RICHMOND,VA., December 8, 1862
Maj. G. MOXLEY SORREL,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Longstreet's Corps.
MAJOR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the movements of my division and of the part it performed in the engagements of the campaign in Northern Virginia and Maryland. Serious illness and absence from the field has delayed its appearance till now :
Remaining in position at Ox Hill during the 2d [of September], I marched on the 3d for Leesburg by the Dranesville road, crossing Goose Creek, and reaching that place on the evening of the 4th. On the morning of September 6, I crossed my division into Maryland--now increased to six brigades by the addition of Kemper's brigade, Pickett's brigade (commanded by Brigadier General Garnett), and Jenkins' brigade (commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Walker)--marched through Buckeystown, and encamped on the banks of the Monocacy, marching next day to the Monocacy Junction, and going into camp near Frederick City.
On the morning of the 10th I marched through Boonsborough, Funkstown, and Hagerstown, encamping near the latter place on the Williamsport road on the 12th.
On the 14th I marched on the Frederick road in the direction of that city, hearing heavy firing, leaving Toombs' brigade in command of Hagerstown, and Eleventh Georgia Regiment, of Anderson's brigade, in charge of wagon-train. Halting just beyond Boonsborough, Drayton's and Anderson's brigades were temporarily detached from my command and ordered to report to General D. H. Hill. With my three other brigades present I was ordered by General Longstreet to march to a pass about a mile to the right of the main road, through which the enemy was said to be flanking our army. Reaching the pass and finding the report incorrect, I was directed to bring my brigades as rapidly as possible back to the main road and to the mountain top, and, under orders from General Longstreet, placed Kemper and Garnett, supported by Jenkins' brigade, in position on the ridge to the left of the road and above it. While taking position my troops were exposed to severe shelling, and shortly afterward to a heavy infantry attack in overwhelming numbers. Despite the odds, they held their ground till dark, when, the brigades on my left giving way, they were withdrawn in comparatively good order to the foot of the mountain. The enemy did not pursue his advantage, and our troops were marched to Sharpsburg, which we reached on the morning of the 15th. On this march Anderson's Brigade was assigned to General Hood, to act as a rear guard, and General Toombs, with two regiments of his brigade, joined me, the balance of his brigade having been sent to Williamsport with wagons. My command took possession of the heights in front of and to the right of the town, being the extreme right of our whole line. I ordered General Toombs to defend the bridge over the Antietam Creek in front of me with the Second and Twentieth Georgia Regiments, re-enforced by half a company from Jenkins' brigade and the Fiftieth Georgia regiment, of Drayton's brigade. These re-enforcements took but small part in what ensued, from the nature of their position. The enemy appeared on the opposite side of the creek, and heavy artillery firing was kept up during the day, continuing also the 16th, with but little damage to my command.
Daylight of September 17 gave the signal for a terrific cannonade. The battle raged with intensity on the left and center, but the heavy masses in my front--repulsed again and again in their attempts to force the passage of the bridge by the two regiments before named, comprising 403 men, assisted by artillery I had placed in position on the heights--were unable to effect a crossing, and maneuvered as if about to cross below at some of the numerous fords. My command had been further reduced on the right by detaching Garnett's brigade to the front of the town, leaving me, for the defense of the right, with only Toombs' two regiments, Kemper's, Drayton's, and Walker's brigades.
When it is known that on that morning my entire command of six brigades comprised only 2,430 men, the enormous disparity of force with which I contended can be seen.
About this time the two regiments of Toombs' brigade (Seventeenth and Fifteenth Georgia), which had been left behind, accompanied by five companies of the Eleventh Georgia Regiment, Anderson's brigade, came upon the field, and were at once placed at General Toombs' disposal, to aid in the defense of the bridge, my force before having been too weak to aid him with a single man. Before, however, they could be made available for that purpose, the gallant Second and Twentieth, having repulsed five separate assaults and exhausted their last round of ammunition, fell back, leaving the bridge to the enemy. Meanwhile General A. P. Hill had come up on my right and was effecting a junction with my line, several of his batteries already in position assisting mine in firing on the enemy, now swarming over the bridge. Undeterred, except momentarily, by this fire, the enemy advanced in enormous masses to the assault of the heights. Sweeping up to the crest, they were mowed down by Brown's battery, the heroic commander of which had been wounded but a few moments before. They overcame the tough resistance offered by the feeble forces opposed to them, and gained the heights, capturing McIntosh's battery, of General Hill's command. Kemper and Drayton were driven back through the town. The Fifteenth South Carolina, Colonel De Saussure, fell back very slowly and in order, forming the nucleus on which the brigade rallied. Jenkins' brigade held its own, and from their position in the orchard poured a destructive fire on the enemy. General Toombs, whom I had sent for, arriving from the right with a portion of his brigade and part of the Eleventh Georgia Regiment, was ordered to charge the enemy. This he did most gallantly, supported by Archer's brigade, of Hill's command, delivering fire at less than 50 yards, dashing at the enemy with the bayonet, forcing him from the crest, and following him down the hill.McIntosh's battery was retaken, and, assisted by other pieces, which were now brought up to the edge of the crest, a terrific fire was opened on the lines of the enemy between the slope and the creek, which, finally breaking them, caused a confused retreat to the bridge. Night had now come on, putting an end to the conflict, and leaving my command in the possession of the ground we had held in the morning, with the exception of the mere bridge.
In this day's battle fell Lieutenant-Colonel [William R.] Holmes, Second Georgia, and Colonel [W. T.] Millican, Fifteenth Georgia, dying as brave men should die.
On the morning of the 18th much sharpshooting took place, continuing all day. At 9 p.m. I took up line of march for the Potomac, which river I crossed, taking with me all my artillery, wagons, and material, without any loss whatever, encamping near Shepherdstown, W. Va., on the morning of the 19th.
I have the greatest reason to be satisfied with the officers and men of my command.
To my staff I am particularly indebted. Major Coward, my assistant adjutant-general, displayed on all occasions that cool courage and discrimination which predict for him a brilliant military career. I am much gratified at his well-merited promotion.
Capt. Osman Latrobe, my inspector-general, on all occasions, and particularly at Sharpsburg, conducted himself with distinguished gallantry. Wherever the battle raged hottest, there was he, directing and encouraging the troops. I earnestly recommend his promotion to the rank of major.
Surgeon Barksdale, of my staff, did more than his duty, exposing himself on the field and rendering me valuable assistance.
Capt. Philip B. Jones, jr., volunteer aide on my staff, displayed great gallantry, carrying my orders through the heat of battle.
Capt E. N. Thurston, my ordnance officer, previous to his capture at Ox Hill, carried my orders with great promptness, displaying perfect coolness, on all occasions, when in the face of the enemy.
My regular aide-de-camp, First Lieut. J. W. Ford, during the recent campaign was acting as assistant quartermaster of my division, and discharged the duties of his office to my entire satisfaction.
It affords me pleasure to mention, in the highest terms, the efficiency of Major Moses, my division commissary.
Mr. Charles U. Williams, volunteer aide on my staff, was of much service to me. He was with me throughout the campaign, and never for one moment did he falter in his zeal for the service or in his conspicuous coolness. I heartily recommend him for a commission in the Confederate service.
Capt. H. E. Young, assistant adjutant-general, and Mr. Hugh Bose, volunteer aides for the occasion, served most faithfully, obeying with cool courage and much gallantry all orders given them.
D. R. JONES, Major-General.
Return of casualties in Brig. Gen. D. R. Jones' division, September 14-18, 1862.
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. 19/Part 1 (Ser #27), pp. 885-887 [AotW citation 466]