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BGen WTH Brooks' Official Reports

Reports of September 1862 on Crampton's Gap and Antietam

WTH Brooks

[author biography]

[Crampton's Gap, South Mountain]

Hagerstown, September --, 1862.

Division Headquarters.

SIR: I have to report the operations of this brigade in the battle of Crampton's Pass, September 14:

The brigade was ordered to pass through the town of Burkittsville, with the view of supporting Slocum's main attack on the right, by following the main road that crossed the mountain. After passing through the town, under a heavy fire of artillery from the crest of the mountain on the left, we found the enemy in position behind a stone wall at right angles with the road. From this position they kept up a harassing fire, not only on this brigade, but upon Slocum's left. Skirmishers were thrown out to dislodge them, with little effect. As soon as the nature of the ground and the exact position of the wall could be determined, the Fourth Vermont, Lieutenant-Colonel Stoughton, was deployed with the Second Vermont, under Major Walbridge, in support in second line, and the other three regiments in support on the edge of the town. In this position an advance was made against the wall, which was carried immediately, and some 15 or 20 prisoners captured. The advance was continued by the Fourth and Second without further opposition, until the top of the mountain was reached, when the Fourth was ordered to take the crest to our left, toward the battery that fired upon us as we passed through the town. The Second continued on down the other slope of the mountain and reached the base as the troops of Slocum's division had scattered the enemy. The Fourth proceeded on the crest of the mountain about a mile, and captured another party of prisoners, all belonging to the Sixteenth Virginia. In the last party was the Major [F.D. Holladay] of the regiment, who commanded, and the battle-flag of this regiment was also captured. The other regiments followed the above movements by the main road. The brigade bivouacked at the point where Slocum's division ceased the pursuit, and, on throwing out pickets, a 12-pounder howitzer, with horses, &c., complete, and but slightly disabled, was found abandoned by the enemy, which was turned over to Captain Cowan.

The conduct of the troops on this occasion is worthy of commendation. Exposed to a plunging fire of artillery while passing over a space of a mile and more, and afterward to that of the enemy's sharpshooters, not the least hesitancy was observed. It gives me pleasure to call especial notice to the good conduct of Lieutenant Colonel C. B. Stoughton, commanding Fourth Vermont, and Major Walbridge, commanding Second Vermont; also to Lieutenants Parsons and Wheeler, of my personal staff, who were active in the discharge of their respective duties.

Very respectfully,

Brigadier-General, Commanding Brigade.


September 28, 1862.

Division Headquarters.

SIR: On arriving on the battle-field of Antietam about 10 a. m. on the 17th instant this brigade was sent to the support of French's division, then reported heavily pressed. On gaining French' right, I found that the enemy had been checked and repelled. The brigade then took up a position on French's right, which brought us on the left of the Third Brigade of this division. This position was maintained the rest of the day and the next, the men lying literally on their arms near forty-eight hours. While in this constrained situation they were subjected to quite a galling fire of both artillery and sharpshooters, causing numerous casualties, a list of which and of the battle of Crampton's Pass has been already furnished.

The conduct of the troops on this occasion, as at Crampton's Pass, is worthy of commendation.

Very respectfully,

Brigadier-General, Commanding Brigade.1


1   US War Department, The War of the Rebellion: a Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies (OR), 128 vols., Washington DC: US Government Printing Office, 1880-1901, Series 1, Vol 19, Part 1 (Serial 27), pp. 407-409  [AotW citation 28942]


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