's entire army.
He arrived, not a moment too soon, to find his chief in perilous straits.
It was the morning of the 16th of September. General Lee
had drawn up Longstreet
's and D. H. Hill
's Divisions, both much reduced by the recent desperate contests at South
mountain, on a range of eminences overhanging Antietam creek
In his front six full corps of Federal troops.
, with seven thousand men, formed the left of Hill
, and Walker-coming down from Harper's Ferry
-prolonged the right of Longstreet
During this evening the Federals
crossed the Antietam creek
, and made a heavy onslaught upon the Confederate
left centre, under General Hood
, but were repulsed.
The real work was not to be until the morrow.
At dawn, on the 27th, McClellan
opened his batteries upon the Confederate
left, and, just at sunrise, poured Hooker
's, and Sumner
's Corps upon Jackson
's thin line.
For several hours Jackson
sustained this attack, but at length his men were pressed back, and Early
were left alone to maintain that flank of the army.
At this critical juncture General McLaws
came on the field, and, aided by General Walker
, who had been hurriedly withdrawn from the right, succeeded in re-establishing affairs, and pushing the enemy back to his original position.
In the meantime, the centre was also heavily pressed, and D. H. Hill
was fully employed in guarding his front from a series of impetuous and well-sustained assaults.
At four o'clock in the afternoon McClellan
, releasing his efforts on the left and centre, moved in large force against the right of Longstreet
's position, where a bridge over the Antietam
was defended by two small regiments under General Toombs
For a time, so stoutly fought the Confederates
, the issue of this movement seemed doubtful, but after repulsing several sharp attacks Toombs
' line was forced back, and the Federals
swarmed across the creek, threatening to accomplish a complete victory.
The enemy, turning to the right, had broken through Jones
' Division, captured a battery, and were sweeping on with wild enthusiasm.
But at the moment of crisis brought also the means of meeting it. Opportunely, as if summoned by the lamp of Aladdin, now came in full swing across the fields Hill
and his “light division.”
Called from Harper's Ferry
to save the day, eighteen miles the gallant fellows had marched under the burning sun since morning, and now they marched as though fresh from bivouac.
Throwing his batteries to the front, and opening a rapid fire upon the deploying masses of the enemy, Hill
grasped the situation at a glance, and made, without halting, his dispositions.
The Federal column, sweeping obliquely upon Jones
' right, had exposed its own flank; Toombs
, who had rallied his regiments, was ordered to fall upon it, while