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BGen John R. Jones' Official Report

Report of January 21, 1863


January 21, 1863

Assistant Adjutant-General, Hdqrs. Second Corps.

MAJOR: In obedience to orders received from corps headquarters, I respectfully submit the following report of the operations of Jackson's division during the period which I had the honor to command it, being from September 7 to December 12, 1862:

The division reached Frederick City, Md., on September 7, and was encamped 1 mile from the city, with the exception of Jones' brigade, which was placed in the city as provost guard. I found the division at this time very much reduced in numbers by the recent severe battles and the long and wearisome marches.

Orders were received on Tuesday night, September 10, to march at 3 o'clock the following morning. The march was continued across the Potomac at Williamsport, through Martinsburg, to the vicinity of Harper's Ferry.

It is appropriate at this point to pay the well-merited tribute to the good conduct of the soldiers of this division during their march through Maryland. Never has the army been so dirty, ragged, and ill-provided for as on this march, and yet there was no marauding, no plundering. The rights of person and property were strictly respected, eliciting the following comparison from the New York World of December 15:

The ragged, half-starved rebels passed through Maryland without disorder or marauding, without injury to the country, showing their excellent discipline. The well-fed, well-clothed Union soldiers laid waste everything before them, plundering houses, hen-roosts, and hog-pens, showing an utter want of discipline.


Encamped 4 miles from Harper's Ferry. On the 14th orders were received to move the division near the Potomac and above Bolivar Heights, on which the enemy were strongly posted. Commanding positions were secured for the batteries, and a heavy fire opened upon the works of the enemy and their line of battle. While good work was done by our batteries, the enemy replied without any effect, not a single casualty occurring in the division. Toward night I ordered the division to move nearer the river, directing Starke's brigade to rest on the river road to prevent the enemy from making his escape if he should attempt to do so.

At dawn on the 15th the attack was renewed, and at 7 a.m. the garrison surrendered, much to the joy of the toil-worn soldiers, who were ready again to encounter the enemy if necessary. At 3 p.m. orders were received to march back to camp and cook two days' rations and be ready to march. The cooking was completed by 12 o'clock at night, and at 1 o'clock the march was commenced. Reaching the Potomac at sunrise, the division was hurried across and on to Sharpsburg.


Resting for two hours in a grove a mile from Sharpsburg, the division was again put in motion, and took up its position on the extreme left, its right resting on the Sharpsburg and Hagerstown turnpike. A double line was formed, the front, composed of Jones' and Winder's brigades, placed in an open field, under the immediate command of Colonel Grigsby; Taliaferro's and Starke's brigades, forming the reserve, placed at the edge of a wood, under the immediate command of Brigadier-Gen-eral Starke; the whole under the command of Brig. Gen. J. R. Jones. This disposition was made about two hours before night on September 16. Two companies were at once thrown forward as skirmishers, and Poague's battery was placed in the road on the right. A battery of the enemy, about 500 yards in front and to the right, was playing upon the troops of Hood's division, which was on my right. Poague opened briskly upon it and silenced it in twenty minutes. The skirmishers were warmly engaged until night. The troops lay on their arms all night, the silence of which was broken by occasional firing by the skirmishers.

At the dawn of day on the 17th the battle opened fiercely. A storm of shell and grape fell upon the division from several batteries in front, and at very short range, and from batteries of heavy guns on the extreme right, which enfiladed the position of the division and took it in reverse. These batteries were gallantly replied to by the batteries of the division, Poague's, Carpenter's, Brockenbrough's, Raine's, Caskie's, and Wooding's. It was during this almost unprecedented iron storm that a shell exploded a little above my head, and so stunned and injured me that I was rendered unfit for duty, and retired from the field, turning over the command to Brigadier-General Starke, who a half an hour afterward advanced his lines to meet the infantry of the enemy, which was approaching. The infantry became at once engaged, and the gallant and generous Starke fell, pierced by three balls, and survived but a few moments. His fall cast a gloom over the troops. They never for a moment faltered, but rushed upon the enemy and drove him back. The struggle continued for several hours, the enemy all the while receiving re-enforcements, and the division, not numbering over 1,600 men at the beginning of the fight, having no support, was finally compelled to fall back to its original line. Early's brigade coming up at this opportune moment, Colonel Grigsby, commanding the division, rallied its shattered columns and joined General Early, and drove the enemy half a mile from the field, capturing many prisoners and covering the field with the dead and wounded of the enemy. After this repulse, the division was ordered back to a grove to rest and get ammunition, when in the evening it again advanced to the support of a battery, but did not again become engaged with the enemy.

In this bloody conflict the "Old Stonewall Division" lost nothing of its fair name and fame. Having won a world-wide fame by its valor and endurance in the splendid campaign in the valley, it entered upon another series of fights, commencing at Richmond and going through Cedar Run, Manassas, Harper's Ferry, and Sharpsburg, entering the last weary and worn, and reduced to the numbers of a small brigade, with its officers stricken down in its many fierce engagements, closing with a colonel commanding the division, captains commanding brigades, and lieutenants commanding regiments. In this fight every officer and man was a hero, and it would be invidious to mention particular names.

Winder's brigade was commanded successively by Colonel Grigsby and Major (now Lieutenant-Colonel) Williams, Fifth Virginia Regiment; Jones' brigade by Captains [John E.] Penn, [A. C.] Page, and [R. W.] Withers, the first two losing a leg; Taliaferro's brigade by Col. J. W. Jackson and Colonel Sheffield; Starke's brigade by General Starke, Col. L. A. Stafford, Ninth Louisiana Regiment, and Col. Edmund Pendleton, Fifteenth Louisiana Regiment.

Inclosed are reports of the various brigade commanders, which give more particularly the parts taken by their brigades.

The list of casualties has already been furnished, amounting to about 700, killed and wounded.

This brief report is respectfully submitted.
Brigadier-General, Commanding.


Return of casualties in Taliaferro's brigade at the battle of Sharpsburg, September 17, 1862. [Compiled from nominal list.]

Command Officers
Aggregate Remarks
47th Alabama 1 9 5 30 45 Lieut. George W. Gammell killed.
48th Alabama 1 9 4 28 42 Capt. R. C. Golightly killed.
10th Virginia --- --- --- --- ---  
23rd Virginia 1 8 4 25 38 Lieut. W. J. Sims killed.
37th Virginia 6 6 3 33 48 Capt. Chas. W. Taylor and Lieuts. Jas H. Barrett,
Isaac E. Hortenstine, William Mchagy, John A. Rhea,
and George W. Wallen killed.
Total 9 32 16 116 173  


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