from their infantry, but from the artillery, was incessant, the artillery being so place that it could fire over the heads of the infantry. Is was met by a rapid, well-directed, and unflinching fire from our men, under which the enemy, after a vain struggle, broke and fell back. This attack was succeeded by two similar ones from apparently fresh bodies of troops, and with like results, the last of the two extending above the bridge to the upped part of our line. At length, toward 12 o'clock, the enemy made preparations for a still more formidable attack. A battery was placed in position from which it could command at almost an enfilade the whole face of the hill occupied by our troops. Soon it opened fire, and the infantry, in much heavier force than at any time before, extending far above as well as below the bridge, again advanced to the attack. The combined fire of infantry and artillery was terrific. It was, however, withstood by our men until their ammunition was quite exhausted, and until the enemy had got upon the bridge and were above and below it fording the creek. It then gave the order to fall back. Colonel Cumming, with two companies which had a few rounds of ammunition left, remained near the bridge as a little rear guards, and was, with these, the last to leave the ground. When he left it the enemy had crossed above and below him, and were coming up on both his flanks. They indeed cut off a few of his men by getting to his rear. The men of both regiments, though retreating different ways, were exposed for a long distance to the shells of the enemy. Under an order received from General Toombs they retired to a position near the right of the general line of battle. Thus at near 1 o'clock we were driven from the bridge, but we had held it long enough to enable the advance troops of General A. P. Hill to reach their position on the line of battle; and this, I suppose, was attaining the great object of defending a place so far in front of that line - a place so untenable as was the bridge.
The Second Regiment lost in killed and wounded forty-two, nearly half of its number. Among its killed was Lieutenant-Colonel Holmes, a good officer, and as gallant a man, I think, as my eyes ever beheld. The loss of the Twentieth in killed, wounded, and missing was sixty-eight, more than a fourth of its number. No words of mine in praise of officers and men are needed. The simple story is eulogy enough. I must, however, bear witness to one fact: During that long and terrible fire not a man, except a wounded one, fell out and went to the rear - not a man. The loss of the enemy was heavy. Near the bridge they lay in heaps. Their own estimate, as a paroled sergeant of ours taken at the bridge told me, was at from 500 to 1,000 men killed. He also told me that they informed him that at about 12 o'clock an order came from General McClellan to take the bridge, cost what it might, and that then the whole corps advanced to the attack, and Colonel Cumming counted seven flags near the bridge. Shortly before the fight at the bridge terminated the Fifteenth and Seventeenth by forced marches had returned from Williamsport by way of Shepherdstown, and when that fight terminated they were in line of battle on the right and 400 or 500 yards in advance of the general line of battle, which was along the summit of the ascent from Antietam Creek. This position they, together with about half of the eleventh Georgia, under Major Little, has been placed in by General Tooms, who ordered me, when I returned from the bridge, to take command of the whole. I did so. All remained in this position until, I think, near 4 o'clock. The enemy, except a few skirmishers, were too far off to be fired upon. These skirmishers were driven back by ours, and themselves got out