General T. F. M Coy.
After the battle of Antietam
, the army, being exhausted from the extraordinary fatigues, exposures, and losses of the protracted campaigns of the past summer, took position for rest and reoccupation on the late battle-field, and in the region of country adjacent, north of the Potomac
, the enemy occupying the country south of the river — the river being the general dividing line between the two armies.
' Corps occupied the long picket line on the river.
's Division, of which our brigade was a part, was in this corps.
The brigade commander was rather of a dashing character, an officer of experience and gallantry and had a keen eye for a comfortable position for his headquarters, and would run risks of capture rather than deprive himself of a good and choice spot for this purpose.
In pursuance of this he fixed his headquarters in the little village of Mercersville
, in the most desirable house, and right on the picket line, on the bank of the river, and in a dangerous position, as the river at this point was both narrow and shallow.
The camp of the brigade was a half mile in rear of this line, and in a comparatively safe place.
Ordinarily, for an officer of rank to have his headquarters on or very near the picket line, with the enemy's line in rather close proximity, would not be regarded as safe, or in accordance with strict military rule.
In this case, the river intervening, of course modified it materially in the judgment of the officers.
Yet an enterprising party of the enemy, familiar with the ground as they might have been, could have almost any night dashed into Mercersville
, and carried off the general and his