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Chapter 8:

General Lee marched his victorious army from the plains and hills of Manassas to Leesburg, and crossed into Maryland, fording the Potomac between September 4th and 7th, and concentrating at the city of Frederick. His reasons for this move are here given in his own words:
The armies of Generals McClellan and Pope had now been brought back to the point from which they set out on the campaign of the spring and summer. The object of those campaigns had been frustrated, and the designs of the enemy on the coast of North Carolina and in western Virginia thwarted by the withdrawal of the main body of his forces from these regions. Northeastern Virginia was freed from the presence of Federal soldiers up to the intrenchments of Washington, and soon after the arrival of the army at Leesburg, information was received that the troops that had occupied Winchester had retired to Harper's Ferry and Martinsburg. The war was thus transferred from the interior to the frontier, and the supplies of rich and productive districts made accessible to our army.

To prolong a state of affairs in every way desirable, and not to permit the season of active operations to pass without endeavoring to inflict further injury upon the enemy, the best course appeared to be to transfer the army into Maryland. Although not properly equipped for invasion, lacking much of the material of war, and feeble in transportation, the troops poorly provided with clothing, and thousands of them destitute of shoes, it was yet believed to be strong enough to detain the enemy upon the northern frontier until the approach of winter should render his advance into Virginia difficult, if not impracticable. [141] The condition of Maryland encouraged the belief that the presence of our army, however inferior to that of the enemy, would induce the Washington government to retain all its available force to provide against contingencies which its course toward the people of that State gave it reason to apprehend. At the same time it was hoped that military success might afford us an opportunity to aid the citizens of Maryland in any efforts they might be disposed to make to recover their liberties. The difficulties that surrounded them were fully appreciated, and we expected to derive more assistance in the attainment of our object from the just fears of the Washington government than from any active demonstration on the part of the people, unless success should enable us to give them assurance of continued protection.

The South Carolina commands with Lee in Maryland, were the brigades of N. G. Evans, Kershaw and Jenkins under Col. Joseph Walker; the Fifteenth regiment, Colonel De Saussure, in Drayton's brigade; the Hampton legion infantry, in Wofford's brigade, and Bachman's, Garden's, Rhett's and Boyce's batteries—all with Longstreet's corps; in Jackson's corps, the brigade of Maxcy Gregg and McIntosh's battery; and with the cavalry under Stuart, the Second cavalry, Col. M. C. Butler, of Hampton's brigade, and Hart's battery. Thus it will be seen that four brigades, a regiment and a battalion of infantry, six light batteries, and one regiment of cavalry represented South Carolina in the short and bloody campaign through which we are now to trace their career. We may not do more than make such general allusions to other commands as will put the positions and movements of the South Carolinians in their true moral and military aspect. The gallant comrades of other States, who fought by their side, and on whose heroic daring and sublime fortitude so much depended—whenever they touched their Carolina brethren in battle, their touch was an inspiration, and wherever they fought by their side, their battle was an assurance of strength.

When General Lee took post at Frederick, his position [142] warranted the expectation that the Federal forces in the valley of Virginia and at Harper's Ferry would retreat upon Washington, and he made dispositions to intercept them. In this he was disappointed. Martinsburg and Harper's Ferry were held fast, and Lee resolved to attack those points at once. He prepared an order detailing his combinations and directing the march of each corps and division, and the action of his cavalry. A copy of this, sent Gen. D. H. Hill, fell into General McClellan's hands, as a former order, issued on the Rapidan, had gone into the hands of Pope. Thus McClellan was informed that Lee's army would leave Frederick and cross the mountains at Boonsboro gap; that D. H. Hill's division was to halt at Boonsboro, while the rest of Longstreet's corps marched toward Hagerstown; that Jackson would cross the Potomac and move on Harper's Ferry; that McLaws' division, following Jackson, would enter Pleasant valley and possess Maryland heights, and that Walker's division, following McLaws, would cross the Potomac and possess Loudoun heights. Friday, September 12th, was to be the day when these combinations should result in the capture of Harper's Ferry. That accomplished, Jackson, McLaws and Walker were to rejoin the army at Boonsboro or Hagerstown.

McClellan, thoroughly appreciating the situation, promptly advanced against Boonsboro gap. In this forward movement he was delayed by General Hampton, who skirmished at every available point. As the advance guard approached Frederick with cavalry, infantry and artillery, Hampton drew in his outposts and formed his brigade for attack. The enemy posted a gun, supported by infantry, so as to command the city, and this gave Hampton his opportunity. As the gun opened he ordered Butler to charge, with the brigade in support. One brilliant dash at the gun and its support, and it was in Hampton's possession, the enemy scattered, many killed and wounded, and Colonel Moore, Twenty-eighth Ohio, and [143] 10 other prisoners taken. In this affair, Lieutenant-Colonel Meighan, of the Second South Carolina cavalry, and Captain Waring, of the Jeff Davis legion, acted with distinguished gallantry, and the Second, under its gallant colonel, was commended for its conduct. So successful was the repulse of the advance guard of the enemy that Hampton withdrew at a walk, and camped for the night at Middletown, taking with him the prisoners, and leaving Lieutenant-Colonel Martin, commanding the Jeff Davis legion, to cover his camp.

At daylight, Martin was attacked in the gap of Catoctin mountain which he was holding. Hampton sent up a section of Hart's battery to his support, and Martin held his position against odds until 2 p. m., the fire of Hart's guns driving the opposing artillery from several positions. Then the enemy, reinforced, gained a strong point for artillery, and Hampton withdrew Martin, and in front of Middletown formed for battle, which was soon joined. Hart's guns replied vigorously to those of the Federals, the sharpshooters became warmly engaged, and soon the whole brigade was in action, the fight being pressed by infantry on the enemy's side. Notified that Gen. D. H. Hill had taken position in Boonsboro gap, General Stuart, who had come forward, ordered Hampton to withdraw to the south, and sent Martin with Hart's guns through the gap in South mountain to Boonsboro. Hampton retired to Burkittsville, and on his way encountered a Federal cavalry command, which he charged with Colonel Young's Georgians, dispersed the force, with a loss of 30 killed and wounded on the enemy's part, and 4 killed and 9 wounded in the Cobb legion.

Hill's division, which had marched into Boonsboro gap, was composed of the brigades of Ripley, Rodes, Garland, Colquitt and Anderson. With these commands and Rosser's Fifth Virginia cavalry, Hill stood against the assaults of McClellan for five hours. Longstreet hurried back from Hagerstown to his support and arrived [144] between 3 and 4 p. m. With Longstreet were the South Carolina brigades of Evans and Jenkins, the Fifteenth South Carolina with Drayton, and the Hampton legion with Wofford. Evans' brigade, under Col. P. F. Stevens, was marched to the left of General Hill's battle to support Rodes, who was nearly overwhelmed. Stevens put in the brigade on the right of Rodes, and was at once assailed. The Seventeenth, under Col. F. W. McMaster, held its ground on the right of the brigade, supported by the Holcombe legion, but the pressure of the attack pressed back the Twenty-second and Twenty-third until these regiments, rallied by their gallant commanders, Lieut.-Col. T. C. Watkins and Capt. S. A. Durham and Maj. M. Hilton, returned to the battle, and supported by the Eighteenth, Col. W. H. Wallace, held the battle, in line with the Seventeenth and the legion. But not for long; the enemy crowded up the mountain in such strength that Rodes and Stevens could not hold their line and were driven from the crest.

In this brief struggle, Lieut.-Col. Thomas C. Watkins fell in the thick of the fight, rallying his regiment. His fall was a loss to his command and to his country, but he died as he wished to die, fighting for the independence of the Southern Confederacy. He was succeeded by Major Hilton, who rallied the regiment and restored its position on the crest. In the same contest Lieut.-Col. R. S. Means, of the Seventeenth, was severely wounded. At the moment of his fall the crest was carried, and Colonel McMaster ordered him borne from the field, but he generously refused the aid of his comrades, seeing they must inevitably be captured.

Colonel Stevens especially commended the conduct of Colonel McMaster, Major Hilton, Captain Durham and Adjt. W. P. DuBose. The latter officer was captured after night while endeavoring with a small force to reconnoiter the enemy's front. The loss in the brigade was comparatively small: Seventeenth, killed 7, wounded [145] 37, missing 7; Twenty-second, killed 10, wounded 57, missing 4; Twenty-third, killed 4, wounded 16, missing 4; no reports for the Eighteenth and the legion.

The rapid march of Longstreet from Hagerstown on the 14th had thinned the ranks of all his brigades. Men overcome with fatigue fell by the way in large numbers, and the rush up the mountain in the afternoon almost depleted some commands. Colonel McMaster, reporting the strength of the Seventeenth in the battle, said: ‘In this battle we had engaged 10 officers and 131 men, rank and file, and ambulance corps.’ General Longstreet, referring in his recent book to the effect upon the troops of the march from Hagerstown, and the marches and countermarches on the mountain, says:

It was near night when the brigades under Generals Kemper and Garnett and Colonel Walker (Jenkins') returned from their march down the mountain and reached the top. They were put in as they arrived, to try to cover the right of Rodes and Evans, and fill the intervening space to the turnpike. As they marched, the men dropped along the road as rapidly as if under severe skirmish. So manifest was it that nature was exhausted that no one urged them to get up and try to keep their ranks. . . . The Union brigades were stronger than the Confederates, mine having lost more than half this number by the wayside from exhaustion, under the forced march.

Col. Joseph Walker, Palmetto sharpshooters, commanding Jenkins' brigade, reported his force only partially engaged. Much of his time in the afternoon was consumed by marches and countermarches, in accordance with orders, which carried his brigade first to the foot of the mountain on the west side, nearly 2 miles south of the Boonsboro pike, on which he had arrived from Hagerstown. Then he was sent to take position at the hotel on top of the mountain and north of the pike. From that post he was ordered to move across the pike obliquely to the south, and down the east slope of the mountain, where he made his partial battle. The First regiment, Lieut.- [146] Col. D. Livingston, the Sixth, Lieut.-Col. J. M. Steedman, and the Fifth, Capt. T. C. Beckham, were advanced to a stone fence, where they stood against the fire of the infantry and artillery in their front, the Sharpshooters, Second rifles and the Fourth battalion supporting. Walker held this post all through the evening and night, moving off on the morning of the 15th and covering the retirement from that part of the field, the Second rifles marching as rear guard. The losses in Jenkins' brigade were comparatively light, 3 killed and 29 wounded, total, 32, distributed as follows: Palmetto sharpshooters, 2 wounded; First, 1 killed, 15 wounded; Second rifles, i wounded; Fifth, 6 wounded; Sixth, 2 killed, 5 wounded.

The writer regrets that he can find no record of the service of the Fifteenth South Carolina, in Drayton's brigade, and the Hampton legion infantry, in Wofford's. Gen. D. H. Hill, in his report of the action of his troops, refers to the brigade of Drayton in the following words:

In answer to a dispatch from General Longstreet, I urged him to hurry forward troops to my assistance. General Drayton and Col. G. T. Anderson [the latter commanding a brigade of Georgians] came up, I think, about 3 o'clock, with 1,900 men. . . . Anderson, Ripley and Drayton were called together, and I directed them to follow a path until they came in contact with Rosser, when they should change their flank, march in line of battle and sweep the woods before them. . . . Anderson soon became partially and Drayton hotly engaged. . . . Three brigades moved up in beautiful order against Drayton and the men were soon beaten.

This is the only reference to Drayton's brigade in the action at Boonsboro, by which it appears that the Fifteenth South Carolina, and Fiftieth and Fifty-first Georgia, the three regiments that composed it, stood against the attack of three Union brigades until they were ‘beaten.’

The battle of Boonsboro Gap was not anticipated by General Lee, and it came, on the 14th, in the nature of a surprise. Certainly Lee's army was not prepared for it. [147] All that could be done was done—the brigades of Hill and Longstreet, with such artillery as could be operated on the mountain, held back the advancing columns of Hooker and Reno until night put an end to the conflict. General McClellan reported the battle on his side as fought by the divisions of Hatch, Ricketts and Meade, of Hooker's corps; Willcox, Sturgis and Cox, of Reno's corps; and the brigade of Sedgwick, of Sherman's corps; with artillery and cavalry. That this force did not drive Hill in rout from the mountain before Longstreet came up is due to the firmness and heroism of his defense. That it did not envelop both Longstreet and Hill late in the afternoon, and force them down upon Boonsboro, is due to the skill of those generals, and the conduct of their troops and their commanders.

Having already stated the order for the investment of Harper's Ferry, we will have now to do with the part taken by Kershaw's and Gregg's South Carolina brigades in its capture. Kershaw was with McLaws and Gregg with A. P. Hill. To Kershaw, commanding his own and Barksdale's brigades, was assigned the task of capturing the south end of Elk ridge, called Maryland heights, which overlooked Harper's Ferry. The heights captured, McLaws was to plant his rifled guns there to co-operate with Walker, on Loudoun heights, and Jackson, on Bolivar heights. Kershaw marched on the 12th and ascended Elk ridge by Solomon's gap. The Union pickets offered a feeble resistance at the gap and retired, Kershaw ascending to the top of the ridge and marching on its crest toward the point of attack. Capt. G. B. Cuthbert, Second South Carolina, commanding Kershaw's right flankers, and Major Bradley, Mississippi regiment, commanding skirmishers in advance, met and easily drove back the outposts along the ridge. But the road was so obstructed, and so impracticable, that it was 6 p. m. before General Kershaw came up on the first line of defense, within one mile of the south end, or Maryland heights. This was a [148] strong abatis running across the ridge and flanked by high boulders. Here the enemy was standing in force.

Kershaw put his brigade in two lines of attack and held Barksdale in reserve. Henagan's Eighth South Carolina and Aiken's Seventh made the first line, Nance's Third, and Kennedy's Second in rear. Before these dispositions were made night came on, and the troops lay on their arms within sight of the battlefield. Early on the 13th the South Carolinians moved to the attack in beautiful order, and came under the heavy fire of the enemy. The Eighth encountered a ledge of rock which completely stopped its advance, but the Seventh had a clear field to the abatis. Aiken led his regiment on with a dash, mounted the obstruction, poured a volley into the faces of his adversaries, and the abatis was won, the enemy retreating a quarter of a mile to a still stronger position across the ridge. Kershaw sent Barksdale to his left to make a detour on the east slope, and gain the flank of the position. The Seventh and Eighth again advanced to the abatis and carried it, but the fire from a log breastwork in rear checked their progress. The Third, under Nance, reinforced the fire of the Seventh and Eighth, and these three regiments made the battle, losing severely.

Meanwhile Barksdale had worked his way around to the rear and right of the Federals and opened fire. Seeing himself assailed in front and flank, the enemy retreated down the south end of the mountain and across the river, by pontoon, into Harper's Ferry. Kershaw and Barksdale moved to the position captured, overlooking the enemy in his stronghold. Major McLaws, of the division staff, directed the cutting of a road by which four rifled guns were brought to the heights, and by 2 p. m. on the 14th, while the battle at Boonsboro gap was raging, and the enemy had penetrated Pleasant valley by Crampton's gap and was marching on McLaws' rear, Captains Read and Carlton opened their guns on Harper's Ferry and Bolivar heights. [149]

Kershaw's work was done and well done, and he was ordered into the valley early on the morning of the 15th. While on the mountain the brigades suffered from want of water; not a drop could be obtained except at the foot of the ridge. The march on the crest was over crags and boulders, and the advance to battle was impeded by fallen trees and every possible obstruction. General Kershaw reported that not a man retired from his line who was not wounded, and especially spoke of the Seventh, Colonel Aiken, as bearing the brunt of the battle and suffering the heaviest loss. Lieut. Moultrie Dwight, of the brigade staff, was severely wounded by a fall from a precipice while communicating a message from Kershaw to Barksdale. Barksdale's loss was 2 killed and 15 wounded. Kershaw lost 33 killed and 163 wounded; total, 196. The Second South Carolina, not being engaged directly, suffered no casualties. The three regiments engaged numbered 100 officers and 863 soldiers. The Third had 14 killed, 35 wounded, total 49; the Seventh, 13 killed, 100 wounded, total 113; the Eighth, 6 killed, 28 wounded, total 34.

Gregg's South Carolina brigade marched with Jack. son's corps from the vicinity of Boonsboro on the 11th and camped at Williamsport on the Potomac. On the 12th, crossing the Potomac, Jackson marched upon Martinsburg, occupied by a Federal force under Brigadier-General White. Gregg was in front and deployed for battle, but White retired upon Harper's Ferry. Jackson entered the town and the inhabitants rejoicingly received him and his troops. His hungry men were feasted, their general caressed and honored, and the sutler's stores and army provisions left by the enemy duly appropriated. Marching on for Harper's Ferry, Jackson was in position before that place, on Bolivar heights, by noon of the 13th. Next day Gregg was sent to Jackson's right (with Branch's brigade) to take position on the Shenandoah, move along its north bank, and be ready on the [150] morning of the 15th to assault from that point. Early on the 15th all the batteries opened on the defenses of Harper's Ferry, among them McIntosh's South Carolina battery. McLaws' rifled guns from Maryland heights, Walker's batteries from the Loudoun hills, and Jackson's from Bolivar heights poured their shot and shell into every opposing fort and battery, and the signal was about to be given to ‘cease firing’ to give chance for the concerted assault of Jackson's infantry, when the banner of surrender was raised and Harper's Ferry was captured. The enemy replied from every one of his batteries with vigor, and kept up his defense until he saw his doom. Gregg had not lost a man, and remaining with A. P. Hill's division to secure the spoil of battle, his brigade reaped a harvest of good things at Harper's Ferry. The situation is thus described by Captain Caldwell:

We fared sumptuously. In addition to meat, crackers, sugar, coffee, shoes, blankets, underclothing, etc., many of us captured horses, of which the quartermaster, however, duly deprived us.

Jackson was the great theme of conversation. The Federals seemed never weary of extolling his genius and inquiring for particulars of his history. They were extremely anxious to see him. He came up from the riverside late in the afternoon. The intelligence spread like electricity. Almost the whole mass of prisoners broke over us, rushed to the road, threw up their hats, cheered, roared, bellowed, as even Jackson's own troops had scarcely ever done. We, of course, joined in with them. The general gave a stiff acknowledgment of the compliment, pulled down his hat, drove spurs into his horse, and went clattering down the hill away from the noise.

The garrison of Harper's Ferry, surrendered, gave Jackson over 11,000 prisoners, 73 pieces of artillery, 13,000 small-arms, and a large supply of military stores.

General McClellan did not push his advantage gained at Boonsboro gap. It was 8 o'clock on the morning of the 15th before his troops appeared on the west of the [151] mountain, and General Lee had the columns of D. H. Hill and Longstreet beyond his reach by that time. Marching all the night of the 14th, these commands were in front of Sharpsburg early on the morning of Monday, the 15th. Jackson left Harper's Ferry on the night following, with McLaws', Walker's and Anderson's divisions, marched up to Shepherdstown, and crossed the river and reported to General Lee on the battlefield early on the 16th. He had left A. P. Hill's division at Harper's Ferry to parole the prisoners, secure the property captured, and hold the place. As will be seen, McLaws and R. H. Anderson did not reach the field of battle until it had been raging for hours, but they came up, as did A. P. Hill, in time to reinforce Lee at critical moments.

In writing of Sharpsburg there are particular features of that battlefield to which reference must frequently be made in order to comprehend the struggle, and these will first be noted.

The town of Sharpsburg is about a mile from the southward bend of the Potomac. A straight line running due east from the Potomac and passing through Sharpsburg would cross the Antietam river about 1 1/2 miles from the town. The general direction of the Antietam in front (east) of Sharpsburg is a little west of south. And this, too, is the general direction of the Potomac in the vicinity of the battlefield. About 3 miles below Sharpsburg the Potomac makes a sweeping bend to the east and the Antietam to the west, the latter entering the former just below the point where the river turns sharply to the south. Lee's line was in front of Sharpsburg and behind the Antietam, which was easily forded, and crossed by good stone bridges in Lee's front and on each flank.

Two main roads gave direction to the battle, one running north to Hagerstown, and the other a little north of east to Boonsboro. About 1 1/4 miles from the town, on the Hagerstown road, was a church known as the Dunker's [152] chapel, with a heavy wood north, south and west of it. The hills along the Antietam, on both sides, were high and commanding, and gave the best positions for artillery. The country between the Antietam and the Hagerstown road was undulatory, with good elevations for artillery, and south of Sharpsburg very much the same. The Antietam makes a very long bend to the west about 1 1/2 miles below the town and then bends south again. General Lee's right rested on this bend, the hills being high and steep on the Sharpsburg side. Lee formed two lines of battle on the hills described, its direction parallel with the Antietam, bending toward the Potomac on the left.

On the 15th, Longstreet was posted on the south of the Boonsboro road, and D. H. Hill north of it. Hood's division prolonged the line on Hill's left bending west until it touched the Hagerstown road. Jackson, early on the 16th, was put on Hood's left, with his right on the Hagerstown road. Stuart with cavalry and horse artillery guarded the extreme left next the Potomac. Walker, with his two brigades, came up from Harper's Ferry by afternoon, and was posted on the extreme right and immediately on the Antietam bluffs. As the divisions slept on arms, on the night of the 16th, they stood for battle, from right to left, in the following order: Walker, D. R. Jones, Evans (brigade), D. H. Hill, Hood, Lawton, J. R. Jones, cavalry. The artillery opened the great battle at dawn on the 17th, and before the sun had risen Jackson was hotly engaged with Hooker's corps on the Confederate left.

Jackson's and Hood's troops held their ground with great courage and firmness, sometimes advancing in triumph and then repulsed by the front lines of the enemy. The history of Jackson's battle is a history of violent and bloody contention, advances and retirements, with ground lost, gained, relost and regained, until at last the enemy was forced to the defensive and the Confederate battle held on nearly its chosen line. The three corps of [153] Hooker, Mansfield and Sumner were engaged in these battles with Jackson and Hood, while the latter were reinforced from time to time by three brigades from D. H. Hill, one from D. R. Jones, and two with Walker. These forces, with Jackson's two small divisions and Hood's two brigades, had forced the battle beyond the Hagerstown road, and were on the successful offensive, as against Hooker's and Mansfield's corps, when Sumner entered the battle. His advance was against Jackson's right and center, two of his divisions (Richardson's and French's) operating east of the turnpike and south of the church, and one (Sedgwick's) moving against the woods just north of the church. Sumner's line operated at once to check the tide of his retreating friends, and to stem that on his advancing foes. Fresh, strong and admirably handled, the divisions of Richardson, French and Sedgwick moved to renew the waning battle. Richardson, supported by French, moved against D. H. Hill's left center, and Sedgwick attacked in front and north of the church.

Sumner's account of affairs on the battlefield when he reached it shows the work which had been done by the troops of Jackson, Hood, D. H. Hill and the brigade from D. R. Jones. He said: ‘On going upon the field, I found that General Hooker's corps had been dispersed and routed. I passed him some distance in the rear, where he had been carried wounded, but I saw nothing of his corps as I was advancing on the field. There were some troops lying down on the left which I took to belong to Mansfield's command. In the meantime, General Mansfield had been killed, and a portion of his corps thrown into confusion.’

Sedgwick had pushed his battle successfully, and was now south and west of the church and about to clear the woods, when the head of McLaws' division arrived from Harper's Ferry, worn down by their forced march, without food, and many of them footsore. But they were [154] ready for battle, and appreciated the emergency. Portions of Hooker's sand Mansfield's corps were attacking farther to Jackson's left, and Sumner's fresh corps was terribly aggressive. General Lee had ordered Walker from the extreme right, and he arrived in good time to join with McLaws. These commands, with portions of the troops that had been fighting all the morning, confronted the new advance, assailed it, beat it back, broke its order, and gained the position from which Sumner had advanced. Sedgwick was overwhelmed, but Richardson retired in order. The attack of Sumner on Lee's left and left center had failed, and failed by reason of the heroic, aggressive battle of McLaws and Walker, and the rallied fragments of Jackson's, Hood's, Hill's and Jones' troops.

In this great achievement Kershaw's South Carolina brigade, of McLaws' division, bore a distinguished part. Arriving on the field just as Jackson's battle had been driven into the woods south of the chapel and the enemy were in plain view, McLaws advanced Kershaw against him in direct attack, the Second South Carolina leading. The struggle to be made was for the possession of the wood west and north of the chapel. Kershaw threw the Eighth, Seventh and Third forward to Kennedy's support, and they pressed their battle into the wood and beyond the chapel, supported right and left by their comrades, and by the fire of Read's battery. Aiken approached within 30 yards of a Federal battery, drove its gunners off, and was about to seize the guns when a flanking battery opened upon him with canister and drove him back. The enemy reinforced made assault after assault, and were as often repelled. Kershaw had established his line beyond the church, and here he held his battle throughout the day. Reporting upon the conduct of his brigade, he said that the Eighth, under Lieut.-Col A. J. Hoole, carried in 45 men, rank and file, and lost 23; the Second, first to attack and drive the enemy, suffered the loss of Colonel Kennedy from a severe [155] wound, and its gallant major, Franklin Gaillard, led it on against a front line, broke it, and pressed it beyond range of fire; the Third, under Nance, twice changed front under fire, and as often drove the opposing line; the Seventh, led by Aiken, trailed their progress to the cannon's mouth with the blood of their bravest, and out of 268 carried into action, lost 140, Colonel Aiken being among those most seriously wounded. The death of its gallant Maj. W. C. White deprived the service of an accomplished officer, a noble gentleman, and an elevated character.

Without a supply of rations from Monday to Wednesday; constantly under arms, marching, or in action during that period, no sleep and but brief halts for rest, Kershaw's gallant command fought at Sharpsburg as if they had come to the field from a well-provided camp.

But Sumner's work was not yet done. Richardson and French, supported by their famous batteries, many of them rifled guns, returned to the attack, directing their march directly against D. H. Hill's center on the Boorisboro road. He had sent Ripley, Garland and Colquitt to reinforce the struggle on the left, and had with him only two brigades of his own division (Rodes' and G. B. Anderson's), his batteries, Evans' brigade under Col. P. F. Stevens, and Boyce's battery. With these troops Hill met and repelled Richardson's first advance. General Lee sent up R. H. Anderson's division to his support, and Hill formed that command behind his front line. By the mistake of a subordinate, Rodes' brigade was moved from the front line and a broad gap left in Hill's defense. At once Richardson saw his advantage and pressed his troops into and beyond the gap. We give, substantially, General Hill's account. G. B. Anderson held his brigade in position, while the Federals poured through the gap, making all the defense he could, until he was wounded, when his brigade broke in panic, but Colonel Bennett and Major Sillers of North Carolina rallied a portion of [156] the brigade. There were no troops near, except some rallied fragments of commands, to hold the center. Hill was now back to the hill which commanded Sharpsburg and the rear. Affairs looked critical. A battery in a cornfield was ordered up, and proved to be Boyce's South Carolina battery, attached to Evans' brigade. It moved out most gallantly, in full view, and exposed to a terrible direct and reverse fire from rifled guns beyond the Antietam. A caisson was exploded, but the battery unlimbered and with grape and canister poured volley after volley so fast into the advancing troops that they halted, wavered, and then broke in retreat. With such of his troops as he could call to his immediate command, Hill charged, was checked, repulsed and charged again, and at last the center was secure.

The part borne by Evans' brigade of South Carolinians in this defense of the center is described by Colonel Stevens, commanding:

Sickness, fatigue and casualties of battle had reduced the brigade to a mere skeleton. Placed in position near the town and north of the Boonsboro road, the brigade acted as support with various batteries, until the afternoon, when the attack in front pressing, General Evans ordered it deployed as skirmishers to meet the enemy. In this position we were forced back, until I again advanced, and with Boyce's battery broke the line in my front and drove them back. The force in our front having retired, and Colonel Walker, commanding Jenkins' South Carolina brigade, on our right, having sent to me for artillery, I ordered Captain Boyce with his battery to report to him. Night coming on, the brigade bivouacked on the field. . . . During the engagement at Sharpsburg my men behaved well, obeyed orders, and never gave back except at my command.

Boyce lost 15 horses. Sergt. Thomas E. Dawkins and Private James Rogers were killed, Privates B. Miller and E. Shirley mortally wounded, and Lieut. H. F. Scaife and 15 of the battery more or less severely wounded. [157] Sergt. B. T. Glenn continued to work his piece long after receiving a very severe wound.1

Colonel McMaster, of the Seventeenth South Carolina, Evans' brigade, reports that he carried into the battle only 59 officers and men, so great had been his losses from sickness and wounds and straggling. Out of these he lost 19 in battle. There are no separate returns of the losses of Evans' brigade at Boonsboro gap and Sharpsburg, but in these two they are reported as follows: Holcombe legion, 18 wounded; Seventeenth, 18 killed, 49 wounded; Eighteenth, 3 killed, 39 wounded; Twenty-second, 8 killed, 64 wounded; Twenty-third, 14 killed, 66 wounded; aggregate, 43 killed, 236 wounded.

While D. H. Hill was defending the center, Longstreet's line was assailed, on Lee's right. Crossing at the bridge and fords General Burnside's troops threw their masses against D. R. Jones' division. Jenkins' brigade under Colonel Walker was on the left of Jones' division, and the operations are reported by Colonel Walker. During the 16th the brigade lay in line south of the Boonsboro road exposed to an incessant fire of artillery from batteries posted east of the Antietam. In the afternoon of the 17th Walker was moved forward, and supported a part of the Washington artillery, of New Orleans. These gallant batteries were constantly engaged, and drew an unceasing fire upon Walker as well as themselves. The guns withdrew for ammunition and Walker went forward 400 yards to an apple orchard. The enemy being near, Walker attacked with the Palmetto sharpshooters and the Second rifles on the right, the Sixth, Fifth and First continuing the line to the left.

The fire of the brigade was so steady and so well delivered, [158] that when about to advance, the force in its front broke and retired to the woods on the Antietam. On Walker's right, the attack on Generals Kemper and Drayton was so heavy that those brigades were giving ground, and the enemy was pressing up a ravine in their rear and on their right. Walker changed his front, and attacking the flagging force, in concert with Drayton and Kemper, drove back the advancing line. In this repulse the guns of Rhett's battery, under Lieut. William Elliott, did splendid service, firing at short range on the infantry masses as they came up from the Antietam against Jones. The losses of the brigade at Sharpsburg were 26 killed and 184 wounded, the heaviest loss falling on the Palmetto sharpshooters. Capts. J. E. Lee and N. W. Harbin, of the sharpshooters, were killed; and Lieut.-Col. D. Livingston, of the First; Capt. E. B. Cantey, commanding the Sixth; Lieut. J. C. McFadden, of the Sixth; Lieuts. H. H. Thompson and W. N. Major, of the sharpshooters, were wounded. To that part of the action of Jenkins' brigade in which it was turned by Walker to deliver its fire upon the forces driving back Kemper and Drayton, Gen. D. R. Jones, the division commander, makes complimentary reference in a paragraph in which he also refers to the Fifteenth, in Drayton's brigade: ‘The Fifteenth South Carolina, Colonel De Saussure, fell back very slowly and in order, forming the nucleus on which the brigade rallied.’ In the two engagements of Boonsboro Gap and Sharpsburg, the Fifteenth lost 110 killed and wounded.

The attack upon Jones on the right, coming from a whole corps, and met by his division alone, numbering less than 3,500, and the artillery on his line, gave illustration of endurance, courage and resolution seldom if ever surpassed in the annals of war. General Toombs,. with his artillery and two Georgia regiments, repulsed five separate assaults by Burnside's forces, and only retired when every cartridge had been fired and his position had [159] been turned by a passage below him. Just at the moment when Jones was driven back upon the town and the corps of General Burnside under General Cox was sweeping up on his front and right and making for a lodgment on the Shepherdstown road in his rear, Lee's line of retreat, the division of A. P. Hill, which had been marching all day, reported on Jones' right and formed forward into battle. This arrival saved the day.

Hill placed his batteries rapidly and opened with canister; but before his infantry could be formed the enemy had charged the guns and captured McIntosh's battery and flag. Not a moment was to be lost if Lee's line to Shepherdstown was to be saved, and A. P. Hill and Jones ordered the charge. ‘My troops were not in a moment too soon,’ says Hill. With a yell of defiance Archer charged [with Toombs] recaptured McIntosh's battery and drove the enemy pellmell down the slope; Gregg and Branch, from Archer's left, poured in a deadly fire as they steadily moved down the slope, and the whole line of attack broke and retired to the Antietam. Night settled down upon the battlefield of Antietam and the bloodiest struggle of the war was over.

Gregg's casualties were 163 killed and wounded, of which the First lost 4 killed and 30 wounded; Orr's Rifles, 3 killed and 9 wounded; Twelfth, 20 killed and 82 wounded; Thirteenth, 1 killed and 14 wounded. The Fourteenth was not engaged.

The brave and accomplished Col. Dixon Barnes, of the Twelfth, fell mortally wounded. Lieut. Archibald Mc-Intire, of the First, and Capt. F. A. Irwin and Lieut. J. B. Blackman, of the Twelfth, were killed. Capt. M. P. Parker, of the First; Capts. J. L. Miller and H. C. Davis and Lieut. R. M. Carr, of the Twelfth; Lieuts. J. M. Wheeler and W. L. Litzsey, of the Thirteenth, and Capt. James Perrin, commanding Orr's Rifles, were wounded.

Space does not permit a review of this great battle. It was a gigantic struggle of eighteen hours. General Mc- [160] Clellan referred to it as a mighty contest in which 200,000 men contended for mastery! General Lee reported it as a protracted and sanguinary conflict in which every effort of the enemy to dislodge him from his position had been defeated with severe loss. The battle was not renewed on the 18th. General McClellan, reporting to his government, said that a sense of duty to the army and the country forbade a renewal of the fight on the 18th without reinforcements, the probabilities of defeat being too great. Whatever General McClellan's strength, it is certain General Lee fought around Sharpsburg with less than 40,000 men of all arms. When Lee was at Fredericks-town, his army numbered, by its returns, in round numbers, 6,000 of all arms. The battles of Boonsboro, Crampton's Gap and Harper's Ferry, with the cavalry engagements, followed. These, of course, reduced the fighting force, but his heaviest losses were from straggling incident to the rapid marches and the actual suffering of the troops for the want of sleep and food between Boonsboro and Sharpsburg. The remarks of Gen. D. H. Hill will apply to most of the divisions. He says:

My ranks had diminished by straggling, and on the morning of the 17th I had but 3,000 infantry. . . . Our wagons had been sent off across the river on Sunday, and for three days the men had been sustaining life on green corn and such cattle as they could kill in the field. In charging through an apple orchard with the immediate prospect of death before them, I noticed men eagerly devouring apples. . . . Had all our stragglers been up, McClellan's army would have been completely crushed.

In leaving the battlefield of Sharpsburg, the writer pauses to pay a tribute of respect and love to a brave and accomplished soldier, his preceptor at the South Carolina military academy, and his honored friend. Col. Charles Courtney Tew, the gallant commander of the Second North Carolina, in Anderson's brigade of D. H. Hill's division, fell at the head of his regiment in Hill's defense of the center against the attack of Richardson in [161] the afternoon. After graduating at the head of the first class to leave the South Carolina military academy, Colonel Tew became one of its able and distinguished professors. Removing to North Carolina, he established a military academy at Hillsboro, and when the time came for battle he was at the head of the second regiment raised in the old North State. Modest, resolute, sincere, devoted to study and to work, he was an accomplished scholar, a true and noble spirit, and a resolute character. General Hill said of him, while reporting his ability and gallantry, and lamenting his loss: ‘He had no superior as a soldier in the field.’ Knowing him well, we can understand how his efficiency at the head of a regiment and his fine attainments as a soldier, would make such an impression upon his major-general. How many such men did the South yield up in willing and costly sacrifice on the altar of Southern independence!

The last guns of the Maryland campaign of 1862 were fired at Shepherdstown and by the cavalry in front of Williamsport, on the 20th of September. In both these actions South Carolina troops took part, under Generals Gregg and Hampton. General Lee's army was behind the Opequon on the 19th; that of McClellan was threatening the passages of the Potomac. The cavalry under Stuart, with Hampton's brigade in advance, had moved up the right bank of the Potomac and crossed into Maryland, at Williamsport, to watch and threaten the enemy's right and rear. Advancing from Williamsport, Hampton met a strong force of all arms sent to oppose Stuart, successfully skirmished with it all day of the 20th, and recrossed the river into Virginia without loss at night.

On the evening of the 19th, General Porter with the Federal Fifth corps was at the Shepherdstown ford, with his artillery on the Maryland hills and his sharpshooters lining the left flank. Under cover of his artillery, he successfully crossed a portion of his command, stormed the position on the Virginia side, drove off the infantry [162] force of 600 men, and captured four guns of General Pendleton's artillery. Early on the 20th, A. P. Hill was sent with his division to drive Porter's force back and hold the crossing. In executing this command General Hill fought the battle of Shepherdstown.

General Porter in his report represents the attack of General Hill to have been made upon two of his brigades, and a part of a third, who, by his order, recrossed the river, under the cover of his batteries, with little injury, except to the One Hundred and Eighteenth Pennsylvania regiment. He gives as the reason for his retrograde movement that the enemy (Hill) was reported as advancing in force. Reading the Federal general's report, one not conversant with the facts would naturally suppose that Hill's division met the Pennsylvania regiment alone in actual battle, and as Porter says that this regiment became ‘confused’ early in the action, and their arms were ineffective, it would appear that Hill had little to do.

General Hill, after stating that the brigades on the Virginia side were making preparations to hold their position, thus describes the situation: ‘I formed my division in two lines—in the first, Pender, Gregg and Thomas, under Gregg; in the second, Lane, Archer and Brockenbrough, under Archer. The enemy had lined the opposite hills with some 70 pieces of artillery, and the infantry who had crossed lined the crest of the high banks on the Virginia shore. . . . The advance was made in the face of the most tremendous fire of artillery I ever saw.’ Mr. Caldwell, in his history, says: ‘We were under the fire of their batteries the whole time, though they did not open heavily upon us until we cleared the cornfield; then their fire was terrific! Shot, shell and canister swept the whole surface of the earth. Yet the advance was beautifully executed. It excelled even the marching of the enemy at Sharpsburg. . . . The roar of the pieces and the howl and explosion of shells were awful. Sometimes [163] a shell burst in the ranks, tearing and mangling all around it. In Pender's brigade I saw a man lifted in the air. But all in vain. The ranks closed up, and the advance continued without a falter.’ Alluding to this heroic advance, General Hill says: ‘Too much praise cannot be awarded to my regiments for their steady, unwavering step.’

Describing the fighting with the infantry, General Hill said that his left brigade was so hotly engaged with the enemy's infantry that Pender called on Archer for help, and the latter moved his own brigade to Pender's, thus putting four brigades on the front line. The One Hundred and Eighteenth Pennsylvania, confused as it was, with damaged arms, could hardly have done so much against a line of battle that had marched to the attack through such an artillery fire as both sides report was poured upon it. At close quarters with General Porter's troops, Hill ordered the final charge, and the brigades of the Fifth corps were driven into and across the river, hundreds being drowned, over 200 prisoners taken, and the dead and wounded left on the field of battle.

In this battle the heaviest loss fell on Hill's left flank. The greatest loss of the South Carolina brigade was in the Fourteenth regiment, which had 10 killed, among them the gallant Capt. James H. Dunlap, and 45 wounded, most of them by the artillery fire. In the other regiments of Gregg's brigade, 8 were wounded, including Lieut. D. H. Hamilton, adjutant of the First.

After this engagement General Lee camped his army behind the Opequon, and the weary soldiers enjoyed a rest. Regiments and brigades were assigned new commanders to take the places of those who had fallen on the field. Men who had greatly distinguished themselves for personal gallantry in the ranks, were either elected to office by their fellow soldiers, or promoted upon special recommendation of their superiors.

The description which Mr. Caldwell gives of the condi- [164] tion of the troops at this time is so graphic, and the writer, from his observations and experiences, knows it to be so true to the facts, that he quotes it here entire, as applicable to all the commands of Lee's army, after their marches and battles and toil and suffering in the memorable months of August and September, 1862:

It is difficult to describe the condition of the troops at this time, so great and various was their wretchedness. They were sunburnt, gaunt, ragged, scarcely at all shod —specters and caricatures of their former selves. Since the beginning of August they had been almost constantly on the march, had been scorched by the sultriest sun of the year, had been drenched with the rain and the heavy dews peculiar to this latitude, had lost much night rest, had worn out their clothing and shoes, and received nothing but what they could pick up on the battlefield. They had thrown away their knapsacks and blankets, in order to travel light; had fed on half-cooked dough, often raw bacon as well as raw beef; had devoured green corn and green apples, and contracted diarrhea and dysentery of the most malignant type. They now stood, an emaciated, limping, ragged mass, whom no stranger to their gallant exploits could have believed capable of anything the least worthy. Orders were published for instant and thorough ablution, and the men were marched by squads and companies to the Opequon.


1 Captain Boyce mentions all his officers, Lieutenants Jeter, Porter, Scaife and Monro, and Sergeants Glenn, Humphreys, Bunch, and Young, and Corporals Rutland, Byrd, Watts and Schartle; and Privates Scaife, Garner, Hodges, Shirley, Simpson, Gondelock, A. Sim, L. H. Sims, Willard, Peek, Gossett and Franklin, for distinguished gallantry in the battles from the Rappahannock to Antietam.

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