape and shell. We had not occupied this position more than half an hour before we were ordered out as support for the Third Brigade. We caught up with said brigade where our first line had been fighting. Here the Fifth was order to halt, by Major [Captain] Sellers, and allow the regiments on the right of the Third to advance. While lying here, general Hood rode up, ordering me to incline to the right, press forward, and drive the enemy out of the woods, which we did. The enemy twice tried to regain their position in the woods by advancing a force through the lower edge of the corn-field, which we repulsed. From a point of timber about 400 yards to our front and left, I discovered strong re-enforcements marching out by the left flank down a hollow, which protected them from our fire. Allowing them to get within 75 yards of us with lines unbroken, I saw we would soon be hard pressed. Sent four times to Major [Captain] Sellers for support, determined to hold my position as long as possible. My men, were out of ammunition, the enemy not more than 100 yards in my front, no support, no ammunition; all our troops had fallen back on my left; I deemed it prudent to fall back also.
Officers and men, with few exceptions, behaved well.