by the flank, as soon as it came in sight, which they were enabled to do with considerable accuracy, as they had previously been practising on other troops which had preceded mine. Several casualties occurred from this cause whilst I was approaching and forming my line of battle, which I did by filing my command to the right through an open field. My right rested in a thick woods, which descended quite abruptly in front, and my left in a field of standing corn. As soon as my troops were formed, I sent forward a line of skirmishers to ascertain the position of the enemy. When these dispositions had been completed, which was only a short time before sunset, I received an order from General Jones to detach my left regiment to Kemper's right, (he being on my left,) and to withdraw the rest of the brigade to a wooded ridge a little to the left and rear. The first part of this order had scarcely been executed when the Federal skirmishers made their appearance, immediately followed by their main body, so that the action at once became general. The brigade sustained, for some time, a fierce attack of, doubtless, twenty times their numbers. It has been subsequently ascertained that General McClellan's army, consisting of at least eighty thousand men, assailed our position, only defended by General D. H. Hill's divisions and a part of General Longstreet's corps. The left was the first to fall back, and finally the right was forced to retreat, being without support. Many renewed the contest a little farther to the rear, and stoutly disputed the approach of the enemy; but it had now become so dark it was impossible to distinguish objects, except at a short distance. About this time, two regiments of Jenkins's brigade came up, and the probable position of the enemy being pointed out, they advanced to the attack with great gallantry. Just as these troops moved forward, I was ordered to bring off my brigade, which I did. It is due to the brigade to say, that it went into the battle of Boonsboroa under many serious disadvantages. It had marched (a portion of the time rapidly) between twenty-two and twenty-three miles, before it went into action, much oppressed by heat and dust, reached its position a short time before sunset, under a disheartening fire of artillery, and was attacked by a much superior force as soon as it was formed in line of battle. That it bravely discharged its duty, is fully attested by the number of casualties which occurred during the engagement. I had been placed in command of the brigade only a few days before the battle of Boonsboroa, and therefore was personally acquainted with only a few of the officers, save the regimental commanders. I cannot, therefore, mention names, but can only say, I saw several in connection with them, both by word and example, encouraging and cheering on their men in the hottest of the fight. For further information on this subject you are referred to the sub-reports herewith enclosed. Colonel Stuart, as I formerly mentioned, was detached, with his regiment, (the Fifty-sixth Virginia,) before the action commenced; his accompanying official report will show the part taken by his command. Lieutenant McIntyre, Eighth Virginia volunteers, A. A. A. G., Lieutenant Elliott Johnston and Lieutenant A. C. Sorrell, First Georgia regulars, acting A. D. C., composed my staff. It is with much pleasure that I acknowledge the zeal, intelligence, and bravery with which they discharged their duties pending the battle. We have to mourn, in this action, many of our companions as killed and wounded, who go to swell the list of noble martyrs, who have suffered in our just cause. It was my lot to be acquainted with but one of the officers who fell on this occasion--Colonel John B. Strange, Nineteenth Virginia volunteers. His tried valor on other fields, and heroic conduct in animating his men to advance upon the enemy with his latest breath, and after he had fallen, mortally wounded, will secure imperishable honor for his name and memory. I herewith furnish a list of the killed and wounded, and have the honor to state that the delay and imperfection of my report with regard to details have been occasioned by my being relieved from the commands of Pickett's brigade before the reports of regimental commanders could be made out, and, although I applied for them some weeks since, I received several of them only yesterday. Very respectfully, Your obedient servant,
R. B. Garnett, Brigadier-General, commanding.
Report of Brigadier-General Garnett of battle of Sharpsburg.
camp near Culpeper Court-house, Va., November 7, 1862.Major: I have the honor to forward the following report of the battle of Sharpsburg as far as participated in by my command, Pickett's brigade: Early in the forenoon of the seventeenth September, 1862, these troops, composed of the Eighth, Eighteenth, Nineteenth, Twenty-eighth, and Fifty-sixth Virginia volunteers, commanded by Colonel Hunton, Major Cabell, Lieutenant Wm. N. Wood, Captain Wingfield, and Captain McPhail, were ordered to the south-eastern side of the village to support several batteries of the Washington artillery, commanding the easterly and southerly approaches to the town. As far as practicable, the command was sheltered in a hollow in the rear of the artillery. For some four or five hours it was subjected to an almost uninterrupted fire of solid shot, shell, and spherical case, by which a number of men were killed and wounded, which casualties were borne by the troops with remarkable firmness and steadiness. I was subsequently ordered forward, on the brow of the hill, to dislodge the enemy's skirmishers, who began to annoy our artillery to the eastward. Here we were more exposed to the Federal artillery than in our former position, and suffered considerably.
Major A. Coward, A. A. G. to Brigadier-General D. B. Jones:
Major A. Coward, A. A. G. to Brigadier-General D. B. Jones: