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Maj W H McCorkle's Official Report

Report of October 1, 1862 of Sharpsburg and Shepherdstown

[author biography]


OCTOBER 1, 1862

Lieutenant Colonel C. JONES.

SIR: I have the honor herewith to submit reports of the part taken by the Twelfth Regiment in the battles of Sharpsburg and Shepherdstown, on September 17 and 20, respectively:

About 3 p.m. we arrived, with the Second Brigade, on the field of battle. Immediately, by order of Brigadier-General Gregg, skirmishers, under the command of Captain John L. Miller, were thrown out. The position of the enemy being soon ascertained, they were called in, and a line of battle formed of three regiments, to wit, the Thirteenth, Twelfth, and First, the Twelfth being the center and the regiment of direction. In obedience to orders, we advanced to the top of the hill, in the cornfield, and there halted a few moments, when the firing commenced. The enemy now appearing in force on the opposite hill, and at the fence in the intervening ravine, the Twelfth, at once and alone, advanced down the hill and to the fence in front. In this charge we were subjected to a terrible cross-fire in front and from both flanks. After reaching the fence we were compelled to fall back to prevent being flanked on the right, the enemy on the left having been driven back. The enemy, being soon re-enforced, advanced toward us as far as the fence. Now we again charged on them and drove them back a short distance, but were not able to reach the fence, as in the first charge. There being a very heavy flank movement on the right, we again fell back near the top of the hill. Now the enemy advanced over the fence, when the Twelfth, again and for the third time, charged upon them and drove them beyond the fence, with great slaughter, putting them completely to rout as they ran through the plowed ground and up the opposite hill.

In these charges the regiment suffered severely. In the last the loss was very heavy. Here fell Colonel Dixon Barnes, at the head of his regiment, gallantly cheering his men on to victory, and here, also, fell Captain F. A. Erwin and Lieutenant Stover, mortally wounded, both in the midst of their commands. For particulars I refer to list of killed and wounded, marked D.

Colonel Barnes having fallen, I immediately assumed command. I remained at the fence with the regiment until near sundown, when, there being no appearance of the enemy, I fell back to the top of the hill, when I was ordered to the rear of the fence occupied by Colonel Edwards' regiment. Here we remained during the night and until ordered to march on the night of the 18th.

SHEPHERDSTOWN.

On arriving on the battle-field on the morning of the 20th, the Twelfth Regiment was formed into line of battle with the brigade. We were not engaged in the fight, but were under a heavy shelling during the entire day, and particularly while marching to our position. Here, being well protected by a hill, this regiment suffered no loss but in 1 man slightly wounded.

In both the engagements I have great pleasure in testifying to the good conduct of the officers and men of this regiment. They all fought with remarkable gallantry, always ready to advance, and never faltering in any instance, whether under shell or before musketry.

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

W. H. McCORKLE,
Major, Comdg. Twelfth Regiment South Carolina Vols.

Source: OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, Vol 19, Part 1 (Antietam - Serial 27) , Page 996 - 997

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