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Col Peter Lyle's Official Report

Report of September 19, 1862 on South Mountain and Antietam

P. Lyle

[author biography]

On the road to Sharpsburg, Md., September 19, 1862.

Captain PALMER,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.

SIR: In obedience to orders received from brigade headquarters, I have the honor to make the following report of the part taken by the regiment under my command in the recent engagements with the enemy on the 14th, 16th, and 17th instant:

At 4 a. m. on Sunday morning, the 14th, the regiment, then lying outside of Frederick, was under arms, and left Frederick about 9 a. m., taking the turnpike toward Middletown. We arrived at the latter place about 12 m., when we were halted on the road for some time, until Reno's division had passed us. We then took up the march; passed up the turnpike a mile; took the road to the right; passed up the mountains, and were formed in line of battle, with orders to support Hartsuff's brigade. While standing in this position we received orders to advance into the woods, where our troops in front were engaging the enemy.

The firing of musketry at this time being most terrific, we advanced in line of battle, moving obliquely to the left and front. Having received later orders to relieve Doubleday's brigade, who were running out of ammunition, we moved up to the crest of the hall, took the position occupied by Doubleday's brigade, and immediately engaged the enemy. The firing was kept up until darkness put an end to the engagement. We had but 3 men wounded slightly, who were by mistake included in the list furnished for the 17th instant. We lay on our arms all night, and during the night we took some 15 prisoners, some of whom were wounded.

The next morning we found that the enemy had retreated during the night, leaving on the field, immediately in front of our position and within 20 yards of our lines, from 400 to 600 dead, the wounded, except those mentioned above, having been carried off.

The same morning we started off in pursuit, and on Tuesday, having crossed the Antietam the day before, we came up with the enemy, and having formed in close column under fire from their batteries, entered the wood, and formed in line of battle on the left of Hartsuff's brigade, the Pennsylvania Reserves being in the wood in front of us.

We again lay on our arms all night, and at daybreak the next morning (17th) we moved to the right, passed to the front through a cornfield, and took position on the left of Matthews' battery [Battery F], First Pennsylvania, which we were ordered to support. Here we were exposed to a severe fire of musketry and shell, we being immediately in rear of the skirmishers, who were engaging the enemy in the corn-field in front. We were moved to the left behind a wood, and formed in close column. The shells falling around us, the battery was moved to the front, into the woods. Here we were subject to a raking fire of grape, canister, and shell. The battery fell back, and the regiment was deployed and moved to the front in line. We passed through the woods into a plowed field, where we engaged the enemy until our forces on the right and left gave way, when, having but about 100 men left, we fell back slowly and in good order, under cover of the woods, and then, being hard pressed by the enemy, we fell to the rear, finding that fresh troops were coming to our relief.

I again take the occasion to call your attention to Lieutenant Colonel William A. Leech, Major A. J. Sellers, and Adjt. D. P. Weaver, who throughout all these engagements behaved with great coolness and bravery.

I desire also to mention for their coolness on the field, Capts. Jacob M. Davis, William H. Warner, Charles F. Maguire (wounded), John W. Barnes, and John A. Gorgas; Lieuts. F. A. Chadwick, A. Morin (wounded), J. P. Mead, J. M. Moore (wounded), S. W. Moore (wounded), W. H. Hewlings, W. F. Myers, Lindsley, R. W. Davis, G. W. Watson, E. J. Gorgas, J. T. Riley, and W. S. Ellis; also Private W. H. Paul, who carried the colors, the color-bearer having been killed in the early part of the engagement.

Respectfully submitted.

Colonel, Commanding Ninetieth Pennsylvania Volunteers.

Source: OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, Vol 19, Part 1 (Antietam - Serial 27) , Pages 265 - 266


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