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[259] in front of the North wood, which bounded the open fields to the northward. McLaws pushed his assault much too far, for his numbers were too light to hope for any great result, and the favorable ground enabled the enemy's artillery to punish severely all open exposures. Thus, McLaws lost 1103 out of 2893 carried into action in his four brigades,— Kershaw's, Semmes's, Barksdale's, and Cobb's, — an average of 39 per cent. These losses occurred mostly in the pursuit after Sedgwick, and mostly befell within two hours. At the same time that Sedgwick was driven back, Greene's men about the Dunker Church were also forced back to the Federal guns, leaving the Confederate line practically the same that it had been in the morning, although now held only by scattered fragments and almost entirely destitute of artillery.

In each of these three affairs the division batteries had been effectively fought against the enemy's infantry, but gradually they had nearly all been put out of action. As an illustration of their experiences, and of the condition of our line at this time, McLaws, in his report, says: —

Capt. Read's battery had been placed in position on the right of the woods which we had entered, and did most excellent service, but it was exposed to such a severe fire Gen. Kershaw ordered it back, after losing 14 officers and men and 16 horses. Another battery, Capt. Carlton's, which I had ordered into position in the woods in front of Gen. Ransom's brigade, was so severely cut up in a short time by the direct and cross-fire of numerous batteries, that I ordered it to retire. . . .’

This finished the third affair of the day, though there were still upon the field Sumner's two other large divisions to be reckoned with, equal in strength to the whole of the 12th corps; and, in addition, there could be seen across the Antietam, but moving to support the attack upon our left, the 6th corps under Franklin. It was plain that a fourth and even more terrible struggle was to come, but it befell principally over new ground bordering the scene of the previous fighting upon the east, and extending southward. Here the division of D. H. Hill held the salient east of the Hagerstown pike where our line of battle changed direction and became parallel to the pike. The ground was open and moderately rolling and had but one good feature for defence.

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McLaws (3)
Sedgwick (2)
S. C. Kershaw (2)
Semmes (1)
Read (1)
J. G. Ransom (1)
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Greene (1)
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1103 AD (1)
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