in the vicinity of the Miller house
, making what is known as the ‘West woods.’
The triangular space between the converging Hagerstown
and Smoketown roads was first occupied by grass fields and then by a 30-acre field of standing corn that for yards reached across from one road to the other, but skirted on the east by the narrow East
woods, while farther on, patches of forest bounded the cornfield and extended beyond to the Poffenberger land, thus concealing the commanding position beyond that land taken by the Federal
By 5 o'clock of the afternoon of September 16th, Jackson
had faced his men northward, some 700 yards beyond the Dunker church, and across the northern edge of the big cornfield, covering both the Hagerstown
and the Smoketown
and Law held the right, the latter advanced into the East
woods, the two having 1,700 men in line.
’ division, under J. R. Jones
, with 1,600 men, extended this line across the Hagerstown
road and into the northern end of the West
woods, toward the commanding ridge occupied by Stuart
with his artillery and covering the road leading to a ford of the Potomac
on his left.
were resting in the woods at the Dunker church.
Just at sunset of this lovely September day, the golden autumn of the famous Appalachian valley, Hooker
advanced southward, along the watershed ridge between the Antietam
and the Potomac
, and pushing forward a battery, opened on Jackson
silenced this in about twenty minutes and it retired.
About the same time his skirmishers advanced on Law, in the East
woods, but were soon driven back to its northern edge.
Then the two armies lay on their arms, within speaking distance of each other, through the long autumn night, during which Lawton
took the place of Hood
and Law, whose men had had no cooked rations, except a half ration of beef, for three days, subsisting in the meantime on green corn gathered from the fields.
proposed to join issue with Lee
by striking the latter's left with the 40,000 men in the three corps of Hooker
, which were already in position for attack on the morning of September 17th.
If these should be successful, he intended that Burnside
should cross at the bridge now known by his name, and with his 13,000 men fall on Lee
's right, under the command