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Col Daniel H Hamilton's Official Report

Report of September 30, 1862 of Harpers Ferry, Sharpsburg and Shepherdstown

[author biography]


SEPTEMBER 30, 1862

Captain A. C. HASKELL.

CAPTAIN: In obedience to orders from Brigadier-General Gregg, received this date, I herewith beg leave to hand in my report of the part taken by the Twelfth [?] Regiment South Carolina Volunteers in the battles of Manassas, August 29 and 30; battle of Ox Hill, September 1; the capture of Harper's Ferry; the battles of Sharpsburg and Shepherdstown, or Boteler's Ford.

I was not present with my regiment in the three first-named battles, being on sick leave in consequence of a severe and protracted illness, contracted by exposure and fatigue in the battles of June 26, 27, and 30, and July 1, around Richmond; consequently my report of the battles of August 29 and 30 must be prepared from the reports of company officers, there being no field officer at present with the regiment who was on duty with the regiment at that time.

[Portion omitted here is in OR, Series I, Vol. 12, Part 2, Pages 683 - 684.]

At Frederick City, Md., I rejoined my regiment and resumed command of it and am now able to report from my own personal knowledge the part taken by the First Regiment South Carolina Volunteers in the battles of Harper's Ferry, September 15; Sharpsburg, September 17, and Shepherdstown (or Boteler's Ford), September 20.

In reference to that of Harper's Ferry, we were not at all engaged with the enemy, although brought into position to attack them, as they surrendered after a very feeble defense of their position. I would only remark that my little regiment had the honor of receiving the arms of a brigade of the enemy which surrendered to us.

At Sharpsburg on September 17, I am happy to say that my regiment performed much more efficient service, adding largely to its well earned reputation for gallantry. We had scarcely reached the field of battle on the right of our line, when a heavy force of the enemy appeared, with the design of outflanking the Confederate forces which had been engaged previous to our arrival on the scene of action. Immediate and prompt measures were taken by Brigadier-General Gregg to engage the enemy, then so near us. I was thrown forward, and, pressing on over fences and every obstacle, reached a high ridge in a corn-field to find a large force (for my regiment to contend with) moving down upon me and endeavoring to seek such concealment in the corn-field a would enable them to surprise me, but my gallant regiment were too fully alive to the importance of the position which they held, and commenced a deadly fire upon the enemy in the corn-field and on the line of the fence beyond. We had scarcely been fairly engaged, when Major McCreary, who commanded the right wing, came down to inform me that a regiment of the enemy were passing round our flank. I ordered him to throw back the three right companies, in order that a front might be presented to the enemy, and immediately opened fire upon them, cutting them down as fast as they attempted to form on the edge of the corn-field, in the open ground. The fire from my regiment was rapid, and ammunition commenced to fail and the charges to clog in the rifles. In some instances the men were obliged to use stones to hammer the charges down. Just at this time, it was reported to me by one of my officers that another regiment had gained the hill in my rear. This sounded like danger. I looked, but instead of the enemy there floated our own bonny blue flag. The Rifles had come to our assistance, and not one moment too soon, for in a few moments my fire must have ceased for want of ammunition. The enemy soon retired, dark came on, and we slept upon the field of battle.

To say that my regiment (officers and men) behaved well would scarcely be doing them justice. They did all that soldiers may do actuated by courage and steady, good conduct, contending in a noble cause. I cannot particularize officers or men; it would be invidious, and in attempting to praise some I am sure that I should be doing injustice to others.

Our position was maintained until the 18th, when we commenced our march to recross the Potomac, which was effected without molestation from the enemy.

On the 20th the enemy had pushed his skirmishers across the river at Boteler's Ford, near Shepherdstown, W. Va., and at an early hour we were called upon to advance, which was done under a heavy fire of shot and shell from the batteries of the enemy on the other side. My regiment moved steadily forward, regardless of this fire, never for one moment wavering or breaking its line. Our position was attained without casualty, reaching an indentation behind the crest of a hill. We lay for hours subjected to the most deadly fire of artillery, but, beyond a few slight wounds, we escaped without serious injury. I may mention among those wounded was Captain [Lieutenant] D. H. Hamilton, Jr., acting adjutant First Regiment South Carolina Volunteers.

I have the honor to submit report of casualties in the different battles in which the regiment has been engaged since the 29th ultimo, respectively marked A, B, C, D, E, and F.

I am, captain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

D. H. HAMILTON,
Colonel First Regiment South Carolina Volunteers.

Source: OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, Vol 19, Part 1 (Antietam - Serial 27) , Page 991 - 992

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