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Capt. Samuel B. Dick's Official Reports

Reports of September and October 1862 of Turner's Gap and Antietam

[author biography]

[Turner's Gap/South Mountain]

HDQRS. NINTH REGT., PENNSYLVANIA RESERVE CORPS,
Camp near Sharpsburg, Md., September 21, 1862.

Lieut. GEORGE H. BEMUS,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.

SIR: I have the honor to forward herewith the report of the part taken by the Ninth Regiment whilst under my command in the battle of the 14th instant:

The regiment moved forward on the right of the Third Brigade, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Anderson, until we had gained a point about midway down the hill, when owing to the wounds Colonel Gallagher, commanding brigade, had received (compelling him to retire from the field), he turned the command of the brigade over to Lieutenant-Colonel Anderson. The command of the regiment devolving on me, I continued to advance my regiment under a heavy fire until we had gained a stone fence near the foot of the hill, which we used as a breastwork to fire from. I remained there about twenty minutes, directing the fire of my regiment toward a log-house in the hollow, from which point we were receiving a heavy fire. I then ordered an advance, when we surrounded the house and took its inmates prisoners, numbering some fifteen men. My ammunition by this time was about exhausted, which fact I reported to Lieutenant-Colonel Anderson, commanding brigade, who immediately ordered the Tenth Regiment, which had been held in reserve, to advance at double-quick to my relief, and ordered me to halt at that point for ammunition. I halted and endeavored to collect my men, who were much scattered from the broken nature of the ground we had been occupying, and found I had upward of 100 prisoners. By this time the Tenth had driven the enemy over the mountain, and I remained at that point gathering in prisoners and collecting arms, &c., until dusk, when the firing had altogether ceased on my front. Lieutenant Bemus then rode forward and informed me that a fresh brigade had gone in to relieve us. Being much encumbered by my prisoners, I determined on going back to the top of the hill to turn them over to the provost guard, which I accordingly did, and while reforming my regiment General Meade rode up and ordered me back to the mountain. I started up the road again, and it being intensely dark, and having no guide, I wandered on until I came to General Seymour's pickets, where I halted and reported to General Seymour, who directed me to remain where I was to support Captain Ransom's battery. I accordingly bivouacked where I was until morning, when I rejoined the balance of the division on the top of the mountain. The officers and men all behaved with the greatest gallantry during the entire engagement, and injustice would be done unless mentioning all of them. Full lists of the casualties have already been forwarded.*

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, &c.,

SAML. B. DICK,
Captain, Commanding.


[Antietam]

HDQRS. NINTH REGT., PENNSYLVANIA RESERVE CORPS,
Camp near Sharpsburg, Md., October [2], 1862.

Lieut. GEORGE H. BEMUS,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.

SIR: I have the honor to forward herewith the report of the part taken by my regiment in the actions of September 16 and 17:

We moved from our camp near Keedysville about 3 p. m. on the Williamsport road, following the First and Second Brigades. After crossing Antietam Creek we moved on nearly two miles, when we left the road, taking into the fields to the left, where we closed in mass by column of division. We then moved forward following the preceding brigades until the enemy's pickets were met and driven in by the First Brigade. We continued our advance toward a piece of woods in our front, when we were opened on by the enemy's batteries from a hill on our right. I was directed to flank my regiment and move at double-quick into the shelter of the woods, forming in line of battle on the right of the Second Brigade. The Tenth Regiment being now on my right flank, facing the Sharpsburg and Hagerstown turnpike, I threw out three companies on picket to the outer edge of the wood, connecting with the picket of the Tenth on the turnpike and within 300 yards of the enemy's battery. All remained quiet on my line until 5 a. m., when I again received orders to mass my regiment in column of division and move forward in the rear of King's division. Having arrived at the outer edge of the woods I was again halted, but owing to the enemy's battery on the right having obtained our range I was again withdrawn into the woods. After remaining here a few moments I was moved by the left flank until we had cleared the woods, when I again moved to the front toward a corn-field, where a portion of King's division was hotly engaging the enemy. I formed my line of battle close to the fence and instructed my men to lie down and await orders. We had not been long in this position when I discovered the New York Fourteenth coming out of the corn in some confusion, hotly pursued by the enemy. We held our fire until the enemy had advanced to within twenty-five yards of us, when we delivered the entire volley of the regiment, driving them back in confusion. General Gibbon then ordered me to advance through the corn, as his brigade was on my right. I advanced and continued driving the enemy out of the corn, capturing two stand of their colors, which have already been forwarded to headquarters, until we came to the outer edge of the field, where we remained firing at a new brigade of the enemy who were advancing through the open field. My ammunition by this time was running very low and we were compelled to empty the cartridge-boxes of our dead and wounded to gain a supply. Colonel Anderson then informed me he would try and get a regiment to come and relieve me, but before his return I was informed that the regiments on my left had fallen back, whilst the right had been gone for some time; and as my men were dropping very fast and their ammunition exhausted I was compelled very reluctantly to fall back or be cut to pieces by the new troops advancing against me. I withdrew my regiment and formed it in a gully to the rear of the corn-field, where I remained until I was ordered still farther to the rear, where I met General Meade, who directed me to form my regiment along a line of fence to the rear of Cooper's and Simpson's batteries, where we received ammunition and remained the balance of the day without being again engaged. I have again to speak of the gallant and able support I had from all the officers of the regiment present, and also of the magnificent fighting of the few men I had, who remained in the field without any urging until nearly half of them were killed and wounded, and finally falling back in the coolest manner possible, ready and willing to go in again if necessary. I have also to mention the able services of Surgeon Phillips and his assistants and their care of our wounded, working night and day until all had been cared for before they thought of rest for themselves. Full lists of the casualties have already been forwarded.**

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, &c.,

SAML. B. DICK,
Captain, Commanding.



* See Vol. XIX, Part I, p. 186.           ** See Vol. XIX. Part I, P. 191.

Source: OR1





Notes

1   US War Department, The War of the Rebellion: a Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies (OR), 128 vols., Washington DC: US Government Printing Office, 1880-1901, Vol. 51/Part1 (Ser #107), pp. 149-151  [AotW citation 138]

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