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LCol Theodore B Gates' Official Reports

Reports of September 1862 on South Mountain and Antietam

T. B. Gates

[author biography]


[South Mountain]



HDQRS. TWENTIETH REGT. NEW YORK STATE MILITIA,
Near Sharpsburg, Md., September 20, 1862.

General M. R. PATRICK,
Commanding Brigade.

GENERAL: I beg leave to submit the following report of the operations of my command at South Mountain:

We marched with the brigade from the south bank of the Monocacy, Frederick, on the morning of the 14th instant, and reached Catoctin Creek about noon. Here we halted for an hour or more, when we were ordered forward, and, passing a short distance beyond the creek on the Great Western turnpike, we turned to the right and followed an obscure road along the foot of South Mountain for a mile, when we turned to the left, and I was ordered by General Patrick to support the Thirty-fifth Regiment New York Volunteers, which was thrown forward and up the mountain side, on the right of the turnpike, as skirmishers. I deployed my regiment, and followed the movement of the line of skirmishers, who advanced over the ridge of the mountain at that point and descended nearly to the turnpike. The skirmishers were recalled, and I was ordered to join the Twenty-first Regiment New York Volunteers with my command, which I did, finding it on the mountain side and about midway between the two roads crossing the mountain in front of Middletown. Forming on the left of the Twenty-first, the two regiments advanced up the mountain side in line of battle, preceded by a line of skirmishers. Arriving near the crest of the mountain, our skirmishers became engaged with the enemy's. Soon afterward the two regiments pushed forward, and, passing over the mountain crest at that point, my regiment passed the line of skirmishers, and poured a volley into the enemy, who were lying behind a fence and in a corn-field. About this time the Fourteenth Regiment New York State Militia marched upon my left and likewise became engaged. The action continued until some time after dark, when firing ceased. During the latter part of the action, the Twenty-sixth New York Volunteers came forward and relieved the Fourteenth, whose right was about 100 feet rear of my left, and, not being advised of my position, fired a volley into my left, supposing it to be the enemy. No injury was sustained, however, and before its repetition I advised the officer commanding the Twenty-sixth of my own position and of that of the enemy. At daylight next morning it was discovered that the enemy had retired, leaving his dead and wounded on the field. I rejoined the brigade by your order the next morning, and soon afterward resumed our march toward Boonsborough.

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

THEODORE B. GATES,
Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding.


[Antietam]



HDQRS. TWENTIETH REGT. NEW YORK STATE MILITIA,
Near Sharpsburg, Md., September 21, 1862.

General M. R. PATRICK,
Commanding Brigade.

GENERAL: I beg leave to submit the following report of the operations at Sharpsburg, in the battle of the 17th instant:

Having been posted with the brigade during the night of the 16th in a piece of woods south of the Williamsport road, and on the right of our line battle, I marched at 6 a. m. on the 17th with the other regiments of the brigade, which advanced in line of battle, and deployed across the fields and through the woods on the left of the road, until we reached a narrow meadow lot between an orchard and a corn-field, in the latter of which the enemy were posted and were keeping up a brisk fire of musketry. We were now in range of their fire. On the right of the road, and a little to the front of our position, were two sections of Battery B, Captain Campbell, posted between some stacks of straw and a barn, and within short range of the enemy's sharpshooters. Your brigade was soon ordered to cross the road and move toward the right.

Having crossed the road, my regiment was detached to support Battery B, which was said to be in great danger. I moved back at a double-quick, and took position with the right wing of my regiment (the whole command did not number 150) in rear of the battery, and ordered the major to advance along the road next to the corn-field with the left wing. The infantry fire was very heavy during all this time, commencing from the corn-field and over a knoll in front of the battery. Major H. [Hardengergh] pushed forward down the road, driving the enemy from the fences and the edge of the corn-field, and supporting the Sixth Wisconsin, which was on his left and in some disorder. For a time the enemy were completely driven from their cover, and in their flight abandoned their battle-flag (the bearer being shot down by Issac Thomas, of Company G), which was brought off by Major H., as was also the regimental colors of the Sixth Wisconsin, which they had been compelled to leave on the field. The Wisconsin regiment falling back, and the enemy advancing, strongly re-enforced, Major H. fell back with his small party to the right wing. The enemy advanced, apparently with the intention of taking the battery, and drove the gunners from their pieces for a time, but the steady fire of my battalion checked and drove them back until the other regiments of your brigade reached the field to my right and front, when the enemy were driven to the left and rear.

The battery being no longer of service here, was removed to the hill on the left of the road, and some half an hour afterward I fell back to a piece of woods on the same side of the road, and subsequently re-joined the brigade.

My loss was 1 officer and 6 men killed, and 3 officers and 37 men wounded.

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

THEODORE B. GATES,
Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding.

Source: OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, Vol 19, Part 1 (Antietam - Serial 27) , Pages 245 - 247

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