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Capt Nathan S Babcock's Official Report

Report of September 20, 1862

[author biography]

In the Field, September 20, 1862.

Colonel IRWIN,
Commanding Third Brigade.

DEAR SIR: I have the honor to report to you some of the casualties and incidents connected with my command during the recent sanguinary battles of Crampton's Pass and Antietam Creek.

In the battle of Sunday, the 14th, at Cramtpon's Pass, we suffered no injury, although leading your brigade through Burkittsville and up the pass under the tremendous shelling of the enemy's guns. I entered the battle of Antietam Creek on the 17th instant with not more than 175 men all told, most of the regiment having been on picket for two days, a part of which joined us just as the brigade was ordered to charge upon the rebels and drive them from the field. In this charge we suffered severely considering the number engaged. I was first ordered to support the Thirty-third New York, but subsequently, and while advancing in the charge, I was ordered to the front for the purpose of cutting off the flying enemy, already routed by the left of your columns; and it was while endeavoring to execute this order that our position became critical, and in which most of the casualties occurred. A large force of the enemy had advanced on our right under the cover of the woods, and were about to cut us off from the rest of your command, as your gallant aide, Lieutenant Long, discovered the danger and ordered us to fall back to the cover of a hill about 50 yards.

We received a severe and galling fire from the enemy's infantry and artillery, but my men only wavered a moment, and then retired and reformed in good order, after delivering two well-directed volleys into the enemy. I think there was nearly if not quite a brigade of the enemy so near the right of my regiment that you could see the white of their eyes at the time of retiring, and that they disappeared again so soon under the cover of the timber convinces me that the well-directed volleys of the Seventy-seventh and the Thirty-first New York, which was on my right, dealt destruction to their souls.

After getting our new position, the enemy's shot and shell fell thick around us, and quite a number of my men were wounded, but my officers and men behaved nobly through the entire day, even amidst the most galling fire and shelling of the enemy. To particularize the bravery and manly conduct of every one of my officers would do injustice to those not mentioned, and so I leave it to you to judge, after giving you the casualties of my command, what portion of the honors of that victorious battle we are entitled to. Killed, 6; wounded, 26; total, 32.

Your obedient servant,

Captain, Commanding Seventy-seventh New York.

Source: OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, Vol 19, Part 1 (Antietam - Serial 27) , Pages 415 - 416


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