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BGen Edward Ferrero's Official Reports

Reports of September 1862 on South Mountain and Antietam

E. Ferrero
[author biography]

Antietam, September 19, 1862.

Brigadier General S. D. STURGIS.

GENERAL: I have the honor to report that on Sunday, 7th instant, according to your orders, my brigade marched from Washington; that our march was renewed daily without noticeable incident until Sunday 14th instant, when we arrived at South Mountain, and engaged the enemy. At 3 o'clock we marched up the Hagerstown road, leading over the mountain, almost to its summit, and there formed line of battle, to support other lines then engaged. At about 3.30 o'clock I advanced, by your orders, to the top of the heights in advance of our other forces, and was unexpectedly fired upon from the woods by a large force of the enemy. The sudden fire produced the utmost confusuion in one of my new regiments. It quickly recovered, however, reforming under a severe fire. My command then advanced, and after a long and hard fight, lasting until 9 p. m., drove the enemy from their position and occupied the field. We retained possession of the battle-field during the night, having our whole force on guard, momentarily expecting a renewal of the attack.

The enemy posted their pickets within a few yards of our lines, and during the night quietly withdrew their main body. We captured above 100 prisoners.

In this battle all the troops of my command behaved with the greatest bravery. I have to mention as worthy of particular praise the conduct of the Fifty-first New York Volunteers, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel R. B. Potter; the Fifty-first Pennsylvania Volunteers, commanded by Colonel J. F. Hartranft, and the Twenty-first Massachusetts Volunteers, commanded by Colonel W. S. Clark. Colonel E. A. Wild, of the Thirty-fifth Massachusetts Volunteers, was wounded severely in the arm while forming his regiment under the enemy's fire.

I append a list of the killed and wounded in this engagement, amounting to 10 killed, 83 wounded, 23 missing; total, 116.

On the 15th instant, at 1 o'clock, we resumed our march in pursuit of the enemy, coming up with them near Antietam Creek, and bivouacking in front of their lines. During the morning of the 16th we remained in line of battle, the shells from the enemy dropping thickly in our midst. At 2 o'clock we changed front, moving nearer to the creek, in readiness to attack the enemy in the morning.

On the morning of the 17th at about 9 o'clock, by your order, I advanced my forces toward the stone bridge crossing Antietam Creek, a bridge naturally almost impregnable, and very strongly fortified by the enemy. We formed line of battle in a corn-field near the bridge, and awaited the result of the attack of some of our other forces that had preceded my brigade in the attempt to cross the creek. The passage of the bridge was, however, very obstinately disputed, and at length I received orders from you to move forward my brigade, and carry the bridge at all hazards. I accordingly moved forward my command, and carried the bridge at the point of the bayonet at 1 o'clock, losing in doing so a large number of officers and men. The Fifty-first Pennsylvania Volunteers, commanded by Colonel J. F. Hartranft, led the charge, followed by the Fifty-first New York Volunteers, Lieutenant Colonel R. B. Potter; the Third-fifth Massachusetts Volunteers, Lieutenant Colonel Carruth, and the Twenty-first Massachusetts Volunteers, Colonel W. S. Clark.

After carrying the bridge I moved forward one regiment to the summit of the hill, to retain the position gained until re-enforcements should arrive, holding the rest of my command on the banks of the creek.

During the afternoon, the enemy being re-enforced, and with heavy supports of artillery, advanced to drive our forces from their position. According to your orders, I moved forward my brigade to resist this movement, and, forming line, advanced under a storm of shot and shell. My troops, when entering this second battle, were nearly out of ammunition, but, firing every round they had in their boxes, they quietly placed themselves on the ground in their position, and remained until other regiments had formed in front to relieve them, when by my orders they retired in good order from the field, and again marched to the banks of the creek.

I cannot sufficiently commend the bravery of the troops of my command during these engagements. Both officers and men behaved with the greatest gallantry, and I cannot help expressing the pride I feel in commanding such valiant soldiers as they have proved themselves.

I have to mourn the loss in the last battle of Lieutenant-Colonel Bell, of the Fifty-first Pennsylvania Volunteers, a gallant and efficient officer and amiable gentleman, killed at the stone bridge by a shell. Lieutenant-Colonel Carruth, of the Thirty-fifth Massachusetts, was slightly wounded.

I annex a list of killed, wounded, and missing, amounting to 95 killed, 371 wounded, 6 missing; total, 472. Loss in both engagements, 588.

I have the honor to be, general, your most obedient servant,


Mouth of Antietam Creek, September 29, 1862.

Brigadier General S. D. STURGIS.

GENERAL: In my report of the late battles I neglected to mention several officers particularly worthy of notice for their valuable service on the field: Lieutenant G. H. McKibbin, acting assistant adjutant-general; Lieutenant A. F. Walcott and Lieutenant J. M. Hudson, aides, behaved with great gallantry and coolness during both actions. Captain Durell, commanding Battery A, One hundred and fourth Pennsylvania Volunteers, is especially worthy of praise for the gallant and efficient serving of his battery.

I desire that the above be added to my report.

I have the honor to be, your most obedient servant,


Source: OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, Vol 19, Part 1 (Antietam - Serial 27) , Pages 447 - 449


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