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LCol Solon Z Ruff 's Official Report

Report of September 23, 1862

[author biography]

SEPTEMBER 23, 1862.

Colonel W. T. WOFFORD,
Commanding Texas Brigade.

SIR: I have the honor to report that this regiment was drawn up in line of battle, late in the evening on the 16th instant, to the left of the position it had occupied during the day and previous night, which was north of the town of Sharpsburg and parallel to the Antietam River. On our left was the Hampton Legion, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Gary, and on our right the First Texas, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Gary, and on our right the First Texas, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Work.

Just at dark, the enemy advanced and attacked the brigade on our right, when we received orders to advance to a piece of corn a short distance in front, where we remained without firing a gun until about midnight. The brigade was then withdrawn to a piece of woods, to cook rations.

The next morning, 17th instant, just after daylight, the brigade was drawn up in line of battle, and ordered to lie down under cover of the hill from a terrible storm of shell that the enemy's batteries were at that time pouring into the woods. A heavy firing of musketry had been going on in our front for some time.

About 7 a. m., the brigade was ordered to move forward in the direction of the firing. Advancing about a quarter of a mile through the timber, we came upon the enemy posted in front of a piece of corn, and immediately opened fire upon them. After one or two rounds they gave way, and fell back to a considerable distance in the corn. Advancing, with the left of the regiment resting on the right of the legion, which had its left upon the turnpike, we drove the enemy in fine style out of the corn and back upon their supports. At the far edge of the corn, the ranks of the retreating line of the enemy unmasked a battery, which poured a round or two of grape into our ranks with terrible effect; but it was soon silenced by our riflemen, and the gunners ran away. At this moment we discovered a fresh line of the enemy advancing on our left flank in an oblique direction, threatening to cut us off, and our ranks being reduced to less than one-third their original strength, we found it necessary to fall back. At the edge of the woods we met supports and rallied on them a part of our men; but the regiment was too much cut up for further action, and in a short time, in connection with the whole brigade, was taken from the field.

We carried 176 men into the action, and lost 101 in killed, wounded and missing; most of the missing are either killed or wounded.

All the men and officers, so far as I was able to observe, acted with the most desperate coolness and gallantry. Not one showed any disposition, notwithstanding their terrible loss, to fall back or flinch from the enemy until they received orders to do so.

I regret exceedingly to report that Lieuts. T. C. Underwood and J. M. D. Cleveland, of Company K, are among the missing. They are known to be wounded, and it is feared they are dead. I regret also to be obliged to record among the wounded the names of Capts. J. A. Crawford and G. W. Maddox and Lieuts. M. J. Crawford, J. F. Maddox, O. W. Putman, W. G. Calahan, J. Grant, and D. B. Williams.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

S. Z. RUFF,
Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding Regiment..

 

Source: OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, Vol 19, Part 1 (Antietam - Serial 27) , Pages 929 - 930

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