History of Lane's North Carolina brigade.
Summer campaign of 1862--Harper's Ferry, September 14, 15.
The second day after the engagement at “Ox Hill
,” we marched through Leesburg
, crossed the Potomac
on the 5th, and moved in the direction of Frederick City, where we remained several days.
Then recrossed the Potomac
and marched on Harper's Ferry
The evening of the 14th we advanced down the Winchester and Harper's Ferry
The Seventh regiment was in advance, and its skirmishers, commanded by Captain Knox
, succeeded in driving the enemy's sharpshooters from a high position overlooking the railroad.
The remainder of the brigade reached this position after midnight, and there slept upon their arms until day, when every one was in readiness and awaited the orders to advance.
After a short but rapid and well-directed fire from our batteries, the enemy displayed several white flags, and we marched into the place without further resistance.
We captured several prisoners the evening of the 14th.
Our loss was four wounded.
We left Harper's Ferry
on the 17th September, and after a very rapid and fatiguing march, recrossed the Potomac
and reached Sharpsburg
in time to participate in the fight.
The entire brigade was ordered to the right, and on reaching the field the Twenty-eighth was detached by General A. P. Hill
in person, and sent on the road to the left, leading to Sharpsburg
, to repel the enemy's skirmishers who were advancing through a field of corn.
The rest of the brigade moved nearly at right angles to our line on the enemy's flank.
The Seventh, Thirty-third and Thirty-seventh were the regiments principally engaged.
They fought well, and assisted in driving back three separate and distinct columns of the enemy.
The Eighteenth was not actively engaged.
I was ordered about sunset to rejoin the brigade, and on doing so ascertained that General Branch
had been killed.
It was after sunset when I assumed command of the brigade.
I found the Seventh, Thirty-seventh and Thirty-third posted behind a stone fence, and the Eighteenth sheltered in a hollow in rear.
I ordered the Twenty-eight to the left of the line, but the order was delivered to the Eighteenth, which was posted on the left behind a rail fence, a portion of it being broken back to guard against a flank movement.
The Twenty-eighth was posted to the left of the Seventh in the opening caused by the withdrawal of a few Georgia
Although annoyed by the enemy's sharpshooters, we held our position until ordered to fall back on the night of the 18th.
We did not cross the river until the next day. General Gregg
's, General Archer
's and our brigade formed the rear guard of the army, and were kept in line of battle, facing the enemy, until infantry, artillery, cavalry, wagons and ambulances had all safely crossed.
Our loss in this engagement was our Brigadier-General L. O'B. Branch
killed, twenty others killed, seventy-nine wounded and four missing.
--My brigade formed the left of our division.
Advancing to within about three hundred yards, we were opened upon by the artillery from the opposite side of the river, which lasted all day at a most terrible rate.
We came upon the infantry which had crossed.
I had gone to the left to oppose this force, which was far superior to my own. Finding an effort made to flank me, I placed two regiment under cover from artillery, facing the river, and threw the others on my left flank so as to check this disposition of the enemy.
Holding this position a short time, General Archer
came up with three brigades to the support of the
advanced line, and, upon seeing the flanking movement of the enemy, moved quickly to the left, when we advanced, driving them headlong into the river.
After driving them from the plane, I sent the Twenty-second North Carolina, under the gallant Major Cole
, to the river bank to take them as they crossed, and this it did nobly.
Others of my brigade had gone to the river; but finding them too much exposed, I called them back under a hill just overhanging the river.
I called out those I had first left in this exposed position, leaving Major Cole
with twenty men, who remained all day, the enemy being in heavy force in the canal on the opposite side.
We were exposed all day to a tremendous fire of artillery, and also to the fire of their sharpshooters.