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MGen Henry Slocum's Official Reports on Crampton's Gap and Antietam

Reports of September 1862

H. W. Slocum


Camp in the Field, September 24, 1862

Assistant Adjutant-General, Sixth Army Corps.

SIR: I have the honor of submitting the following report of the action of this division in the engagement at Crampton's Pass on the 14th instant:

The division encamped on the night of the 13th about 3 miles east of Jefferson, on the road leading from Urbana to Jefferson. At daylight on the 14th instant the division left camp, moved through Jefferson, and at 12 m. met the pickets of the enemy near Burkittsville. Colonel Bartlett, commanding the leading brigade, at once deployed the Ninety-sixth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers as skirmishers, who drove in the enemy's pickets and advanced to the village. The other regiments of the division were then advanced to a position about half a mile east of the village, where they were completely concealed from the view of the enemy and covered from the fire of his artillery. Wolcott's First Maryland Battery was then advanced to a point to the left of the infantry, and replied to the enemy's artillery until preparations for the attack of the infantry were completed.

At 3 p.m. the column of attack was formed in the following order: The Twenty-seventh Regiment New York Volunteers deployed as skirmishers, followed at a distance of 200 yards by the Fifth Maine and Sixteenth New York Volunteers in line of battle; the brigades of General Newton and Colonel Torbert followed, each brigade being in two lines, the regiments in line of battle and the lines 200 yards from each other; the Ninety-sixth Pennsylvania Volunteers, of Bartlett's brigade, which had advanced into the village, formed in rear, and joined the column as it advanced; the One hundred and twenty-first New York Volunteers was held as a reserve at the point where the column was formed. As soon as the advance began, the enemy opened with a heavy and well-directed artillery fire, but the troops advanced steadily, every line in the entire column preserving its alignment with as much accuracy as could have been expected at a drill or review. The line of skirmishers soon drew the fire of the enemy's infantry, which appeared in strong position in rear of a stone wall, which afforded them an admirable cover.

The position and strength of the enemy having been ascertained, the skirmishers were withdrawn, and Colonel Bartlett led the first line to a point within 300 yards of the enemy's line. A severe engagement ensued, the enemy having greatly the advantage in position, and being aided by at least eight pieces of artillery posted on the sides of the mount-sin. The position of this pass and its approaches rendered it evident that in the attempt to carry it reliance was to be placed mainly upon the infantry. I had, therefore, left all the artillery of the division in rear, but fearing that the stone wall behind which the enemy had taken cover would prove an insurmountable obstacle to the advance of my lines, I at once used every effort to bring forward a battery, with the view of driving the enemy from his position. But before the battery was fairly in position this obstacle had been overcome by a most gallant charge of the infantry, and the enemy were fleeing in confusion up the mountain, closely pursued by every regiment of the division except the one in reserve, each vying with the other in the pursuit. The enemy made another stand at the crest of the mountain, but was speedily dispersed and pursued through the pass and into the plain below. The victory was complete, and resulted not only in the utter rout and dispersion of the forces opposed to us, but in the capture of over 300 prisonerers, 3 stand of colors, over 700 stand of arms of the most approved pattern, I piece of artillery, and a very large number of knapsacks, haversacks, blankets, &c. The advance of General Brooks' brigade, of Smith's division, on the left of the pass, simultaneously with the advance of my division, did much toward the accomplishment of the work assigned to the corps, and rendered our victory more complete than it would otherwise have been.

Of the gallantry of the officers and men under my command I cannot speak too highly. Although greatly reduced in numbers by losses on the Peninsula, although fatigued by long marches and constant service since the opening of the spring campaign, each regiment--indeed, every man--did his whole duty, not reluctantly, but with that eagerness and enthusiasm which rendered success certain.

To attempt to designate any regiment, or any regimental or line officer, as being entitled to particular notice would be an act of injustice to all others. I cannot, however, without great injustice omit to call attention to the conduct of the brigade commanders, General Newton, Colonel Bartlett, and Colonel Torbert, all of whom led their brigades in the action, and gave renewed evidences of their skill and courage. Colonel Bartlett, commanding the leading brigade, was on this, as on all former occasions, conspicuous for his gallantry and the skill with which he handled his troops under a most galling fire. I sincerely trust that both Colonel Bartlett and Colonel Torbert, commanding their respective brigades, both of whom have given abundant proofs of their qualifications for the positions which they now occupy as brigade commanders, may be rewarded by the promotion they have so well earned.

I append a list of casualties, showing the number of officers killed, 5; wounded, 16; men killed, 109; wounded, 381. Total killed, 114; wounded, 397; aggregate loss, 511.

This list embraces many of the bravest and most gallant officers and soldiers of the division, for a more particular reference to whom I respectfully refer to the reports of the brigade commanders, which are herewith inclosed.

I am greatly indebted to the members of my staff, Major Rodgers, assistant adjutant-general; Lieutenants Guindon and Shannon, aides-de-camp, and to Captain Urquhart, of Colonel Bartlett's staff, for the zealous manner in which their respective duties were discharged.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Major-General Volunteers, Commanding.

Camp near Bakersville, September 26, 1862

Asst. Adjt. Gen. and Chief of Staff, Sixth Army Corps.

I have the honor to report that, early on the morning of the 17th instant, the division under my command left Crampton's Pass to join the main army, then already engaged with the enemy near Sharpsburg. We reached the battle-field about 12 m., and immediately took position in front of the white church, on the Hagerstown and Sharpsburg turnpike, relieving a portion of General Sumner's corps. Our infantry, though not actively engaged, were exposed to a heavy artillery fire from the enemy until sundown, and are entitled to great credit for their gallantry under a severe fire, which they were unable to return. The artillery of the division, under command of First Lieut. Emory Upton, Fifth U.S. Artillery, was well served and did good execution. The batteries of Captain Hexamer, First New Jersey Volunteer Artillery; Captain Wolcott, First Maryland Volunteer Artillery, and Lieutenant Williston, Battery D, Second U.S. Artillery, were all engaged, and their fire proved very accurate and effective, twice silencing the enemy's guns, and holding in check a large force of his infantry.

The officers and men of the division lay or rested upon their arms in line of battle for over forty hours without leaving their position, and deserve great credit for their fortitude displayed on that occasion.

I append a list of casualties, showing a loss of 5 men killed, 2 officers and 56 men wounded, and 2 men missing, making a total loss of 65.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Major-General Volunteers, Commanding.


Source: OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, Vol 19, Part 1 (Antietam - Serial 27) , Pages 380 - 382


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