amidst this ghastly scene all day, the motionless Confederate pickets looking down over the field from the edge of the woods.
All the forenoon, surgeons with staffs were moving, as best they could pick their way, over the field; seeking among the motionless forms for those in which life was not extinct, and ministering to the severely wounded who had not been removed.
The burial parties will have a long range of duty.
In the road, bodies lay scattered all around, and the stench that arose from their decomposition was wellnigh unendurable.
Along the line for not more than a single mile, fifteen hundred lay unburied.
Yesterday has been called the bloodiest day that America
has ever known; and the determined character, terrible in its determination, of the contest on the Union
right and Confederate left, in the forenoon, may be judged from the fact that Hooker
there confronted each other.
During the night of the 18th, Lee
withdrew his forces from the Federal
front; this had probably begun and been continued under cover of the operations for which the truce was obtained.
On the morning of the 19th, the thin line of grays which was visible to us yesterday has disappeared.
On the 20th, the Sixth Corps marches to Hagerstown
Our company lay for a week, just south of the village on the Boonesboro
road, near the Antietam
There was at this point and at the rear of our camp a large grist-mill, and behind it a whiskey distillery; whether any tangle-foot could have been obtained at this mill during that week, we do not know, but the existence of the still gave rise to a facetious yarn at the expense of one of our corporals.
It had been his unpleasant duty to adjust an eccentric soldier upon a spare wheel of a caisson, where he was to sit upon the hub a couple of hours.
The story was, that the eccentric one, knowing the road to the mill, blindfold, and being an expert at untying knots, set himself free from the wheel, spent an hour away, returned, tied himself again upon the wheel, and was never missed by the corporal, the latter never distinguishing the eccentric boy's knots from his own.
In a day or two after our arrival, we were visited by one of those severe thunder-storms that largely have their origin in the condition of the atmosphere after a great battle, and which invariably follow a protracted burning of gunpowder.
This settled into a two days