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Maj John Collins' Official Report

Report of September 24, 1862

[author biography]

Loudoun Heights, Va., September 24, 1862.

Major O. J. CRANE.

On the morning of the 17th, at 6 o'clock a. m., the Fifth Ohio Regiment, commanded by Major John Collins, was ordered to advance toward the enemy on the right. They proceeded in column by divisions until arriving within short distance of the enemy, when we deployed to the right of the Twenty-eighty Pennsylvania, of the same brigade, thus forming the right center, two Ohio regiments being deployed still farther to our right. Our regiment then moved forward to the woods occupied by the rebels, and after a short but severe contest, succeeded in driving them before us. From the woods the enemy retired to a corn-field, followed by us, and while in the corn our regiment engaged a Georgia regiment in a hand-to-hand combat, using clubbed guns, a portion of the men having no bayonet. The enemy at this point was severely punished. After a short resistance, the enemy again gave way, and, being closely pursued, sustained great loss. We followed the retreating foe through the corn into an open field beyond, where, our men being out of ammunition, we halted behind the brow of a hill until the cartridge-boxes of the men were replenished. We then advanced about 50 yards farther, at which time the enemy were observed coming toward us. Our regiment laid down until they approached quite near, when they suddenly raised and discharged a volley into their lines which caused them to retreat in confusion. We followed them, driving them through the field into the woods in rear, and out of the woods into the corn still farther beyond. The regiment at this time was so reduced, from wounds and other causes, as to be unable to pursue farther.

About the center of the woods we took a position which we held until again out of ammunition, when, owing to the retreat of a regiment on our right, caused by the advance of a greatly superior force of rebels, we were compelled, at about 1 o'clock p. m., to retire from our position.

It is no flattery to say that officers and men did their duty bravely during the whole of the six hours' fire to which they were subjected.*

Very respectfully,

Major, Commanding Fifth Ohio Volunteer Infantry.

*A medal of honor was awarded to Private John P. Murphy, of this regiment, for the capture of the flag of the Thirteenth Alabama Infantry.

Source: OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, Vol 19, Part 1 (Antietam - Serial 27) , Page 507


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