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Capt George W Cothran's Official Report

Report of September 18, 1862

[author biography]

ON THE BATTLEFIELD,
Near Keedysville, Md., September 18, 1862.

Captain H. B. SCOTT,
Actg. Asst. Adjt. General, General Gordon's Brigade.

CAPTAIN: About 9 a. m., on the 17th instant, I was ordered to proceed with my battery to the front. I arrived at the scene of action while the contest was raging the fiercest, and took the most favorable position I could in the open field to the right of the woods, near the center of our line of battle. My battery was supported by the One hundred and seventh Regiment New York Volunteers, Colonel R. B. Van Valkenburgh. I maintained my position - a very important one - from 9 a. m. until near 1 p. m., when I was relieved by a battery sent for that purpose by General Franklin, who just came up with his command.

When I gave way our last shot had been fired. Twice the enemy attempted to charge us in front, but we drove them back each time, without calling upon our support to rise from the ground or to fire a gun.

During the whole time we occupied our position we were subjected to a galling fire from the enemy's infantry and artillery. The enemy were frequently within canister range, when we used canister upon them freely and with telling effect. During the day's engagement two batteries opened fire upon us, which were soon silenced, and when we retired from the field for ammunition the enemy's fire was slow and irregular. I have just returned from the scene of yesterday's conflict, and I found the ground where we fired canister literally strewn with the enemy's dead. Our fire was very destructive to the enemy.

Our loss consisted of 1 corporal and 5 men wounded. We also lost 4 horses killed. My officers and men behaved with the utmost coolness, and manfully worked the guns amidst the utmost terrific musketry. But two of my officers (Second Lieutenants Hodgkins and Robinson) were with me, and they were very courageous and efficient.

The One hundred and seventh Regiment New York volunteers, Colonel R. B. Van Valkenburgh, is entitled to great credit for both coolness and courage, and the admirable manner in which it supported my battery during the fight. This being the first time this regiment was under fire, I most cheerfully bear testimony to the excellent bearing of both officers and men while occupying the uncomfortable position of being the recipients of the enemy's fire while they were unable to return it.

I am, with great respect, your obedient servant,

GEO. W. COTHRAN,
Captain Battery M, First New York Artillery.

[Indorsement.]

HEADQUARTERS FIRST DIVISION, BANKS' CORPS,
Sandy Hook, September 20, 1862.

In forwarding the within report of Captain Cothran of the action of his battery during the severe contest of the 17th instant, near Sharpsburg, I take great pleasure in bearing testimony to the gallant conduct and efficient service of this battery in action. From the most unimpeachable testimony, I am convinced that this battery, unaided by its supports, kept at bay a furious but futile charge of the enemy. In this, as in many other cases, Captain Cothran has shown what a judicious artillerist can accomplish when he devotes himself to the service of his country and throws himself energetically into the discharge of his duties.

GEO. H. GORDON,
Brigadier-General, Commanding First Division.

Source: OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, Vol 19, Part 1 (Antietam - Serial 27) , Pages 482 - 483

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