HDQRS. ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY-EIGHTH PA. VOLS.,
Camp on Maryland Heights, Md., September 23, 1862.
Colonel J. F. KNIPE,
Commanding First Brigade.
Colonel Croasdale, in command of the One hundred and twenty-eighth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, having been killed, and Lieutenant-Colonel Hammersly so badly wounded as not to be able to attend to the duties, it becomes my duty as next in command to report to you the position and part taken by the regiment in the fight on the 17th instant.
Having been ordered under arms before daylight, we were formed in column of divisions and marched toward the scene of action about 6 o'clock, and when in front of the enemy General Mansfield commanded the colonel to deploy his regiment, but as the regiment was new and inexperienced (having been in existence but five weeks), and being within range of the enemy, who were concealed in a corn field in front of us, about 60 or 70 yards distant, thus bringing us under fire immediately, there was much confusion in accomplishing the movement. Before they could be deployed, in fact very soon after giving the order, Colonel Crosdale was killed by a ball through the head, and about the same time Lieutenant-Colonel Hammersly was wounded in two places in the arm. I endeavored to finish the deployment, but it being the first time the regiment had been under fire, I found it impossible to do so in the excitement and confusion. At the suggestion of Colonel Knipe, of the Forty-sixth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, I ordered the regiment to charge into the corn-field and dislodge the enemy, while the regiment on our right was charging into the woods. They started off in gallant style, cheering as they move, and penetrated the corn field, but, in consequence of the overpowering numbers of the enemy concealed, were compelled to fall back, which they did in tolerable order.
The Forty-sixth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, Colonel Knipe commanding, were on our left and held their position. I attempted, with the assistance of Colonel Knipe and Lieutenant-Colonel Selfridge, of the same regiment, to rally and form my men on their right. While thus employed we were ordered to fall back to the woods, by order of General Williams, and another brigade advanced to relieve us.
I desire here to bear testimony to the bravery and gallantry of Colonel Knipe and Lieutenant-Colonel Selfridge, of the Forty-sixth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, and at the same time thank them for the valuable assistance rendered myself and the officers under me after the fall of Colonel Croasdale.
I have sent in a report of the casualties.
I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,
JOEL B. WANNER
Source: OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, Vol 19, Part 1 (Antietam - Serial 27) , Pages 493 - 494