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[187]

After the battle of Antietam he writes:—

Maryland Heights, September 21, 1862.

Dear father,—. . . . We left Frederick on the 14th instant, marched that day and the next to Boonsborough, passing through a gap in the mountain where Burnside had had a fight the day before. On the 16th our corps, then commanded by General Mansfield, took up a position in rear of Sumner's, and lay there all day. The Massachusetts cavalry was very near us. I went over and spent the evening with them, and had a long talk with Forbes about home and friends there. . . . . We lay on his blanket before the fire until nearly ten o'clock, and then I left him, little realizing what a day the next was to be, though a battle was expected; and I thought, as I rode off, that perhaps we should n't see each other again. Fortunately, we have both got through safely so far. At about eleven P. M., Mansfield's corps was moved two or three miles to the right. At one in the morning of the 17th we rested in a wheat-field. Our pickets were firing all night, and at daylight we were waked up by the artillery; we were moved forward immediately, and went into action in about fifteen minutes. The Second Massachusetts was on the right of Gordon's brigade, and the Third Wisconsin next; the latter was in a very exposed position, and lost as many as two hundred killed and wounded in a short time. We were posted in a little orchard, and Colonel Andrews got a cross-fire on that part of the enemy's line, which, as we soon discovered, did a great deal of execution, and saved the Third Wisconsin from being completely used up. It was the prettiest thing we have ever done, and our loss was small at that time; in half an hour the brigade advanced through a corn-field in front, which until then had been occupied by the enemy; it was full of their dead and wounded, and one of our sergeants took a regimental color there, belonging to the Eleventh Mississippi. Beyond the corn-field was a large open field, and such a mass of dead and wounded men, mostly Rebels, as were lying there, I never saw before; it was a terrible sight, and our men had to be very careful to avoid treading on them; many were mangled and torn to pieces by artillery, but most of them had been wounded by musketry fire. We halted right among them, and the men did everything they could for their comfort, giving them water from their canteens, and trying to place them in easy positions. There are so many young boys and old men among the Rebels, that it seems hardly possible that they can have come of their own accord to fight us; and


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