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Capt Thomas H Carter's Official Report

Report of October 14, 1862

T. H. Carter

[author biography]

OCTOBER 14, 1862.

Captain H. A. WHITING,
Assistant Adjutant-General of Brigadier-General Rodes.

CAPTAIN: In obedience to orders from General Rodes, I herewith forward an account of the part taken by my battery in the Sharpsburg engagement:

The battery consisted of five pieces, posted as follows: Two howitzers on the left of Rodes' brigade, two 6-pounders in front of Garland's brigade, and one Parrott piece a short distance to the left. When the battle commenced on the left, at the point of woods, three pieces were brought to bear on the enemy, and the firing kept up until our infantry entered the woods. Soon after, the enemy appeared in line of battle on the open field to the left of the woods and of the Hagerstown road. This division was then ordered to the left. I considered it unsafe to keep the battery so far in advance without infantry support, and subject to an artillery fire in reverse from left and right when it should open. General Rodes concurred with me, and ordered the three long-range pieces to some good position in the rear and within supporting distance of the brigade, and the two howitzers to some point immediately in rear of the brigade. Having no definite knowledge of the position for the howitzers, and some confusion occurring in consequence of some horses being killed, I determined to take the whole battery across the Hagerstown road on the eminence to the left, where it could command any position taken by the division, whether in the direction of the burning [Mumma] house or toward the line of the enemy, then on the open field to the left of the Hagerstown road. To cross the two stone walls of this road it was necessary to follow the lane nearly to the outskirts of the village.

On my way I met General Lee. He seemed to fear that the whole left wing, then hard pressed and losing ground, would be turned, and that the enemy would gain possession of the range of hills [Hauser's Ridge] some three-quarters of a mile to the left of Sharpsburg. He ordered me to this ground, with all the artillery that could be collected, to prevent this movement. Having communicated with Major Pierson, several batteries were gathered together on this part of the field. General Lee soon arrived there, in person. Heavy re-enforcements had, by this time, come to the relief of the left wing, and the enemy was forced back. I now received an order from General Rodes to plant my battery on the left of the Hagerstown road, near the Donaldsonville Artillery. With the consent of General Lee, I at once moved my battery to this point. On reaching it, I found several batteries engaged in driving off a Yankee battery posted near the spot occupied in the morning by my two howitzers. My battery at once took part in this fire, and continued firing until the battery was withdrawn. There was at this time a pause in the engagement.

The next movement of the enemy was the advance of a heavy column on the extreme right, bearing down on what I supposed to have been the right wing of A. P. Hill's divisions. Our troops gave way entirely before this column. With three pieces of my battery, aided by two of Lieutenant Elliott's, this column was shattered and driven back without the assistance, so far as I know, of any infantry whatever. Generals D. H. Hill and Rodes both witnessed this firing. Soon after, Colonel Stephen D. Lee requested me to post my battery on the hill in front of Sharpsburg, and to open on the enemy to the right, then contending with A. P. Hill. I moved the battery to this place, but before it took position found it untenable from a heavy reverse artillery fire, and, by the advice of Colonel Lee, removed it. The evening was now closing in, and the engagement was conducted to its close by General A. P. Hill, on the extreme right.

At dark General Lee sent for me, as I was about the encamp in rear of the village, and ordered me to guard the brigade across Antietam Creek by posting my battery near the turnpike and on the crest in front of Sharpsburg.

I have to report 1 private killed, junior First Lieutenant Dabney mortally wounded (since dead), 3 wounded, and 1 missing; total 6.

I am, captain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Captain, Commanding Battery.

Source: OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, Vol 19, Part 1 (Antietam - Serial 27) , Pages 1030 - 1031


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