CS – TX 5th – Rogers
NEAR HAGERSTOWN, MD.,
July 8, 1863.
SIR: I have the honor to forward a continuation of the report of the part taken by the Fifth Texas Regiment in the action of the 3d and 3d instant, after the wounding of Colonels Powell and Bryan, when the command devolved upon me, the regiment still holding the position as left by Colonel Bryan, firing with accuracy and deadly effect.
The order to fall back came from some unknown source, and, finding that the regiments on our right and left had retired, it became necessary to follow. I therefore gave the order for the regiment to about-face and retire to the rear, which they did in good order until they reached the position mentioned in Colonel Bryan’s report as the second position of the enemy, and here were halted and reformed, in connection with the other regiments. From the exhausted condition of the men, it was deemed necessary to remain here for a few moments.
The regiments were again ordered forward, which they did in the most gallant manner, and regained their first position, which they held as long as it was tenable; and a farther advance being impracticable, owing to the nature of the ground, as expressed in Colonel Bryan’s report, they again retired in good order to an open space about 50 yards in rear, when here it was discovered for the first time that nearly two-thirds of our officers and men had been killed and wounded.
Only a few moments were here consumed to allow the men to recover their breath, when, in obedience to orders, I again moved the regiment forward to attack the enemy in their impregnable position. The coolness and determination of the men and officers were equal to the occasion. They advanced boldly over the ground strewn with the bodies of their dead and dying comrades to the base of what they knew to be an impregnable fortification. We held this position until it was discovered that we had no supports either on the right or left, and were about to be flanked, and therefore were again compelled to retire, which the regiment did in good order to the point mentioned in Colonel Bryan’s report as the second position of the enemy, which place we were ordered to hold at all hazards, which we did.
Just before day on the morning of the 3d, orders reached me that breastworks must be thrown up, and the position held. The order was obeyed. During the day, constant skirmishing was kept up with the enemy, which resulted in the loss to us of many of our best scouts. Late in the evening, in obedience to orders, I about-faced my regiment, and marched three-quarters of a mile to the crest of the ridge from which the charge of the day previous commenced. Here we threw up breastworks, behind which we remained during the night.
I would respectfully beg leave to call attention to the valuable assistance I received from Capt. John S. Cleveland in the management of the right wing of my regiment, and Capt. T. T. Clay on the left; also, to the heroic conduct of T. W. Fitzgerald, of Company A, who was color-bearer. He pressed gallantly forward, and was badly-wounded far in front. J. A. Howard, of Company B, color corporal, then took the flag, and remained firmly at his post. He was almost instantly killed. The colors were then taken by Sergt. W. S. Evans, of Company F, who planted them defiantly in the face of the foe during the remainder of the fight, always advancing promptly to the front when the order was given.
The general conduct of officers and men was beyond all praise.
J. C. ROGERS,
Major, Commanding Fifth Texas Regiment.
Lieut. JOHN W. KERR,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.