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[690] of the regimental commanders concerning their various officers.

Captain B. H. Read and Lieutenant H. H. Rogers, acting on my staff, rendered, throughout the operations, valuable and efficient service. Captain Read remained on the field after I had been disabled; Lieutenant Rogers was severely wounded while in the discharge of his duties.

The return of killed, wounded, and missing will be forwarded with the report of Colonel Doles, upon whom the command of the brigade will devolve during my absence.

I have the honor to be,

Very respectfully,

Your obedient servant,

R. S. Ripley, Brigadier-General, commanding.

Report of Colonel Colquitt, commanding brigade, of battle of South Mountain.

brigade headquarters, near Bunker Hill, Va., October 13, 1862.
Major J. W. Ratchford, Assistant-Adjutant General:
sir: Herewith I submit a report of the action of my brigade in the battle of South Mountain, September fourteenth. On the night of September twelfth, I left the camp of the division, with the brigade and Captain Lane's battery, with instructions to occupy the commanding points at Boonville, four miles to the rear. The march, and the unavoidable delay in selecting positions in the dark, consumed most of the night. Early the next morning General Hill arrived. While engaged in making a reconnoissance, he received information that General Stuart, commanding the cavalry in rear, stood in need of support. I was ordered to move at once, with my brigade and the battery of artillery. Proceeding along the turnpike two and a half or three miles, I reached the summit of South Mountain, and discovered the enemy's cavalry advancing and ours gradually giving back. I reported my arrival to General Stuart, and consulted with him as to the best disposition of the forces. Two pieces of artillery were ordered to the front, to a position commanding the turnpike leading down the valley. The continued advance of the enemy rendered the execution of the order impracticable. They were thrown rapidly into position at the most available points, and the infantry disposed upon the right and left of the road. The enemy made no further efforts to advance, and, at dark, withdrew from my immediate front. To the right and left of the turnpike, a mile distant on either side, were practicable roads leading over the mountain, and connecting a cross-road along the ridge with the turnpike. Upon each of these roads I threw out strong infantry pickets, the cavalry being withdrawn, and my main body was retired to the rear of the cross-road, leaving a line of skirmishers in front. Early next morning my pickets were called in, being relieved by other forces which had arrived during the night, and my brigade advanced to the position it occupied the day previous. Upon the right of the road across the valley, and upon the hill-side, three regiments were placed, with instructions to connect with General Garland's line on the right. The force was insufficient to reach that distance, and there was a gap left of three or four hundred yards between the two brigades. The remaining regiments of my brigade, to wit, the Twenty-third and Twenty-eighth Georgia, were put in position on the left of the turnpike, under cover of a stone fence and a channel worn by water down the mountain side. The first attack of the enemy was made upon the extreme right of my line, as with the view to pass in the opening between Garland's and my command. This was met and repulsed by a small body of skirmishers and a few companies of the Sixth Georgia. At four o'clock in the afternoon, a large force had been concentrated in my front, and was moving up the valley, along each side of the turnpike. I informed General Hill of the movement, and asked for supports. Being pressed at other points, he had none to give me. The enemy advanced slowly, but steadily, preceded by skirmishers. Upon the right of the road, four hundred yards in advance of my line, there was a thick growth of woods, with fields opening in front and around them. In these I had concealed four companies of skirmishers, under the command of Captain Arnold. As the enemy advanced, the skirmishers poured upon his flank a sudden and unexpected fire, which caused the troops on this part of his line to give back in confusion. They were subsequently rallied and thrown to the right, strengthening the attack to be made upon my left. Two regiments here were to meet at least five, perhaps ten times their numbers. Nobly did they do it. Confident in their superior numbers, the enemy's forces advanced to a short distance of our lines, when, raising a shout, they came to a charge. As they came full into view upon the rising ground, forty paces distant, they were met by a terrific volley of musketry from the stone fence and hill-side. This gave a sudden check to their advance. They rallied under cover of the uneven ground, and the fight opened in earnest. They made still another effort to advance, but were kept back by the steady fire of our men. The fight continued, with fury, until after dark. Not an inch of ground was yielded; the ammunition of many of the men was exhausted, but they stood with bayonets fixed.

I am proud of the officers and men of my command, for their noble conduct on this day. Especial credit is due to Colonel Barclay, of the Twenty-third Georgia, and Major Graybill, Twenty-eighth Georgia, who, with their regiments, met and defeated the fiercest assaults of the enemy. My thanks are due Lieutenants Jordan and Grattan, of my staff, for their assistance this day.

Very respectfully,

Your obedient servant,

A. H. Colquitt, Colonel, commanding Brigade.

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