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Capt. Emory Upton's Report

Report of September 26, 1862

E.B. Williston

[author biography]

Headquarters Artillery Brigade,
Maj. Genl. Slocum's Division, 6th Corps

Sep. 26, '62.

SIR : I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by the artillery of the Division in the Battle of Antietam.

Arriving near the field ... we halted until the infantry had formed on the ground previously occupied by Maj. Genls. Meade and Sumner -- it was then brough forward to the wood occupied by our troops.

About half past 2 p.m. I was ordered by Maj. Genl. Slocum to post the batteries and to commence shelling the wood about 600 yards in our [front], which was reported to be filled with the enemy.

Williston's battery (light twelves) was posted nearly within canister range of the wood and on the left of the road intersecting the turnpike at the brick school house [Dunkard Church]. Wolcott's battery (3-in. Ordnance) was on the right of this road, about 300 yards retired. Porter's battery (light twelves) was placed on Walcott's right. Williston, as soon as in position, commenced shelling the wood. He was soon replied to by a rebel rifled battery, which was beyond his range. Relieved by Hexemer's battery 10-pdr. Parrots. ... fire upon the enemy's battery and by the ... and accuracy of his fire drove them from the field, in about 20 minutes. Another battery attempted to come into position, but retired under ... without unlimbering. About 4 p.m. ... was ordered to Gen. Hancock. I saw nothing more of his [battery during] the day.

An ... from the enemy being apprehended, ... Williston to occupy his former position. He was attacked by a battery near the position of the first. He fired his longest fuses (5 seconds) but all his shells burst short, and with the greatest elevation his round shot also fell short. I therefore replaced him with Walcott's battery (rifled), which maintained the contest until dark, when the enemy was silenced or moved on.

About 5.30 p.m. I rode to the left of Col. Irving's [Irwin's] brigade and there saw a rebel regiment drawn up in a line of battle and that could be enfiladed from that position. I ordered forward four of Walcott's guns; before he could get them into position, the enemy withdrew from his original position and approached to within 700 yards. Walcott maintained a steady and effective fire on them until relieved by Williston's light twelves. Williston opened fire with spherical [case] and soon drove the rebels from the field. [Colonel Irwin] in his official report speaks in the highest terms of both batteries. He claims that their timely arrival [prevented an] attack upon our lines. After dark all the [batteries were] withdrawn except Capt. Porter's, which [remained in position] during the night.

The fire of the artillery [from my own] observation and what I could learn from others was very effective. The commanders of batteries, Captains Hexamer and Wolcott and Lt. Williston, displayed great coolness and judgement in maneuvering their batteries and delivering their fire. They all speak in the highest terms of the conduct of their officers and men.

I would recommend to your notice as being in the regular service 1st Lt. E. Williston, coms'g. Co. D, 2nd Arty., and 2nd Lieuts. H. Borrowe and C.N. Warner. I can bear witness to their coolness and gallantry when exposed to both heavy infantry and artillery fire. Lt. Robert S. Irwin, actg. adjutant, and Sgt. Milbury Green, both of the 1st Mass. Arty., behaved gallantly and were of great service in bearing orders to different parts of the field. For the details of the part taken by each battery, I respectfully refer to the enclosed official reports.

Capt. Porter makes no report, as he was not engaged.

I have the honor,
Respectfully,
Your obt. Svt.

E. Upton
Capt. and Chief of Arty.

 

Note: Elipses (...) above indicate places where the original text is illegible. Brackets indicate probable text where the original was indistinct. The paper report has tears and other damage. Source: the Hunt Papers.1

Notes

1   From the Henry J. Hunt Papers, Manuscript Division, US Library of Congress, Washington, DC
Johnson, Curt, and Richard C. Anderson, Artillery Hell: Employment of Artillery at Antietam, College Station, TX: Texas A&M University Press, 1995, pp. 117-118  [AotW citation 17542]

 

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