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Col W H Wallace's Official Reports

Reports of October 1862 on Boonsborough and Sharpsburg

W. H. Wallace

[author biography]


[Boonsborough]



CAMP NEAR WINCHESTER, VA.,
October 21, 1862.

Captain [A. L.] EVANS.

CAPTAIN: In pursuance of orders from brigade headquarters, I have the honor to report that on September 14, while a battle was being fought between the Confederate forces and the enemy on South Mountain, near Boonsborough, in Maryland, the Eighteenth South Carolina Volunteers was placed in position on the left of the turnpike road crossing the mountain from Boonsborough, and near and just beyond the summit of the mountain. Skirmishers were in front of us engaging the enemy, and were slowly retiring toward our line. General Rodes' brigade, some distance to our left, being hard pressed by the enemy, we were, at this juncture, ordered to its support. When the Eighteenth South Carolina volunteers arrived near the right of this brigade, it was discovered to be retiring. Under orders from Colonel Stevens, commanding the brigade, the Eighteenth was then ordered to change front forward on first company and advance, with the view of taking a column of the enemy in flank which was advancing upon the point first occupied by the Eighteenth, and which it had left to go to Rodes' support. A sharp engagement ensued, when, a heavy column of the enemy appearing upon our left flank, and the enemy, continuing to press upon Rodes' brigade, were giving [gaining?] ground toward our rear, the Eighteenth was ordered to face back toward the top of the mountain and form on the right of the Twenty-second South Carolina Volunteers. The enemy advancing, we engaged them in this position until, the troops upon the left giving away, the enemy gained a point form which they enfiladed us again. Where-upon the regiment fell back to the turnpike, where it remained until the march to Sharpsburg began.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully,

W. H. WALLACE,
Colonel Eighteenth South Carolina Volunteers.


[Sharpsburg]



CAMP NEAR WINCHESTER, VA.,
October 17, 1862.

Captain [A. L.] EVANS.

CAPTAIN: In obedience to orders from brigade headquarters to regimental commanders to report the operations of their regiments in the battle for Sharpsburg, I respectfully report:

On the morning of September 17, at daylight, the Eighteenth Regiment South Carolina Volunteers, under my command, was placed by Colonel Stevens, acting Brigadier-General, in a position immediately in front of Sharpsburg and to the left of the [Boonsboro] turnpike leading from Sharpsburg to Antietam Creek, and constituting the extreme left of Major-General Longstreet's corps. Here the regiment remained in supporting distance of a succession of batteries that occupied two hills in its front, and subjected to a heavy fire of shells and shot from the batteries of the enemy until afternoon. Although the men were, to a great extent, sheltered from the fire of the enemy by the brow of the hill below which they were lying, yet several were wounded in this position.

As well as I could judge, about 2 o'clock in the afternoon, Colonel Stevens (acting Brigadier-General), being under the impression that a charge was being attempted by the enemy upon a battery in position on the second hill, immediately in our front, ordered the regiment forward to repel the charge. The regiment moved rapidly by the left flank around the hill upon which they had been lying, and, while ascending the hill upon which the battery was placed that was being charged, formed in line of battle and advanced to the battery, when it was discovered that the battery had succeeded in defending itself and had driven off the enemy.

The regiment then took position close to and immediately upon the left flank of the battery in the edge of a corn-field. After occupying this position but a short time, and the battery having retired under orders from Colonel Stevens, the regiment was deployed as skirmishers, and advanced over the hill to repel the advance of a heavy body of skirmishers thrown forward by the enemy. Our direction of advance was toward the turnpike leading from Sharpsburg toward the bridge across Antietam Creek, and by a rapid movement we gained a rail fence running nearly parallel with the turnpike. This position we held against a very largely superior force of the enemy for a considerable time, when Colonel Stevens, who was upon the left of our line, seeing the left was beginning to suffer severely, ordered the whole line to retreat to a stone fence some distance in our rear and upon the road [Hagerstown Pike] running in a north westerly direction from Sharpsburg. This retreat was accomplished under a sharp fire of musketry and artillery, from which the regiment sustained some damage. Almost immediately the regiment was reduced to a handful of men; was reformed and taken back to the position from which it had been ordered to retreat, and, by the aid of Captain Boyce's battery, held the position until night put an end to the contest.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

W. H. WALLACE,
Colonel Eighteenth South Carolina Volunteers.

Source: OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, Vol 19, Part 1 (Antietam - Serial 27) , Pages 946 - 948

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