Report of Maj. B. W. Frobel, C. S. Army, Chief of Artillery, of
the battle of Sharpsburg.
SEPTEMBER 3-20, 1862.-The Maryland Campaign.
O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME XIX/1 [S# 27]
OCTOBER 1, 1862.
Capt. W. H. SELLERS,
CAPTAIN: In compliance with orders to report the participation of the batteries under my command in the recent engagements before Sharps-burg, I would respectfully submit the following:
After bringing up the rear on the march from Boonsborough, Captains Reilly's and Bachman's batteries were placed in position by Colonel Walton, about noon on Monday, September 15, on a hill to the right of the turnpike road and a short distance in front of Sharpsburg, Garden's battery being held in reserve, in case the enemy should attempt an advance by a bridge over the Antietam, still farther to the right. We held these positions on Monday night. On Tuesday a fierce cannonade was kept up between our batteries and those of the enemy, in which Captain Reilly was ordered by Colonel Walton to participate until his rifle ammunition was exhausted, but without any perceptible result. Bachman's battery was at the same time exposed to a heavy fire, but had orders not to reply. Tuesday night we occupied the same positions.
On Wednesday morning the battle was again renewed. Captain Reilly was sent to the rear to replenish, if possible, his exhausted ammunition. At 8 a.m. Captain Bachman, with a section of Napoleon guns, was ordered to proceed to the extreme left of our line and report to General Longstreet. Shortly after, he was placed in position in a corn-field and opened on the enemy, distance 150 yards. The position was exposed to the fire of the enemy's sharpshooters, who occupied a wood not more than 50 yards off. In a few minutes the section lost 3 men wounded (2 mortally) and 6 horses killed. Finding that to continue longer would involve the loss of his guns, Captain Bachman withdrew to a hill near by, and reported the section disabled, on account of the loss of men and horses. I ordered him to retire for the purpose of repairing damages. In the mean time his rifle section was hotly engaged near the turnpike.
This section was in charge of Sergeant Schlemmermeyer, who fought his guns most gallantly and remained in position until all his ammunition was expended.
At 2 p.m. I received orders from Major-General Jones to prepare to hold the road leading from the bridge over the Antietam on our extreme right. A few minutes after, the enemy were reported advancing, the infantry near the bridge at the same time giving way. I immediately placed Garden's battery in position on the left of the road. The enemy had crossed the bridge and were advancing rapidly, under cover of a furious fire from all their batteries concentrated upon us, when Garden opened a most destructive fire upon them, and, assisted by a rifle section under Captain Squires, soon drove them back. Fearing they might yet turn us by passing still farther to the right, I directed Captain Garden to look well to the road and woods in front of him, while I proceeded to the right in search of General Jones. On arriving at the top of the hill on the right of the road, the enemy were seen advancing in strong force in that direction. By permission of General Jones, I placed Captain Brown's battery in position at this point. The enemy were distant about 400 yards when he opened a hot and well-directed fire upon them, breaking their ranks and driving them back to the cover of a hill from which they had just advanced. At this time, large bodies of the enemy (infantry and artillery) were moving on the opposite side of the river. When near the bridge they halted some ten or fifteen minutes. I immediately sent to Captain Reilly to come up, as the guns then in position were all short range and could not reach them or the bridge. Being without ammunition, only his howitzer section was available. I at once placed it in position. The enemy had, in the mean time, advanced some eight or ten guns across the river and placed them in front of us. Under fire of these, assisted by all their long-range batteries on the opposite bank, their line advanced. Their sharpshooters, at the same time, opened a hot fire on us from a corn-field on our right, a stone fence in front, and a wood and orchard near by. Our batteries immediately replied, and continued their fire until the line was broken and the enemy recoiled. At this time they were distant less than 100 yards. Our ammunition was exhausted. One of Captain Garden's guns was dismounted, the carriage being entirely destroyed; another, rendered utterly useless by the bursting of a shell, while from one of Captain Reilly's pieces all the horses had been killed. But three guns remained fit for service, and they were without ammunition. Having run the pieces to the rear by hand and secured our disabled guns (the enemy all the time advancing and firing upon us), I ordered the batteries to retire. In passing to the turnpike, Lieutenant Ramsay, in command of the rifle section of Captain Reilly's battery, came up to our support. At that time the enemy occupied the position we had just left and were advancing in line. I ordered Lieutenant Ramsay to take position in the field to the right of the road and open, which he did, soon breaking their line and throwing them in great confusion. At this time General A. P. Hill came up, and, charging, drove them from the field.
I regret to report that First Lieutenant [S. M.] Pringle, of Garden's battery, after fighting his guns most gallantly, fell, late in the day, mortally wounded, and has since died.
I cannot too highly applaud the conduct of both officers and men. Captains Bachman and Reilly fought their batteries with their usual determination and devotion to the cause. Captain Garden, Lieutenants [James] Simons, jr., Myers, Ramsay, and Sergeant Schlemmermeyer deserve particular notice for their gallant Conduct during the battle, and also Assistant Surgeon Buist, for his attention to the sick. Actg. Adjt. W. L. Scott rendered me great assistance, and is entitled to my warmest thanks. Inclosed you will find a list of the killed and wounded.
I am, captain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
B. W. FROBEL,
Major and Chief of Artillery, Commanding.
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