War of the Rebellion: Serial 027 Page 1025 Chapter XXXI. THE MARYLAND CAMPAIGN.

Search Civil War Official Records

heavy columns. On our extreme right, however, the Yankees had been more successful. They had crossed the Antietam, and were driving our men before them. Our forces (supposed to be A. P. Hill's or D. R. Jones') had fallen back nearly to the road in rear of Sharpsburg, and the yankees advanced in fine style to the crests commanding it. A few hundred yards more and our only line of retreat would be cut off. I called Carter's attention to this imposing force of Yankees, and he opened upon them with three guns, aided by two, I think, of the Donaldsonville Artillery. The firing was beautiful, and the Yankee columns (1,200 yards distant) were rounded by this artillery fire alone, unaided by musketry. This is the only instance I have ever known of infantry being broken by artillery fire at long range. It speaks badly for the courage of Burnside's men.

Captain Carter says:

The next movement of the enemy was to advance a heavy column on the extreme right, bearing down on what I supposed to have been the right wing of A P. Hill's division. Our troops gave way entirely before the column. With three pieces of my battery, aided by two of Lieutenant Elliott's, this column was shattered and driven back without the assistance (so far as I know) of any infantry whatever. Generals D. H. Hill and Rodes witnessed the firing.

Our troops advanced now on the extreme right, and Burnside's whole corps was driven back. This virtually closed the operations of the day, but a movement of a rather farcical character now took place. General Pryor had gathered quite a respectable force behind a stone wall on the Hagerstown road, and Col G. T. Anderson had about a regiment behind a hill immediately to the right of this road. A maine regiment (the Twenty-first, I think) came down to this while wholly unconscious that there were any Confederate troops near it. A shout and a volley informed them of their dangerous neighborhood. They Yankee apprehension is acute; the idea was soon taken in, and was followed by the most rapid running I ever saw.

The night closed in with our troops in the center, about 200 yards in rear of the position held in the morning. We held, however, two-thirds of the battle-field, including the ground gained by General A. P. Hill on our right. The only ground lost was in the center, where the chief Yankee attack had been made, and where there had been the severest fighting and the heaviest loss to both parties. The skulkers and cowards had straggled off, and only the bravest and truest men of my division had been left. It is trued that hunger and exhaustion had nearly unfitted these brave men for battle. our wagons had been sent off across the river on Sunday, and for three days the men had been sustaining life on green corn and such cattle as they could kill in the fields. In charging through an apple orchard at the Yankees, with the immediate prospect of death before them, I noticed men eagerly devouring apples.

The unparalleled loss of the division shows that, spite of hunger and fatigue, the officers and men fought most heroically in the two battles in Maryland. The division lost 3,000 out of less than 9,000 engaged at Seven Pines; 4,000 out of 10,000 in the battles around Richmond; but now the loss was 3,241 in two battles, out of less than 5,000 engaged; that is, the loss was nearly two-thirds of the entire force. Of these 925 are reported missing. Doubtless a large number of the missing fell into the hands of the Yankees, when wounded, still, we have 2,316 reported killed and wounded, or nearly one-half of those taken into action. Among these was 1 brigadier-general killed, 1 mortally wounded; 3 brigade commanders wounded; 4 colonels killed, 8 colonels wounded; 1 lieutenant-colonel

65 R R-\vol XIX, PT I