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charged the advancing enemy in flank in a manner worthy of veteran troops ; and also that of the 45th Pennsylvania, which bravely met them in front.
Cook's battery now reopened fire. Sturgis's division was moved to the front of Wilcox's, occupying the new ground gained on the further side of the slope, and his artillery opened on the batteries across the gap. The enemy made an effort to turn our left about dark, but were repulsed by Fairchilds's brigade and Clark's battery.
At about 7 o'clock the enemy made another effort to regain the lost ground, attacking along Sturgis's front and part of Cox's. A lively fire was kept up until nearly 9 o'clock, several charges being made by the enemy and repulsed with slaughter, and we finally occupied the highest part of the mountain.
General Reno was killed just before sunset, while making a reconnoissance to the front, and the command of the corps devolved upon General Cox. In General Reno the nation lost one of its best general officers. He was a skilful soldier, a brave and honest man.
There was no firing after 10 o'clock, and the troops slept on their arms ready to renew the fight at daylight; but the enemy. quietly retired from our front during the night, abandoning their wounded, and leaving their dead in large numbers scattered over the field. While these operations were progressing on the left of the main column, the right under General Hooker was actively engaged. His corps left the Monocacy early in the morning, and its advance reached the Catoctin creek about 1 p. m. General Hooker then went forward to examine the ground.
At about 1 o'clock General Meade's division was ordered to make a diversion in favor of Reno. The following is the order sent:
“ SEPTEMBER 14–1 p. m. “ GENERAL: General Reno requests that a division of yours may move up on the right (north) of the main road. General McClellan desires you to comply with this request, holding your whole corps in readiness to support the movement, and taking charge of it yourself.
“Sumner's and Banks's corps have commenced arriving. Let General McClellan be informed as soon as you commence your movement.
“GEORGE D. RUGGLES, "Colonel, Assistant Adjutant General, and Aide-de-Camp. “ Major General HOOKER.”
Meade's division left Catoctin creek about two o'clock, and turned off to the right from the main road on the old Hagerstown road to Mount Tabor church, where General Hooker was, and deployed a short distance in advance, its right resting about one and a half mile from the turnpike. The enemy fired a few shots from a battery on the mountain side, but did no considerable damage. Cooper's battery “B” 1st Pennsylvania artillery, was placed in position on high. ground at about three and a half o'clock, and fired at the enemy on the slope, but soon ceased by order of General Hooker, and the position of our lines prevented any further use of artillery by us on this part of the field. The first Massachusetts cavalry was sent up the valley to the right to observe the movements, if any, of the enemy in that direction, and one regiment of Meade's division was posted to watch a road coming in the same direction. The other divisions were deployed as they came up, General Hatch's on the left, and General Ricketts's, which arrived at 5 p. m., in the rear. General Gibbon's brigade was detached from Hatch's division by General Burnside, for the purpose of making a demonstration on the enemy's centre, up the main road, as soon as the movements on the right and left had sufficiently progressed. The 1st Pennsylvania rifles of General Seymour's brigade were sent forward as skirmishers to feel the enemy, and it was found that he was in force. Meade was then directed to advance his division to the right of the road, so as to out
flank them if possible, and then to move forward and attack, while Hatch was · directed to take with his division the crest on the left of the old Hagerstown road, Ricketts's division being held in reserve. Seymour's brigade was sent up to the top of the slope, on the right of the ravine through which the road runs; and then moved along the summit parallel to the road, while Colonel Gallagher's and Colonel Magilton's brigades moved in the same direction along the slope and in the ravine.
T'he ground was of the most difficult character for the movement of troops, the hillside being very steep and rocky, and obstructed by stone walls, and timber. The enemy was very soon encountered, and in a short time the action became general along the whole front of the division. The line advanced steadily up the mountain side, where the enemy was posted behind trees and rocks, from which he was gradually dislodged. During this advance Colonel Gallagher, commanding 3d brigade, was severely wounded; and the command devolved upon Lieutenant Colonel Robert Anderson.
General Meade having reason to believe that the enemy were attempting to outflank him on his right, applied to General Hooker for re-enforcements. General Duryea's brigade of Ricketts's division was ordered up, but it did not arrive until the close of the action. It was advanced on Seymour's left, but only one regiment could open fire before the enemy retired and darkness intervened.
General Meade speaks highly of General Seymour's skill in handling his brigade on the extreme right, securing by his manæuvres the great object of the movement, the outflanking of the enemy.
While General Meade was gallantly driving the enemy on the right, Gen. eral Hatch’s division was engaged in a severe contest for the possession of the crest on the left of the ravine; it moved up the mountain in the following order: two regiments of General Patrick's brigade deployed as skirmishers, with the other two regiments of the same brigade supporting them. Colonel Phelps's brigade in line of battalions in mass at deploying distance, General Doubleday's brigade in the same order bringing up the rear. The 21st New York having gone straight up the slope instead of around to the right, as directed, the 2d United States sharpshooters was sent out in its place. Phelps’s and Doubleday's brigades were deployed in turn as they reached the woods, which began about half up the mountain. General Patrick with his skirmishers soon drew the fire of the enemy, and found him strongly posted behind a fence which bounded the cleared space on the top of the ridge, having on his front the woods through which our line was advancing, and in his rear a cornfield full of rocky ledges, which afforded good cover to fall back to if dislodged.
Phelps's brigade gallantly advanced, under a hot fire, to close quarters, and after ten or fifteen minutes of heavy firing on both sides (in which General Hatch was wounded while urging on his men) the fence was carried by a charge, and our line advanced a few yards beyond it, somewhat sheltered by the slope of the hill.
Doubleday's brigade, now under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Hoffman, (Colonel Wainwright having been wounded,) relieved Phelps, and continued firing for an hour and a half; the enemy behind ledges of rocks, some thirty or forty paces in our front, making a stubborn resistance, and attempting to charge on the least cessation of our fire. About dusk Colonel Christian's brigade of Ricketts’s division came up and relieved Doubleday's brigade, which fell back into line behind Phelps's. Christian's brigade continued the action for thirty or forty minutes, when the enemy retired, after having made an attempt to flank us on the left, which was repulsed by the 75th New York and 7th Indiana.
The remaining brigade of Ricketts's division (General Hartsuff's) was moved up in the centre, and connected Meade's left with Doubleday's right. We now had possession of the summit of the first ridge which commanded the turnpike on both sides of the mountain, and the troops were ordered to hold their positions until further orders, and slept on their arms. Late in the afternoon General Gibbon, with his brigade and one section of Gibbon's battery, (B, 4th artillery,) was ordered to move up the main road on the enemy's centre. He advanced a regiment on each side of the road, preceded by skirmishers, and followed by the other two regiments in double column; the artillery moving on the road until within range of the enemy's guns, which were firing on the column from the gorge.
The brigade advanced steadily, driving the enemy from his positions in the woods and behind stone walls, until they reached a point well up towards the top of the pass, when the enemy, having been re-enforced by three regiments, opened a heavy fire on the front and on both flanks. The fight continued until 9 o'clock, the enemy being entirely repulsed; and the brigade, after having suffered severely, and having expended all its ammunition, including even the cartridges of the dead and wounded, continued to hold the ground it had so gallantly won until 12 o'clock, when it was relieved by General Gorman's brigade of Sedgwick's division, Sumner's corps, (except the 6th Wisconsin, which remained on the field all night.) General Gibbon, in this delicate movement, handled his brigade with as much precision and coolness as if upon parade, and the bravery of his troops could not be excelled.
The ad corps (Sumner's) and the 12th corps (Williams's) reached their final positions shortly after dark. General Richardson's division was placed near Mount Tabor church, in a position to support our right, if necessary; the 12th corps and Sedgwick's division bivouacked around Bolivar, in a position to support our centre and left.
General Sykes's division of regulars and the artillery reserve halted for the night at Middletown. Thus, on the night of the 14th the whole army was massed in the vicinity of the field of battle, in readiness to renew the action the next day, or to move in pursuit of the enemy. At daylight our skirmishers were advanced, and it was found that he had retreated during the night, leaving his dead on the field, and his wounded uncared for.
About fifteen hundred prisoners were taken by us during the battle, and the loss to the enemy in killed was much greater than our own, and, probably, also in wounded. It is believed that the force opposed to us at Turner's gap consisted of D. H. Hill's corps, (15,000,) and a part, if not the whole, of Longstreet's, and perhaps a portion of Jackson's, probably some 30,000 in all.
We went into action with about 30,000 men, and our losses amounted to 1,568 aggregate, (312 killed, 1,234 wounded, and 22 missing.)
On the next day I had the honor to receive the following very kind despatch from his excellency the President:
• WAR DEPARTMENT,
“Washington, September 15, 1862–2.45 p. m. “ Your despatch of to-day received. God bless you, and all with yon; destroy the rebel army if possible.
“A. LINCOLN. “Major General McClellan.”
“ANTIETAM." On the night of the battle of South Mountain, orders were given to the corps commanders to press forward the pickets at early dawn. This advance revealed the fact that the enemy had left his positions, and an immediate pursuit was ordered : the cavalry, under General Pleasonton, and the three corps under Generals Sumner, Hooker, and Mansfield, (the latter of whom had arrived that morning and assumed command of the 12th, Williams's corps,) by the national turn,
pike and Boonsboro’; the corps of Generals Burnside and Porter (the latter command at that time consisting of but one weak division, Sykes's) by the old Sharpsburg road, and General Franklin to move into Pleasant valley, occupy Rohrersville by a detachment, and endeavor to relieve Harper's Ferry.
Generals Burnside and Porter, upon reaching the road from Boonsboro' to Rohrersville to re-enforce Franklin, or to move on Sharpsburg, according to circumstances.
Franklin moved towards Brownsville and found there a force of the enemy, much superior in numbers to his own, drawn up in a strong position to receive him. At this time the cessation of firing at Harper's Ferry indicated the surrender of that place.
The cavalry overtook the enemy's cavalry in Boonsboro', made a daring charge, killing and wounding a number, and capturing 250 prisoners and two guns.
General Richardson's division of the 2d corps pressing the rear guard of the enemy with vigor, passed Boonsboro' and Keedysville, and came upon the main body of the enemy, occupying in large force a strong position a few miles beyond the latter place.
It had been hoped to engage the enemy during the 15th. Accordingly, instructions were given that if the enemy were overtaken on the march they should be attacked at once; if found in heavy force and in position, the corps in advance should be placed in position for attack, and await my arrival. On reaching the advanced position of our troops, I found but two divisions, Richardson's and Sykes’s, in position; the other troops were halted in the road; the head of the column some distance in rear of Richardson.
The enemy occupied a strong position on the heights, on the west side of Antietam creek, displaying a large force of infantry and cavalry, with numerous batteries of artillery, which opened on our columns as they appeared in sight on the Keedysville road and Sharpsburg turnpike, which fire was returned by Captain Tidball's light battery, 2d United States artillery, and Pettit's battery, 1st New York artillery.
The division of General Richardson, following close on the heels of the retreating foe, halted and deployed near Antietam river, on the right of the Sharpsburg road. General Sykes, leading on the division of regulars on the old Sharpsburg road, came up and deployed to the left of General Richardson, on the left of the road.
Antietam creek, in this vicinity, is crossed by four stone bridges—the upper one on the Keedysville and Williamsport road; the second on the Keedysville and Sharpsburg turnpike, some two and a half miles below; the third about a mile below the second, on the Rohrersville and Sharpsburg road; and the fourth near the mouth of Antietam creek, on the road leading from Harper's Ferry to Sharpsburg, some three miles below the third. The stream is sluggish, with few and difficult fords. After a rapid examination of the position, I found that it was too late to attack that day, and at once directed the placing of the batteries in position in the centre, and indicated the bivouacs for the different corps, massing them near and on both sides of the Sharpsburg turnpike. The corps were not all in their positions until the next morning after sunrise. .
On the morning of the 16th, it was discovered that the enemy had changed the position of his batteries. The masses of his troops, however, were still concealed behind the opposite heights. Their left and centre were upon and in front of the Sharpsburg and Hagerstown turnpike, hidden by woods and irregularities of the ground; their extreme left resting upon a wooded eminence near the cross-roads to the north of J. Miller's farm ; their left resting upon the Potomac. Their line extended south, the right resting upon the hills to the south of Sharpsburg, near Shaveley's farm.
The bridge over the Antietam, described as No. 3, near this point, was strongly covered by riflemen protected by rifle-pits, stone fences, &c., and enfiladed by artillery. The ground in front of this line consisted of undulating hills, their crests in turn commanded by others in their rear. On all favorable points the enemy's artillery was posted and their reserves hidden from view by the hills, on which their line of battle was formed, could manæuvre unobserved by our army, and from the shortness of their line could rapidly re-enforce any point threatened by our attack. Their position, stretching across the angle formed by the Potomac and Antietam, their flanks and rear protected by these streams, was one of the strongest to be found in this region of country, which is well adapted to defensive warfare. de On the right, near Keedysville, on both sides of the Sharpsburg turnpike, were Sumner's and Hooker's corps. In advance, on the right of the turnpike and near the Antietam river, General Richardson's division of General Sumner's corps was posted. General Sykes's division of General Porter's corps was on the left of the turnpike and in line with General Richardson, protecting the bridge No. 2, over the Antietam. The left of the line, opposite to and some distance from bridge No. 3, was occupied by General Burnside's corps.
Before giving General Hooker his orders to make the movement which will presently be described, I rode to the left of the line to satisfy myself that the troops were properly posted there to secure Dur left flank from any attack made along the left bank of the Antietam, as well as to enable us to carry bridge No. 3.
I found it necessary to make considerable changes in the position of General Burnside's corps, and directed him to advance to a strong position in the immediate vicinity of the bridge, and to reconnoitre the approaches to the bridge carefully. In front of General Sumner's and Hooker's corps, near Keedsyville, and on the ridge of the first line of hills overlooking the Antietam, and between the turnpike and Fry's house on the right of the road, were placed Captain Taft's, Langner's, Von Kleizer's and Lieutenant Weaver's batteries of twentypounder Parrott guns. On the crest of the hill in the rear and right of bridge No. 3, Captain Weed's three-inch and Lieutenant Benjamin's twenty-pounder batteries. General Franklin's corps and General Couch’s division held a position in Pleasant valley in front of Brownsville, with a strong force of the enemy in their front. General Morell's division of Porter's corps was en route from Boonsboro', and General Humphrey's division of new troops en route from Frederick, Maryland. About daylight on the 16th the enemy opened a heavy fire of artillery on our guns in position, which was promptly returned; their fire was silenced for the time, but was frequently renewed during the day. In the heavy fire of the morning, Major Arndt, commanding first battalion first New York artillery, was mortally wounded while directing the operations of his batteries.
It was afternoon before I could move the troops to their positions for attack, being compelled to spend the morning in reconnoitring the new position taken up by the enemy, exainining the ground, finding fords, clearing the approaches, and hurrying up the ammunition and supply trains, which had been delayed by the rapid march of the troops over the few practicable approaches from Frederick. These had been crowded by the masses of infantry, cavalry and artillery pressing on with the hope of overtaking the enemy before he could form to resist an attack. Many of the troops were out of rations on the previous day, and a good deal of their ammunition had been expended in the severe action of the 14th.
My plan for the impending general engagement was to attack the enemy's left with the corps of Hooker and Mansfield, supported by Sumner's, and if necessary by Franklin's; and, as soon as matters looked favorably there, to move the corps of Burnside against the enemy's extreme right, upon the ridge running to the south and rear of Sharpsburg, and having carried their position, to press along the crest towards our right; and whenever either of these flank