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Capt B. Brown's Official Reports

Report of 1862 of Boonsborough and Sharpsburg

[author biography]


OCTOBER 15, 1862.

[I have the honor to make the following] report of the battle of Slaughter's Gap, September 14:

On Sunday, September 14, the Nineteenth Virginia Regiment, numbering 150 men, after marching from Hagerstown, Md., to Boonsborough, was ordered to load and prepare for action. The sun was nearly setting behind the western hills when the regiment was formed in a line of battle on the top of a hill, with an open space in front, where the enemy lay concealed behind a stone fence, at the distance of 15 paces. A murderous fire was at once opened upon the regiment by the concealed foe, which was manfully replied to by the Nineteenth for more than an hour, when the ranks were thinned to such an extent as to prove a withdrawl absolutely necessary. One-third of the men were rendered unable to fight, and a precipitous retreat from the hill was ordered.

In this engagement Colonel J. B. Strange fell, seriously wounded, and in the retreat was left behind. His voice was heard after he had received his wound, urging his men to stand firmly, and he commanded with that coolness and daring that is found only in the truly brave. In addition to this severe loss, the regiment mourns the death of Lieutenant M. J. Shepherd, of Company B, than whom a truer patriot, a firmer officer, and a nobler youth is not found in our country's service.

The list of casualties shows the number of the brave ever to be lamented by the friends of the Nineteenth.

The command fell upon Captain John L. Cocharan after the fall of Colonel Strange. Total loss, 63; names heretofore furnished.

Captain, Commanding Regiment.


OCTOBER 15, 1862.

[I have the honor to make the following] report of the battle of Sharpsburg, September 17:

The Nineteenth Regiment, weakened by straggling and the casualties of the 14th, was stationed on an eminent hill on the east side of Sharpsburg, with only 50 men, commanded by Lieutenant William N. Wood, acting adjutant, where they were attacked in the evening of the 17th by a large force the enemy approaching in three directions. Under these circumstances the regiment maintained its position for two hours, when the enemy had gotten in our rear from the right, and had also passed beyond us on the left, and was pressing with vigor with ten times our number immediately in front of us. Still, death was dealt by the unerring shots of this noble little band. The enemy, with his large force, had come within 80 steps of us, when a hasty retreat down the hill with a circuitous route to the left saved us from the prisoner's cell.

Our loss was comparatively great. The men fought exceedingly well. Among the bravest, I deem it necessary to mention W. T. Rea, a private of Company K; Private E. G. Taylor, Company B, and Ensign L. R. Bowyer.

Loss in this engagement, 8; names heretofore furnished.

Captain, Commanding Regiment.


Brigadier-General GARNETT:

This regiment was acting more directly under your orders than those of its commander, Captain Brown, who was present during the engagement. I did not recognize Adjutant Wood as its commander on that day, he being only third lieutenant.



Source: OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, Vol 19, Part 1 (Antietam - Serial 27) , Pages 901 - 902


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