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Col Thomas H Ruger's Official Report

Report of September 22, 1862

T. H. Ruger

[author biography]

Camp near Sandy Hook, Md., September 22, 1862

Acting Assistant Adjutant-General, Third Brigade.

SIR: I have the honor to submit the following brief report of the part taken by the Third Regiment Wisconsin Volunteers in the battle fought near Sharpsburg, Md., on the 17th day of September, 1862:

The regiment arrived at the position assigned it, in company with other regiments of the brigade, between the hours of 6 and 7 a.m. The particular place occupied by the regiment was a knoll overlooking a corn-field, from which, as the brigade arrived, the enemy were driving our troops, belonging to some other brigade. The regiment suffered somewhat before the corn-field was sufficiently clear of our own troops to render it safe to fire. The fire of the enemy was returned with steadiness and spirit for a long time, until the ammunition in the boxes became nearly exhausted, and in some cases quite so. At one time the enemy had succeeded in advancing to within about 100 yards, at which point he became exposed to a cross-fire from the Second Massachusetts Volunteers, on my right. The combined fire of the regiments of the brigade particularly engaged at the point referred to - the Second Massachusetts, Twenty-seventh Indiana, and Third Wisconsin - drove the enemy rapidly out of the corn-field and into the woods. At this time an advance was ordered, and was being executed, with bayonets fixed, for the purpose of charging. Before any considerable distance was made, however, the corps of General Sumner came upon the field in two or three lines, which were perpendicular, or nearly so, to our line, which compelled a halt of our line. Very soon the troops, or some portion of them, that had passed and gone into the woods into which the enemy had been driven from the corn-field, come back in some disorder.

The regiment, with others of the brigade, was now placed by a change of front in position to support a battery, covering the retreat of the troops driven back from the woods. During the remainder of the day the regiment, with others of the brigade, continued in position as support to batteries, being exposed at times to the fire of the enemy's shells. The total number carried into action was, officers and men, about 340. The loss in killed, wounded, and missing was 198. I regret to report that most of the officers wounded were so severely wounded as to prevent return to duty for some time. Out of 12 officers with the regiment during the action, but 4 escaped untouched.

Accompanying is a list of killed, wounded, and missing. It has been impossible in many cases to ascertain the character of the wounds.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Colonel, Commanding Third Wisconsin Volunteers.

Source: OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, Vol 19, Part 1 (Antietam - Serial 27) , Pages 503 - 504


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