Today in History:

92 Series I Volume XIX-II Serial 28 - Antietam Part II

Page 92 Chapter XXXI. OPERATIONS IN. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA.

Major C. J. Whiting, Second Regiment Cavalry, consisting of portions of the First, Second, Fifth, and Sixth Regular Cavalry, eighth the horse artillery battery of four guns, under command of Lieutenant George Dickenson, Fourth Regiment of Artillery, started at daylight, and was immediately followed by the command.

The advance of our column encountered the enemy's pickets beyond Halltown, drove them in, and pursued until, when within short artillery range of the high ground this side of Charlestown, the enemy was found posted. He opened fire upon us with artillery. Our horse artillery battery, supported by Captain M. Reno's First Cavalry, then engaged the enemy, who opened fire from five guns, and deployed dismounted cavalry as skirmishers on their front and flacks. The infantry was brought up as soon as practicable and deployed, and our batteries placed in position, An advance was immediately made, Captain William W. Tompkins' battery, Third Regiment Artillery [John A Tompkins' battery, A, First Rhode Island], opening at the same time. We soon ascertained that the enemy had been driven away by the fire of our artillery, together with the threatened attack by the infantry. His force only consisted of the artillery already referred to, with two or three regiments of cavalry. The town was at once taken possession of, and the troops suitably disposed for defence. Toward evening our infantry advanced and occupied the heights surrounding the town, within artillery range. The infantry was afterward withdrawn, and the roads guarded by the cavalry. A reconnaissance was then made a distance of several miles, in the direction of Bunker Hill, by the cavalry, under Captain M. A. Reno, supported by Major C. J. Whiting's


Major-General McClellan, commanding the Army of the Potomac, having arrived in Charlestown shortly after we had occupied it, directed the movements last referred to, and, having obtained all the information for which the reconnaissance was made, no further operations were undertaken.

The command remained in Charlestown until about 2 p. m. the next day, when we received orders to return. It then marched to Halltown, and occupied that position during the night.

Text next morning, after an examination of the roads, and it being found there was no enemy in front, the command returned to Harper's


Early on the morning of the 16th, I sent one squadron up the railroad as far as Kearneysville. It proceeded to that point without meeting General Humphrey's command, as was expected, and, having performed the task assigned it, returned to camp, the commander making his report direct to the command of the Second d' Armee. I regret I have not the name of this officer.

While in Charlestown I appointed Colonel J. R. Brooke, of the Fifty-third Pennsylvania Volunteers, military governor, the better to preserve order. About 100 officers and soldiers of the Confederate Army were found in the town, consisting entirely, it is believed, of surgeons, hospital attendants, convalescents, and sick. Twenty-six were sent to the provost-marshal at Harper's Ferry, and 38, wounded and unable to be removed, were paroled. Time did not permit the paroling of all who were severely wounded, as they were scattered throughout the town, requiring more time than we had for the purpose, to find them.

The casualties on either side were about equal, and were not numerous. I found some parts of artillery carriages belonging to the enemy, which I destroyed.

The officers and troops behaved well. Colonel J. R. Brooke, commanding the advance guard of infantry; Major C. J. Whiting, Second Regi-

Page 92 Chapter XXXI. OPERATIONS IN. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA.