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[297] was posted; and their reserves, hidden from view by the hills on which their line of battle was formed, could manoeuvre without being seen by our army, and, from the shortness of their line, could easily reinforce any point which needed strengthening. Their position, stretching across the space included between the Potomac and tho Antietam, their flanks and rear protected by these streams, was very strong, and it had the further advantage of masking their numbers from our observation.

On the morning of the 16th it was discovered that the enemy had changed the position of his batteries; and the whole forenoon was spent in reconnoitring, in examining the ground, finding fords, clearing the approaches, and hurrying up the ammunition and supply trains, which had been delayed by the rapid march of the troops. About daylight the enemy opened a heavy fire of artillery on our guns in position, which was promptly returned. Their fire was silenced for the time, but it was frequently renewed during the day.

General McClellan's plan was to attack the enemy's left with the corps of Hooker and Mansfield, supported by Sumner's, and, if necessary, by Franklin's; and, in case of success at this point, to move Burnside's corps against the enemy's extreme right, and, having carried their position, to press along the crest towards our right, and, whenever either of these flank movements should be successful, to advance our centre with all the forces then disposable. The general in command himself

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E. V. Sumner (1)
George B. McClellan (1)
Mansfield (1)
Joseph Hooker (1)
Burnside (1)
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