Report of Lieut. Col. J. William Hofmann,
Fifty-sixth Pennsylvania Infantry, of the battle of South Mountain.
SEPTEMBER 3-20, 1862.-The Maryland Campaign.
O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME XIX/1 [S# 27]
HQRS. FIFTY-SIXTH REGIMENT PENNSYLVANIA VOLS.,
Camp at Hunter's Gap, September 15, 1862.
Assistant Adjutant-General, Doubleday's Brigade.
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report the operations of the Fifty-sixth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers since the morning of the 14th instant:
The regiment left camp on the left bank of the Monocacy Creek, near the National road, on the morning of the 14th instant, at 6 a.m. Present for duty: One field officer, I captain, 6 lieutenants, 239 enlisted men. The regiment passed over the National road toward the South Mountain At Middletown our regiment, in common with the brigade under command of General Doubleday, verged to the right, marching in a northwesterly direction for about 2 miles, when we formed in line of battle and marched up the mountain. At the crest of it we found General Hatch's brigade warmly engaged with the enemy. General Hatch's troops forming the extreme right of our line, we formed in rear of them, and as soon as we had relieved them we opened fire on the enemy, posted some 40 yards in front of us, in a corn-field. It was now quite dark, and the position of the enemy could be ascertained only from the flashes of his fire. Our men fired continually for about one hour and a half, when our ammunition gave out. We were at this moment relieved by the arrival of General Ricketts' division, and, by order of General Doubleday, we retired 10 paces to the rear, where the men slept on their arms, the enemy having retired shortly after the arrival of General Ricketts' troops. The conduct of the officers and men was all that could have been asked of them. There is every reason to believe that the fire of our regiment was very destructive to the enemy. This was made manifest by the number of dead that lay in the morning in front of the position that our regiment had occupied. The following is a list of casualties occurred during the action: Killed, 1; wounded, 11; missing, 3 (all enlisted men). I am under obligations to Lieutenant Healy, my acting adjutant, for valuable assistance rendered by him during the action. At 2 o'clock this morning, by direction of General Doubleday, I assumed, as senior officer, the command of the brigade, Captain Williams, of Company D, succeeding to the command of the regiment.
J. W. HOFMANN,
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