At length, for some cause unknown to me, a large portion of the pieces were withdrawn, and I moved my command farther back to a more secure place. Having been here a short time, I was informed that a portion of Colonel Stephen D. Lee's battalion had taken the place of the Washington artillery, and wished some skirmishers to protect his pieces from the sharpshooters of the enemy. I sent forward the Fifty-sixth regiment, under the command of Captain McPhail, for this purpose. Not long after I learned that the enemy had crossed the Antietam, a stream in our front, in very large force, and was moving toward the point occupied by the artillery. I again moved forward my force, and took up a position in front of two pieces of Colonel Lee's battalion, in a cornfield, with space enough between the wings for them to be used with effect. The fifty-sixth regiment, which was in front, was recalled, and rejoined the left wing of the main body. Soon a large number of the enemy's skirmishers were seen to our left, as if to flank us; there were none of our forces in sight in that direction. A brisk fire from the left checked and finally caused them to retire. Now a large force made its appearance, marching to the front, having debouched from the woods on the banks of the Antietam, which had partially concealed them; at the same time heavy bodies were observed moving to attack our troops on the right, composed of Drayton's and a portion of Kemper's brigade. I moved my command some distance to the front in the standing corn, (as many of my guns were short range,) in order that they could produce more effect, and opened fire. At this time I do not think my effective force could have exceeded two hundred men; yet these, with two rifled pieces, most gallantly and skilfully served, under the command of Captain Moody, and superintended by Colonel Lee, checked and held at bay a force of the enemy many times our number. When this unequal contest had lasted over an hour, I discovered that the Federals had turned our extreme right, which began to give way; and a number of the Yankee flags appeared on the hill in rear of the town, and not far from our only avenue of escape. I ordered the brigade to fall back, deeming it in imminent danger of being surrounded and captured, as it would have been impossible for it to have held its position without the support of the troops on the right. There being some delay in withdrawing Moody's section of artillery, I take pleasure in saying I saw Major Cabell halt and face his men about, to await its removal, as mentioned in his official report. The main street of the town was commanded by the Federal artillery; my troops passed, therefore, for the most part, to the north of the town, along the cross streets. In this direction I found troops scattered in squads from various parts of the army, so that it was impossible to distinguish men of the different commands. Having reached the rear of the town, and learning that General Toombs had reinforced our right just after it was driven back, and restored the fortunes of the day in that quarter, I gathered as many men as I could get to follow me from among the dispersed forces, (which did not amount to a large number, as many said they were looking for proper commands,) and accompanied by Captain William Berkley, of the Eighth Virginia regiment, and Lieutenants McIntyre and Sorrell, of my staff, I joined General Drayton's command south of the village. I found, on my arrival, that the enemy had been successfully repulsed, only a few skirmishers remaining in sight, which were being driven back by our troops of the same description. The conduct of the brigade during this most trying day, under destructive fires from artillery and musketry, is deserving of the highest commendation, officers and men generally acting with the utmost bravery and coolness. The names of those particularly mentioned by regimental commanders will be found in their reports, herewith furnished. My staff, Lieutenants McIntyre, Johnston, (who was wounded in the foot shortly after the infantry engagement commenced, and in consequence of which he lost his leg,) and Sorrell are entitled to my thanks for meritorious and gallant services during the day. I feel it a duty, and grateful to my feelings, again to recur to the part taken by Captain Moody's section of artillery. It is partly due to the brave and energetic manner with which it was handled that the infantry were enabled to hold their position, and it is, therefore, entitled to a full share of the credit for whatever success attended our efforts on that part of the field. Colonel Lee, at times during the actions personally assisted at his pieces. His bravery and intrepidity at the battle of Sharpsburg should add fresh fame to the high reputation he has already won. In this battle, as in former ones, we are called on to deplore the loss of many brave spirits, who have sealed their devotion to the southern cause with their life's blood. May their memories ever be enshrined in the hearts of their countrymen! This report has been delayed for the reasons assigned in my report of the battle of Boonsboroa. A list of killed, wounded, &c., is herewith furnished, as far as could be obtained. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. B. Garnett, Brigadier-General, commanding.
Report of Brigadier-General Ripley.
headquarters Ripley's brigade, camp on Opequon Creek, September 21, 1862.Major: On the evening of September thirteenth, I received orders from Major-General D. H. Hill to march with my brigade and take a position, with it and a battery of artillery, on the eminence immediately on the north-east of Boonsboroa, and to send a regiment, at daylight on the following morning, to occupy the Hamburg pass. This was accomplished, and on the following morning, at an early hour, Colonel Doles, with the Fourth Georgia regiment, was in position at
Major Archer Anderson, Assistant Adjutant-General:
Major Archer Anderson, Assistant Adjutant-General: