Today in History:

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

Page 52 Chapter XXXI. OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA

straight up the slope instead of around to the aright, as directed, the Second U. S. Sharpshooters was sent out in its place. Phelps' and Doubledays brigades were deployed in turn as they reached the woods,which began about half-way 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 corn-field full of rocky ledges, which afforded good cover to fall back to if dislodged.

Phelp'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 Hofmann (Colonel Wainwright having been wounded), relieved Phelps, and continued firing for an hour and a half, the enemy, behind ledges of rocks some 30 or 40 paces in our front, making a stubborn resistance, and attempting to charge on the least cessation of our fire. About dusk Colonel Christians brigade, of Rickett's division, came up and relieved Doubleday's brigade, which fell back into line behind Phelps'. 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 Seventy-sixth New York and Seventh Indiana. The remaining brigade of Ricketts' division (General Hartsuff's) was moved up in the center, 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, Fourth Artillery), was ordered to move up the main road on the enemy's center. 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 before is at from his positions in the woods and behind stone walls until they reached a point well up toward the top of the pass, when the enemy, having been reenforced 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 Sixth 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 Second Corps (Sumner's) and the Twelfth Corps (Williams') 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 Twelfth Corps and Sedgwick's division bivouacked around Bolivar, in a position to support our center and left. General Sykes' division of Regulars and the Artillery Reserve halted for the night at Middletown. Thus, on the night of the 14th the whole

Page 52 Chapter XXXI. OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA