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In Their Own Words

September 28, 1862

Civil War Soldier Wrote of Stand at Bridge at Antietam

A Georgia soldier writing home to his parents told of his regiment’s stand at what came to be known as Burnside Bridge at the Battle of Antietam.

“…At a bridge on the Antietam Creek, our regiment and the 20th Georgia, in all amounting to not over 300 muskets, held them in check for four hours and a half and then we fell back only because our ammunition was exhausted. But we suffered badly. Eight cannon just 500 yards off were pouring grape shot, shell and canister into us and our artillery could not silence them. We held our post until Major Harris - Cousin William - ordered us to fall back. Our Colonel - Colonel Holmes of Burke County, Georgia - was killed about half an hour before. He was as brave a man as I ever saw. He was perfectly cool and calm and won the confidence of the regiment at the battle of Manassas. Poor man, he was pierced by three balls after he received his death wound. We could not bring his remains off the field. Three men tried it, and two of them were shot down. …”

Source: Mills Lane (ed.), “Dear Mother: Don’t grieve about me. If I get killed, I’ll only be dead.”: Letters from Georgia Soldiers in the Civil War (Savannah: Beehive Press, 1990), p. 190.