Commanding Officer on the Sharpsburg Campaign:
Capt. M. B. Miller
On the Sharpsburg Campaign
Miller's Battery was 'conspicuous' in helping defend the otherwise open center of Lee's line at Sharpsburg after Gen DH Hill's infantry positions in the Sunken Lane were overrun at about midday on the 17th. Gen Longstreet and his staff helped man a gun in this battery at that time (see the Dale Gallon painting).
This company also had a caisson explode spectacularly after a direct hit from a Federal battery.
Col Walton, in his official report, details the Battery's actions:
At 9.15 a.m. Captain Miller's battery, of four Napoleons, was ordered from its original position to a point to the left of the main road and near our center. Here Captain Miller was so fortunate as to meet with General Longstreet, who assigned him a position. He immediately opened upon the enemy's infantry, which were advancing upon our left and front. Here he suffered considerably from the fire of the enemy's sharpshooters, losing two of his gunners and several of his cannoneers, wounded, when, ascertaining that the enemy was beyond effective range, he was ordered by General Longstreet to cease firing and go under cover. Here he remained twenty minutes, when, the enemy again advancing, he ordered his battery again into position. Lieutenant Hero having been wounded and Lieutenant McElroy having been left to watch the movements of the enemy on the right, Captain Miller found himself the only officer with his company, and, having barely men enough left to work a section effectively, he opened upon the enemy with two pieces with splendid effect. "
"After an action of half an hour, he removed his section to a more advantageous position 100 yards to the front and right, placing the remaining section under Sergeant Ellis, directing him to take it completely under cover. He then continued the action until the ammunition was nearly exhausted, when Sergeant Ellis brought up one of the remaining caissons. The enemy had made two determined attempts to force our line, and had been twice signally repulsed. They were now advancing the third time, and were within canister range, when Sergeant Ellis, who had succeeded in rallying some infantry to his assistance, brought one of the guns of his section into action on Miller's left, and gave them canister, with terrible effect. The three guns succeeded in checking the enemy's advance, and remained in action until the ammunition was exhausted, when they were retired to be refilled. After procuring the required ammunition, Captain Miller was returning to his former position, when he was directed by General Lee to an elevated and commanding position on the right and rear of the town, where General A. P. Hill had but just begun his attack. Here I placed him in charge of the guns that had been ordered to this position, leaving Lieutenant McElroy to command his section, and he continued the fight until its close at nightfall."
"Too much praise cannot be bestowed on Captain Miller for his stubborn defense of the center for several hours; to Lieutenants Hero and McElroy and Sergeants Ellis, Bier (chief artificer), and Dempsey (artificer), for their gallantry. "
"This part of the action was under the immediate eye of General Longstreet, commanding, and his staff, who, when Captain Miller's cannoneers were exhausted, dismounted and assisted the working of the guns. Captain Miller was compelled, owing to his loss of horses, to leave one caisson on the field. He endeavored to bring it off the next day, but it was deemed unadvisable, it being in range of the enemy's sharpshooters, and it was abandoned and subsequently destroyed."
Initial Strength: not known; Killed in Action (KIA): 2; Wounded (WIA): 10; Missing in Action (MIA): 2;
Maps Showing this Unit
Detail Map #9: Richardson's Division Attacks the Sunken Road (10-11 am)
Detail Map #10: Confederate Counterattacks in the Center (11 am-1 pm)
Detail Map #11: Sykes' Regulars Advance from the Middle Bridge (noon-4 pm)
Detail Map #12: Burnside's Ninth Corps Climbs Toward Sharpsburg (3-4 pm)
Detail Map #13: AP Hill's Division Hits Burnside's Flank (4-5 pm)
Battlefield Tablets for this Unit
Tablet #307: Washington Artillery, Longstreet's Command - 15 Sep, 8 AM to 16 Sep, 6 AM
Tablet #368: Jones' Division, Longstreet's Command - 15 Sep, 9 AM to 16 Sep, 9 PM
Tablet #366: 2nd, 20th, and 50th Georgia Infantry - 17 Sep, 8 AM to 17 Sep, 2 PM
Tablet #308: Washington Artillery, Longstreet's Command - 17 Sep, 8 AM to 17 Sep, 3 PM
We have 20 individuals in the AotW database who were on the Maryland Campaign with this unit:
|--||Pvt||Atkins, Henry J.||KIA 09/17|
|--||Pvt||Avril, Louis Emile||WIA 09/17|
|--||Pvt||Bartlett, Myron Napier|
|--||Pvt||Cantrelle, Michel B.|
|--||Pvt||Clark, Joseph F.|
|--||Pvt||Cloney, Michael W.||WIA 09/17|
|--||Pvt||Douber, Frederick||KIA 09/17|
|--||Sgt||Handy, John T.||WIA 09/17|
|--||Lt||Hero, Jr., Andrew||WIA 09/17|
|--||Pvt||Holmes, Jr., John||WIA 09/17|
|--||Pvt||Kent, Zenas M.||AWOL 09/17|
|--||Pvt||Leytze, Gustavus||POW 09/18|
|--||Pvt||Massey, George W.||MWIA 09/17|
|--||Pvt||McCartney, John H.||WIA 09/17|
|--||Sgt||McNeil, George||WIA 09/17|
|--||Capt||Miller, Merritt B.|
|--||Corp||Pettiss, Peyton Wyatt||WIA 09/17|
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