marching nearly the whole of the nights of Monday and Tuesday, arriving at Sharpsburg at daylight on Wednesday morning, the seventeenth of September. As a consequence, many had become exhausted and fallen out on the wayside, and all were worn and jaded. About nine o'clock we were ordered forward to the relief of General Jackson's forces, then engaged on the left, in the wood in rear of the church. The Georgia and Mississippi brigades were formed in a ploughed field to the right and rear of the wood, my brigade in their rear in the same field. The enemy was discovered in the wood advancing toward its right face, where some of our guns had been abandoned before our arrival. Perceiving this, Major-General McLaws directed me to occupy that part of the wood in advance of them, while our lines were being formed. For this purpose I ordered forward, at double-quick, Colonel Kennedy's Second South Carolina regiment, to march by a flank to the extreme point of the wood, then, by the front, to enter it. Before the head of the regiment had reached the point, and when entangled in a rail fence, the enemy opened fire upon them from a point not more than sixty yards distant. They promptly faced to the front, and returned the fire so rapidly as to drive the enemy almost immediately. At the same time the brigades of Cobb and Barksdale (now on their left) advanced to their support. I then hurried up my three remaining regiments, (the Eighth, Lieutenant-Colonel Hoole; Seventh, Colonel Aiken, and Third, Colonel Nance,) and conducted them to the right of Colonel Kennedy, who, by this time, had advanced beyond the wood and to the left of the church, driving the enemy. I then ordered Read's battery to a position on the hill to the right of the wood, and sent in Colonel Manning, who reported to me on the field with Walker's brigade, to the right of my brigade. Our troops made constant progress, for some time, along the whole line, driving in column after column of the enemy. Colonel Aiken's regiment approached within thirty yards of one of the batteries, driving the men from the guns, and only gave way when enfiladed by a new battery, placed in position near them, leaving Major White dead, and one half their men killed or wounded upon the field. About this time the enemy was heavily reinforced, and our line fell back to the wood, which was never afterward taken from us. Read's battery, having suffered greatly in the loss of men and horses, was withdrawn, by my order, when the infantry fell back. The lines were reorganized behind the fences, near where they entered the fight, and their exhausted cartridge boxes replenished. Later in the day we moved to the left of General Early's command, which occupied the wood to the left of the church, where we remained until ordered to move across the river, on Thursday night, the eighteenth of September. I deem it proper to state that I left two companies on picket, in front of our lines, when we marched, under command of Captain Nance, of the Third regiment, with instructions to remain until relieved by the cavalry. After daylight next morning, Captain Nance, not having been relieved, perceived the enemy advancing in line of battle, and brought off his men in safety and good order, passing the cavalry pickets some distance in his rear. I cannot too highly commend to your notice the gallant conduct of the troops of my command. The Eighth regiment carried in but forty-five men, rank and file, and lost twenty-three officers and men. The Second regiment were the first to attack and drive the enemy. Colonel Kennedy was painfully wounded in the first charge, and was sent, by myself, from the field. After our lines were first driven back, under command of Major Gaillard, they rallied and broke a fresh line of battle that attempted to follow them. The Third regiment, led by its efficient commander, twice changed front on the field, in magnificent order, and, after twice driving the enemy, retired with the precision of troops on review. The Seventh, led by Colonel Aiken, trailed their progress to the cannon's mouth with the blood of their bravest, and, when borne back by resistless force, rallied the remnant left under command of Captain John S. Hard, the senior surviving officer. Colonel Aiken was most dangerously wounded. Every officer and man in the color company was either killed or wounded, and their total loss one hundred and forty, out of two hundred and sixty-eight men carried in. The colors of this regiment, shot from the staff, formed the winding-sheet of the last man of the color company, at the extreme point reached by our troops that day. Major White, whose death we lament, was a most gallant and accomplished officer, of elevated character and noble principles. No braver or better soldier survives him. Read's battery performed the most important service in a position of great danger. Second Lieutenant J. D. Parkman was killed on the field, gallantly discharging his duty. One gun was disabled and abandoned, and so many horses as to render it necessary to bring off their pieces severally. The acts of individual heroism performed on this memorable day are so numerous that regimental commanders have not attempted to particularize them. I am, as usual, greatly indebted to Captain Holmes, A. A. G., and Lieutenant Doby, A. D. C., of my staff, for intelligent and efficient assistance in carrying orders to all parts of the field. They were everywhere, exposed, with characteristic courage. Privates Baron and Deas, orderlies, were also with me in the field, bearing themselves with courage and intelligence. The latter had his horse shot in three places. I have already transmitted a statement of our losses. I am, Major, very respectfully, Your obedient servant,
J. B. Kershaw, Brigadier-General, commanding.