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Graham, 1st artillery,' arrived, and was upon this part of the line, and advanced a posted on the crest of the hill, and soon long column of infantry towards this silenced the two guns in the orchard. A division; but on nearing the position, Gen. heavy fire soon ensued between the battery Pleasonton opening on them with sixteen farther to the right and our own. Capt. guns, they halted, gave a desultory fire, Graham's battery was bravely and skill- and retreated, closing the operations on Sully served, but unable to reach the enemy, this portion of the field. I return to the who had rifled gups of greater range than incidents occurring still. farther to the ont smootb-bores, retired by order of Gen. right. Richardson, to save it from useless sacrifice Between 12 and 1 P. 2. Gen. Franklin's of men and horses. The brave general corps arrived on the field of battle, huying was himself mortally wounded while per left their camp near Crampton's pass at 6 sonally directing its fire.
A. X., leaving Gen. Couch with orders to Gen. Hancock was, placed in command move with his division to occupy Maryland of the division after the fall of Gen. Rich- heights. Gen. Smith's division led the ardson. Gen. Meagher's brigade, now column, followed by Gen. Slocum's, , eommanded by Col. Burke, of the 630 It was first intended to keep this corps in New York, having refilled their cartridge reserve on the east side of the Antietam, boxes, was again ordered forward, and to operate on either flank or on the centre, took position in the centre of the line. as circumstances might require ; but on The division now occupied one line in close nearing Keedysville, the strong opposition proximity to the enemy, who had taken up on the right, developed by the attacks of a position in the rear of Piper's house. / Hooker and Sumner, rendered it necessary Col. Dwight Morris, with the 14th Con- / at once to send this corps to the assist necticut and a detachment of the 108th ance of the right wing. New York, of Gen. French's division, was On nearing the field, bearing that one of sent by Geit. French to the support of our batteries, (A.) 4th United States ar Gen. Richardson's division. This command tillery, commanded by Lieut. Thomas, who was now placed in an interval in the lire loucupied the same position as Lieat, between Gen. Caldwell's and the Irish Woodruff's battery in the morning, was brigades.
hotly engaged without supports, Gen. · The requirements of the extended line Smith sent two regiments to its relief from of battle had so engaged the artillery that Gen. Hancock's brigade., On inspecting the application of Gen. Flancock for the ground, Gen. Smith ordered the other artillery for the division could not be com- regiments of Hancock's brigade, with plied with immediately by the chief of Frank's and Cowen's batteries. Ist New artillery or the corps cominanders in his York artillery, to the threatened position, vicinity. Knowing the tried courage of Lieut. Thomas and Capt. Cothran, comthe troops, Gen. Hancock felt. confident manding batteries, bravely held their posithat he could hold his position, although tions against the advancing enemy, handsuffering from the enemy's artillery, but ling their batteries with skill. was too weak to attack, as the great Finding the enemy still advancing, the length of the line he was obliged to hold 3d brigade of Smith's division, commanded prevented him from forming more than one by Col. Irwin, 49th Pennsylvania volun line of battle, and, from his advanced teers, was ordered up, and passed through position, this line was already partly en- Lieut, Thomas's battery, charged upon hladed by the batteries of the enemy on the enemy, and drove back the advance the right, which were protected from our until abreast of the Dunker church. As batteries opposite them by the woods at the right of the brigade came opposite the the Dunker church.
woods it received a destructive fire, which Seeing a body of the enemy advancing checked the advance and threw the brigade on some of our troops to the left of his somewhat into confusion. It formed again position, Gen. Hancock obtained Hexam- i behind a rise of ground in the open space er's battery from Gen. Franklin's corps, in advance of the batteries. which assisted materially in frustrating Gen. French having reported to Gen this attack. It also assisted the attack of Franklin that his , ammonition was nearly the 7th Maine of Franklin's corps, which, expended, that officer ordered (ep. Brooks, without other aid, made an attack against with his brigade, to reinforce him. Gen. the enemy's line, and drove in the skir- Brooks formed his brigade on the right of mishers who were annoying our artillery Gen. French, where they remained during and troops on the right. Lieut. Woodruff, the remainder of the day and night, frewith battery I, 2d artillery, relieved Capt. quently under the fire of the enemy's ar. Hexamer, whese ammunition was ex- tillery. pended. The enemy at ono time seemed It was soon after the brigade of Col. to be about making an attack in force Irwin had fallen back behind the rise of ground that the 7th Maine, by order of division and one small brigade of Morell's Col. Irwin, made the gallant attack already division (but little over three thousand referred to.
men) to hold his important position. The advance of Gen. Franklin's corps Gén. Sumner expressed the most decided vas opportune. The attack of the enemy opinion against another attempt during on this position, but for the timely arrival that day to assault the enemy's position in of his corps, must have been disastrous, front, as portions of our troops were so had it succeeded in piercing the line be- much scattered and demoralized." In view I tween Gena. Sedgwick's and French's di- of these circumstances, after making Fisions.
changes in the position of some of the Gen. Franklin ordered to brigades of troops, I directed the different commanders Gen. Slocam's division, Gen. Newton's and to hold their positions, and being satisfied Qol. Torbert's, to form in column to assault that this could be done without the assist. the woods that had been so hotly contested ance of the two brigades from the centre, before by Gens. Sumner and Hooker. I countermanded the order, which was in Gen. Bartlett's brigade was ordered to course of executiop. form as a reserve. At this time Gen. Gen. Slocum's division replaced a por. Sumner, having command on the right, tion of Gen, Sumner's troops, and positions directed further offensive operations to be were selected for batteries in front of the postponed, as the repulse of this, the only woods. The enemy opened several heavy remaining corps available for attack, would fires of artillery on the position of our peril the safety of the whole army. troops after this, but our batteries soon
Gen. Porter's corps, consisting of Gen. silenced them." Syke's division of regulars and volunteers, Ou the morning of the 17th, Gen. Pleaand Gen. Horell's division of volunteers, sonton, with his cavalry division and the occupied a position on the east side of An- horse batteries, under Capts, Robertson, tietam creek, upon the main turnpike Tidball, and Lieut. Haines, of the 20 ar. leading to Sharpsburg, and directly oppo. tillery, and Capt. Gibson, 3d artillery, was site the centre of the enemy's line. This ordered to advance on the turnpike tocorps filled the interval between the right wards Sharpsburg, across bridge, No. 2, wing and Gen. Burnside's command, and and support the left of Gen. Sumner's linc. guarded the main approach from the | The bridge being covered by a fire of enemy's position to our trains of supply. artillery and sharpshooters, cavalry, skirIt was necessary to watch this part of our mishers were thrown out, and Capt. Til line with the utmost vigilance, lest the ball's battery advanced by piece and drove enemy should take advantage of the first off the sharpshooters with canister suffie' exhibition of weakness here to push upon ciently to establish the batteries abovo as a vigorous assault, for the purpose of mentioned, which opened on the enemy picrcing our centre and turning our rear, with effect. The firing was kept ap for, as well as to capture or destroy our supply about two hours, when, the enemy's firo trains.'. Once having penetrated this line, slackening, the batteries were relicved by the enemy's passage to our rear could have Randall's and Van Reed's batteries, United met with but feeble resistance, a3 there. States artillery. About 3 o'clock Tidball, were no reserves to reinforce or close up Robertson and Ilaines returned to their the gap.
positions on the west of Antietam, Capt. Towards the middle of the afternoon, Gibson having been placed in position on proceeding to the right, I found that Sum- the east side to guard the approaches to. ner's, Hooker's and Mansfield's corps had the bridge. These batteries did good ser.' met with serious losses. Several general vice, concentrating their fire on the column officers had been carried from the field of the enemy about to attack Gen. Hanseverely wounded, and the aspect of affairs cock's position, and compelling it to find was anything but promising. At the risk shelter behind the hills in rear of greatly exposing our centre, I ordered Gen. Sykes's division had been in posi. two brigades from Porter's corps, the only tion since the 15th, exposed to the enemy's available troops, to reinforce the right. artillery and sharpshooters. , Gen. Morell Six battalions of Syke's regulars had been had come up on the 16th, and relieved thrown forward across the Antietam Gen. Richardson on the right of Gen. bridge on the main road to attack and Sykes. Continually, under the vigi ant drive back the enemy's 'sharpshooters, watch of the enemy, this corps guarded a who were annoying Pleasonton's horse vital point. batteries in advance of the bridge; War. The position of the batteries ander' Gen. ren's brigade, of Porter's corps, was de- Pleasonton being one of great exposure, tached to hold a position on Burnside's the battalion of the 2d and 10th Unite i right and rear; '80 that Porter was left at States infantry, ander Capt. Pollard, 21 one time with only a portion of Sykes's ) infantry, was sent to his support. Subse
quently four battalions of regular infantry, the bayonet; and I ordered Col. Sackett under Capt. Dryer, 4th infantry, were sent to remain with Gen. Burnside and see that across to assist in driving off the sharp- the order was executed promptly. shooters of the enemy.
After these three hours' delay, the bridge The battalions of the 2d and 10th in was carried at one o'clock hy a brilliant fantry, advancing far beyond the batteries, charge of the 51st New York and 51st compelled the cannoneers of a battery of Pennsylvania volunteers. Other troops the enemy to abandon their guns. Few in were then thrown over, and the opposite numbers, and unsupported, they were un bank occupied, the enemy retreating to the able to bring them off. The heavy loss of this heights beyond.., small body of men attests their gallantry. A halt was then made by Gen. Barn
The troops of Gen. Burnside held the side's advance until 3 P. m., upon hearing left of the line opposite bridge No. 3. The which I directed one of my als, Col. Key, attack on the right was to have been sup- to inform Gen. Burnside that I desired him ported by an attack on the left. Prepara- to push forward his troops with the utmost tory to this attack, on the evening of the vigor, and carry the enemy's position on 16th, Gen. Burnside's corps. 'was moved the heights; that the movement was vital forward and to the left, and took up a to our success; that this was a time when position nearer the bridge.
we must not stop for loss of life, if a great I visited Gen. Burnside's position on the object could thereby be accomplished. 16th, and after pointing out to him the That if, in his judgment, his attack would proper dispositions to be made of his troops fail, to inforni me so at once, that his troops during the day and night, informed him might be withdrawn and used elsewhere on that he would probably be required to the field. He replied that he would soon attack the enemy's right on the following advance, and would go up the hill as far as morning, and directed him to make careful a battery of the enemy on the left would reconnoissances.
permit. Upon this report, I again immeGen. Burnside's corps, consisting of the diately sent Col. Key to Gen. Burnside divisions of Gens. Cox. Wilcox, Rodman, with orders to advance at once, if possible and Sturgis, was posted as follows: Col. to flank the battery, or storm it and carry Brooks's brigade, Cox's division, on the the heights; repeating that if he consid. right, Gen. Sturgis's division immediately ered the movement impracticable, to inin rear. On the left was Geir. Rodman's form me so, that his troops might be redivision, with Gen. Scammon's brigade, called. The advance was then gallantly, Cox's division, in support.
resumed, the enemy driven from the guns, Gen. Wilcox's division was held in re- the heights handsomely carried, and a porserve.
tion of the troops even reached the out The corps bivouacked in position on the skirts of Sharpsburg. By this time it was night of the 16th.
nearly dark, and strong re-enforcements Early on the morning of the 17th, I just then reaching the enemy from Ilar. ordered Gen. Burnside to form his troops, per's Ferry, attacked Gen. Burnside's, and hold them in readiness to assault the troops on their left flank, and forced them bridge in his front, and to await further to retire to a lower line of hills pearer the orders.
bridge. At 8 o'clock' an order was sent to him If this important movement had been by Lieut. Wilson, topographical engineers, consummated two hours earlier, a position, to carry the bridge, then to gain posses. would have been secured upon the heights, sion of the heights beyond, and to advance from which our batteries might have enfi. along their crest upon Sharpsburg and its | laded the greater part of the enemy's line, rear.
and turned their right and rear, our vicAfter some time' had elapsed, not hear-/tory might thus have been much more deing from him, I despatched an aid to as- cisive. certain what had been done. The aid re. The following is the substance of Gen. turned with the information that but little | Burnside's, operations, as given in his reprogress had been made. I then sent him port; back with an order to Gen. Burnside to Col. Crook's brigade was ordered to assault the bridge at once, and carry it all storm the bridge. This bridge, No.3, is a hazards. The aid returned to me a second stone structure of three arches with stone time with the report that the bridge was parapets. The banks of the stream on the still in ths possession of the enemy. Where- , opposite side are precipitous, and comupon I directed Col. Sackett, inspector mand the eastern approaches to the bridge. general, to deliver to Gen. Burnside my On the hill-side, immediately by the bridge, positive order to push forward his troops was a stone fence running parallel to the without a moment's delay, and, if neces- stream; the turns of the roadway, as it sary, to carry the bridge at the point of I wound up the hill, were covered by rifle
REPORT OF GENERAL GEORGE B. M'CLELLAN..
pits and breastworks of rails, &c. · These of battle from Harper's Ferry, and with a works, and the woods that covered the heavy artillery fire made a strong attack slopes, were filled with the enemy's rifle on the extreme left.. To meet this attack men, and batteries were in position to en- the left division diverged from the line of filade the bridge and its approaches. gust march intended, and opened a gap between · Gen. Rodman was ordered to cross the it and the right. To fill up this it was ford below the bridge. From Col. Orook's necessary to order the troops from the position it was found impossible to carry second line. During these movements Gep. the bridge,
,' t get Rodman was mortally wounded. : Colonel Gen. Sturgis was ordered to make a de- Harland's brigade, of Gen. Rodman's divitail from his division for that purpose. He sion, was driven back. Col. Scammon's sent forward the 2d Maryland and the 6th ! brigade, by a change of front to rear on New Hampshire. These regiments made his right flank, saved the left from being several successive attacks in the most galdriven completely in. The fresh troops of dant style, but were driven back.. the enemý pouring in, and the accumula! The artillery on the left were ordered to tion of artillery against this command, deconcentrate their fire on the woods above stroyed all hope of its being able to accomthe bridgeCol. Crook bronght a section plish anything more. I. ' of Capt. Simmons's battery to a position. It was now nearly dark. Gen. Sturgis to command the bridge. The 51st New was ordered forward to support the left. York and 51st. Pennsylvania were then Notwithstanding the hard work in the early cordered to assault the bridge. Taking ad- part of the day, his division moved forvantage of a small spur of the hills which ward with spirit. With its assistance the ran parallel to the river, they moved to enemy were checked and held at bay. wards the bridge. From the crest of this The command was ordered to fall back spur they rushed with bayonots fixed and by Gen. Cox, who commanded on the field cleared the bridge...n
the troops engaged in this affair beyond The division followed the storming party, the Antietam. The artillery had been well also the brigade of Col. Crook's as a sup- served during the day. Night closed the port. The enemy withdrew to still higher long and desperately contested battle of ground, some five or six hundred yards be- the 17th. Nearly two hundred thousand rond, and opened a fire of artillery on the men and five hundred pieces of artillery troops in the new position on the crest of were for fonrteen hours engaged in this the hill above the bridge.
memorable battle. We had attacked the 1. Gen. Rodman's division succeeded in enemy in a position selected by the exper. crossing the ford after a sharp fire of mus. ienced engineer then in person directing ketry and artillery, and joined on the left their operations. We had driven them of Sturgis, Scammon's brigade crossing as from their line on one flank, and secureda support. Gen. Wilcox's division was or- footing within it on the other. The army dered across to take position on Gen: Stur- of the Potomac, notwithstanding the moral gis's right...
is effect incident to previous reverses, had These dispositions being completed about achieved a victory over an adversary in. 3 o'clock, the command moved forward, vested with the prestige of recent success. excepti Sturgis's division, left in reserve. Our soldiers slept that night conquerors Clark's and Durell's batteries accompanied 'on a field won by their valor and covered Rodman's division; Cook's battery with with the dead and wounded of the enemy. Wilcox's division, and a section of Sim- The night, however,, brought with it mons's battery with Col. Crook's brigade. grave responsibilities. Whether to renew A section of Simmons's battery and Mul- the attack on the 18th, or to defer it, even lenburgh's and McMullan's batteries were with the risk of the enemy's retirement, in position. The order for the advance was the question before me. was obeyed by the troops with alacrity. After a night of anxious deliberation Gen. Wilcox's division, with Crook in sup- and a full and careful survey of the situnport, moved up on both sides of the turn- tion and condition of our army, the strength pike leading from the bridge to Sharps- and position of the enemy, I concluded burg, Gen. Rodman's division, supported that the success of an attack on the 18th by Scammon's brigade, on the left of Gen. was not certain. I am aware of the faet Wilcox. The enemy retreated before the that, under ordinary circumstances, a geneadvance of the troops. The 9th Newral is expected to risk a battle if he has a York, of Gen. Rodman's division, cap- reasonable prospect of success; but at tured one of the enemy's batteries and this critical juncture I should have had sa held it for some time. As the command narrow view of the condition of the coun. was driving the enemy to the main heights try had I been willing to hazard another on the left of the town, the light division battle with less than an absolute assurance of Gen. A.P. Hill atrived upon the field of success. At that moment-Virginia fost, Washington menaced, Maryland in- . Some of the new troops on the left, al. vaded the national cause could afford no though many of them fought well during risks of defeat. One battle lost, and al- the battle, and are entitled to great credit, most all would have been lost.. Lee's were at the close of the action, driven army might then have marched as it back, and their morale impaired., pleased on Washington, Baltimore, Pbila. On the morning of the 18th Gen. Burndelphia, or New York. It could have side requested me to send him another di
levied its supplies from a fertile and unde- vision to assist in holding his position on | vastated country; extorted tribute from the other side of the Antietam, and to enwealthy and populous cities; and nowhere able him to withdraw his corps if he should east of the Alleghanies was there another bé attacked by a superior force. He gave organized force able to arrest its march. me the impression that if he were attacked · The following are among the considerá- again that morning he would not be able
tions which led me to doubt the certainty to make a very vigorous resistance. I of success in attacking before the 19th: visited his position early, determined to
The troops were greatly overcome by the send Gen. Morell's division to his aid, and fatigue and exhaustion attendant úpon the directed that it should be placed on this long continued and severely contested bat- side of the Antietam, in order that it tle of the 17th, together with the long day might cover the retreat of his own corps aod night marches to which they had been from the other side of the Antietam, should subjected during the previous three days that become necessary, at the same time
The supply trains were in the rear, and it was in position to re-enforce our centre many of the troops had suffered from hun- or right, if that were needed to i ger. They required rest and refreshment. - Late in the afternoon I found that, al-,
One division of Sumner's and all of though he had not been attacked, Gen· Hooker's corps, on the riglit, had, after Burnside had withdrawn his own corps to fighting most valiently for several hours, this side of the Antietam, and sent over been overpowered by pumbers, driven back Morell's division alone to hold the oppoin great disorder, and much scattered, so site side. that they were for the time somewhat dé- í A large number of our heaviest and moralized., vi
most efficient batteries had consumed all In Hooker's corps, according to the re- their ammunition on the 16th and 17th, turn made by Gen. Meade, commanding, and it was impossible to supply them until there were but 6,729 men present on the late on the following day. 18th; whereas, on the morning of the 22d, Supplies of provisions and forage had to there were 13,093 men present for duty in be brought up and issued, and infantry the same corps, showing that previous to ammunition distributed.; and during the battle 6,364 men were sepa- Finally, re-enforcements to the number rated from their command..,
of 14,000 men---to say nothing of troops Gen. Meade, in an official communication expected from Pennsylvania-had not ar. upon this subject, dated September 18th, rived, but were expected during the day. · 1862, says: "
The 18th was, therefore, spent in col." I enclose a field return of the corps lecting the dispersed, giving rest to the made this afternoon, which I desire you fatigned, removing the wounded, burying will lay before the commanding general. I the dead, and the necessary preparations am satisfied the great reduction in the for a renewal of the battle. corps since the recent engagements is not of the re-inforcements, Couch's division, dne solely to the casualities of battle, and marching with commendable rapidity, came that a considerable number of men are still up into position at a late hour in the mornin the rear, some having dropped out on ing. Humphrey's division of new troops, the march, and many dispersing and leav- in their anxiety to participate in the bat ing yesterday during the fight. I think tle which was raging, when they received the efficiency of the corps, so far as it goes, the order to murch from Frederick at about good. To resist an attack in our present half past three P. M., on the 17th, pressed strong position I think they may be de- forward during the entire night, and the pended on; and I hope they will perform mass of the division reached the army du. duty in case we make an attack, though Iring the following morning. Having do not think their morale is as good for an marched more than twenty-there miles offensive as a defensive movement.".' after half-past four o'clock on the preceding
One division of Sumner's corps had also afternoon, they were 'of course, greatly been overpowered, and was a good deal exhausted, and needed rest and refreshAcattered and demoralized. It was not ment. Largo re-inforcements expected deemed by its corps commander' in proper from Pennsylvania never arrived. During condition to attack the enemy vigorously the 18th, orders were given for å renewal the next day. Twee i lu l of the attack at daylight on the 19th ,