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MOCLELLAN ADVANCES TO THE ANTIETAM.
that the Rebel army had crossed into | Potomac. Precious hours had been Maryland, is one of those puzzles so lost by massing on his right instead frequently exhibited in the strategy of his left, and fighting for Turner's of that Generalissimo, which must Gap, when he should only by a feint find their solution in some higher, have kept as many Rebels there as subtler, and more leisurely existence. possible, while he poured the great
| body of his army, in overwhelming Gen. McClellan, at 3 A. M. of the strength and with the utmost celer15th, was aware—for he telegraphed ity, through Crampton's Gap, crushto IIalleck—that he had been fighting McLaws and relieving Harper's ing the forces of D. H. Hill and Ferry. But there was still time, if Longstreet; that they had disap- not to retrieve the error, at least to peared from his front; and that amend it. Our soldiers, flushed with Franklin had likewise been com- unwonted victory, and full in the pletely successful at Crampton's Gap, faith that they had just wrested two on his left. He says in this dispatch : strong mountain-passes from the en“The enemy disappeared during the tire Rebel army, were ready for any night; our troops are now advancing effort, any peril. To press forward in pursuit.” At 8 A. M., he tele- with the utmost rapidity, and so regraphed again—still from Bolivar, at lieve Harper's Ferry, if that might the foot of Turner's Gap :
still be, but at all events to crush "I have just learned from Gen. Hooker, that portion of the Rebel army still in the advance—who states that the infor
north of the Potomac, if it should mation is perfectly reliable—that the enemy is making for the river in a perfect panic;
stand at bay, and rout and shatter it and Gen. Lee last night stated publicly that should it attempt to ford the river ; he must admit they had been shockingly whipped. I am hurrying every thing for- |
at the very worst, to interpose beward to endeavor to press their retreat to tween it and the other half, under the utmost."
Jackson and Walker, should it atIIad even the last sentence of this tempt to escape westward by Hagersdispatch been literally true, Lee's town and Williamsport, and thus be destruction was imminent and cer- in position to assail and overwhelm tain.
either half before it could unite with It was now too late to save Har- the other, was the course which seems per's Ferry--for it had this moment to have been as obvious to Mcfallen-but not too late to superbly Clellan as it must be to every one avenge it. With Lee's order in his else. hand, McClellan must have known. The advance was again led by that the forces from which he and Gen. Pleasanton's cavalry, who overFranklin had just wrested the passes took at Boonsborough the Rebel cavof the South Mountain were all that alry rear-guard, charged it with spirit, Lee had to depend upon, save those and routed it, capturing 250 prisonwhich he had detached and sent- ers and 2 guns. Richardson's divi. mainly by long circuits——to reduce sion, of Sumner's corps, followed ; Harper's Ferry, and which must now pressing eagerly on that afternoon ; " be mainly on the other side of the and, after a march of 10 or 12 miles,
23 Sept. 15.
descried the Rebels posted in force arrived at Shepherdstown early on across ANTIETAM CREEK, in front of the morning of the 16th ; crossing the little village of SHARPSLURG. and reporting to Lee at Sharpsburg Richardson halted and deployed on hy noon." the right of the road from Kecdys- Lee, aware that erery hour's delay ville to Sharpsburg; Sykes, with his was an inestimable advantage to him, division of regulars, following closely made as great a display of force as after, came up and deployed on the possible throughout the 15th and left of that road. Gen. McClellan 16th, though he thereby exposed his himself, with three corps in all, came infantry—it seemed wantonly—to the up during the evening
fire of our artillery. But, on the Les had of course chosen a strong morning of the 17th, when our colposition; but delay could only serve umns advanced to the attack, and the to strengthen it, while giving oppor. battle bega: in carnest, his whole tunity for the arrival of Jackson, army, save A. P. Hill's division, beWalker, and McLaws, from Harper's ing on hand, the regiments and brigFerry; which McClellan now knew ades hitherto so ostentatiously parahad fallen that morning: Franklinded seemed to lave sunk into the having apprised him of the hour carth; and nothing but grim and when the sound of guns from that frowning batteries were seen coverquarter ceased. IIad McClellan then ing cach hill-crest and trained on resolved to attack at daylight next every stretch of open ground wheremorning, he might before noon have by our soldiers might attempt to hurled 60,000 gallant troops against scale those rugged steeps. not more than half their number of The struggle was inaugurated on Rebels; for, though Jackson arrived the afternoon of the 16th, by our old with his overmarched men that morn- familiar maneuver: Hooker, on our ing, he left A. P. IIill behind at right, being directed to flank and the Ferry, while McLaws, still con- beat the enemy's left, backed by fronting Franklin in Pleasant Val. Sumner, Franklin, and Mansfield, ley, was obliged to cross the Potomac who were to come into action sucat Ilarper's Ferry, and rëcross it at cessively, somewhat nearer the eneShepherdstown, in order to come up my's center. It would have been at all; and did not arrive until the a serious objection, ten hours before, morning of the 17th. Walker, clear to this strategy, that it tended, even ing Loudon Heights and crossing the if successful, to concentrate the eneShenandoah on the 15th, lad fol. my, by driving him back on his divilowed Jackson during the night, and sions arriving cr expected from Har
** Sep. 16.
all in their positions until the next morning after 23 McClellan, in his report, says:
George W. Smalley, correspondent of The "It had been hoped to engage the enemy
Tribune, writes from the battlefield on the lith during the 15th);" but, "after a rapid examination of the position, I found that it was too late
as follows: to attack that day, and at once directed the plac "After tho brilliant victory near Middletown, ing of the batteries in position in the center, Gen. McClellan pushed forward his army rapidly, and indicated the bivouacs for the different and reached Keedysville with three corps cn corps, massing them near and on both sides of Monday night. On the day following, the two the Sharpsburg turnpike. The corps wore not I armies faced each other idly until night."
per's Ferry, rather than to interpose shots, followed by volleys of musketry between him and them.
from the left and front. Here Hooker Ilooker moved at 4 P. M.; and, -reconnoitering in the advance, as making a long detour, crossed the usual-halted and formed his lines; Antietam out of sight and range Ricketts's division on the left; Meade, of the Rebel batteries. Turning at with the Pennsylvania Reserves, in length sharply to the left, he came the center; while Doubleday, on the to an open field, with woods in front right, planting his guns on a hill, and on either side, whence our skir- opened at once on a Rebel battery mishers were saluted by scattering that had begun to enfilade our cen
ter. By this time, it was dark, and beyond, and was following with the firing soon ceased; the hostile eager, exulting cheers. infantry lying down for the night at But Hood's division, somewhat repoints within half musket-shot of freshed, had by this time returned to each other.
the front, backed by the brigades of At daylight next morning, the Ripley, Colquitt, Garland (now under battle was commenced in earnest: Col. McRae), and D. R. Jones, by the left of Meade's and the right of whom the equilibrium of the fight Ricketts's line becoming engaged at was restored; our men being hurled nearly the same moment, the former back by terrible volleys from the with artillery, the latter with infan- woods, followed by a charge across try; while a battery was pushed for the corn-field in heavy force. Hookward beyond the woods directly in er called up his nearest brigade ; but Hooker's front, across a plowed field, it was not strong enough, and he sent to the edge of a corn-field beyond it, at once to Doubleday: “Give me destined before night to be soaked your best brigade instantly!” That with blood.
brigade came down the hill on our Hood's thin division, which had right at double-quick, and was led confronted us at evening, had been by Hartsuff into the corn-field, and withdrawn during the night, and re- steadily up the slope beyond it, formplaced by Lawton's and Trimble's brig- ing on the crest of the ridge, under a ades of Ewell's division, under Law- hurricane of shot and shell, and firton, with Jackson's own division, un- ing steadily and rapidly at the Rebel der D, R. Jones, on its left, supported masses just before them. They held by the remaining brigades of Ewell. their position half an hour, unsupJackson was in chief command on ported, though many fell; among this wing, and here was substantially them their leader, Hartsuff, wounded his old corps around him. Against severely; until for a second time the these iron soldiers, Hooker's corps enemy was driven out of the cornhurled itself, and, being superior in field into the woods. numbers, compelled them to give Meantime, both sides were strengthground; but not until Jones and ening this wing. Ricketts's division, Lawton had been wounded, with having attempted to advance and many more field officers, and Starke, failed, had fallen back. Part of who succeeded Jones in command, Mansfield's corps had gone in to their killed. Early, who succeeded Law-aid, and been driven back likewise, ton, was ordered by Jackson to re- with their General mortally woundplace Jackson's own division, which ed. Doubleday's guns were still had suffered so severely and was busy on our extreme right, and had so nearly out of ammunition that silenced a Rebel battery which for it had to be temporarily withdrawn half an hour had enfiladed Hooker's from the combat. By this time, center. Ricketts sent word that he Ricketts and Meade had pushed could not advance, but could hold the Rebel line back across the corn- his ground. Hooker, with Crawfield and the road, into the woods ford's and Gordon's fresh brigades of THE FIGHT ON OUR RIGHT AND CENTER.
30 Sept. 17.
Mansfield's corps, came up to his | 134. Gen. Howard, who took comsupport, determined again to advance mand of Sedgwick's division, was and carry the woods to the right of unable to restore its formation, and and beyond the corn-field. Going Sumner himself had no better success. forward to reconnoiter on foot, Hook- Again the center of our right gave er satisfied himself as to the nature back, and the corn-field was retaken of the ground, returned and re- by the enemy. mounted amid a shower of Rebel But the attempt of the Rebels to bullets, which he had all the morning advance beyond it, under the fire of disregarded; but the next moment a our batteries, was repelled with musket-ball went through his foot, in- heavy loss on their part; Col. Manflicting a severe and intensely pain- ning, who led Walker's own brigade, ful wound; which compelled him, being severely wounded, and his after giving his orders fully and de- brigade driven back. Doubleday, on liberately, to leave the field at 9 A. M. our farther right, held firmly; and it Sumner, arriving at this moment, seemed settled that, while either assumed command, sending forward party could repel a charge on this Sedgwick's division of his own corps part of the line, neither could afford to support Crawford and Gordon; to make one. while Richardson and French, with But now Franklin had come up his two remaining divisions, went for- with his fresh corps, and formed on ward farther to the left; Sedgwick the left; Slocum, commanding one of again advancing in line through the his divisions, was sent forward tocorn-field already won and lost. ward the center; while Smith, with
But by this time McLaws—who, the other, was ordered to retake the by marching all night, had reached ground that had been so long and so Shepherdstown from Harper's Ferry hotly contested. that morning, and instantly crossed It was no sooner said than done. -had been sent forward by Lee to Smith's regiments, cheering, went the aid of Jackson; while Walker's forward on a run, swept through the division had been hurried across from corn-field and the woods, cleared their as yet unassailed right. Again them in ten minutes, and held them. Hood's brigade was withdrawn from Their rush was so sudden and unexthe front, while the fresh forces un- pected that their loss was comparader Walker and McLaws advanced tively small; and the ground thus with desperate energy, seconded by retaken was not again lost. Early on their left. Sedgwick was Nearer the center, French's divithrice badly wounded, and compelled sion of Sumner's corps had attempted to retire ; Gens. Dana and Crawford to carry the line of heights whereon were likewise wounded. The 34th the Rebels were posted, and had New York - which had broken at a made some progress, repulsing a critical moment, while attempting a countercharge and capturing a nummaneuver under a terrible fire—was ber of prisoners, with some flags. nearly cut to pieces; and the 15th Attempts successively to turn his Massachusetts, which went into action right and then his left were foiled; 600 strong, was speedily reduced to but, after a bloody combat of four