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Battle of Antietam
New York Times Articles

   The Maryland Battles             Battle of Antietam Creek - Full Particulars           Battle of Wednesday -- Sharpsburgh

   The Battle of Antietam A Glorious Victory               The Great Battle of Wednesday                 Retreat of the Rebels

    Incidents of the Battle                       The Battle of Antietam                       The Battle of Antietam Further Particulars

The following is transcribed from the New York Times dated September 20, 1862:


          On Wednesday morning, Sept. 17, the sun rose in a cloudless sky, and all nature seemed to smile as if the world were filled with the elect of God. But its splendors were soon dimmed with the smoke rising from the battle-field. To enable the reader to understand the events of this day, he should look at a map which has laid out the principal roads throughout the State of Maryland. With a pencil follow the road or "pike" from Boonsboro' direct to Sharpsburgh -- which is nearly three miles west of the river, at the point where the road crosses it; the battle-field is on both sides of that road -- between the river and Sharpsburgh -- the bulk of it being north of the Boonsboro' road, and in the triangle formed by the roads connecting Bakersville and Middletown and Bakersville and Sharpsburgh. The surface is interspersed with hill and vale, and covered with cornfields and grass land, and skirting and stretching toward the centre from different points are thin belts of forest trees -- all of which gives advantage to the enemy acting on the defensive, he having an opportunity to select his position for defensive onerations, and when forced from one position, be [???] only to fall back a short distance to find a position naturally as strong as the first. The engagement was opened early Wednesday morning by the advance of a strong fine of our skirmishers. They were met by a similar movement on the part of the enemy. The matter were forced back unto the right of our line (Gen. HOOKER's,) come into [???] wish the enemy's left, commanded by Gen. HILL, who commands a portion of LONGSTREET's corps. BANK's corps was, within a half an hour, at work, and was followed soon after by Gen. PATTERSON's command. The first five was at about 5 o'clock, and at 6 o'clock the infantry aim entered upon its work. The line [???] named. THE ENEMY'S LEFT WAS FORCED BACK for nearly three miles from the ford, where the bulk of our troops crossed the creek before 9 o'clock, when they were relieved by Gen. SEDGWICK's coming to the front. Just previous to this, MORRIS' Brigade, of HOOKER's command, had advanced from a belt of timber across a plowed field into a piece of woods, whose the enemy, massed in great force, were repaired, and the troops fell back to the bait of timber in some disorder, but soon rallied again, and regained the field in front. It was at this time that Gen. MANSFIELD, in command of Gen. BANKS' corps, was no tally wounded, carried from the field and died soon afterward. Gen. WILLIAMS succeeded to the command of the corps, and Gen. CRAWFORD took command of WILLIAMS' Division until he was wounded had taken from the field. The repulse of MORRIS' Brigade was accomplished by an old and contemptible trick of the enemy. As the corps advanced to the troops across the plowed field, the rebels unfurled the Stars and Stripes, and waving them, cried out, "What the h--l are you doing? Don't fire upon your friends!" Our troops, deceived by this rise, ceased firing, when the rebels opened upon them a murderous volley of musketry and cross fire, and creating a temporary [???]. They [???] and drove the rebels back, [???] was [???] at a great [???] of life. These troops were [???] by GEN. SEDGWICKS'S COMMAND [???]. The enemy who had gained a part [???] extending some distance [???] of our life, at the [???] of Gen. BANKS [???] were drown out, and across a [???] field in from to the [???] upon them with [???] the brow of a little [???] of the [???] that the infantry, emerging suddenly upon the open field, supposed that it was rebellious [???] for them and the dead rebels got an extra volley. This corps came into action by brigades, between 8 and 9 o'clock -- GORMAN's, DANA's and HOWARD's. While preparing for action, the enemy appeared from an unexpected quarter, and opened a terrific fire with a view of breaking the line by a sudden attack with musketry and artillery, be believing that it was composed of raw troops. But they soon discovered their mistake; these veterans, notwithstanding the sudden attack, though their lines were broken for a moment, were not disconcerted, but received it with cheers. While under this galling fire the Fifteenth Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers made a dash forward and seized the battle-flag of one of Gen. HILL's regiments, and now have it to show to their friends as a trophy of the day. In this connection it should be mentioned that Capt. HOWE and Lieut. WHITTIER, of Gen. SEDGWICK's Staff, distinguished themselves in the action by rallying the left of Gen. SEDGWICK's division, and on several occasions, by their example, they encouraged the men in discharging their duties faithfully. Gen. SEDGWICK's horse was killed, and he was wounded twice, but remained on the field until he was ordered to the rear with his command. FRENCH'S DIVISION. The division under Gen. FRENCH occupied a Position to the left of SEDGWICK's, and was fairly engaged by 10 1/2 o'clock. The fighting on the extreme right at this time was confined mostly to artillery, while the tide of infantry fighting swept along toward the left of our line. The left of this division gave way and fell back from the superior force they had to contend against -- the rebel hordes making pell mell after them. The left fell back in pretty good order, and upon a walk, under as galling a fire of musketry as is often experienced. This movement was evidently no fault of the men. The rebels advanced, and as they ventured a little to the rear of our line at that point, Col. BURKE (acting Brigadier-General in Gen. RICHARDSON's Division,) changed his front, and poured in several volleys upon their flank, strewing the ground with dead. The balance, hastened somewhat by a cross fire from AYER's battery, fled in utter dismay. The left of FRENCH's Division advanced again, and fought like heroes until ordered to the rear. RICHARDSON'S DIVISION. Three Brigades of this Division, commanded by Gen. MEAGHER, Gen. CALDWELL and Col. BURKE' Tenth Pennsylvania, did not cross the creek until Wednesday morning, when Gen. RICHARDSON was ordered to form on the left of FRENCH's Division The Division crossed the river and moved up with alacrity near the line of battle, ready for action. Having filed about through the valleys to avoid letting the enemy about of the movement, the Division laid down under the brow of a hill, just in rear of the line of battle, until wanted. It was now about 9 o'clock. THE IRISH BRIGADE. In less than half an hour after taking this position Gen. MEAGHER was ordered to enter the line with the Irish Brigade. They marched up to the brow of the hill, cheering as they went, led by Gen. MEAGHER in person, and were welcomed with cheers, by FRENCH's Brigade. The musketry fighting at this poiut was the severest and most deadly ever witnessed before -- so acknowledged by veterans in the service. Men on both sides fell in large numbers every moment, and those who were eye-witnesses of the struggle did not suppose it possible for a single man to escape. The enemy here, at first, were concealed behind a knoll, so that only their heads were exposed. The brigade advanced up the slope with a cheer, when a most deadly fire was poured in by a second line of the enemy concealed in the Sharpsburgh road, which at this place is several feet lower than the surrounding surface, forming a complete rifle-pit, and also from a force partially concealed still further to the rear. At this time the color-bearer in the right wing advanced several paces to the front, and defiantly waved his flag in the face of the enemy; as if by a miracle, he escaped without serious injury. The line of [???] brigade, in advance up the [???] was broker in the [???] temporarily by an destruction, the right wing having advanced to keep up with the [???] and fell back a [???] when Gen. [???] directed that a rail fence which the enemy a few minutes before had been fighting behind should be torn down. His men, in face of a [???] fire, obeyed the order when he whole brigade advanced to the brow the hill, cheering as the [???] and causing the enemy to full back to there second line -- the Strasburgh road, which [???] three feet lower than the surrounding surface. In this load were massed a large force of infantry, and here was the most hotly contested point of the dry. Each brigade of [???] Divison was in turn brought into action at this point and the struggle was truly terrific for more than four hours -- the enemy finally, however, were forced from their position, in this work the New-York German Battery, stationed on the hill across the Creek, rendered efficient service by pouring in upon their massed forces a constant stream of 60-pound shells. Gen. CAULDWELL's Brigade was next ordered into action by Gen. RICHARDSON in person. They two advanced in good order, cheering, and were received with cheers by the Irish Brigade. It was at about this time that the left of FRENCH's Division, commanded by Col. BROOKS, of the Tenth Pennsylvania, was directed by Gen. RICHARDSON to wheel to the right, and a murderous flanking fire was poured into the flank of an advancing division of the enemy, causing him to recoil, and fall back in disorder. This division was actively engaged for nearly five hours, and lost nearly half of the men taken into action. The fight, which had opened by five o'clock in the morning, gradually swept down to the left of the main line, where it opened at about 9 o'clock. Soon after this time, Gen. BURNSIDE's guns were heard on the extreme left, on the flank of the enemy, he having obtained possession of the stone bridge across the [???] on the Strasburgh road. This [???] surprise the rebels, and a [???] was made to change their line of [???] the banking movement on their right. To the [???] their line was extended and large [???] were [???] off to meet Gen. [???] by 12 o'clock the rebel line of battle having been forced [???] in the right was [???]. Toward night our infantry got to work on the [???] the rebel [???] gave way [???] order, and the day's fighting was brought to [???] by a heavy artillery fire -- and the enemy, in the language of the cannonading General, were just where he wanted them. It was undoubtedly the intention of Gen. LEE to repeat here what he accompliseed at Richmond -- crush our right wing by throwing upon it the bulk of the force at his disposal; and nothing but the most consummate generalship prevented him from succeeding in his pet scheme. In selecting Gen. HOOKER to take the initiative in this important movement, the right man was put in the right place. He soon discovered the intended movement, and he was heavily reinforced during Tuesday night, so that when the enemy marched down his massed columns upon our right, they were everywhere repulsed with great slaughter. On Wednesday afternoon as the storm of battle passed to the left, Gen. MCCLELLAN rode along the lines at the right and was received with the greatest enthusiasm by the forces at that point. While Gen. SUMNER actually had charge of the field operations, Gen. MCCLELLAN visited every part of the field in person, and by his presence encouraged the troops to deeds of valor. Gen. SUMNER more particularly paid attention to the right, for he saw Gen. RICHARDSON was on the left with his own (SUMNER's) old corps and his services were not particularly needed there. As a whole, officers and men all did their duty. As there are exceptions to all rules, so there is to this. Two regiments, at least, marched from the field during the hottest of the conflict; and, in one in- ance, at least, the officers with the lead in this apparently disgraceful movement. We refrain from indicating these regiments until such time as their conduct is officially noticed. GEN. RICHARDSON. Gen. RICHARDSON was everywhere conspicuous during the action, up to the time when he received a gunshot wound in the left breast. While being removed from the field he said to the surgeon in attendance, "Tell Gen. MCCLELLAN I have been in the front rank, doing the duty of a Colonel. I have done a hard day's work, and have worked all day. I am wounded, and he must detail sone one to take my command. Gen. HANCOCK was ordered to take Gen. RICHARDSON's command. THE LOSSES. Of course, at this time of writing, it is impossible to accurately estimate the losses on either side. In the opinion of those best capable of judging, our loss will not exceed 10,000. Some brigades lost very heavily, while others lost but few men. Gen. RICHARDSON's, and a portion of Gen. FRENCH's command, suffered the most. They actually lost nearly one-half the men taken into the field. The lost of the enemy was necessarily much larger than ours. We had heavy guns, located in distant and elevated positions, constantly throwing shells into their columns, massed at the rear of strong fronts. They massed their forces to take batteries, but were in every instance repulsed with terrible slaughter. COFFIN's First New-York Battery, supported by the One Hundred and Seventh New-York was charged upon seven times in this way, and each time the attacking force repulsed. The corn-field in which the battery was stationed is covered with dead rebels. Ten horses attached to the battery were killed. Some of the rebel officers who fell into our hands estimate their loss as high as 30,000 men. This nay be true, including the men who voluntarily came within our lines; for thousands of prisoners were taken, and some of them came in very willingly. They are tired of the war, and particularly such fighting as that of yesterday.

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