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Col A T A Torbert's Official Report

Report of September 16, 1862 of Crampton's Gap

A. T. A. Torbert

[author biography]

Camp in Crampton's Pass, near Burkittsville, Md., September 16, 1862.

Assistant Adjutant-General.

SIR: I have the honor to report the following as the part taken by the First Brigade in the action on the 14th at Crampton's Pass, Md.:

It being decided to attack the enemy posted in the pass, the division was ordered to advance in six lines, two regiments front, the First Brigade being in rear. About 3 o'clock I marched my brigade in two lines by the right flank under cover till we gained the open ground, when the advance was made in line of battle as follows: First line, First and Second Regiments New Jersey Volunteers; second line, 150 paces in rear, Third and Fourth Regiments New Jersey Volunteers. They advanced about a half mile with great regularity through clover and corn fields, intersected by high wood and stone fences,being exposed the greater part of the time to the enemy's artillery fire. Arriving within supporting distance of Colonel Bartlett's brigade, which was engaging the enemy, I halted. Soon after, I ordered the Second Regiment New Jersey Volunteers forward to relieve one of Colonel Bartlett's regiments, which was out of ammunition, which they did with promptness. The enemy was posted behind a stone wall at the base of the mountains, with a wood just behind them.

At this time the distance between the contending parties was between 300 and 400 yards, an open field intervening. Thinking the distance too great, General Newton ordered me to charge forward to the wood. Accordingly, I ordered forward my second line, Third and Fourth Regiments New Jersey Volunteers, to charge across the open field into the woods. The front line was ordered to cease firing. A cheer, and the men went forward at double-quick in a most gallant manner, jumping the fence, on the way, behind which our men had been fighting. When they had advanced about 150 yards, I ordered the second line, First and Second Regiments, to charge in the same manner as the first, which they did in a handsome manner. The enemy, although holding a very strong position, and having the advantage of artillery, could not stand these charges, so broke and fled up the mountain side in great disorder, closely pursued by our men, who drove them through the pass, and some distance in the valley on the other side, when night put an end to the pursuit.

Too much cannot be said in praise of the bravery and gallantry of both officers and men, for they certainly did credit to themselves and the State they represent.

I am pleased to make particular mention of Lieutenant-Colonel Collet, Third Regiment New Jersey Volunteers, commanding First Regiment New Jersey Volunteers; Colonel Buck, Second Regiment; Colonel Brown, Third Regiment, and Colonel Hatch, Fourth Regiment, for their bravery, coolness, and the admirable manner in which they handled their regiments.

Where officers and men all behave with such gallantry,it would be invidious to particularize.

A great many of the enemy were taken prisoners, and among them several officers. The brigade captured nearly enough Springfield rifled muskets to arm the Fourth Regiment New Jersey Volunteers, who were before armed with the smooth-bore musket.

I am happy to state that the Fourth Regiment New Jersey Volunteers, which lost its colors before Richmond, captured two colors during this engagement.

I take great pleasure in making honorable mention of my staff, Lieutenant Henry P. Cooke, Second Regiment, acting assistant adjutant-general; Captain James G. Fitts, brigade commissary, and Lieutenant Charles Wilson, Third Regiment, acting aide-de-camp, for their bravery, coolness, promptness, and correctness in carrying my orders to different parts of the field.

I regret to mention the death of Josiah S. Studdeford, First Lieutenant and Adjutant Fourth Regiment New Jersey Volunteers, who fell while gallantly cheering on his men, just as we had gained the top of the pass.

The loss to the brigade has been as follows: One officer killed, 9 officers wounded; total, 10. Thirty-nine non-commissioned officers and privates killed, 125 non-commissioned officers and privates wounded; total,164. Aggregate,174.

I cannot pay too high a compliment to the medical staff of the brigade for the manner in which they performed their duty.

The chaplains of the different regiments deserve great credit for their assistance in conveying the wounded to the rear, and administering to their wants.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Colonel First Regiment New Jersey Vols., Commanding Brigade.

Source: OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, Vol 19, Part 1 (Antietam - Serial 27) , Pages 382 - 383


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