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Capt Hiram Dryer's Official Report

Report of Sepember 25, 1862

[author biography]

CAMP NEAR SHARPSBURG, MD.,
September 25, 1862.

Second Lieutenant WILLIAM H. POWELL,
Adjutant Fourth Infantry, Acting Asst. Adjt. General

SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part that the Fourth Regiment of Regular Infantry took in the battle of Antietam, on Tuesday and Wednesday, the 16th and 17th instant:

At about 7 o'clock a.m. of the 16th, I received an order from Colonel Buchanan to march the regiment down to take possession of and hold the [Middle] bridge on the turnpike over the Antietam, distant from where we had bivouacked for the night about 600 yards. On arriving within 200 yards of the bridge, we passed the last of the pickets belonging to the Third Infantry, which were posted behind a stone wall in an orchard to the left of the pike.

I here detached Lieutenant Buell, temporarily commanding Company G, with his company, with orders to advance rapidly on the bridge, which was done without opposition. I marched the remainder of the regiment down, and made the following disposition of them: Companies B, G, K, and I were thrown across the bridge, and posted under cover of a large barn on the left of the pike and under the bank on the right, where we remained quiet for two or three hours, when it was discovered that the enemy was advancing on our position with his pickets on both sides of the turnpike. Companies G and K were thrown out as skirmishers, one to the right and the other to the left of the pike, with orders to hold the enemy's pickets in check, if possible. It was about this time that the enemy commenced a vigorous shelling of our position and the batteries, on the heights in our rear, which lasted but a short time and did but little damage, wounding 1 sergeant, 1 corporal, and 3 privates, 2 of whom were wounded by the enemy's skirmishers.

The regiment was relieved by the First Battalion, Twelfth Infantry, about sundown, and we returned to our old ground to bivouac for the night. We remained on this ground until about 2 o'clock on Wednesday, when General Sykes gave me an order to cross the Antietam with the Fourth and First Battalion of the Fourteenth, and to take command of all the regular infantry of his division on that side of the creek, consisting in all of the Second and Tenth, commanded by Lieutenant Poland; Fourth, and First Battalion Twelfth, Captain Blunt; First Battalion Fourteenth, Captain Brown; and Second Battalion Fourteenth Captain McKibbin, and support certain batteries which were then under the command of General Pleasonton, and to dislodge the enemy from certain hay-stacks in a field on the right of the pike.

On arriving on the right of Lieutenant Poland's command, which was deployed as skirmishers, with his right resting on the pike and near the crest of the hill that the batteries occupied, I ordered him to advance with his skirmishers to the left and front, and to take possession of some hay-stacks situated in a field about 150 yards to the front and about 400 yards to the left of the pike. I at the same time directed Lieutenant Carlton to deploy the three leading companies of the Fourth, G, I, and K, to the right of the pike, with his left resting on the pike and to advance near the crest of a hill, about 250 yards to the front, using the remaining five companies of the regiment as his support. I then ordered Captain Brown to march his battalion of the Fourteenth in line of battle under cover of a hill, and Lieutenant Poland's skirmishers to a fence near a lane running at right angles with the pike, where he halted and put his men under cover.

I there received an order from Colonel Buchanan to draw in my pickets, which I did about 75 yards, putting my whole line under cover, where we remained until near sundown, when we received an order to return to the other side of the Antietam, which we accomplished about 7.30 o'clock, carrying in our dead and wounded.

The following is a list of the officers present with the regiment during the engagement: Captain Hiram Dryer, commanding regiment; Asst. Surg. J. R. Gibson, medical department; First Lieutenant Caleb H. Carlton, Company A, acting field officer; First Lieutenant Abner R. Benedict, commanding Company B; First Lieutenant Thomas A. Martin, commanding Company H; First Lieutenant Alexander Carolin, commanding Company H; First Lieutenant Alexander Carolin, commanding Company F; First Lieutenant Avery B. Cain, commanding Company I; First Lieutenant John L. Buell, commanding Company G; Second Lieutenant Alexander E. Sheldon, commanding Company A; Second Lieutenant Robert P. McKibbin, commanding Company K; Second Lieutenant George M. Randall, commanding Company C; Second Lieutenant Henry W. Patterson, Company D, acting adjutant; Second Lieutenant Samuel T. Crowley, Company F; Second Lieutenant George S. Williams, Company I.

Very respectfully,

HIRAM DRYER,
Captain Fourth Infantry, Commanding Regiment.

Source: OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, Vol 19, Part 1 (Antietam - Serial 27) , Pages 356 - 357

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