[Report of the 1st Delaware Infantry]
[see an image of the original handwritten report]
HDQRS, FIRST DELAWARE INFANTRY,
THIRD BRIGADE, THIRD DIVISION, SECOND CORPS
Near Sharpsburg, Md., September 18, 1862.
Assistant Adjutant-General on the Staff of Brigadier Gen Max. Weber.
CAPTAIN: The First Delaware Infantry, forming the right of Brigadier General Max Weber's brigade, after fording Antietam Creek, marched in column for a mile, then, facing to the left, advanced in line of battle, forming the first line of General French's division. The enemy's batteries now opened a severe fire. Having advanced steadily through woods and corn-fields, driving all before us, we met the enemy in two lines of battle, posted in a road or ravine 4 feet below the surface of the adjoining field [the Sunken Road], with a third line in a corn-field [Piper's] in the rear, the ground gradually rising so that they were able to fire over the heads of those in the ravine; our right was also exposed to the sudden and terrible fire from the troops who succeeded in breaking the center division of the line of battle. We were at this time about 20 paces off the enemy, and returned their fire for some time with much coolness and effect. A charge was then ordered and attempted, but our second line, composed of new levies, instead of supporting our advance, fired into our rear. We had now lost one-third of our men, and 8 officers commanding companies were either killed or wounded. Under these circumstances we fell back gradually to a stronger position until relieved by our third line, composed of veterans under General Kimball. This was our first battle, and I cannot speak in too high praise of the conduct of the officers and men.
The following officers, all commanding companies, were killed or wounded: Killed, Captains Watson, Leonard, and Rickards; wounded, Captains Yardley, Woodall, and Shortlidge, and Lieutenants Swiggett and Tanner. In fact, but few escaped. The color guard were all killed or wounded, the field officers' horses killed.
The command exhibited a degree of gallantry, efficiency, and personal bravery seldom equaled. I must also particularly mention the services of Lieutenant-Colonel Hopkinson, Major Smyth, and Acting Adjutant Postles, who behaved with exemplary coolness and bravery.
JOHN W. ANDREWS,
Colonel First Delaware Infantry.
[Report of the 3rd Brigade, French's Division]
BATTLE-FIELD OF THE 17TH INSTANT,
Near Sharspsburg, September 20, 1862.
Brigadier General WM. H. FRENCH,
Commanding Third Division, General Sumner's Corps.
GENERAL: The Third Brigade met the enemy in a strong position, under cover of natural and artificial defenses. The command continued fighting until their ammunition was expended. They were exposed to a heavy fire and suffered severely. The survivors joined the second and third lines. We captured about 300 prisoners and sent them to the rear. Brigadier General Max Weber and Captain Burleigh, his assistant adjutant-general, were wounded while attempting to bring on the Fifth Maryland Regiment. I have no idea of the time. Further than the above; was myself employed in ordering men to join the second line and preventing too many from taken the wounded away.
The first Delaware Regiment lost in killed and wounded, out of 708, 264. Lieutenant-Colonel Hopkinson wounded, 3 captains killed and 4 wounded, 4 lieutenants wounded. All the field officers' horses killed.
The Fourth New York lost 182 men out of 540; 2 officers killed and 5 wounded; color guards all killed or wounded. The same with the color guard of the First Delaware. The major commanding the Fifth Maryland was wounded, and I have received no report from this regiment.
The officers and men behaved with the coolness and bravery of veterans. A more formal report will be made on the first opportunity.
JOHN W. ANDREWS,
Colonel and Acting Brigadier-General.
Source: OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, Vol 19, Part 1 (Antietam - Serial 27) , Pages 336 - 337