HEADQUARTERS SECOND BRIGADE,
October 6, 1862.
Major FRANCIS S. EARLE,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Morell's Division.
SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of the Second Brigade, in compliance with the above order:
On the 17th the brigade was not in action. About 4 p. m. an order was received from Major-General Porter to move to the support of General Franklin's command. The brigade moved about half a mile to the right, where it was halted, together with the Third Brigade, same division, by General McClellan, with directions to remain there until further orders, and returned to the position occupied in the morning, just before sunset, by direction of the general commanding, and encamped for the night.
On the morning of the 18th the brigade moved and occupied a position in rear of General Burnside's forces, where it remained until the morning of the 19th, when it took up its march in the direction of Shepherdstown, arriving in position near that place about 1 o'clock p. m. The enemy occupying the opposite side of the river with artillery and sharpshooters, the Fourth Michigan Regiment was moved forward as skirmishers and to drive the enemy from the banks. Our artillery, having been massed, opened a sharp fire on the enemy's guns, causing him to abandon them. By direction of Major-General Porter, the Fourth Michigan was ordered to cross the river and take them. This duty was handsomely performed, the regiment, about 300 strong, fording the river (some 300 yards in width and 3 feet in depth) in face of the enemy's infantry fire, and forming on the opposite side, advancing and delivering its fire with such effect and determination as to cause the brigade opposing it to fall back in great confusion.
It was now getting quite dark, and the regiment only succeeded in finding two pieces of artillery and several caissons, or parts of caissons. After remaining on the opposite bank some two or three hours it was recalled. The regiment lost 1 man killed (Corpl. John Gordon) and 7 men wounded.
The next morning (the 20th), as soon as it was light enough to see, the Fourth Michigan and Sixty-second Pennsylvania crossed the river with some horses from Battery D, Fifth Artillery, commanded by First Lieutenant Hazlett, and brought back three guns, several caissons and one battle-flag, picked up on the field, returning to camp about 8 o'clock a. m.
On the 21st, 23rd, and 24th two more pieces, several caissons, and two forges were brought into camp from the other side of the river, the enemy having been compelled to leave them here and there through the woods, in the fields, and along the roads, and some 300 stand of small-arms.
On the 27th, four regiments of the brigade, not far from 2,000 strong, crossed the river as guard to three mule teams, for the purpose of obtaining hay, by order of Major-General Morell, commanding division, but nothing of importance occurred, the command returning in the afternoon, having succeeded in safely escorting the three wagons back with small loads of hay.
Nothing save the usual guard and picket duty occurred from this date up to the period calling for the operations of the Second Brigade.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Brigadier-General, Commanding Second Brigade.
Source: OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, Vol 19, Part 1 (Antietam - Serial 27) , Pages 349 - 350