Today in History:

51 Series I Volume XIX-I Serial 27 - Antietam Part I


Meade's division left Catoctin Creek about 2 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 1 1/2 miles 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), First Pennsylvania Artillery, was placed in position on high ground at about 3.30 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 and 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', which arrived at 5 p. m., in the rear. General Gibbon's brigade was detached from Gatch's division by General Burnside for the purpose of making a demonstration on the enemy's center up the main road, as soon as the movements on the right and left had sufficiently progressed. The First 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 outflank 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' 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.

The 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 Galagher, commanding the Third Brigade, was severely wounded, and the command devolved upon Lieutenant Colonel Robert Anderson.

General Meade, having reason to believe that the enemy was attempting to outflank him on his right, applied to General Hooker for re-enforcements. General Duryeas's brigade, of Ricketts' 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 name users the great object of the movement-the outflanking of the enemy.

While General Meade was gallantly driving the enemy on the right, General 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' brigade in line of battalions in mass at deploying distance; General Doubleday's brigade in the same order bringing up the rear. The Twenty-first New York, having gone