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Capt William Graham's Official Report

Report of October 4, 1862

[author biography]

October 4, 1862.

Colonel Fred. T. LOCKE,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Headquarters Fifth Army Corps.

GENERAL: I have the honor to submit the following report of the participation of Light Battery K, First Artillery, under my command, in the action of the 17th September at the Antietam:

In obedience to your orders, I reported to Brigadier-General Richardson, commanding a division in Major-General Sumner's army corps, about noon. I was informed by General Richardson that his division was heavily pressed by large force of the enemy's infantry and one battery, and by his direction came into position on the plowed ground occupied by General Meagher's brigade in the morning. Here I engaged one of the enemy's brass batteries at 700 yards, silenced, and drove him away in about ten minutes. At this time two heavy columns of the enemy's infantry moved upon the battery, getting within a few hundred yards of my guns before being discovered, by approaching through a heavy corn-field. A heavy fire of spherical case and shell was opened upon these troops immediately, which in a short time drive them from the field, with great slaughter, to the woods in their rear.

A very sharp fire of shot, spherical case, and shell was now opened upon my battery by two of the enemy's batteries of rifled guns, one of which enfiladed me. I returned this fire as rapidly as possible, but after firing some twenty minutes found that they were beyond my range, my solid shot falling short several hundred yards, and having called General Richardson's attention to this fact, was told by him that he wished me to save the battery as much as possible, in order that it might advance with his division at signal then expected from Major-General Sumner. While communicating this to me, General Richardson was mortally wounded by a ball of a spherical case from the battery enfilading mine. After this I continued my fire some five minutes, and then retired over the crest of the hill to a point 200 yards in rear of my first position. I then returned and brought off two of my caissons, which were necessarily left at first, the horses being all killed, and having brought all the wounded off, I replaced the limbers of the pieces and sent two caissons to the ammunition supply-train, to be refilled.

My loss in this engagement was 4 men killed, 5 severely wounded 17 horses killed, and 6 horses wounded severely, some of which will probably die of the effects of their wounds. The officers and men behaved, without an exception, with perfect coolness; and I beg leave to mention particularly Lieutenants Elder, Maynadier, Michalowski, First Sergeant Cooney, Sergeants Regan and Boyd, and Corporal Walsh. Lieutenant Elder served his section with remarkable effect, and was principally instrumental in silencing the battery first engaged. His conduct, under an extraordinarily heavy fire, was cool and gallant in the extreme. Lieutenant Maynadier returned with First Sergeant Cooney and brought off the two caissons, under a heavy artillery fire. Lieutenant Michalowski for a long time served one of his pieces with but one cannoneer, alternating with this man in loading and firing. Some of my fuses, cut for 5 seconds, burst at the muzzle of the guns.

In closing this report I feel called upon to mention the conduct of a citizen, a Mr. -----, who resides near the battle-field. This gentleman drove his carriage to my battery while under a severe artillery fire, and carried off my wounded, who were suffering very much for the want of proper surgical attendance, and distributed ham and biscuit among the men of the battery. He also returned a second time to the battery. One of his horses was wounded while performing this service.

On the 18th the battery was not engaged. Brigadier-General Hancock, who relieved Brigadier-General Richardson, directed me to procure forage for my horses and have them cared for. On the morning of the 19th General Hancock relieved me from duty with his command, and ordered me to report to Colonel Hays, commanding Artillery Reserve. By Colonel Hays' order I proceeded to the camp, immediately in the vicinity of Sharpsburg.

I am, General, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Captain First Artillery, Commanding Battery K.

Source: OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, Vol 19, Part 1 (Antietam - Serial 27) , Pages 343 - 344


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