site logo

BGen John Gibbon's Official Reports

Reports of September 20, 1862 on South Mountain and Antietam

John Gibbon

---- South Mountain September 14 -----

Camp near Sharpsburg, Md, September 20, 1862

Lieutenant-Colonel RICHMOND,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Burnside's Corps

SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of my brigade in the action of the 14th instant at South Mountain, near Middletown, Md.:

On the afternoon of that day my brigade was detached from the division and ordered to report for duty to Major-General Burnside. Late in the afternoon I was ordered to move up the Hagerstown turnpike with my brigade and one section of Gibbon's battery, to attack the position of the enemy in the gorge. The Seventh Wisconsin and the Nineteenth Indiana were placed respectively on the right and left of the turnpike, to advance by the head of the company, preceded by two companies of skirmishers from the Sixth and Second Wisconsin, and followed by these regiments, formed in double column at half distance, the section of the battery under Lieutenant Stewart, Fourth Artillery, keeping on the pike a little in rear of the first line. The skirmishers soon became engaged, and were supported by the leading regiments, while our guns moved forward on the turnpike until within range of the enemy's guns, which were firing on our column from the top of the gorge, when they opened with good effect. My men steadily advanced on the enemy, posted in the woods and behind stone walls, driving him before them until he was re-enforced by three additional regiments, making five in all opposed to us.

Seeing we were likely to be outflanked on our right, I directed Lieutenant-Colonel Bragg, of the Sixth Wisconsin, to enter the wood on his right, and deploy his regiment on the right of the Seventh. This was successfully accomplished, while the Nineteenth Indiana, supported by the Second Wisconsin, deployed, and, swinging around parallel to the turnpike, took the enemy in the flank. Thus the light continued until long after dark, Stewart using his guns with good effect over the heads of our own men. My men, with their ammunition nearly exhausted, held all the ground they had taken, and were late in the night relieved, with the exception of the Sixth Wisconsin, which occupied the battlefield all night, by General Gorman's brigade.

The conduct of the officers and men was during the engagement everything that could be desired, and they maintained their well-earned reputation for gallantry and discipline acquired in the engagements of the 28th and 30th of August. Lieutenant Stewart used his guns with good judgment slid effect, and begged to remain upon the field after his section was relieved by the other four pieces of the battery under Captain Campbell. I beg to recommend him to the favorable notice of the authorities.

My aides, Lieutenants Haskell and Hildreth, were prompt and energetic in transmitting orders, as was also Captain Cutting, of General Burnside's staff, who kindly volunteered his services for the occasion.

The loss in the brigade was 37 killed, 251 wounded, 30 missing; total, 318.

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

Brigadier-General, Commanding.

---- Antietam September 17 -----

Camp near Sharpsburg, September 20, 1862

Assistant Adjutant-General, King's Division.

SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of my brigade during the action of the 17th near this place:

The brigade was, by direction of Major-General Hooker, detached from the division, and ordered to advance into a piece of wood on the right of the Hagerstown turnpike, toward the village of Sharpsburg. The brigade advanced in column of divisions on the left of the turnpike until the head of it reached an open space, when the Sixth Wisconsin was deployed and pushed forward into a corn-field in our front, the Second Wisconsin being deployed and formed on its left, while a section of Gibbon's battery, under Lieutenant Stewart, was brought into action in the rear, to fire over the heads of our men in reply to one of the enemy's batteries in their front. The Sixth and Second pushed gallantly forward, supported by the Seventh Wisconsin and Nineteenth Indiana, when, finding the enemy was likely to flank us on the right in the wood, which extended down in that direction, I ordered up Stewart's section and directed the Seventh Wisconsin and Nineteenth Indiana to deploy to the right of the line, and push forward rapidly into the woods. The whole line soon became hotly engaged, and the enemy, heavily re-enforced from the woods, made a dash upon the battery. This attack, however, was successfully repelled by heavy discharges of canister from the guns, the fire of the few remaining men of the Second and Sixth Wisconsin, and the flank fire poured in by the Seventh Wisconsin and Nineteenth Indiana, which had been brought around to sweep the front of the battery with their fire, Captain Campbell having in the mean time joined Stewart's with the other four pieces of the battery.

In this severe contest Lieutenant-Colonel Bragg, Sixth Wisconsin, and Lieutenant-Colonel Allen, Second Wisconsin, both commanding their regiments, were wounded and taken from the field. The gallant Lieutenant-Colonel Bachman, commanding the Nineteenth Indiana, fell mortally wounded, and Captain Campbell, while gallantly serving his guns, was stricken down by a ball through the shoulder. Thirty-eight of the battery men were killed and wounded, 27 of the horses killed, and, finding the guns almost deprived of support and of cannoneers to work them, I ordered them to limber to the rear and fall back, followed soon after by the infantry of my brigade, much reduced in numbers and scant of ammunition. The loss of the brigade is again an evidence of its well-earned honors.

While referring to the regimental reports for special mention of meritorious individuals, I beg leave to call attention to the steadiness and gallantry of both officers and men, and especially to the coolness and bravery of Lieutenant-Colonels Bragg, Bachman, and Allen; Major Dawes, Captain Callis, and Captain Campbell, and Lieutenant Stewart, of Gibbon's battery. My aides, Lieutenants Haskell and Hildreth, were, as usual, prompt and active in conveying my orders, and the former, while carrying a message to General Hooker, had his horse killed under him.

The loss in the brigade is as follows: 61 killed, 274 wounded, 45 missing; total, 380.

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



« to OR Index