for a short time under a hill-side which the enemy were shelling, the rest of the brigade having passed on while we were in the woods. From here the regiment was ordered by Col. Harland's aid to cross the hill behind which it was lying (a ploughed field) and to form in line in a corn-field, and to move to the support of the Sixteenth Connecticut, which lay in a deep valley between two hills planted with corn. The regiment moved forward by the right flank in fine order, although subjected to the fire of rebel batteries, of which it was in full view. Descending into the valley to its support, it found the Sixteenth Connecticut giving way and crowding upon its right, compelling it to move to the left, and rendering it almost impossible to dress the line, which the advance in line of battle across two fields of full-grown corn had slightly deranged. It was now subjected to sharp musket-fire from the front, but as the enemy showed the national flag, (the corn concealing their uniform,) and as our troops had been seen in advance on our right, moving diagonally across our front, the order to cease firing was given, and a volunteer officer to go forward to ascertain who was in our front was called for. Lieuts. Geo. E. Curtis and Geo. H. Watts immediately stepped forward, and placing themselves one on each side of the color-bearer, (Corporal Tanner, company G,) carried the flag up the hill within twenty feet of the rebels, when the enemy fired, killing the corporal. Lieut. Curtis seized the colors and returned, followed by Lieut. Watts. The order to commence firing was then given, and Col. Steere sent me to the Sixteenth Connecticut to see if they would support us in a charge up the hill, but the corn being very thick and high, I could find no one to whom to apply. I returned to tell the Colonel that we must depend upon ourselves. He then sent to the rear for support. Before they could arrive the enemy outflanked us with a brigade of infantry, which descended the hill to our left in three lines, one firing over the other and enfilading us. The regiment on our right now broke, a portion of them crowding on our line. Col. Steere ordered the regiment to move out of the gully by the right flank, and I left him to carry the order to the left, of which wing I had charge, the Colonel taking the right, (the major being sick, and no adjutant, there were only two field-officers to handle the regiment.) The regiment commenced the movement in an orderly manner, but udder the difficulty of keeping closed up in a corn-field, the misconception of the order on the left and the tremendous fire of the enemy, consisting of musketry, shell and grape, the regiment broke. Col. Steere, as I afterwards learned, was severely wounded in the left thigh, immediately after I left him to repeat on the left the order to leave the corn-field. An attempt was made to rally the regiment to the support of a battery at some distance back from the corn-field, but before many had been collected the battery retired, when the efforts became unavailing. I desire to bring to your notice Lieuts. Curtis and Watts, who volunteered to carry the colors forward in the corn-field, and the following non-commissioned officers and privates: Sergeants Wilson, company A, Coon, company B, Morris, company C; corporals Leonard, company A, Farley, company C; and privates McCann, company B, and Peck, company C, who rallied, after the regiment was broken, on the left of the Fifty-first Pennsylvania, and continued fighting until all their ammunition was gone, when I ordered them to recross the river to rejoin the regiment. All the food the men had during the entire day was what very small quantities of salt pork and hard bread they were able to find in an abandoned camp, during the short rest after the shelling out in the morning. The entire loss during the day was twenty-one enlisted men killed; five officers and seventy-two enlisted men wounded; and two missing. A list of the names as furnished by the captains of companies has been forwarded to the Adjutant-General. Col. Steere commends in the highest terms the conduct of the regiment upon that day. I can only add that throughout the day I never saw an officer but that he was encouraging and directing his men. The men fought well, as is proved by the fact that they were engaged constantly with the enemy during nine or ten hours--all of which time they were under arms. That they finally broke, under such a very severe fire, and the pressure of a broken regiment, is not surprising, although much to be regretted. Of the present state of the regiment I have only the most favorable report to give. By direction of Col. Steere, I have organized the regiment into eight companies. The members of companies I and K being divided among the others, temporarily, although in all reports and musters they will be borne upon their own rolls. In this way officers are gained to officer the other companies, and the companies are made practically larger. The three days just spent in camp, although broken by marching orders, have in part rested the men from the fatigues of the two battles and constant marches to which they have been subjected since the fourth of this month. The temporary loss of its commanding officer at the time when his experience can be of so much use, is a severe blow to the regiment. I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Joseph B. Curtis, Lieutenant-Colonel Commanding Fourth Rhode Island
Report of General McClellan.
South-Mountain and Antietam: At South-Mountain our loss was 443 killed, 1806 wounded; total, 2325. At Antietam our loss was 2010 killed, 9416 wounded, 1043 missing;