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Col R. Biddle Roberts' Official Report

Report of September 16, 1862 on Turner's Gap

[author biography]

Camp near Sharpsburg, September 16, 1862.

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report that on Sunday afternoon, September 14, 1862, the regiment, as a portion of the First Brigade, Pennsylvania Reserve Corps, advanced to South Mountain, moving in column of division, avoiding as much as possible the shell of the enemy, and gaining the immediate base of the mountain, remained some time under cover of a forest, and having formed line of battle, two companies, to wit, A, Lieutenant Nields commanding, and B, Lieutenant Bear commanding, were thrown out as skirmishers to support the First Rifles, who were hotly engaged with the enemy ou the right. About 5 o'clock a general engagement came on, and having received an order to advance, I moved the eight remaining companies forward, and under the immediate personal direction of General Seymour charged up the mountain side. The enemy were strongly intrenched at the top behind rocks and temporary protections, and while advancing upon them we suffered severely from their fire, but by a rapid move we succeeded in driving them and gained the apex of the mountain in advance of all others. The enemy were armed with Enfield rifles (Tower guns), and their fire was particularly destructive, as will be seen by reference to the list of casualties already sent forward. Having gained the field and darkness coming on, we were unable to pursue the enemy farther, and lay upon our arms for the night. The troops engaged by us were mainly Alabama regiments, but their numbers or commanders' names I am unable to give, with the single exception of the name of Colonel Gayle, who was killed, and whose body was carefully buried by my men. On Monday we moved forward under general orders. I take pleasure in naming among my surviving officers and men the following as having particularly distinguished themselves for gallantry and good conduct: Capt.William Cooper Talley, Company F; Capt. T. B. Kaufman, Company I; Lieut. J. R. T. Coates, Company C; Private (now Acting Lieutenant) John C. Harvey, Private (now Acting Lieutenant) Alfred Rupert, and Private Thomas McNamee, who bore the colors. The general deportment of both officers and men was such as to secure my unqualified approbation and to render personal notices extremely difficult to make with justice to all.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Colonel First Regiment, Pennsylvania Reserve Corps.

† Embodied in table, Vol. XIX, Part I, p. 185.

Source: OR1


1   US War Department, The War of the Rebellion: a Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies (OR), 128 vols., Washington DC: US Government Printing Office, 1880-1901, Vol. 51/Part1 (Ser #107), pp. 142-143  [AotW citation 100]


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