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Lt John N Coffin's Official Report

Report of September 21, 1862

[author biography]


CAMP NEAR SHARPSBURG, MD.,
September 21, 1862.

Captain A. M. COOK,
Commanding Eighth Massachusetts Battery.

SIR: I have the honor to report as follows concerning the movements of my section while temporarily detached from your battery during the action of September 17 near Antietam Creek:

In crossing the stone bridge the battery marched left in front, bringing my section in advance. On the enemy's commencing to shell the ravine, I was ordered to take position about 200 yards in advance of the column, where I was enabled to shell the enemy on our right until they were driven from their position. I was then ordered to advance farther up the road to fire canister. Coming to a turn in the road, I ordered the section to turn to the left and take a position on an elevation about 200 yards to the right of the enemy's guns. I opened on them with canister, discharging both guns to the right, when the enemy disappeared. I then turned my guns to the left against the rebel infantry.

Not deeming the position a good one, I ordered my pieces to be limbered up and take a position on a high eminence overlooking the enemy's infantry, and held this position, my guns telling with terrible effect upon the rebel lines. This position I held until my ammunition was exhausted. I then limbered to the rear and left the field for more ammunition, carrying with me one private, William H. Callinton, wounded in the knee.

I wish to mention favorably especially the chiefs of the two pieces under my command, Sergts. William Davis and Newell B. Allen, who, with the rest of the non-commissioned officers and privates of the section, behaved with the greatest bravery and coolness throughout the engagement.

Very respectfully, yours,

JOHN N. COFFIN,
Senior First Lieutenant.

Source: OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, Vol 19, Part 1 (Antietam - Serial 27) , Page 435

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