Fourth Alabama; and Major R. F. Webb, Sixth North Carolina, although not wounded, were conspicuous upon this hotly contested field, leading forward the many brave men of their commands. After all the field and acting field officers of the Fifth Texas regiment had fallen, Captain J. N. M. Turner gallantly led that regiment through. The next day, after burying the dead, the march was continued to Sudley Ford, and from thence to Hagerstown, Maryland, via Frederick City, crossing the Potomac at White's Ford. near Leesburg. On the morning of the fourteenth September, we marched back to Boonsboroa Gap, a distance of some thirteen miles. This division, arriving between three and four o'clock P. M., found the troops of General D. H. Hill engaged with a large force of the enemy. By direction of the commanding General, I took up my position on the left of the pike. Soon orders came to change over to the right, as our troops on that side were giving way to superior numbers. On the march to the right, I met General Drayton's brigade coming out, saying the enemy had succeeded in passing to their rear. I at once inclined more to the right, over a very rugged country, and succeeded in getting in a position to receive the enemy. I at once ordered the Texas brigade, Colonel W. T. Wofford commanding, and the Third brigade, Colonel E. M. Law commanding, to move forward with bayonets fixed, which they did with their usual gallantry, driving the enemy and regaining all of our lost ground, when night came on and further pursuit ceased. On this field fell mortally wounded, Lieutenant-Colonel O. K. McLemore, of the Fourth Alabama, a most efficient, gallant, and valuable officer. Soon after night, orders were received to withdraw, and for this division to constitute the rear guard of the army. The march was accordingly taken up in the direction of Sharpsburg. Arriving on the heights across the Antietam River, near the town, about twelve M., on the fifteenth instant, I was ordered to take position in line of battle on the right of the road leading to Boonsboroa, but soon received orders to move to the extreme left, near St. Mumma Church, on the Hagerstown pike, remaining in this position, under fire of the shells from the enemy, until nearly sunset on the evening of the sixteenth. The enemy, having crossed higher up the Antietam, made an attack upon the left flank of our line of battle, the troops of this division being the only forces on our side engaged. We succeeded in checking and driving back the enemy a short distance, when night came on, and soon the firing ceased. During the engagement the brave and efficient Colonel P. F. Liddell, Eleventh Mississippi, fell, mortally wounded. The officers and men of my command having been without food for three days, except a half ration of beef for one day, and green corn, General Lawton, with two brigades, was directed to take my position, to enable my men to cook. On the morning of the seventeenth instant, about three o'clock, the firing commenced along the line occupied by General Lawton. At six o'clock I received notice from him that he would require all the assistance I could give him. A few minutes after, a member of his staff reported to me that he was wounded, and wished me to come forward as soon as possible. Being in readiness, I at once marched out on the field, in line of battle, and soon became engaged with an immense force of the enemy, consisting of not less than two corps of their army. It was here that I witnessed the most terrible clash of arms, by far, that has occurred during the war. The two little giant brigades of this division wrestled with this mighty force, losing hundreds of their gallant officers and men, but driving the enemy from his position, and forcing him to abandon his guns on our left. The battle raged with the greatest fury until about nine o'clock, the enemy being driven from four to five hundred yards. Fighting, as we were, at right angles with the general line of battle, and General Ripley's brigade being the extreme left of General D. H. Hill's forces, and continuing to hold their ground, caused the enemy to pour in a heavy fire upon the rear and right flank of Colonel Law's brigade, rendering it necessary to move the division to the left and rear, into the woods near the St. Mumma Church, which we continued to hold until ten o'clock A. M., when General McLaws arrived with his command, which was at once formed in line and moved forward, engaging the enemy. My command was marched to the rear, ammunition replenished, and returned at twelve M., taking position, by direction of the General commanding, in rear of the church, with orders to hold it. About four o'clock P. M., by order, the division moved to the right, near the centre, and remained there until the night of the eighteenth instant, when orders were received to recross the Potomac. I would respectfully state that in the morning, about four o'clock A. M., I sent Major Blanton, Aid-de-camp, to Major-General D. H. Hill, to know if he could furnish any troops to assist in holding the left of our position. He replied that he could not; and the Major-General commanding is aware of the number of messages received from me asking for reenforcements, which I felt were absolutely required, after seeing the great strength of the enemy in my front; and I am thoroughly of the opinion, had General McLaws arrived by half-past 8 o'clock A. M., our victory on the left would have been as thorough, quick, and complete, as upon the plains of Manassas on the thirtieth of August. During the engagement, Major Dingle, of the Hampton legion, gallantly bearing the colors of his regiment, Major Dale, First Texas, and Major Evans, Eleventh Mississippi, fell whilst leading their brave comrades against ten times their numbers. Colonel Stone, Lieutenant-Colonel Humphreys, and Major Blair, Second Mississippi, Lieutenant-Colonel Butler, Eleventh Mississippi, Captain Scruggs, Fourth Alabama, and Major Webb, Sixth North Carolina. also received severe wounds.
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
Foreign accounts of the fight.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.