Report of Col. John W. Andrews, First Delaware Infantry, of the Battle of Antietam.
SEPTEMBER 3-20, 1862.-The Maryland Campaign.
O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME XIX/1 [S# 27]
HDQRS. FIRST DELAWARE INFANTRY,
THIRD BRIGADE, THIRD DIVISION, SECOND CORPS,
Near Sharpsburg, Md., September 18, 1862.
Assistant Adjutant-General on the Staff of Brig. Gen. Max Weber.
CAPTAIN: The First Delaware Infantry, forming the right of Brig. Gen. Max Weber's brigade, after fording Antietam Creek, marched in column for a mile, then, facing to the left, advanced in line of battle, forming the first line of General French's division. The enemy's batteries now opened a severe fire. Having advanced steadily through woods and corn-fields, driving all before us, we met the enemy in two lines of battle, posted in a road or ravine 4 feet below the surface of the adjoining field, with a third line in a corn-field in the rear, the ground gradually rising so that they were able to fire over the heads of those in the ravine; our right was also exposed to the sudden and terrible fire from the troops who succeeded in breaking the center division of the line of battle. We were at this time about 20 paces off the enemy, and returned their fire for some time with much coolness and effect. A charge was then ordered and attempted, but our second line, composed of new levies, instead of supporting our advance, fired into our rear. We had now lost one-third of our men, and 8 officers commanding companies were either killed or wounded. Under these circumstances we fell back gradually to a stronger position until relieved by our third line, composed of veterans under General Kimball. This was our first battle, and I cannot speak in too high praise of the conduct of the officers and men.
The following officers, all commanding companies, were killed or wounded: Killed, Captains Watson, Leonard, and Rickards; wounded, Captains Yardley, Woodall, and Shortlidge, and Lieutenants Swiggett and Tanner. In fact, but few escaped. The color guard were all killed or wounded, the field officers' horses killed.
The command exhibited a degree of gallantry, efficiency, and personal bravery seldom equaled. I must also particularly mention the services of Lieutenant-Colonel Hopkinson, Major Smyth, and Acting Adjutant Postles, who behaved with exemplary coolness and bravery.
JOHN W. ANDREWS,
Colonel First Delaware Infantry.
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