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[281] rejoice to welcome you to your natural position among them, they will only welcome you when you come of your own free will.

R. E. Lee, General commanding.

The commands of Longstreet and D. H. Hill, on their arrival at Sharpsburg, were placed in position along the range of hills between the town and the Antietam, nearly parallel to the course of that stream, Longstreet on the right of the road to Boonsboro and Hill on the left. The advance of the enemy was delayed by the determined opposition he encountered from Fitzhugh Lee's cavalry, and he did not appear on the opposite side of the Antietam until about 2 P. M. During the afternoon the batteries on each side were partially engaged. On the 16th the artillery fire became warm, and continued throughout the day. A column crossed the Antietam beyond the reach of our batteries and menaced our left. In anticipation of this movement Hood's two brigades had been transferred from the right and posted between D. H. Hill and the Hagerstown road. General Jackson was now directed to take position on Hood's left, and formed his line with his right resting on the Hagerstown road and his left extending toward the Potomac, protected by General Stuart with the cavalry and horse artillery. General Walker with his two brigades was stationed on Longstreet's right. As evening approached, the enemy fired more vigorously with his artillery and bore down heavily with his infantry upon Hood, but the attack was gallantly repulsed. At 10 P. M. Hood's troops were relieved by the brigades of Lawton and Trimble of Ewell's division, commanded by General Lawton. Jackson's own division, under General J. K. Jones, was on Lawton's left, supported by the remaining brigades of Ewell.

At early dawn on the 17th his artillery opened vigorously from both sides of the Antietam, the heaviest fire being directed against our left. Under cover of this fire a large force of infantry attacked General Jackson's division. They were met by his troops with the utmost resolution, and for several hours the conflict raged with intense fury and alternate success. Our troops advanced with great spirit; the enemy's lines were repeatedly broken and forced to retire. Fresh troops, however, soon replaced those that were beaten, and Jackson's men were in turn compelled to fall back. Nearly all the field officers, with a large proportion of the men, were killed or wounded. Our troops slowly yielded to overwhelming numbers, and fell back, obstinately disputing every point. General Early, in command of Ewell's division, was ordered with his brigade to take the place of Jackson's division, most of which was withdrawn, its ammunition being nearly exhausted and its numbers much reduced. The battle now raged with great violence, the small commands under Hood

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J. B. Hood (5)
James Longstreet (3)
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