Today in History:

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

Page 58 Chapter XXXI. OPERATIONS IN N.VA., W.VA., MD., AND PA.

and General Kimball's brigade in the third. The division was first assailed by a fire of artillery, but steadily advanced, driving in the enemy's skirmishers, and encountered the infantry in some force at the group of houses on Roulette's farm. General Weber's brigade gallantly advanced, with an unwavering front, and drove the enemy from their position about the houses.

While General Weber was hotly engaged with the first line of the enemy, General French received orders from General Sumner, his corps commander, to push on with renewed vigor, to make a diversion in favor of the attack on the right. Leaving the new troops, who had been thrown into some confusion from their march through corn-fields,over fences, &c., form as a reserve, he ordered the brigade of General Kimball to the front, passing to the left of General Weber. The enemy was pressed back to near the crest of the hill, where he was encountered in greater strength, posted in a sunken road forming a natural rifle-pit running in a northwesterly direction. In a corn-field in rear of this road were also strong bodies of the enemy. As the line reached the crest of the hill, a galling fire was opened on it from the sunken road and corn-field. Here a terrific fire or musketry burst from both lines, and the battle raged along the whole line with great slaughter.

The enemy attempted to turn the left of the line, but were met by the Seventh Virginia and One hundred and thirty-second Pennsylvania Volunteers and repulsed. Foiled in this, the enemy made a determined assault on the front, but were met by a charge from our lines which drove them back with severe loss, leaving in our hands some 300 prisoners and several stand of colors. The enemy, having been repulsed by the terrible execution of the batteries and the musketry fire on the extreme fight, now attempted to assist the attack on General French's division by assailing him on his right and endeavoring to turn this flank, gut this attack was met and checked by the Fourteen Indiana and Eighth Ohio Volunteers, and by canister from Captain Tompkins' battery, First Rhode Island Artillery. Having been under an almost continuous fire for nearly four hours, and the ammunition nearly expended, this division now took position immediately below the crest of the heights on which they had so gallantly fought, the enemy making no attempt to regain their lost ground.

On the left of General French General Richardson's division was hotly engaged. Having crossed the Antietam about 9.30 a.m. at the ford crossed by the other divisions of Sumner's corps, it moved on a line nearly parallel to the Antietam, and formed in a ravine behind the high grounds overlooking Roulette's house; the Second(Irish) Brigade, commanded by General Meagher, on the right; the Third Brigade, commanded by General Caldwell, on his left, and the brigade commanded by Colonel Brooke, Fifty-third Pennsylvania Volunteers, in support. As the division moved forward to take its position on the field, the enemy directed a fire of artillery against it, but, owing to the irregularities of the ground, did but little damage.

Meagher's brigade, advancing steadily, soon became engaged with the enemy, posted to the left and in front of Roulette's house. It continued to advance, under a heavy fire, nearly to the crest of the hill overlooking Piper's house, the enemy being posted in a continuation of the sunken road and corn-field before referred to. Here the brave Irish Brigade opened upon the enemy a terrific musketry fire.

All of General Sumner's corps was now engaged-General Sedgwick on the right, General French in the center, and General Richardson on the left. The Irish Brigade sustained its well-earned reputation. After

Page 58 Chapter XXXI. OPERATIONS IN N.VA., W.VA., MD., AND PA.