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Capt H. G. Gibson's Report on the Campaign

Report of September 25, 1862

H.G. Gibson

[author biography]


September 25, l862.

First Lieutenant HENRY F. BROWNSON,
Third Regiment Artillery, Acting Assistant Adjutant-General, Artillery Reserve, Army of the Potomac.

SIR : I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of my battery during the several engagements with the enemy since leaving Frederick on September 13. During the forenoon of that day I was ordered to report to General Pleasonton, in pursuit of the enemy on the Hagerstown Road.

At the foot of the heights near Frederick by direction of the General, I detached Lieutenant [Edmund] Pendleton’s section to operate with the cavalry under Colonel Rush, Sixth Pennsylvania Cavalry. This section did not rejoin me until September 16, but not having been engaged, no report of its movements is necessary.

Between Hamburg and Middletown the enemy opened a brisk artillery fire on the head of our column, and Lieutenant [Francis Lowell Dutton] Russell’s section was brought into action on a hill on the right and Lieutenant [Henry] Meinell’s section in a field on the left.

After a sharp engagement of twenty minutes, the enemy’s battery was silenced , and the column again advanced. On entering Middletown, Russell’s section was ordered to the front and engaged the enemy, making another stand about 1,000 feet beyond them. Meinell’s section was sent to its support, and in a few minutes the enemy’s battery ceased firing. The battery, however, continued its fire upon groups of cavalry within view for nearly an hour.

The column then advanced to the heights opposite the Hagerstown Gap of the South Mountain and remained there until orders were given to withdraw and encamp for the night.

On September 14, General Pleasonton ordered the battery again to the front and into position on a ridge on the left of the road, commanding the position of the enemy’s batteries in the Gap about 2,700 yards distant. A steady and effective fire was kept upon them during the greater part of the forenoon, while our troops were engaging the enemy on the left.

About midday, I was ordered by General Pleasonton to advance with Colonel Farnsworth’s Eighth Illinois Cavalry, on the road to the Gap. The enemy at once [poured] a warm fire upon us, and moving my battery to the right of the road, I replied to it as fully and effectively as the nature of the ground in front of my position would admit. I kept my guns [firing] for more then half an hour, when I was ordered by the General to retire.

I withdrew the battery some distance, but the enemy’s shots continued to fall in and about the battery for some time after the cessation of its firing. The battery was ordered to resume its post on the ridge, but took no further part in the battle of the South Mountain, except firing a few desultory shots.

On September 15, the battery was directed by General Burnside to move with his Corps to the vicinity of Sharpsburg and on arriving on the field, though not engaged, was under fire during the afternoon.

On September 17, during the battle of Sharpsburg, the battery moved with General Pleasonton’s Cavalry across the Stone Bridge over the Antietam Creek, opposite the enemy’s center, and came into action on a sloping ascent on the left of the Sharpsburg Road. A warm and effective fire was maintained upon the enemy for over ann hour, when I received notice of the close approach of the enemy’s infantry, and the other batteries were ordered to relieve my own and the other horse batteries.

The battery was slowly retired by piece, each continuing to fire until the last moment; [I, myself, remained] on the field until the arrival of Randol’s Battery. During the rest of the day and the next, the battery remained in position on the hill on the right bank of the Creek.

On September 19, the battery was ordered to the line with the Cavalry and was warmly engaged with the enemy’s artillery across the Potomac for over two hours. Meinell’s section was posted on the left of the road, and the rest of the battery on the crest of a hill to the right. Lieutenant Meinell, who was exposed to a hot fire from the front and on his left flank, kept his position for a considerable time but finally withdrew to another in which his flank was protected. During the whole of the engagement, the guns were admirably served. Lieutenant [Edmund] Pendleton was prevented by sickness from taking part in the action.

On September 20, the cavalry and horse artillery advance to the ford of the Potomac River. The crossing being opposed by the enemy in force, the battery, under the General’s orders, was posted on a hill near the ford. Seeing a long line of infantry advancing on our troops [we sent] a rapid but accurate fire upon it, and continued it until [the enemy?] was concealed from view. The guns were then turned on the bluff opposite where our troops were hotly engaged, and on such places as furnished cover for the enemy’s sharpshooters, from which they were speedily driven. The battery marched to Williamsport on the night of September 20 and returned here on September 22. The cavalry failed to escort it on the road to Williamsport.

The service performed by the battery has been severe band arduous. It has been in harness and engaged with the enemy nearly every day since leaving Frederick with scanty allowance of forage and rations. The officers and men have borne themselves gallantly under fire and under every privation uncomplainingly and have served their guns on all occasions with shell [skill?] and effect.

I beg leave to mention the names of the officers of the battery as worthy of commendation and reward - First Lieutenant E. Pendleton and Lieutenant Meinell, Third Artillery and Second Lieutenant F.L.D. Russell, of the Fourth artillery. First Sergeant R. Monteith (Light Company C) and Sergeant J. Hays (Company G) and Corporal Daniel Munger (light Company C) and William H. Miller (Company G), are highly spoken of by their chiefs of section for the admirable service of their [duties].

I regret to have to report that Private Henry Thesang, of the ordnance (attached to my battery), a fine soldier and excellent mechanic, was dangerously wounded during the engagement of September 19.

My casualties in horses were three wounded.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Captain, Third United States Artillery,
Commanding Batteries C and G.

Source: Janet Hewett, ed., The Supplement to the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, 100 Volumes in 3 Parts, Wilmington (NC): Broadfoot Publishing Company, 1994-2001; Part 1, Vol. 3, pp. 527 - 530. From the Henry Jackson Hunt Papers, Library of Congress.


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