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MGen Edwin V Sumner's Official Report

Report of Ocober 1, 1862

E. V. Sumner

[author biography]

Harper's Ferry, October 1, 1862.

Brigadier General S. WILLIAMS,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Army of the Potomac.

SIR: I have the honor to report that, on the evening of the 16th ultimo, I received an order at Keedysville to send the Twelfth Corps (Banks') to support General Hooker, and to hold my own, the Second Corps, in readiness to march for the same purpose an hour before daylight. Banks' corps, under General Mansfield, marched at 11.30 p. m., and my own corps was ready to move at the time ordered, but did not receive from headquarters the order to march till 7.20 a. m. on the 17th. I moved Sedgwick's division immediately in three columns on the receipt of the order, followed by French's division in the same order. Richardson was ordered to move in the same direction by the commanding general about an hour later. On arriving at the place where Hooker had been engaged, I found him wounded, and his corps, after a severe contest, had been repulsed. Banks' corps, under the immediate command of General Mansfield, had gone into battle on Hooker's left, and was engaged when I came upon the field. General Mansfield, a worthy and gallant veteran, was unfortunately mortally wounded while leading his corps into action. My First Division (Sedgwick's) went into battle in three lines. After his first line had opened fire for some time, the enemy made a most determined rush to turn our left, and so far succeeded as to break through the line between Banks' corps and my own until they began to appear in our rear. In order to repel this attack from the rear, I immediately faced Sedgwick's third line about, but the fire at that moment became so severe from the left flank that this line moved off in a body to the right, in spite of all the efforts that could be made to stop it. The first and second lines after some time followed this movement, but the whole division was promptly rallied, took a strong position, and maintained it to the close of the battle. Richardson's and French's division maintained a furious and successful fight from the time they entered the battle till the end of it, highly to the honor of the officers and soldiers.

Major-General Sedgwick was severely wounded, but remained on the field for some time afterward, exerting himself to the utmost. Major-General Richardson was also seriously wounded while gallantly leading his division, and was obliged to be borne from the field. Brigadier-Generals Dana and Max Weber were also wounded at the heads of their brigades, and were obliged to leave the field.

I regret to report that the loss in my corps was very heavy, which is to be accounted for by the long and furious contest that my divisions had to maintain in the center against the most determined efforts of the enemy.

I cannot give too much praise to the regimental officers and soldiers of the Second Corps, and I adopt and indorse all the subordinate reports.

As the circumstances of the battle prevented me from witnessing the conduct of Banks' [XII] Corps, I would refer to the report of General Williams for all that relates to that corps.

I would respectfully commend to the Government the following general officers who were distinguished for their zeal and devotion: Major General I. B. Richardson, Major General J. Sedgwick, Brigadier General A. S. Williams (commanding Banks' corps), Brigadier General O. O. Howard, Brigadier General W. S. Hancock, Brigadier General W. A. Gorman, Brigadier General Max Weber, Brigadier General T. F. Meagher, and Brigadier General J. C. Caldwell.

I would also beg leave to recommend my staff officers, Lieutenant Colonel J. H. Taylor, adjutant-general; Lieutenant Colonel P. J. Revere, inspector-general; Lieutenant Colonel C. D. Blanchard, chief quartermaster, and my aides, Major L. Kip. Captain W. G. Jones, Captain J. C. Audenried, and Captain S. S. Sumner. These young men behaved in the most gallant manner, and did all that men could do to aid me throughout this trying battle.

Lieutenant-Colonel Revere and Captain Audenried wee both severely wounded, and obliged to leave the field.

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

Brevet Major-General, U. S. Army, Commanding.

P. S. - The following batteries belonging to my corps were all engaged on the 17th ultimo, and all rendered distinguished services: Captain J. A. Tompkins' battery, Rhode Island Artillery; Captain R. D. Pettit's battery, First New York Artillery; Captain J. D. Frank's battery, First New York Artillery; Captain J. G. Hazard's battery, Rhode Island Artillery; Captain C. D. Owen's battery, Rhode Island Artillery; Lieutenant E. Kirby's battery, First U. S. Artillery; Lieutenant E. Thomas' battery, Fourth U. S. Artillery.

Brevet Major-General, U. S. Army, Commanding.

Harper's Ferry, October 4, 1862.

Brigadier General S. WILLIAMS,

I accidentally omitted to mention in my report of the battle of Antietam the names of Major F. N. Clarke, chief of artillery, and Surg. A. N. Dougherty, medical director, of my corps. These officers were both highly distinguished for their zeal and ability.

I would request that this note may be annexed to my report.

Source: OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, Vol 19, Part 1 (Antietam - Serial 27) , Pages 275 - 277


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