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LCol Franklin Sawyer's Official Report

Report of September 18, 1862

F. Sawyer

[author biography]

ON THE FIELD, NEAR ANTIETAM CREEK, MD.,
September 18, 1862.

Brigadier General NATHAN KIMBALL,
Commanding First Brigade.

SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the killed and wounded of the Eighth Regiment Ohio Volunteers, and of the part taken by the regiment in the battle, on this field, of yesterday:

We left our bivouac on the east side of the creek with your brigade early on the morning of the 17th, and, moving in our proper position in the line, forded Antietam Creek and deployed in line of battle on the hills, our position being to the left of the Fourteenth Indiana. So soon as the line was formed, by your order we moved directly to the front and upon the enemy, who appeared to be masked behind fences, corn-fields, and in ditches on the crests of a series of ridges. We gained the position assigned us under a perfect storm of the enemy's balls and shell, where, in connection with the other regiments of your brigade and French's division, we maintained, from 9 o'clock a. m. until near 1 p. m., our position under a most sanguinary fire of musketry and shell. The enemy were within 20 rods of our position in strong force, and were repeatedly re-enforced during the action, and had, besides, the advantage of considerable cover at points very near us. The position of the Fourteenth Indiana and the Eighth Ohio was greatly exposed, and the battle raged along our lines with such fury as to threaten our annihilation, but not a man faltered or fell back. Our ammunition being exhausted, the cartridge-boxes of the dead and wounded were rifled to supply our arms.

The enemy were finally driven from our front, but the lines to the right of the Fourteenth Indiana giving way, the enemy undertook to turn that flank, but the Fourteenth Indiana and Eighth Ohio rapidly and gallantly changed their front, and drove the enemy back with great slaughter. At this time, other troops going to the front, by your order I brought off the Eighth to replenish its ammunition, and then took position with the brigade to the right. We were not again engaged during the day, but were constantly annoyed, and suffered some from the enemy's shell, which continued to fall among us until dark.

During the entire engagement my officers and men behaved with the utmost bravery and gallantry; not a man gave way. Our colors received seventeen balls, but were never once depressed during the storm of battle. Major Winslow and Lieutenant David Lewis, acting adjutant, were constantly at their posts, and performed their whole duty. All my officers and men who were present deserve especial mention, but as they fought under your own eye it is unnecessary now. Our record of losses is a long and sad one. We went into action with 17 officers and 324 men, of whom 2 officers were killed and 7 wounded. Of the noncommissioned officers and privates, 30 were killed and 122 wounded, and 5 missing, probably killed. Appended hereto is a list of the killed and wounded, name and company; also the name of Corpl. W. W. Larner, killed the day previous.

I have the honor to be, sir, your most obedient servant,

FRANKLIN SAWYER,
Lieutenant-Colonel Eighth Ohio Volunteers, Commanding.

Source: OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, Vol 19, Part 1 (Antietam - Serial 27) , Pages 329 - 330

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