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Famous American Civil War - Battles and Events ^ | Sept 15, 2003 | National Park Service description of the Battle of Antietam

Posted on 09/15/2003 7:59:09 AM PDT by carlo3b



September 15-18 1862

The beginning of the end...

The end of the dream..
The beginning of the beginning..

No matter from which side we reflect on these historic moments in our past, no one can deny the place this tragedy played in the shaping of our noble future!

The Battle of Antietam, known in the South as the Battle of Sharpsburg, was fought on Wednesday, September 17, 1862 near Antietam, Maryland, and was the first major battle of the American Civil War to take place on Northern soil.

The BATTLE OF ANTIETAM was the bloodiest single-day battle in American history, with over 20,000 soldiers killed or wounded. It was also the culmination of the three nightmarish days of battle, September 15, 16, 17 1862, that recorded 32,922 total American casualties..

SEPT. 15 1862.. The beginning.. Harpers Ferry
As the Commanding General for the Southern cause, learned that the Northern Army garrison at Harpers Ferry had not retreated after his incursion into Maryland, Gen. Robt E. Lee decided to surround the force and capture it. He divided his army into four columns, three of which converged upon and invested Harpers Ferry. The fighting raged for hours, balancing victory against defeat in the ever changing tides, the Confederate armies won.
On September 15, after Confederate artillery was placed on the heights overlooking the town, Union commander Col. Dixon S. Miles surrendered the garrison of more than 12,000. Miles was mortally wounded by a last salvo fired from a battery on Loudoun Heights.  Maj. Gen. Thomas J. (Stonewall) Jackson took possession of Harpers Ferry, then led most of his soldiers to join with Lee at Sharpsburg.
Total casualties 12,922, 12,000 surrendered.

SEPT. 16 1862... Morning Phase
When Jackson's troops reached Sharpsburg on September 16th, Harpers Ferry having surrendered the day before, Lee consolidated his position along the low ridge that runs north and south of the town stretching from the Potomac River on his left to the Antietam Creek on his right. "We will make our stand on these hills," Lee told his officers. General Robert E. Lee had placed cannon on Nicodemus Heights to his left, the high ground in front of Dunker Church, the ridge just east of Sharpsburg (site of the National Cemetery), and on the heights overlooking the Lower Bridge. Infantry filled in the lines between these points, including a sunken lane less than a half mile long with worm fencing along both sides (later known as Bloody Lane). A handful of Georgia sharpshooters guarded the Lower Bridge (Burnside Bridge).

By the evening of the 16th, Gen. George McClellan had about 60,000 troops ready to attack--double the number available to Lee. The battle opened at a damp, murky dawn on the 17th when Union artillery on the bluffs beyond Antietam Creek began a murderous fire on Jackson's lines near the Dunker Church.

Miller's Cornfield
As the Federals marched toward Miller's Cornfield north of town, the Confederates rose up in the cornfield and fired on the advancing lines. McClellan responded by withdrawing his infantry and training cannon on the corn. "In the time I am writing," Hooker reported, "every stalk of corn in the northern and greater part of the field was cut as closely as could have been done with a knife, and the slain lay in rows precisely as they had stood in their ranks a few moments before."

Hooker's troops advanced again, driving the Confederates before them, and Jackson reported that his men were "exposed for near an hour to a terrific storm of shell, canister, and musketry." About 7 a.m. Jackson was reinforced and succeeded in driving the Federals back.

An hour later Union troops under Gen. Joseph Mansfield counterattacked and regained some of the lost ground. Less than 200 yards apart, the opposing lines fired lead into each other for a half hour. "They stood and shot each other, until the lines melted away like wax," reported a New York soldier, Isaac Hall. Fighting continued back and forth over the 20-acre cornfield, with the field changing hands 15 times, according to some accounts.

Then, in an effort to turn the Confederate left flank, Gen. John Sedgwick's division of Gen. Edwin V. Sumner's corps advanced into the West Woods. There Confederate troops arriving from other parts of the field struck Sedgwick's flank, killing or wounding nearly half of his division--about 2,255 men--within a quarter hour of point-blank fire.

During the three hours of battle, the Confederates had stopped two Federal corps and a division from another, totaling about 20,000 men. Approximately 10,000 men from both sides lay dead or wounded.

SEPT. 16 1862.. The Midday Phase
Meanwhile, Gen. William H. French's division of Sumner's Union corps moved up to support Sedgwick but veered south into the center of the Confederate line, under Gen. D. H. Hill. The Confederates were posted along a ridge in an old sunken road separating the Roulette and Piper farms. The 800-yard-long road had been worn down over the years by heavy wagons taking grain to the nearby mill, making an ideal defensive trench for the Rebels.

At dawn some five brigades of D. H. Hill's troops guarded this lane. Soon three brigades had been pulled out to support Jackson in the East Woods, but they were beaten back by Union Gen. George Greene's attack on that position. By 9:30 a.m. the Confederates were stacking fence rails on the north side of the road to provide additional protection from the Union forces, advancing in parade like precision across the field.

Firing from behind these improvised breastworks and sheltered in the Sunken Road, the Rebels seemed unassailable. They repelled four different Union charges against the position. "For three hours and thirty minutes," one Union officer wrote, "the battle raged incessantly, without either party giving way."

The beginning of the end...
From 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., bitter fighting raged along this deeply cut lane (afterward known as Bloody Lane) as French, supported by Gen. Israel B. Richardson's division, also of Sumner's corps, sought to drive the Southerners back. By 1 p.m. about 5,600 killed and wounded troops from both sides lay along and in front of this 800-yard lane.

Finally, seeing a weak spot in the Confederate line, the 61st and 64th New York regiments penetrated the crest of the hill at the eastern end and began firing volley after volley full length down the sunken line. Then, misinterpreting an order, a Confederate officer pulled his regiment out of the road. The remaining defenders rapidly scrambled out of the lane, over the fence, and fled through the cornfields to the south, some not stopping until they had reached the outskirts of Sharpsburg itself. More than 300 Rebels threw down their arms and surrendered on the spot.

The end of the dream..
"Lee's army was ruined," one of Lee's officers wrote later. "And the end of the Confederacy was in sight." About 200 Rebel infantry attempted a weak counterattack, while Lee rushed 20 cannon to the Piper farm. An attack through this hole would have crushed the Confederate center, and the remaining divisions could be destroyed piecemeal. Fortunately for the South, however, McClellan decided against a counterattack with his fresh reserves. That fateful decision would allow the Confederacy to fight on for three more years.

Afternoon Phase
Southeast of town, Union Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside's corps of 12,000 men had been trying to cross a 12-foot-wide bridge over Antietam Creek since 9:30 a.m. About 450 Georgian sharpshooters took up positions behind trees and boulders on a steep wooded bluff some 100 feet high and overlooking the Lower Bridge. Greatly outnumbered, the Confederates drove back several Union advances toward the bridge.

Finally, at 1 p.m. the Federals crossed the 125-foot-long bridge (now known as Burnside Bridge) and, after a 2-hour delay to rest and replenish ammunition, continued their advance toward Sharpsburg.

By late afternoon about 8,000 Union troops had driven the Confederates back almost to Sharpsburg, threatening to cut off the line of retreat for Lee's army. By 3:30 p.m. many Rebels jammed the streets of Sharpsburg in retreat. The battle seemed lost to the Southern army.

Then at 3:40 p.m. Gen. A. P. Hill's division, left behind by Jackson at Harpers Ferry to salvage the captured Federal property, arrived on the field after a march of 17 miles in eight hours. Immediately Hill's 3,000 troops entered the fight, attacking the Federals' unprotected left flank. Burnside's troops were driven back to the heights near the bridge they had taken earlier. The attack across the Burnside Bridge and Hill's counterattack in the fields south of Antietam resulted in 3,470 casualties--with twice as many Union casualties (2,350) as Confederate (1,120).

Longstreet later wrote, "We were so badly crushed that at the close of the day ten thousand fresh troops could have come in and taken Lee's army and everything in it." But again McClellan held the 20,000 men of V Corps and VI Corps in reserve--and lost a second opportunity to defeat the entire Confederate army. By 5:30 p.m., the Battle of Antietam was over.

The next day Federal and Confederate leaders struck up an informal truce, so they could begin gathering up the wounded and dying. During the evening of the 18th Lee began withdrawing his army across the Potomac River.

September 17, 1862 Blood flowed like water
Antietam on September 17, 1862, was the bloodiest one-day battle of the Civil War. Federal losses were 12,410, Confederate losses 10,700. One in four men engaged in battle that day had fallen. Some historians believe that Lee's failure to carry the war effectively into the North caused Great Britain to postpone recognition of the Confederate government.

The beginning of the beginning..
After the battle of Antietam, in which Union troops turned back a Confederate invasion of Maryland, he issued a preliminary proclamation in September, 1962. The final proclamation was then issued in January of the following year.
Now the war had a dual purpose: to preserve the Union and to end slavery.

TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Editorial; Front Page News; Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; Your Opinion/Questions
KEYWORDS: antietam; civilwar; confederate; dixie; history; jackson; lee; militaryhistory; union
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Emancipation Proclamation

The new beginning, may have ended on an American blood stained battlefield in Maryland, the official Emancipation Proclamation was issued on January 1, 1863, during the second year of the American Civil War and was Abraham Lincoln's declaration that all slaves in the states which had seceded from the Union, and which were not at the time under Federal control, were considered free. This action had little immediate effect, since it was impossible for the Federal government to implement it in those regions where it actually applied--namely the states in rebellion that were not under Federal control. Slaves in the states which remained loyal to the Union were not affected, and remained in slavery until the ratification of the thirteenth amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1865. Thus the impact of the proclamation was more symbolic than real. William Seward, Lincoln's Secretary of State, commented on this by remarking, "We show our sympathy with slavery by emancipating slaves where we cannot reach them and holding them in bondage where we can set them free."

However, Lincoln believed he had no constitutional authority to free the slaves except in those states where it was deemed a military necessity in order to suppress the rebellion, and freeing slaves was still a risky political act given that there were still slave states loyal to the union, and the initial war aims were centered on preserving the union rather than freeing slaves. As such, the proclamation was a military order issued by Lincoln in his capacity as Commander-in-Chief. The Emancipation Proclamation also allowed for the admittance of freed slaves into the (then-segregated) United States military, an unusual opportunity taken by nearly 200,000 black men, many of them former slaves.

1 posted on 09/15/2003 7:59:09 AM PDT by carlo3b
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To: Jim Robinson; Bob J; christie; stanz; jellybean; Angelique; Howie; TwoStep; piasa; Exit148; ...
Our honorable heritage, had a humble and tragic start.. so many, lost in a struggle for the love of all.. it was not in vain!

2 posted on 09/15/2003 8:05:06 AM PDT by carlo3b (
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To: carlo3b; billbears; Constitution Day; stainlessbanner
Just recalling a scene from G&G.

Beau Regards,
3 posted on 09/15/2003 8:07:01 AM PDT by azhenfud ("He who is always looking up seldom finds others' lost change...")
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To: carlo3b
I had the opportunity to visit Antietam a few years ago. Quite a place.
4 posted on 09/15/2003 8:19:40 AM PDT by UB355
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To: azhenfud
"GODS AND GENERALS", and the Ken Burns, "The Civil War" Series are some of my family favorite movies. It's a shame more folks never got to see GODS AND GENERALS, because of a all out effort to kill it's popularity.
5 posted on 09/15/2003 8:20:24 AM PDT by carlo3b (
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To: carlo3b
I wish I had more tolerance for the Civil War. I really do not. I think it was a horrible thing that those men died ,and for the reasons as I understand them.

I pay homage to those soilders, because I think they were doing their patriotic duty as they understood it. That is what a hero does.

Any way I look at it, I just believe it was a dark period in our country's history. Perhaps I do not understand the finer points. That really could be.

6 posted on 09/15/2003 8:22:29 AM PDT by Diva Betsy Ross ((were it not for the brave, there would be no land of the free -))
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To: carlo3b
I think it is interesting that you loved this movie. My husband and I tried to watch it and could not finish it. I am confused by the Civil War to begin with. I love the stories of the Ammerican revolution..Perhaps Civil War is just not my thing.
7 posted on 09/15/2003 8:25:09 AM PDT by Diva Betsy Ross ((were it not for the brave, there would be no land of the free -))
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To: carlo3b
Thanks for the heads up!
8 posted on 09/15/2003 8:28:51 AM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: carlo3b
Mr. Carlo, you never cease to amaze me.
My mom, may God Bless her, was so very much into the history of the civil war. She was very pro-south. We traveled with my dad, who was a salesman, during the 70's. His territory was the eastern states down to SC and over to OH. We went to Antietam before it was as commercialized as Gettysburg and visited many battle sites.
You have again brought tears to my eyes, remembering my mom.

P.S. I'm saving this as a homeschooling lesson as well, but I think my hubby must handle it. I may not make it through.
9 posted on 09/15/2003 8:29:36 AM PDT by netmilsmom (I may hide, but I never leave!)
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To: No More Gore Anymore
If one understands that the Civil War was not about freeing slaves (a depicable practice that should have been ended) as it was about states rights, it all becomes clearer.

It must be tough for you to homeschool something that doesn't interest you. I can't even imagine. Homeschoolers are miracle workers.
10 posted on 09/15/2003 8:33:02 AM PDT by netmilsmom (I may hide, but I never leave!)
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To: carlo3b
I have visited Harper's Ferry several times, having grown up in the DC area. Now, I'm just an hour or so from Gettysburg. The sites are sacred ground - for both sides.

Years ago, the manager of the bank where I worked kept several (at least) volumes of hand written diaries of his Union Soldier ancestor in a safe box. He would occasionally take them out and let me read them. I felt as if I was holding a holy book, so beautiful was the actual script and his thoughts on battles he participated in; Thoughts of home and family and his comrades in arms, even thoughts(not hateful) of the "Rebs". The most fascinating were the pages devoted to the assination of President Lincoln. His prose was worthy of the finest book. I don't know his education; he was an infantryman, who survived the war.
11 posted on 09/15/2003 8:33:34 AM PDT by baseballmom (Baseball is life - the rest is just details)
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To: carlo3b
"Does anyone think that the original thirteen colonies would have signed onto anything they couldn't have gotten out of?"

Shelby Foote
12 posted on 09/15/2003 8:41:42 AM PDT by Lee Heggy (Jealousy-The theory that some other fellow has just as little taste.)
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To: netmilsmom
I think I have a mental block on this war. I have to do more research on it before I can teach it ,for sure. I have some problem with the states right thing though.

I don't know what to think about it.

My husband is up on all of the military issues and wars, so this is really his department. I can handle some of the other wars, esp. the revolutionay war.

As far as homeshcooling things that don't interest me. I look at it through the eyes of my kids. I think about how I would like to have learned a topic. Mostly they teach themselves, I just have to get them the materials they need. Besides, I always need to learn things myself. It is fun!

13 posted on 09/15/2003 8:44:07 AM PDT by Diva Betsy Ross ((were it not for the brave, there would be no land of the free -))
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To: carlo3b
Both were fascinating pieces of work.

Laying aside the good of ridding chattel slavery, I've often wondered what would have become of the U.S. had not there been those willing to war to preserve states' rights.

A people willing to lie down and allow any government to dictate to its people are not free, but are merely slaves of that institution. The only true check and balance of tyranny is for it to be met with force, preferrably in the voting booth - but if not, on the battlefield.
14 posted on 09/15/2003 8:57:00 AM PDT by azhenfud ("He who is always looking up seldom finds others' lost change...")
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To: carlo3b
Many,Many books have been written on the subject of this battle known as "The Bloodiest Single Day" of the Civil War. For the Finest definitive account on this God Awful fight in the fields,and lanes around Sharpsburg Maryland find a copy of Stephen W. Sears Landscape Turned Red. The Battle of Antietam. If you're like me, You'll read most of the book with your mouth agape. Thanks for the Post. Pax-Aye
15 posted on 09/15/2003 9:00:37 AM PDT by Pompah
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To: No More Gore Anymore
I wish I had more tolerance for the Civil War. I really do not.

Through the dust peers Lee for hope. To the east a column raises dust. To a subaltern with younger eye, he asks, "who comes there?" The young officer replies, "they are Yankees, General." Turning in the saddle to the south, Lee asks again, who comes there? And the reply, "they are Confederates, general." "Thank God" says Lee, "its A.P. Hill come from Harpers Ferry."

And so my grandfather survived until Appomatox and bequethed to you a cauldron of liberty.

16 posted on 09/15/2003 9:01:49 AM PDT by nathanbedford (qqua)
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To: No More Gore Anymore
I pay homage to those soilders, because I think they were doing their patriotic duty as they understood it. That is what a hero does.

Any way I look at it, I just believe it was a dark period in our country's history. Perhaps I do not understand the finer points. That really could be

You are precisely correct in your conclusions and concern. Both are true feelings that should come forth in viewing the uncivil struggle of a just war in the view of at least half of our nation at the time.

Whether, your sympathies lay with the Rebels (the Southern cause), in that "We have fought a war for independence from a tyrannical central form of governance, then why should we again trade 1 tyrant a thousand miles away, for a hundred tyrants 10 miles away" Each of the Southern States had within it's state Constitution, an escape clause.. A secession clause, in the event that state felt that they could no longer agree with federal authority.. The U S Constitution ratified those states knowing those clauses were a part and parcel. So, when each state found that the northern states were imposing their will on the authority of the southern states with singular stinging tariffs and levees directed at just the commerce of the south.. they bolted from the Union, with a legal vote of their people. Slave trade was a particular unsavory aspect of primarily the Southern states it did exist widely in the north as well.. but it was not the primary, or secondary cause of the split.

The Federalists (Northern States), with an advantage of population, and therefore the legal voting power in the federal legislature (congress), believed in the strength of numbers, and the entire Union was integrated as one unit. This meaning the laws, military defense, common heritage, and commerce where tied into each and every part as it was intended. When the Southern state became obstinate, and rebelled.. the power of the United States Government as it was, moved forcibly to hold it together.

The cause was inexorably, in the EYE OF THE BEHOLDER!

17 posted on 09/15/2003 9:14:05 AM PDT by carlo3b (
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To: carlo3b
It's a shame more folks never got to see GODS AND GENERALS, because of a all out effort to kill it's popularity.

Actually, I think it probably had more to do with its 3:30 minute running time, and bombastic dialogue, then it's somewhat sympathetic portrayl of the Confederacy. People that think the History channel is cool (like myself) will probably enjoy it though.

It's playing on PPV right now.

18 posted on 09/15/2003 9:14:43 AM PDT by Smogger
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To: carlo3b

With the first skirmishes out of the way, the two armies now took positions near the town of Sharpsburg along the Hagerstown Pike, just 35 miles south of Gettysburg, along the small creek there named Antietam. McClellan divided his army into three groups there. On September 16th General Lee had spread his army out 4 miles long parallel to the Hagerstown Pike.

The 13th Pennsylvania was first to engage, finishing off a skirmish from the night before, for they were eager for revenge - their Colonel had been killed the night before, but they soon ran out of ammunition and withdrew. The 107th Pennsylvania now took the field and Confederate artillery opened up with Shells and Solid Shot rounds. Scores of Union troops were taken out in less than 5 minutes. At 6am Colonel Abram Duryea's 1,100 man Brigade, made of two New York Regiments and one Pennsylvania took the field.

Regiment after Regiment now took the field, each in turn wilting under the cross-fire the Confederate cannon had established with ruthless precision. Among them the 12th Massachusetts who were chewed to bits within minutes by the Louisiana "Tigers" and only 32 men of 334 who took the field returned with the Regimental colors. The Union artillery now concentrated on the Louisiana troops and caught them in their own cross-fire - it was now about 7am. The 12th Massachusetts had now gone into history taking the highest casualties of any Federal Unit that day - 67%. The Louisiana Tigers suffered 61% casualties including every one of it's Regimental Officers.

The 6th Wisconsin now took the field along with the 2nd and 7th Wisconsin and 19th Indiana. They met an unseen line of Confederate troops hidden in a pasture who jumped up and opened fire - men by the dozens were knocked out of the ranks. The 84th New York was added to the fray. The combined units of Wisconsin, Indiana and New York now fused into one unit facing three Georgia regiments. The Georgians began to break, when 1,150 men from the remaining Confederate brigades reinforced them and now the Union troops swayed. But the price was annihilation from a three point cross fire of Federal sharpshooters, artillery firing case shot, and musket fire from the pasture. - Captain R. P. Jennings of the 23rd Virginia was the only survivor of his entire Company, and he was wounded.

The Rebels were now so close to the union lines that the Federal artillery in and around the Corn Field took to shortening the fuses on their shells so they would go off only one and one-half seconds after leaving their muzzles. They could not fire canisters, as their were scores of wounded under the front of their guns.

The 90th Pennsylvania, with half its strength dead or wounded left the field and withdrew. The color bearer walking backwards the whole way out of the cornfield, believing that a gunshot in his back would be the ultimate disgrace on the battlefield. An entire Union Division was now effectively out of operation.

The battle now became an artillery duel. Guns were firing at each other from distances of less than 200 yards. Guns took to firing double canisters ( a canister was something like a #10 can filled with hundred metal balls, and fused to explode in the face of the enemy). At the end of the battle the survivors found piles of dead, one on top of the other, from the carnage.

The 1st Texas foolishly followed a retreating Union unit and within twenty minutes lost two complete companies. Four out of every five men of the 1st Texas was killed or wounded. - it was now 7:30am.

Of the three Confederate brigades commanded by General Lawton, one out of every two men had been killed or wounded. Stonewall Jackson's old Division had taken 30% casualties. When General Hood was asked where his Division was, he replied "Dead on the field." - He had taken 60% casualties. Union losses were no less. General Hooker's Corp had taken 30% casualties. Of the 3,150 men General Rickett's took on the field, about 300 remained.

The 128th Pennsylvania took the field and out to the Corn Field - a newly organized unit with green troops, they quickly broke in the withering fire. By the time they were reorganized enough to get them off the field they had taken 118 casualties. The Confederate troops still had smooth bore rifles. And now with the fighting at close range they took to using "buck and ball" loads (a cartridge which beside the standard musket ball also contained 3 buckshot) - the result was multiple wounds from one round fired. Two thousand fresh Union troops were put into the line to bolster the attack. Pennsylvania and Ohio companies were now engaged in hand to hand combat among the tramped cornstalks. The 6th Georgia now had 24 men left of it's 250 it had started the morning with. There were now nearly 8,000 casualties - and it was only 9am.

The Pennsylvania "Philadelphia Brigade" took the field and was swept off in a swell of retreat from a flanking movement near the Dunker Church. They lost 550 men in about ten minutes. The 42nd New York on the left flank was also swept away taking 181 casualties. The 15th Massachusetts took 318 casualties, many from friendly fire when they were mistaken by a green New York Regiment for Confederate in the smoky-haze of the battle. Captain Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. of the 20th Massachusetts witnessed one of his troops firing into the rear of the line hit him with the flat edge of his sword and cursed him to stop firing on his own men, only to learn a minute later that the man knew what he was doing. The 20th Massachusetts had been flanked and the enemy was now behind them! About 2,300 casualties, mostly Pennsylvanians, were taken in a ten to fifteen minute period in the confusion. - it was 9:45am.

The 2nd Massachusetts and the 13th New Jersey now were ordered in. The Massachusetts men were veterans, but the the 13th New Jersey under Colonel Ezra Ayres Carman was a green unit never having loaded their muskets in battle before. They were sent into the Cornfield. Approaching the Hagerstown Pike they were met by Confederates lying in prone position behind a ledge of limestone at the edge of the woods. Colonel Carman wrote "The men were being shot by a foe they could not see, so perfectly did the ledge protect them." The 2nd Massachusetts flag took twenty new holes from the fire before the two units recognized the impossibility of this attack and the two units about-faced and marched back the way they came "in perfect order".

At 10am the Confederates advanced. Union troops waited until they were within 70 yards and opened fire. One soldier of the 102nd New York wrote in his diary "it seemed as if whole companies were wiped out of existence." Indeed the 30th Virginia lost 160 of the 236 men they started out with.

The Union now attempted a bayoneted charge across a ridge. The Confederates were waiting for them. In five minutes the Union Brigade took more than 450 casualties. General Longstreet now ordered a counterattack and Union artillery chewed them to pieces. But another Union Division was spent with 1,750 casualties. The 63rd and 69th New York each lost 60% of their number. Most within the first few minutes of battle. - it was now 10:30am.

The Sunken Road was later renamed "Bloody Lane" by the Veterans of Antietam. James Hope of the 2nd Vermont made sketches during the battle and later made them into a large oil paintings. Over 5,600 dead, Union and Confederate filled the road by 1 pm of that fateful day.

The 9th Alabama was now ordered to charge across the Cornfield. The 5th New Hampshire was waiting for them, kneeling among the dead on the Sunken Road. The 5th New Hampshire would hold the distinction of having the highest casualty statistics of any Union unit during the Civil War, one-third of them being inflicted at Antietam. The Confederacy took 2,600 casualties trying to take the Sunken Road that day, and still failed. The Union lost nearly 3,000 defending it. In total nearly 18,500 Confederate and Union casualties had been taken in about seven hours of the battle. - it was now about 1pm. The battle lines were now shifting to the stone bridge under siege by General Burnside. The carnage continued. By sunset the fighting began to subside. While not a Union victory, it was not a Union defeat and General Lee thought best to withdraw from the field.

The total casualties of the Battle of Antietam will never be known, because of a lack of Confederate record keeping. The best estimates are for the Army of the Potomac: 2,108 dead, 9,540 wounded and 753 missing (most more than likely killed) for a total of 12,401 men. Twenty-five percent of all Union troops who stepped into battle that day. Confederate casualties are estimated as 1,546 dead, 7,752 wounded, and 1,018 missing for a total of 10,318 men. Combined casualties for 12 hours of fighting were 22,719.
19 posted on 09/15/2003 9:17:27 AM PDT by ijcr (Age and treachery will always overcome youth and ability.)
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To: baseballmom; GRRRRR
July 1, 1863 9 AM

Early this morning, Longstreet and Lee move by horseback down the Chambersburg Pike. The rains of the past days have given way to a bright sunshine that promises summer heat. As they move towards Gettysburg, Lee hears the distant rumble of artillery. Giving Traveler a kick, he leaves Longstreet behind and hurries to the battle.

Several miles ahead of Lee, Major General Henry Heth moves slowly down the Chambersburg Pike. He met a Union cavalry picket west of Gettysburg before nine and quickly drove them in slowly as the horsement retreated the zing of bullets came out of a wood on the slope of a low hill behind. "That's all right", called Heth, "only some Pennsylvania Militia". He then sent two brigades to clear the way for his full column. They swung forward carelessly and as they reached the edge of the wood, the fire rose to surprising crescendo. Out of the underbrush onto their flank burst a storm of men with bayonets low and all in a line--it was the IRON BRIGADE. The best known of the Army of the Potomac, they insisted on wearing the same old black hats as when first mustered into the service. Upon seeing them, the Confederates knew they were facing Buford's cavalry.

The Union now pressed the attack into the late morning.

25 posted on 07/01/2003 5:31 AM CDT by GRRRRR (If the GOP could just send in the Marines against the Demokrats now....)
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Report from Gettysburg, July 1, 1863, 10:30 am:

MGen. Pleasonton's cavalry, under MGen Buford, is defending itself agaist heavy attacks from the Northwest, as strong Confederate forces move down the Chambersburg Pike from Cashtown and deploy. The National cavalry is armed with the new Spencer repeating rifle, and is extracting a great toll from the rebel forces. It is said that MGen. John Reynolds has arrived on the field, along with Meredith's Iron Brigade of the 1st Corps deploying to Buford's left, and Howard's 11th Corps is just behind on the Baltimore Pike.

Rumors abound, but it seems that Ewell's corps is moving from the North, down the Carlilse Road, and the 1st Corps is facing Rode's division of Hill's Corps from Cashtown.

Violence seems to be building here abouts, like a thunderstorm. Artillery batteries clatter through the town and rush for the fight, which can be heard as the clattering of musket fire, punctuated with the thuds of cannon fire, grows.

33 Posted on 07/01/2001 07:51:36 PDT by jonascord
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26 posted on 07/01/2003 5:32 AM CDT by GRRRRR (If the GOP could just send in the Marines against the Demokrats now....)
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20 posted on 09/15/2003 9:24:27 AM PDT by carlo3b (
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