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Col George T. Anderson's Official Report

Report of September 30, 1862 on Boonsborough and Sharpsburg

G. T. Anderson

[author biography]

September 30, 1862.

Major A. COWARD,
Assistant Adjutant-General

SIR: I have the honor to forward a report of the action of my brigade in the affairs at [omitted here: Rappahannock, August 23; Thoroughfare Gap, August 28; Manassas, August 30;] Turner's Gap, Md., September 14; and Sharpsburg, September 17, with the lists of casualties in each engagement:

[Portion omitted, see O.R, Series I, Vol. 22, Part 2, pages 593-595]

In the engagement at Turner's Gap, near Boonsborough, Md., my brigade, in conjunction with General Drayton's, was ordered forward to report to Major General D. H. Hill. I found General Hill at the Mountain House, and he conducted us in person to the right of our line, and after giving the necessary orders, left for other parts of the field. Brigadier-General Ripley, the next senior officer, was then left in command of the four brigades, viz, Brigadier General G. B. Anderson's, his own, my brigade, and General Drayton's, in line. General Ripley ordered the whole line to move by the right flank, and about this time the enemy opened a heavy fire on Drayton. I had, by moving to the right under General Ripley's order, become separated at least 300 yards from General Drayton's right, when General R [ipley] came by and ordered me to move by the left flank into the wood, which I did. My skirmishers (the right wing of the Georgia Regulars, Captain [R. A.] Wayne commanding), not having the command to change direction, had continued moving by the flank, and uncovered my front. Having moved some distance over the mountain side, I halted, and sent forward to find Captain Wayne, but could not for the reason above given, and, finding that the fire of the enemy was more to my left than front, I changed front forward on the left, and had the left wing of the Georgia Regulars, under direction of Colonel [William J.] Magill, deployed as skirmishers; and as I was in the act of advancing to find the enemy, Lieutenant Shellman, adjutant Eighth Georgia Regiment, reported the enemy as having turned Drayton's right flank, and being on our left and rear. A few of them were taken prisoners, and several of Drayton's men, who had been captured, released. To prevent the enemy from cutting off my small brigade, being at the time alone (General Ripley's brigade, on my right, being several hundred yards away, as I found by sending Captain [J. G.] Montgomery, First Georgia Regulars, to report for orders, who reported him at least one-quarter of a mile from my right, after a long search), I ordered my brigade to move by the left flank and recross the road, in our original rear, and there reformed my line of battle, and was advancing to find the right of Drayton's brigade when Captain [H. D. D.] Twigs and Lieutenant [G. B.] Lamar [Jr.], First Georgia Regulars, in charge of skirmishers, called my attention to the fact that the enemy were crossing the road in considerable force on my left flank. Seeing this myself, and to prevent my left from being turned, I moved by the left diagonally to the rear to intercept them, and at this time found General Hood's two brigades coming up to support that part of the line. He engaged the enemy and drove him back. Not knowing where to find General Ripley or General Drayton, I reported to General Hood for instructions, and was requested by him to hold my position to protect his left flank, and remained there until drawn off the field after night. In consequence of being separated from Drayton's right by the order of General Ripley, and having to recross the road to avoid being surrounded, my men were not engaged in the fight, except the first line of skirmishers, under Captain Wayne. For casualties see accompanying lists.

Falling back from this place, I was ordered to report to Brigadier-General Hood, commanding the rear guard, and remained with him until our arrival at Sharpsburg. I was ordered into position in rear of the Washington Artillery, and remained there - except about three hours, being moved to the opposite side of the road for that length of time - until the morning of the 17th.

About 7.30 a. m., the 17th, I was ordered to the left to support General Hood. Without a guide or directions how to find him, I moved off, and directed my course by the sound of the musketry, and succeeded in finding General Hood, who pointed out the position he wished me to occupy. I remained in this position but a few moments (other troops he moved in front of me), and moved by the left flank some 200 yards, and engaged the enemy and drove them for about half a mile, my men and officers behaving in the most gallant manner. By this time the enemy had disappeared from before us, and while I was at a different part of the line some mounted officer (unknown) reported the enemy turning our right flank, and ordered the men to fall back, and some confusion was created, but I soon reformed the line and moved to the right, near the first position I had held. From this point I was ordered to the Hagerstown Road [Pike] by a staff officer of General Longstreet, and moved to that place, taking position behind the stone fence - a large number of the enemy in front of us in a corn-field. In a short time the enemy opened an enfilade fire on my position with long-range artillery, and I was forced to change, moving down the road toward Sharpsburg under the crest of the hill. At this point I found a 6-pounder gun, and, getting a few men to assist in placing it in position, a lieutenant of infantry, whose name or regiment I do not know, served it most beautifully until the ammunition was exhausted. Parts of several brigades by this time had been collected at this point, and, by direction of General D. H. Hill, were formed in line perpendicularly to and on the right of the road near the position occupied by Rodes' brigade early in the morning. This was about 2 or 3 p. m. Placing me in command, General Hill ordered me to occupy the crest of a hill to my right and rear. I moved to the position and sent forward skirmishers, but failed to find the enemy; and the enemy opening a cross-fire of artillery from the left on us, I moved back to the other position, which was approved by General Hill, who, riding forward to the crest of the hill in our front, called my attention to a line of the enemy advancing apparently to attack us. Suffering them to come near us, I ordered my command to charge them, which they did in splendid style and good order, killing and wounding many of the enemy, taking several prisoners, and routing the remainder. We could not pursue them as far as I wished, because of the severe fire of artillery directed against us from long-range guns that we could not reach.

In this charge parts of Wilcox's, Featherston's, and Pryor's brigades participated with mine, and I am proud to say all officers and men behaved admirably.

The Eleventh Georgia Regiment, Major Little commanding, had been detached at Hagerstown on the 14th by order of Brigadier General D. R. Jones, commanding division, and did not join me until the 18th. Major Little, with five companies, reached Sharpsburg the morning of the 17th, and participated in the fight on our right, under command of brigadier-General Toombs. General D. R. Jones speaks in high terms of their good conduct. I forward Major Little's report, leaving it to the officers under whose command he fought to do him and his men justice.

The battery attached to my brigade (the Wise Artillery, Captain J. S. Brown commanding) was not with me, nor have I received any report from it. Captain Brown was severely wounded by a musket-ball passing entirely through his foot.

I can but say that in each of these engagements all the officers and men, with a few exceptions, of the brigade have behaved in the most gallant manner, nearly the whole of each action being conducted under my own eye.

I know of no particular cases of individual bravery, and can make no discriminations where all did so well, it appearing to be the determination of every one to do his whole duty, as the lists of casualties accompanying this report will testify, showing a loss of 894 killed, wounded, and missing out of about 2,200 with which I reached Gordonsville.

I must express my many obligations to Lieutenant H. D. McDaniel, Eleventh Georgia Regiment, acting assistant adjutant-general during the sickness of Lieutenant Hardwick, for his universal good conduct and gallantry. He was relieved by Lieutenant H[ardwick] on August 28, Lieutenant McD[aniel] having been appointed assistant quartermaster to his regiment. Lieutenant Hardwick being wounded August 30 at Chinn's house, Lieutenant Blackwell, Eight Georgia Regiment, has filled the position of acting assistant adjutant-general very much to my satisfaction, and I have found him at all times prompt and faithful in the discharge of his duties.

I am also under many obligations to Captain Thomas G. Jackson, volunteer aide and acting ordnance officer of the brigade, for his good conduct and ability in the discharge of his duties; and also to Captain Fred. West, volunteer aide, who has been with me since the affair at Thoroughfare Gap, and has nobly and faithfully done his duty.

Many thanks are due to Captain [R. K.] Holliday, assistant quartermaster of the Seventh Georgia Regiment, for invaluable service s rendered on the banks of the Rappahannock in the capacity as volunteer aide.

I must also express my obligations to Lieutenant Tennille, Ninth Georgia Regiment, who aided me and bore himself gallantly under the murderous fire at Manassas, after Lieutenant Hardwick, acting assistant adjutant-general, was wounded.

I am, sir, your obedient servant,

Colonel Eleventh Georgia Volunteers, Commanding Brigade.

Source: OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, Vol 19, Part 1 (Antietam - Serial 27) , Pages 908 - 911


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