[Skirmish at Boonsborough]
HEADQUARTERS FIFTH NEW HAMPSHIRE VOLUNTEERS,
Camp near the Battle-field, September 18, 1862.
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report the operations of my regiment on the march in pursuit of the enemy from Middletown Heights on the 15th instant:
On arriving within 1 mile of the village of Boonsborough, my regiment, which formed the rear guard of the division, suddenly received orders to march to the front as soon as possible. We passed the division at double-quick, and on reaching the front received orders from Major-General Richardson to deploy as skirmishers and cover the advance. I therefore threw four companies on each side of the road, keeping two companies in the center. We advanced through the village, taking quite a number of prisoners, and proceeded on the track of the enemy along the road to Sharpsburg. The cavalry of the enemy were soon encountered, and our line advanced, skirmishing briskly, until the enemy were driven over Antietam Creek, and their line of battle discovered. During the day my regiment held the front, exposed to the fire of the enemy's artillery and sharpshooters. The latter we several times drove from their lurking places. We held our ground until 9 o'clock in the evening, when we were relieved, having lost during the day 1 officer and 3 men wounded - all slightly. We killed and wounded at least 12 of the enemy and took 60 prisoners. More might have been taken, but I could not spare the force to pursue them.
The next day four companies of my regiment were sent, under Major Sturtevant, do drive away the enemy's sharpshooters from the upper bridge and prevent the bridge from being burned. Two companies, under Captains Cross and Long, were sent to destroy a dam which backed up the waters of the creek, but were unable to perform this duty for want of tools.
I beg leave to mention particularly Major Sturtevant, Captains Pierce, Murray, Long, Cross, Perry and Crafts, for excellent and skillful conduct while commanding their skirmishers, as they were under fire from a concealed foe for more than ten hours, and they report the conduct of their men as excellent throughout.
E. C. CROSS,
Colonel Fifth New Hampshire.
HEADQUARTERS FIFTH NEW HAMPSHIRE VOLUNTEERS,
On the Battle-field, September 18, 1862.
CAPTAIN: In reference to the part taken by my regiment in the battle of the 17th instant, I have the honor to report that, on arriving at the scene of action, I was ordered forward to relieve one of the regiments of the Irish Brigade, which was done under fire. We then advanced in line of battle several hundred yards and entered a corn-field. While marching by the right flank to gain our position in line of battle, we received a heavy fire of shell and canister-shot, which killed and wounded quite a number of officers and men, a single shell wounding 8 men and passing through the State colors of my regiment.
I had scarcely reached my position on the left of the first line of battle and opened fire, when it was reported that the enemy were cautiously attempting to outflank the entire division with a strong force concealed behind a ridge, and in the same corn-field in which I was posted. They had, in fact, advanced within 200 yards of the left of our lines, and were preparing to charge. I instantly ordered a change of front to the rear, which was executed in time to confront the advancing line of the enemy in their center with a volley at very short range, which staggered and hurled them back. They rallied and attempted to gain my left, but were again confronted and held, until, assistance being received, they were driven back with dreadful loss. In this severe conflict my regiment captured the State colors of the Fourth North Carolina Regiment, Corpl. George Nettleton, of Company G, although wounded, bringing them off the field, displaying great bravery and endurance.
My regiment remained on the battle-field all the remainder of the day, under fire of shot and shell, and picketed the field at night. Throughout the whole time my officers and men exhibited all the qualities of good soldiers, steady, brave, and prompt in action, although the forces of the enemy were more than three to one.
Major Sturtevant, Adjutant Dodd, Captains Pierce, Long, Murray, Cross, Perry, Randlett, and Crafts deserve especial mention for their gallant conduct; also Lieutenants Graves, George, and Bean, each commanding companies, and Lieutenants Livermore, Ricker, and Goodwin.
The following officers were wounded: Colonel Cross (slightly); Captains Long and Randlett; First Lieutenants Graves and Parks; Second Lieutenants Bean, George, Twitchell, Little, and Hurd. Lieutenant George A. Gay, a gallant young officer, was killed. Sergeant-Major Liscomb was also wounded. Of enlisted men, as far as can be ascertained, 107 were killed and wounded. Our wounded were attended to by Drs. Knight, Davis, and Childs as rapidly and as well as possible, and were all made very comfortable.
EDWARD E. CROSS,
Colonel Fifth New Hampshire Volunteers.
Source: OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, Vol 19, Part 1 (Antietam - Serial 27) , Pages 287 - 288