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194

WITHDRAWAL OF THE ENEMY.

Burnside—an intimacy which had sprung up when they were chums together in civil life—was ended. Gen. Burnside felt, and justly too, that some of the fresh and well trained troops belonging to Porter should have been sent to his assistance. He withstood the shock but a few moments, losing very heavily, and then withdrew from the extreme position which he had gained near Sharpsburg to one slightly in rear of it. He, however, held his bank of the river completely, and maintained much ground beyond it, which he had taken from the enemy.

Night closed upon the scene, preventing further operations, and our victorious troops slept on the battle-field.

A guard of three officers, nine Sergeants and thirty men from the Thirty-third were posted in front of the Regiment, and after dark moved forward to within a hundred yards of the enemy. Towards morning the officer of the guard informed Lieut.: Col. Corning that the rebels were moving artillery back by hand. He immediately reported this to headquarters, and in the morning sent Lieut. Carter to Gen. Smith to announce to him in person that he had heard artillery moving to the rear, and perceived other indications of a retreat on the part of the enemy. An hour later they could be seen from Burnside's position moving back to the river. The men were impatient to dash after them and end the war. Where was McClellan that he did not give orders to renew the conflict ? No such orders came. About noon the Third Brigade was relieved by

GEN. M'CLELLAN CENSURED.

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Cochrane's of Couch’s Division. The afternoon passed as had the forenoon, no offensive demonstrations being made by us. The rebels kept up a brisk fire from their skirmish line, which fact was, after our Peninsular experience, an additional evidence to us that they were retiring. About noon, on the following day (Friday), our skirmishers moved forward, and discovered that the enemy had all crossed to the Virginia side of the Potomac. The whole army was now put in motion and encamped near the bank of the river. Gen. McClellan has been severely censured for thus permitting the enemy to slip through his fingers, but he committed no greater blunder than did Lee in afterwards allowing Burnside to escape at Fredericksburg and Hooker · at Chancellorsville.

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A VIEW OF THE BATTLE-FIELD.

CHAPTER XXI.

Appearance of the Field after the strife.- Union Losses and

Captures.-Bravery of the Raw Levies.—The Thirty-third complimented by the Brigade Commander.

One forgets the horrors of war in the roar of artillery and shock of contending thousands, but when the field is afterwards surveyed, we realize how fearful, how terrible is the calamity. The falling back of the enemy left the battle-field of Antietam in our possession, with all its heart-rending and melancholy scenes. Scattered over a space of four miles, were men with uniforms of blue, and uniforms of gray, exhibiting all the frightful mutilations which the human body can suffer.

Shot through the head, shot through the body, shot through the limbs, shot to the death, they lay stretched out together, wherever the surging to and fro of the contending armies had marked the line of battle. Approaching the field from the direction of Hagerstown, the first evidences of the conflict are seen, in a small grove which has been cut to pieces by a hurricane of shot, and shell. Close by appears the debris of a once elegant farm-house, literally A WOUNDED NORTH CAROLINIAN.

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shot down by our guns. Near the adjoining barn are several dead animals, killed in their stalls, or while grazing in the pastures. Advancing further, the fences by the road-side are completely riddled with bullets. Here, for several moments, two contending Regiments fought, divided from each other only by the width of the road, until both were nearly annihilated.

Many, who fell forward on the fences, still remain in a standing posture, grasping in death the rails which had afforded them so frail a protection. Others lie stretched out upon the ground, fiercely clenching their muskets, and with countenances exhibiting all the savageness and ferocity which mark the warrior in the strife. Several of the wounded have crawled close into the fence corners to avoid the hot sun, or lain themselves out on a pallet of straw, gathered by their own hands from a stack close by. Of this number is a North Carolinian, who on being informed, as he is carried away to the hospital, that the wound is very severe, replies, “Cut off my leg, for, if you do not, I shall be exchanged, and again forced to fight against the old flag, which I have never ceased to love.”

Further on is a Federal soldier, who, though he has lost a leg, is consoling himself with the prospect of soon being in the bosom of his family. Alas for the poor New York boy lying near! no sight of home will ever greet him, for the death film already dims his eye, and the clammy sweat is gathering upon his brow.

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To the left and rear of this, is the corn-field through which the Irish Brigade so gallantly charged, when Sumner went to the relief of Hooker. The mangled corpses lie in heaps among the tall, bare stalks, shorn of their leaves, as if by a hail-storm. One long row of rebel dead lie in the outskirts of the field, almost as straight, and regular, as if they had fallen at dress parade. They were drawn up here to resist the charging party, who, reserving their fire until reaching the corn, then discharged a volley, which bore down almost the whole line.

Returning to the road and following on towards Sharpsburg, we come to the little elevation on which several rebel batteries were planted. Numerous are the evidences of the terribleness of our fire, when it was concentrated upon them, as the battle progressed. Dead cannoniers, dead infantrymen, and dead horses; exploded caissons, broken wheels, and fractured limbers; muskets, revolvers, and stilettos; round shot, solid shot and case shot, scattered promiscuously together! Could mortal live under such a concentrated fire? How did they remain and live so long?

In the rear of here is another corn-field filled with the dead and dying of the enemy. A solid shot has completely beheaded one and passing through the body of another left a fearful wound, from which the bowels are protruding. Stopping to draw a bucket of water from the well close by, we observe two more who were apparently shot while lying concealed behind the sweep. The dwelling house is deserted

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