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Capt William T Poague's Official Report

Report of September 22, 1862

[author biography]


SEPTEMBER 22, 1862.

Lieutenant THOMAS,
Actg. Asst. Adjt. General, First Brigade, First Division.

LIEUTENANT: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of the battery under my command in the battle of Sharpsburg:

On the evening of the 16th, the battery-consisting of three guns, two 10-pounder Parrotts and one Napoleon, the 6-pounder being on detached service - by order of General Jackson, was placed in position on or near the extreme left of our lines, supported by the First and Second Brigades In a few minutes a battery of the enemy opened fire at about 500 or 600 yards on one of our batteries on the right of the road, which had been engaged in shelling the woods occupied by the enemy's infantry. Upon this battery, fire was opened, and in about twenty minutes it was silenced, our own battery on the right of the road in the mean time having retired. In this affair we were assisted by one gun of some unknown battery.

About 8 p. m. I was ordered to withdraw my guns a short distance in rear of the infantry, and to resume the same position by daylight next morning.

At my request my two Parrott pieces were replaced next morning by two howitzers from Captain Raine's battery. Owing to the nature of the ground, the range was short, and I wished to economize my Parrott ammunition.

Shortly after daylight on the morning of the 17th, the enemy's infantry commenced advancing. The 12-pounder, under Lieutenant [William M.] Brown, in conjunction with Captain Raine's howitzers, opened upon them, and after firing several rounds, and finding themselves within range of the enemy's skirmishers, retired to a position in rear of our infantry, from which they fired until compelled by the musketry of the enemy again to fall back; and there being no other position from which enemy could be reached, they joined their respective batteries. The place occupied by my battery during the night becoming exposed to a cross-fire of the enemy's heavy guns on our right, I moved the battery back and took position on a ridge, so as to command the woods in case our infantry should be compelled to abandon it. Having reported to General Jackson, I was directed to make a reconnaissance along the road to see if the battery could be of any service in that direction; but finding all the eligable positions occupied by other batteries, I proceeded to the position occupied by the First and Second Brigades during the night. I found no infantry here, but a gap of some 200 or 300 yards in our line. Two guns were immediately put in position and fire opened directly to the front on the enemy's line of battle; but soon our infantry on the right fell back, and the enemy advancing along our flank, I withdrew my guns, having no support whatever. Subsequently, when the enemy wa forced to fall back, I was directed to report to General Stuart on the extreme left, and with other guns kept up an advancing fire on the retreating enemy until he found shelter under a number of reserve batteries.

Here several of my men were wounded, and a large proportion of the horses of two of the pieces killed or wounded, rendering the pieces unserviceable. They were at once sent to the rear.

Later in the day I was ordered, with my only remaining piece, to report to General Stuart on the left. Along with six or eight other guns, under the direction of Major Pelham, an attempt was made to dislodge the enemy's batteries, but failed completely, being silenced in fifteen or twenty minutes by a most terrific fire from a number of the enemy's batteries.

The following list exhibits the casualties sustained by the battery: 1 officer and 5 privates wounded, 14 horses killed and wounded, and 3 limber-chests and 1 wheel badly damaged.

All the men and officers acquitted themselves most admirably. I cannot avoid entertaining a feeling of pride in having the command of such men.

Very respectfully, &c.,

WM. T. POAGUE,
Captain Rockbridge Artillery.

Source: OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, Vol 19, Part 1 (Antietam - Serial 27) , Pages 1009 - 1010

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