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BGen Nathan Evans' Official Report

Report of October 13, 1862

N. Evans

[author biography]

Near Winchester, Va., October 13, 1862.

Assistant Adjutant-General, Right Wing.

MAJOR: In pursuance to the written instructions of the Major-General commanding, I beg leave to report the action of my command in the recent engagements in Virginia and Maryland:
[Portion omitted here is in OR, Series I, Vol. 12, Part 2. Pages 627-629]

On August [September] 14 my [ ] division was ordered to support the command of Brigadier-General Rodes, on the left of the road near South Mountain. On marching my brigade up the mountain on our extreme left, I was informed that the two brigades under the immediate command of Brigadier-General Hood had been detached, by order of the Major General commanding, to support our right, and I was further ordered to hold my position on the left; that re-enforcements would be sent. On my arrival at the summit of the mountain, the skirmishers of the enemy were met, supported by several of his batteries that commanded my position. I directed Colonel Stevens, commanding [Evans'] brigade, to push over the summit and engage the enemy, then firing on General Rodes' troops, retiring. Colonel Stevens soon became engaged with a much superior force, two columns of the enemy advancing rapidly upon his small command. This force, however, was bravely met, and the position held until the troops on my right had retired, leaving my brigade nearly surrounded by the enemy. I then directed my troops to retire, firing, to the east side of the mountain, which was done in good order.

During the night I received an order to march in the direction of Sharpsburg, and my division ordered to act as rear guard, which duty was performed until our arrival at the Antietam River on the evening of September 15.

On the morning of the 16th, General Hood, with his two brigades, was detached and sent to the support of Major Gen D. H. Hill, leaving me but two brigades-Colonel Anderson's and Evans' brigades. During the day my command was held as support to Colonel Walton's artillery; also with orders to defend the brigade over the Antietam; and my skirmishers were engaged throughout the day with the sharpshooters of the enemy.

On the morning of the 17th, the enemy attacked our right [left] in force, and about noon Colonel Anderson's brigade was detached to support General Hood, then supporting Major General D. H. Hill on the right [left].

About 2 p. m. I was ordered to rally the troops then flocking to the town from our right [left] and bring them into action. After considerable exerting, with the assistance of my entire staff, I succeeded in collecting about 250 men and officers, whom I formed into two commands, and placed them, respectively, under the command of Colonels Colquitt and Iverson, of Major General D. H. Hill's division.

At 3 o'clock, observing the enemy approaching my position (directly on the left of the road), also attempting to cross the bridge on my right, I ordered an advance, Colonels [A. H.] Colquitt and [Alfred] Iverson on the left with Boyce's battery, and Colonel Stevens on the right, supported by two batteries of Colonel S. D. Lee's battalion (who came timely at my request to my assistance and rendered material aid in driving the enemy back across the river), with Colonel Stevens' command as skirmishers on the right, while I attacked the enemy with Colquitt's and Iverson's command on the left. This little command gallantly drove the enemy from his cover in the corn-field an caused him to retreat in confusion, leaving a number of their dead and two stand of colors, the latter having been shot down by a well-directed fire of Captain Boyce's battery. I also requested Colonel Walton, of the artillery, to open fire on the enemy's battery that had crossed the bridge, which, being promptly done, had the desired effect of driving it back. My brigade them resumed its original position and bivouacked for the night, sleeping on their arms.

For individual instances of gallantry and distinction, I beg leave to refer to the reports of the immediate commanders. To my general and personal staff I am much indebted for their bravery and fidelity in carrying my orders. Captain T. D. Eason, ordnance officer; Captain A. L. Evans, assistant adjutant-general, [and] First Lieutenant samuel J. Corrie, aide-de-camp, were often under heavy fire and executed their several duties with intrepidity. My faithful courier, Mr. Farquhar Trezevant, was shot down near me by a shell, inflicting a wound from which he has since died. His loss was severe to me, both personally and in his official capacity. I am also pained to announce the fall of Captain Samuel [Lieutenant R. P.] Jordan, assistant adjutant-general of Colonel Colquitt's brigade, who was shot down while gallantly transmitting my orders.

Inclosed herewith, please find the reports regimental and battery commanders.

The total loss of Evans brigade in the above-mentioned engagements is 1,024 aggregate, from an aggregate of 1,830 on July 30. It is proper to state that the aggregate for duty was afterward increased to 2,200 by the addition of the Twenty-third Regiment South Carolina Volunteers.

In conclusion, I would call the attention of the major-general commanding to the gallant conduct of the officers of this brigade. In each engagement some field officer was either wounded or killed.

I had neglected to mention above the loss of the gallant Lieutenant Colonel T. C. Watkins, of the Twenty-third [Twenty-second] Regiment South Carolina Volunteers, and Lieutenant Colonel R. S. Means, of the Seventeenth Regiment, both of whom were shot down while cheering on their regiments. Lieutenant-Colonel Watkins was killed instantly, and Lieutenant-Colonel Means severely wounded in both legs an was left in the hands of the enemy.

Respectfully submitted.


P. S.- The report of the Eighteenth Regiment South Carolina Volunteers will be forwarded to-morrow.

November 5, 1862.

Assistant Adjutant-General, Right Wing.

MAJOR: I beg leave to make the following corrections in my report of the actions of Evans' Brigade in the recent engagements with the enemy in Virginia and Maryland. In the account of the battle of Sharpsburg I state that "the enemy attacked our right." For "right" read "left". Also, that "Colonel Anderson's brigade was ordered to support General Hood, then supporting Major General D. H. Hill on the right." This should be our left. Again, "to rally the troops then flocking to the town from our right," again read for our "right" our "left."

I would respectfully request that this paper be forwarded as a supplement to my report.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Brigadier-General, Commanding Brigade.

Source: OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, Vol 19, Part 1 (Antietam - Serial 27) , Pages 939 - 941


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