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LCol James M Perrin's Official Reports

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

[author biography]


[Harpers Ferry]



GREGG'S BRIGADE, LIGHT DIVISION,
September 30, 1862.

COLONEL: In obedience to orders, I submit the following report of the part taken by the First South Carolina Rifles, under my command, at the battle of Harper's Ferry:

This engagement with the enemy was conducted mostly by artillery. The First South Carolina Rifles only held position with the brigade, and was not actually engaged.

On Sunday evening the brigade, with other troops of the division, advanced down the Harper's Ferry and Winchester Railroad. The regiment, with the brigade, by daylight on Monday morning, had ascended Bolivar Heights and taken position between the enemy and the Shenandoah River. Shortly after we had taken this position, our various batteries opened fire, and in a short time the enemy surrendered.

We had no one killed or wounded in this action. I herewith submit detailed reports of the number of men taken into action, with a list of those who absented themselves without leave.

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

JAS. M. PERRIN,
Lieutenant-Colonel First South Carolina Rifles.

[Inclosure.]

Statement of the strength of First South Carolina Rifles in the battle of Harper's Ferry, September 15.

Field and staff............................................. 3
Officers.................................................... 9
Non-commissioned officers and privates......................221
                                                            ----
Total.......................................................233


[Sharpsburg]



GREGG'S BRIGADE, LIGHT DIVISION,
September 30, 1862.

Colonel J. W. LIVINGSTON,
First South Carolina Rifles.

COLONEL: I herewith submit the following report of the action of the First South Carolina Rifles, under my command, in the battle of Sharpsburg:

The brigade reached the battle-field about 3 o'clock in the afternoon, and immediately afterward our line was formed. I was ordered to advance my regiment across the corn-field in front on the right of Colonel Hamilton, First South Carolina Volunteers, who had preceded me by a few minutes. The regiment advanced across the field in good order, moving rapidly, as Colonel Hamilton, on our left, had already engaged the enemy. So soon as we ascended to the crest of the hill in our front, we discovered a regiment of the enemy who had succeeded in turning Colonel Hamilton's right, and were delivering a destructive fire on his flank. Our advance was such as to completely turn the left flank of this regiment. We delivered a destructive volley into it before our presence seemed to be realized. The first volley was followed by a sharp fire from our side, which the enemy at first, attempted to return; but so great was the confusion caused by our fire, this large, well-equipped regiment failed to rally, broke and fled from the field in the utmost confusion, leaving their guns, knapsacks, and dead and wounded in large numbers on the field. We succeeded in capturing 11 prisoners, among them Captain Bowen, of Rhode Island, who had been slightly wounded in the action.

In the engagement I am happy to report the uniform good conduct of both officers and men. Early in the action the color-bearer (Malone, of Company B) was shot down. The standard was caught up by Private Clinkscales, of Company D, and borne through the fight. I also received a slight wound in the throat, which, fortunately, did not disable me from continuing in command.

During the latter part of the engagement the regiment was much annoyed by the enemy's sharpshooters on the hill to our right. In order to save the command from the fire, I ordered Captain Robertson, of Company B, who occupied the right of the regiment, to detach his company and take such position as would enable him to dislodge them and silence their fire. This order was promptly and effectively obeyed, and we were thus for a time saved from this annoyance.

The battle closed a little before sundown. The regiment held the battle-field, and, with the killed and wounded of the enemy around us, we awaited orders. About this time General Gregg, in person, rode in front of our line and ordered me to hold the position which I had gained. We slept on the field, having secured our lines by a strong picket guard, under the immediate command of Captain Miller, of Company G.

In this engagement we had only 1 man killed with-wounded, most of them slightly. This inconsiderable loss, in my judgment, is attributable to the prompt and effective fire of the regiment.

During the day (Thursday) we held our position of the night previous. In the morning I found the enemy had placed his sharpshooters under cover of a fence on our right and in front. We were annoyed by this fire during the day. As I had received orders early in the morning to do nothing to bring on a general engagement, I refrained from any attempt to dislodge them. During this day I had 1 man killed.

At 11 o'clock Thursday night I was ordered to call in my pickets and silently retire from the field, which I successfully did, after having held it for near thirty-six hours.

In this engagement I acknowledge my indebtedness to the officers of the regiment for the vigor and promptness with which they carried out my orders, and to the men for the spirit with which they executed them.

I herewith inclose reports of the strength of the regiment as it went into action, with a list of the killed and wounded. It is also my unpleasant duty to inclose a list as disgraceful and infamous as the other is honorable and glorious. There are those who bear the name of soldier who have deserted their colors and their comrades in the hour of danger,who have cowardly failed to participate in the glorious achievements which will make a name for the regiment and adorn the State from which we came. I herewith inclose a list of those who were absent from this battle without the proper leave.

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

JAS. M. PERRIN,
Lieutenant-Colonel First South Carolina Rifles.

[Inclosure.]

Statement of the strength of First South Carolina Rifles in the battle of Sharpsburg September 17.

Field and staff.............................................. 3
Officers..................................................... 8
Privates and non-commissioned officers....................... 183
                                                             -----
Total........................................................ 194

JAS. M. PERRIN,
Lieutenant-Colonel First South Carolina Rifles.



[Shepherdstown]



GREGG'S BRIGADE, LIGHT DIVISION,
September 30, 1862.

Colonel J. W. LIVINGSTON,
First South Carolina Rifles.

COLONEL: In obedience to your orders, I herewith submit the following report of the part taken by the First South Carolina Rifles, under my command, in the battle of Shepherdstown, on September 20:

In the line of battle, the First South Carolina Rifles formed on the right of the brigade. Before advancing, by order of General Gregg, I detached four companies from the regiment to cover the front of the brigade, as skirmishers. This force I placed under the immediate command of Captain [W. M.] Hadden, of Company A. He deployed his line and advanced, soon engaging and driving in the enemy's line of pickets, after a sharp encounter. The firing along our line of skirmishers becoming continuous, I was ordered to advance the remaining six companies of my command to a position from which I could support my skirmishers, should they need aid. I advanced my line down the road leading to the ford, moving by the left flank, under a very heavy fire from the enemy's batteries on the opposite side of the river. This fire became so severe, as a matter of safety I found it necessary to deploy the regiment at short intervals to the right and left of the road, advancing in this order until I could communicate with Captain Hadden, who was keeping up a continuous fire in my front. This advance was made in fine style and good order, under the most trying fire of shell and shot I have ever experienced. I found that Captain Hadden had secured a most eligible position, commanding the field over which the enemy were attempting to cross to the Maryland side, having been routed by our forces on our left. The fire of our skirmishers must have been very destructive, as they were within easy range, and fired at a confused mass hurrying across the river to a place of safety. Some of the men in this engagement fired as many as 25 rounds. The enemy, by his artillery and sharpshooters, attempted to drive in our skirmishers and control the ford. The effort, however, proved ineffectual.

In the afternoon, General Gregg, in person and alone, made a reconnaissance of the enemy's position, passing down the road very near to the ford. Having discovered the enemy still escaping in squads across the river, he directed Captain Hadden to take position with a part of his force, still nearer the ford, and in obedience to his order, I directed Captain Miller to advance four companies farther down the road to the right, in order to protect him. Both of these orders were executed promptly and with spirit. The positions had only been taken when we were relieved by a company of cavalry acting as infantry, and our forces ordered to return. I led the regiment out in safety, it having, through the whole day, most wonderfully escaped from the many shells that exploded all around us. In this action I am happy to report that we lost no one killed and only 2 men slightly wounded.

In this, as in the battle of Sharpsburg, I can but express my entire satisfaction with the spirit and bravery manifested by officers and men. To Captain Hadden I am indebted for the skill and courage which he displayed in the management of his skirmishers. To my adjutant (Lieutenant Higgins, of Company G) I am also greatly indebted for the alacrity and coolness with which he extended my orders and bore my messages to the general under the heavy fire to which we were exposed.

I herewith submit statements of the strength of the regiment in action, with the names of the wounded. I also submit a list of those who were absent from their commands without leave.

JAS. M. PERRIN,
Lieutenant-Colonel First South Carolina Rifles.

[Inclosure.]

Statement of the strengthen of First South Carolina Rifles in the battle of Shepherdstown.

Field and staff............................................. 3
Commissioned officers....................................... 8
Non-commissioned officers and privates...................... 197
                                                             ----
Total....................................................... 208

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

JAS. M. PERRIN,
Lieutenant-Colonel First South Carolina Rifles.

Source: OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, Vol 19, Part 1 (Antietam - Serial 27) , Page 993 - 996

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