HDQRS. SECOND DIVISION, TWELFTH ARMY CORPS,
September 29, 1862.
Brigadier General ALPHEUS S. WILLIAMS,
Commanding Twelfth Army Corps.
GENERAL: I have the honor to report the operations of this division in the battle of Antietam, on the 17th instant.
The division went into action with three brigades. First Brigade (Geary's), under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Tyndale: Twenty eighth Pennsylvania, Fifth and Seventh Ohio, and Sixty-sixth Ohio (the Twenty-ninth Ohio was on detached service). Second Brigade (Prince's), under command of Colonel Stainrook, of the One hundred and ninth Pennsylvania was on detached service). Third Brigade: Purnell Legion, Maryland Volunteers, Seventy-eighth New York, Sixtieth New York, and Third Delaware, under command of Colonel Goodrich. The First District of Columbia Volunteers had, with the exception of the colonel and adjutant, entirely disappeared from the command by sickness and desertion. The aggregate present on the day of the action was 2,504. The loss was in killed, 114; wounded, 507; missing, 30; total, 651.
The division was carried into action about 6.30 a.m., under the orders of Brigadier-General Mansfield. As we were going into action the Third Brigade was detached to the right, leaving under my command the First and Second Brigades, with an aggregate of 1,727. The division encountering the enemy in the first woods in our front drove them before it, and, entering the open ground partly covered with corn, moved to the left and took position on the right of the post and rail fence inclosing the field on the right of the burned house (Poffenberger's). There was a battery of brass guns at our left, which we protected. This battery getting out of ammunition for long range was replaced by another.
While in this position the enemy formed in strong force in the woods to the right of the white brick church and advanced on our line. The line was advanced to the axle-trees of the guns, and delivered their fire when the enemy were within 70 yards. They immediately fell back, heaving suffered immense loss. The division advanced, driving the enemy from the woods near the church and occupying the woods. The Purnell Legion joined us during the action. The Twenty-seventh Indiana was sent to our support, and, after doing good service, retired in consequence of their ammunition being exhausted. The Thirteenth New Jersey then joined the division, and assisted in holding the woods. The position of the division in the advanced wood was very critical. We were in advance of our line on the right and left of us. Sumner's corps, which had advanced on our left,, had retired, as had also the troops on our right. Guns were sent for, and a section of Knap's battery arrived, and were ordered to take position on our left. The ground on our left and front was broken and wooded, and concealed the movements. of the enemy. I placed the division in line, with the right thrown back, and sent forward skirmishers and sought re-enforcements from General Williams. None were at the time available, and the enemy advancing in large force, threatening to envelop the small command, they were forced to retire, They rallied in the second line of woods. They held the woods by the church nearly two hours, in advance of any other troops in their vicinity. They were in action from 6.30 a. m. to 1.30 p. m.
After relaying our men we were ordered to fall back, to allow the men to rest and get water and clean their guns. About 5.30 o'clock p. m. the division was ordered by General McClellan to take position in the rear of Franklin's corps, which was promptly done with the rest of your command, where we lay on our arms through the night.
Colonel Goodrich, of The Sixtieth New York, commanding Third Brigade, was killed early in the day while gallantly leading his command into action, the command of the brigade devolving upon Lieutenant-Colonel Austin, Seventy-eighth New York Volunteers, who remained in command during the remainder of the day.
Lieutenant-Colonel Tyndale, Twenty-eighth Pennsylvania Volunteers, wa severely wounded at the close of the action, having discharged his duty through the day with great gallantry and zeal.
Where so many acted with distinguished gallantry it is impossible to designate all the individual officers entitled to notice. Colonel Stainrook, Lieutenant-Colonel Lane, One hundred and second New York, and Major Pardee deserve commendation for activity and gallantry through the day. I commend to your consideration Dr. A. Ball, acting medical director for the division, and the surgeons and assistants under his orders, for the great care and zeal with which they provided for the wounded on the day of battle. To my staff, Captain C. P. Horton, assistant adjutant-general, and my aides, Lieutenant Shipman, and Lieutenant C. T. Greene, my thanks are due for efficient service rendered during the day. Lieutenant Greene, though young and fresh in the service, displayed great coolness under the most trying circumstances, and rendered most efficient service.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
GEO. S. GREENE,
Brig. Gen., U. S. V., Comdg. 2d Div., 12th (Banks') Army Corps.
Source: OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, Vol 19, Part 1 (Antietam - Serial 27) , Pages 504 - 506