Capt. Callis' Report
The following is the report of Capt. Callis who was in command of the 7th
REGIMENT AT THE BATTLE OF SEPT. 14TH
Headquarters 7th Regiment Wis. Vols.,
Frank A. Haskell, A. D. C. and A. A., Gen. Gibbon's Brigade
Sir:-I have the honor to report the part taken by the 7th Regiment of Wisconsin volunteers in the action of the 14th of Sept., at South Mountain Md.
About five o'clock p.m., the 7th Regiment Wis. Vols., formed in line of battle on the north side of the turnpike at or near Middletown. Our left resting on the pike, skirmishers were thrown out in advance of us and soon encountered the skirmishers of the enemy; a sharp skirmish fire ensued; the regiment then broke by the right of companies to the front and advanced, keeping one hundred paces in rear of the line of skirmishers; we advanced in this way through a cornfield for half a mile and came out into an open field; here the skirmishers met such a sharp fire from the sharpshooters of the enemy that if was difficult for them to advance further the open field affording no shelter or protection against the sharp fire from the front; the regiment then formed in line of battle, and advanced our left touching the pike, our right extending north to the edge of a dense belt of woods on the slope of the Mountain; the enemy opened a destructive enfilading fire from a stone fence on our left at short range, which drew the fire from our regiment to the left; we kept advancing and firing until another enfilading fire from the woods on our right, and a direct fire from behind a stone fence in our front showed our close proximity to the enemy's line of battle. Our men returned the fire with great vigor; the 6th Wis. Reg't. was then in line in our rear, some fifty paces. Col. Bragg, seeing the destructive fire under which we were fighting, double quicked the 6th Wis Reg. to our right and opened on the enemy, thereby drawing the enfilading fire hitherto secured by us from the woods on our right. Col. Fairchild of the 2d Wis Reg. at this junction was a little to our rear, and left of the pike. He also seeing our perilous condition brought his regiment forward on our left and commenced a fire that saved us from further annoyance; the left thus leaving us to contend against a direct fire from behind a stone fence in our front. The firing was kept up without ceasing until after 9o'clock at night when our ammunition became exhausted. The fact was made known to Gen. Gibbon; his answer was hold the ground at the point of bayonet; our men were ordered to lie down; the cartridges were then taken from the boxes of the dead and wounded and distributed among the men who were destitute of of ammunition. I then gave them orders to load and lie down, and reserved their fire for close range; the enemy seeming to know our condition, commenced advancing on us in line, whereupon I ordered the regiment to rise up fix bayonets and charge on the advancing column. Our regiment had not advanced more than twenty feet when we fired; this broke the enemy's lines and they retired in great confusion. Our loss was heavy in killed and wounded. The aggregate of killed wounded and missing was about one hundred and forty-seven; the regiment went into action with three hundred and seventy-five muskets; the officers and men of the regiment all fought well, doing their whole duty; about half past 10 o'clock the regiment was relieved by part of Gen. Gorman's Brigade, the 15th Massachusetts Regt.
I have the honor, Sir, to be your most obedient servant,
John B. Callis,
Capt. Command'g. 7th Regt. Wis. Vols.