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Lt Samuel N Benjamin's Official Reports

Reports of September 20, 1862 on South Mountain and Antietam

[author biography]


[ South Mountain ]




SEPTEMBER 20, 1862.

Captain ROBERT A. HUTCHINS,
Assistant Adjutant-General, First Div., Ninth Army Corps.

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to make the following report of the operations of Battery E, Second U. S. Artillery, during the action of South Mountain, Sunday, September 14:

The battery was ordered to report to General Pleasonton at about 8 a. m. After reporting, it was placed in position to the left of the turnpike, on a high knoll, commanding a portion of the pass. We engaged three batteries in the course of the day, one on a knoll to the right of the turnpike, about 2,600 yards from us, the others on the right and left of the pike on the hills. The first two commanded our position, the third we commanded. The first we silenced twice, after which it did not open again. The second and third we fired at to draw the fire from our infantry. We also shelled the wood in several places, and shelled a column far up the pass, apparently with some effect. A detachment of the Seventy-ninth New York Volunteers, temporarily attached to the battery, did their duty well throughout the day. The officers, non-commissioned officers, and privates all behaved well. We had no casualties, no projectiles of any kind coming near us.

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

SAMUEL N. BENJAMIN,
First Lieutenant Second Artillery, Commanding Battery E.

[ Antietam ]



NEAR BLACKFORD'S FORD (ON THE POTOMAC),
SEPTEMBER 20, 1862.

Captain ROBERT A. HUTCHINS,
Assistant Adjutant-General

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to make the following report of the operations of Battery E, Second Artillery (Carlisle's), during the engagement near Sharpsburg on the 16th and 17th instant:

On the 16th instant, on being ordered to the front at about 9 o'clock, the battery was placed in position by Lieutenant-Colonel Getty, Fifth U. S. Artillery. After firing a few shots at bodies of the enemy, we opened on a brigade marching in column toward our right, and soon drove them in confusion into a ravine.

At about 10.30 a. m. the enemy opened fire on us, and on some heavy guns some distance on our right, with ten or twelve pieces. We returned fire, the batteries on the right also returning it, and in about an hour the enemy's batteries were silenced. In the afternoon we changed position, taking position on a knoll some distance to the left, and back from the stone bridge.

On the morning of the 17th we opened fire early on a battery which was shelling General Rodman's division, soon silencing it. Several times during the day we engaged a battery of eight guns to the right of Sharpsburg, each time driving the cannoneers from their guns. We also fired on batteries to the left of the town, to draw their fire from our infantry.

After the firing on the 16th instant I replenished my caissons, and on the morning of the 17th I sent for ammunition, but only received 40 rounds, being all that there was on the train. The battery changed position at about 3 p. m., in order to fire more to the left. Several times in the course of the day we shelled bodies of rebel infantry. At about 5 or 5.30 p. m., the enemy opened with some very heavy guns from their left. I fired my last six rounds at them. After my ammunition was exhausted I remained in position some time.

Two of my horses being killed by their shell, I returned to my first position in order to cover my horses, and, by order of General Burnside, fired blank cartridges to draw the enemy's fire from our infantry.

The men attached to the battery behaved well. Sergeants Keefe, Kaiser, and Ferris, and Corporal Eidleman, managed their guns and detachments well. My officers, Lieutenants Graves and Lord, worked well and faithfully. A detachment of the Seventy-ninth New York Volunteers, temporarily attached to the battery, did their duty coolly and well. On the 16th the firing of the enemy for some time was pretty sharp, but no one was injured. On the 17th we were fired at but little, and without effect, except two horses killed. Private Drimer was accidentally wounded in the hand by a piece of friction-primer. Two guns became unserviceable from the vent-pieces wearing out.

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

SAMUEL N. BENJAMIN,
First Lieutenant Second Artillery, Commanding Battery E.

Source: OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, Vol 19, Part 1 (Antietam - Serial 27) , Pages 435 - 437

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