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LCol R L Walker's Official Report

Report of March 1, 1863 of Harpers Ferry and Sharpsburg

R. L. Walker

[author biography]

MARCH 1, 1863.

Major R. C. MORGAN,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Light Division.

MAJOR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by the artillery of the Light Division in the series of battles commencing with Warrenton Springs, August 24, 1862:

[Portion omitted here is in Series I, Vol. 12, Part 2, Pages 673 - 674]

At Leesburg the batteries of Capts. A. C. Latham and Fleet and a section of Captain Pegram's were, by order, left in camp, to recruit.

Nothing worthy of mention in this report transpired in our march through Maryland, nor until our arrival at Harper's Ferry, on September 13.

In the afternoon of Sunday, the 14th, my artillery, by order of Major-General Hill, went into battery on a height some 2 miles southwest of Bolivar Heights, from which point we shelled the woods on Bolivar Heights south of the enemy's earthworks. About sunset of the same evening, the rifled section of Captain McIntosh's command went into battery on Bolivar Heights at a point about 800 yards distant from the enemy's earthworks, General Hill's division being in advance of him.

Before dawn next morning (Monday, 15th), a section from the batteries of Captains Braxton, Pegram, and Davidson and the full battery of Captain Crenshaw were carried, though with much difficulty, to the point occupied by Captain McIntosh. Captain Crenshaw's battery was held in reserve, there being no position for his guns. At daylight the batteries opened with rapid and effective fire upon the enemy's works, and were responded to by two batteries firing quickly and without good direction. By General Hill's order, our fire ceased as soon as that of the enemy was discontinued, which occurred in an hour. At the latter part of the engagement Captain Crenshaw relieved Captain Braxton, whose ammunition was exhausted. After a short interval, the enemy's guns again opened, but slowly and without effect. The guns of Captains Pegram and Crenshaw were advanced about 400 yards nearer their earthwork, and opened furiously upon it. In five minutes a white flag floated upon the works, and the battle ceased.

In this battle our casualties were slight, as heretofore reported.

I carried four of my batteries into the fight at Sharpsburg, viz: Braxton's, Pegram's, Mc'Intosh's, and Crenshaw's. Captain Davidson was left at Harper's Ferry with General Thomas' brigade. My command arrived upon the field at about 3 p.m., and went immediately into action. Captain McIntosh took position to the right and in rear of General Toombs' brigade, in rear of the position afterward taken by General Archer's brigade. Here he was hotly encountered by several batteries of the enemy, to whom he responded vigorously until his attention was attracted by the steady and formidable advance of the enemy's infantry upon his position, the infantry on the left not supporting him. The enemy continued to advance, in defiance of his rapid and effective fire, until within 60 yards of his guns, when Captain McIntosh was forced to withdraw his men, horses, and limbers. By this time General Archer's brigade had formed in line of battle to the rear of the battery, and, before the enemy reached the guns, charged and drove them back in great confusion. Captain Pegram's battery was posted on the right of Captain McIntosh, and directed his fire chiefly upon the enemy's infantry. One gun of this battery (the ammunition of the follower having been exhausted), together with Captain Braxton's rifles, which had been engaging the enemy from a point to the right and rear of Captain Pegram's, were, at 4.30 p.m., placed in battery on a height, forming the extreme right of the Light Division, and giving an enfilanding fire. From this point they were worked, with beautiful precision and great effect, upon the infantry of the enemy until nightfall closed the engagement. Captain Pegram's gun was withdrawn after a few rounds, the men being exhausted by the march from Harper's Ferry and the labor at the guns. Captain Crenshaw's battery was the last to reach the field, and took position on a hill in front of Captain McIntosh, from which, disregarding the enemy's artillery, he directed his fire entirely at their infantry.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding Battery Artillery, Light Div.

Source: OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, Vol 19, Part 1 (Antietam - Serial 27) , Pages 983 - 985


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