We reached Antietam battlefield on the 19th (of Sept.), and except some fighting at the river where Lee's army crossed, and an attempt by the Fifth Corps to capture the batteries covering the rear, resulting in the capture of four guns, the great conflict was over. The country around Sharpsburgh is admirably adapted to military operations and affords fine opportunity to maneuver troops under cover and near the front excepting cavalry, the ground being too broken for that arm of the service to operate successfully, and for that reason, I think, large masses of our infantry and the enemy's infantry came within easy range of musketry before opening fire, being concealed by the contour of the ground between them. The consequence was that those who used their arms most effectively and were the steadiest were the victors; and as a rule, our men in the open field were the victors. That the enemy suffered terribly from our fire may be gathered from the fact that for more than a mile I could have walked on their dead bodies, while in some places they lay in groups, and in others as many as fifteen lying in line close together. Mounted officers lay under their horses both dead. A great many dead horses were on the field. Near the church in the edge of the woods, by the sunken road and the edge of the cornfield, the conflict by its results seemed to have been the fiercest. All the dead presented a horrible spectacle, and it would have been impossible to recognize a brother, they were so changed from life. The weather being extremely hot, the men, heated with passion, immediately after death, decomposed rapidly, gases formed, and the bodies swelled up to enormous proportions.
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