HDQRS. FIRST BATTALION, SEVENTEENTH INFANTRY
Camp near Shepherdstown, W. Va., September 24, 1862.
Lieutenant E. E. SELLERS,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General, Second Brigade, Sykes' Division.
LIEUTENANT: I have the honor to report that, on the 20th instant, the battalion under my command advanced with the brigade across the Potomac River, and, after crossing, was instructed to act as support to the Eleventh Infantry, who were to be deployed as skirmishers.
Having advanced nearly 2 miles from the ford, the enemy was discovered in considerable force, and I was ordered to take position in line of battle in a corn-field on the west side of the road. Immediately after taking this position, I discovered a strong line of the enemy's skirmisher immediately in my front, extending beyond my right flank, and followed at a short distance by a large force in line of battle. Upon reporting these facts, I was ordered to fall back quietly, and again take position on the first favorable ground. This I did, when the enemy advancing more rapidly, and in a manner to soon outflank the battalion, I was again ordered to retire, and finally took a third position under the edge of the bluffs on the south banks of the river.
I remained here some time, the enemy continually advancing in a way to turn my right flank, but apparently without discovering my position, as the attention of their skirmishers appeared to be occupied exclusively by the other battalions of the brigade, who were on the east side of the road and upon whom they opened fire. I was unable to fire upon them to any extent, as on my left they were almost entirely concealed by the timber, and on my right some distance in front a line of skirmishers from some of our volunteer troops at that moment made their appearance.
I soon received word that the rest of the brigade was retiring across the river, and, going to the top of the hill on my way toward my left, I noticed a line of battle of our own troops rise as it were out of the ground to my right, and where I had before observed a line of our skirmishers. Continuing my course toward my left, I met the acting assistant adjutant-general of the brigade, with orders for me to retire and place my command on the opposite of the river a speedily as possible. Marching the battalion in line of battle, faced by the rear rank until we reached the bottom of the hill, I then moved out by the left flank, and crossed the river under a brisk fire of musketry, without the loss of a man and with but one man slightly wounded, and took up position in line of battle within the timber on the north of the river, and in which position I still remain.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
GEORGE L. ANDREWS,
Major Seventeenth Infantry, Commanding.
Source: OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, Vol 19, Part 1 (Antietam - Serial 27) , Pages 366 - 367