by this command in the engagements on the evening of the sixteenth and throughout the day of the seventeenth instant, at Sharpsburg, Maryland. Without referring to the various positions which we occupied after halting on the field, on the morning of the fifteenth instant, our division being in rear of the army from Boonsboroa Mountain, this brigade was moved from in front of Sharpsburg, on the evening of the fifteenth, to the right and in front of Mumma Church; this being the left of our line, and where the main and most of the fighting had taken place on the seventeenth instant. While we were moving to this position, the enemy opened a heavy fire upon us from their longrange guns, which was continued after we were in position, and resulted in the wounding of one Lieutenant and one soldier in the Fourth Texas regiment. We remained in this position the balance of the day and night of the fifteenth, and until late in the evening of the sixteenth, when we were ordered by General Hood to move by the left flank, through the open field in front of the church, and to its left, about seven hundred yards, to meet the enemy, who, it was then ascertained, had commenced to cross Antietam Creek to our left. We there formed line of battle, and moved up to a cornfield in our front, and awaited the advance of the enemy, who had by this time opened upon us a brisk fire of shot and shell from some pieces of artillery which they had placed in position immediately in our front, and to the left of our lines, wounding one officer and some dozen men. I feel it due to truth to state that the enemy were informed of our position by the firing of a half a dozen shots from a little battery of ours on the left of the brigade, which hastily beat a retreat as soon as their guns opened upon us. While our line of battle rested upon the cornfield, Captain Turner, commanding the Fifth Texas, which was on our right, had been moved forward into some woods, where he met a part of our skirmishers, driven in by the enemy, whom he engaged, and finally drove back with the loss of one man. Our skirmishers, consisting of one hundred men, under the command of Captain Martin, of the Fourth Texas, who had been moved into the woods in front and to the left of the Fifth Texas, were hotly engaged with the enemy, but held their ground until they had expended all their cartridges, and then fell into our line of battle about nine o'clock at night; about which time we were relieved by General Lawton's brigade, and were withdrawn from the field to the woods in rear of Mumma Church, for the purpose of cooking rations, our men not having received any regular allowance in three days. It was now evident that the enemy had effected a crossing entirely to our left, and that he would make the attack on that wing early in the morning, moving his forces over and placing them in position during the night. At three o'clock on the morning of the seventeenth, the picket firing was very heavy, and at daylight the battle was opened. Our brigade was moved forward at sunrise to the support of General Lawton, who had relieved us the night before. Moving forward in line of battle in the regular order of regiments, the brigade proceeded through the woods into the open field toward the cornfield, where the left encountered the first line of the enemy. Seeing the Hampton legion and Eighteenth Georgia moving slowly forward, but rapidly firing, I rode hastily to them, urging them forward, when I saw two full regiments, one in their front and the other partly to their left. Perceiving at once that they were in danger of being cut off, I ordered the First Texas to move by the left flank to their relief, which they did in a rapid and gallant manner. By this time, the enemy on our left having commenced falling back, the First Texas pressed them rapidly to their guns, which now poured into them a fire on their right flank, centre and left flank, from three different batteries, before which their well-formed line was cut down and scattered, being two hundred yards in front of our line, their situation was most critical. Riding back to the left of our line, I found the fragment of the Eighteenth Georgia regiment in front of the extreme right battery of the enemy, located on the pike running by the church, which now opened upon our thinned ranks a most destructive fire; the men and officers were gallantly shooting down the gunners, and for a moment silenced them. At this time the enemy's fire was most terrific, their first line of infantry having been driven back to their guns, which now opened a furious fire, together with their second line of infantry, upon our thinned and almost annihilated ranks. By this time, our brigade having suffered so greatly that I was satisfied they could neither advance or hold their position much longer without reenforcements, riding back, to make known to General Hood our condition, I met with you, to whom I imparted this information. By this time our line commenced giving way, when I ordered them back, under cover of the woods, to the left of the church, where we halted and waited for support. None arriving, after some time, the enemy commenced advancing in full force. Seeing the hopelessness and folly of making a stand with our shattered brigade, and a remnant from other commands, the men being greatly exhausted, and many of them out of ammunition, I determined to fall back to a fence in our rear, where we met the long-looked — for reinforcements, and at the same time received an order from General Hood to fall back farther to the rear, to rest and collect our men. After resting a short time, we were moved back to the woods in rear of the church, from where we advanced to the fight in the morning, which position we held until late in the evening, when we were moved, by the right flank, in the direction of Sharpsburg, to a place near the centre of our line, where we remained during that night and next day, and until the recrossing of the Potomac by our army was ordered. During the engagement of the brigade, on the seventeenth instant, I was drawn to the left of our line, as it first engaged the enemy, who had succeeded in flanking us on the left, and,
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Foreign accounts of the fight.
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