HDQRS. TWELFTH REGT., PENNSYLVANIA RESERVE CORPS,
Camp on the Potomac, October 2, 1862.
Lieut. GEORGE H. BEMUS,
Actg. Asst. Adjt. Gen., Third Brig., Pennsylvania Reserve Corps.
SIR: In compliance with general orders I make the following report of the part the Twelfth Regiment, Pennsylvania Reserve Corps, took in the engagement of September 14, at South Mountain, Md., commanded by Capt. Richard Gustin:
The regiment arrived at the base of the mountain about 4 p. m. As soon as General Hooker had discovered the position of the enemy by shelling, the Third Brigade was ordered into line of battle in view of the enemy, posted in hidden position on the mountain. During the time the line was being formed the regiment was exposed to shell and canister from a rebel battery on the hill, which fortunately did but little execution. At the command "advance" the Twelfth Regiment, on the left of the brigade, marched forward, crossed a small ravine and entered the mountain, under fire of the enemy, who could not be seen until we had come into close quarters. The regiment went on up the mountain without halting. The progress was slow on account of the steepness of the hill and the rocks, logs, and brush with which the ground was covered. The firing was incessant on both sides, the rebels yielding the ground only when routed out of their hidden positions by the balls and bayonets of our men. The musketry was constant from the base to the top of the mountaic. The regiment was somewhat broken when it arrived at the top of the mountain, in consequence of the roughness of the ground and the weariness of the men. The casualties in this engagement were 6 men killed, 1 officer (Lieut. Edward Kelly), and 18 men wounded.
Antietam: Leaving our bivouac on the hill above Keedysville, Md., on the afternoon of the 16th, the Twelfth Regiment, under command of Capt. Richard Gustin, crossed the Antietam with the Third Brigade, Pennsylvania Reserve Corps, marching toward the right of the general battle line (occupied by General Hooker's corps). We reached the wood near the enemy's pickets where our regiment staid all night, occupying the extreme left of the brigade. During the night we threw out a full regimental front of picket guards, who maintained their posts until early dawn, when they were withdrawn. In the forepart of the night the enemy kept up a terrific shower of shot and shell, which fortunately did no injury to our regiment other than a few slight wounds from flying splinters and stones. On the morning of the 17th, about daylight, we were ordered to advance in close column by division obliquely to the right through the woods, when we changed direction to the left, coming into an open field and to the top of a hill, where we again deployed into line of battle in front of a corn-field occupied by the enemy. Here we replied to their fire, which began to take effect on our ranks, and advanced firing to a fence, behind which we took position, keeping up a constant musketry until an enfilading fire from one of our brigades on the left caused the enemy to waver. We then crossed the fence, advanced to the top of the hill in full view of the enemy under a terrible fire, which killed and wounded nearly one-half the command, a position which our men gallantly held until ordered to fall back. Being relieved at the foot of the hill, we marched back and to a position in the rear designated by General Meade, where the division was reassembled. Our loss in this action was 13 men killed, 1 officer (Lieut. Samuel J. Cloyd) and 47 men wounded, 3 of them mortally. The color-bearer, D. H. Graham, Company E, was killed, and the guard all wounded, one of whom, after he was wounded in two places, dragged the torn flag from the field. Too much praise cannot be given to both officers and men for their gallant conduct in these engagements. They fairly won their portion of the field.
Very respectfully submitted.
A. J. BOLAR,
Captain, Comdg. Twelfth Regt., Pennsylvania Reserve Vol. Corps.
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. 154-155 [AotW citation 147]